Wine List

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Don’t worry too much if you haven’t heard of many (or any!) of these wines before. It’s what Oinofilia is all about – bringing you a selection of great wines from all over Greece, and allowing you to try as many of them as you want in one place.

If you do want to get your eye in a little earlier, though, here’s the list for the day.

ARGYROS ESTATE
Atlantis white 2016
Santorini Argyros Assyrtiko
Estate Argyros Assyrtiko
Vinsanto 4 years barrel aged

GENTILINI
Gentilini Notes White
Gentilini Robola of Cephalonia
Gentilini Eclipse
Gentilini Robola of Cephalonia Wild Paths

KARAMOLEGOS WINERY
TERRA NERA WHITE
ASSYRTIKO
SANTORINI
PYRITIS

KECHRIS WINERY
Kechribari (Retsina, Appellation by Tradition)
Tear of the Pine (Retsina, Appellation by Tradition)
Roza (Retsina, Appellation by Tradition)
Xinomavro (PGI Macedonia)

KIR YIANNI
ΑΚΑΚΙES SPARKLING
AKAKIES
KALI RIZA
RAMNISTA

DOMAINE C. LAZARIDIS
Amethystos White
Chateau Julia Assyrtiko
Domaine Costa Lazaridi Syrah
Oenotria Land Cabernet Sauvignon Agiorgitiko

MERCOURI ESTATE
“DOMAINE MERCOURI”
“FOLOI”
“LAMPADIAS”
“AVGOUSTIATIS”

KTIMA PAVLIDI
THEMA WHITE
THEMA ROSE
THEMA RED
EMPHASIS ASSYRTIKO

PORTO CARRAS
WHITE SOUL
MALAGOUZIA
ASSYRTIKO
LIMNEON

SANTO WINES
SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO
SANTORINI ASSYRTIKO ORGANIC
SANTORINI NYKTERI
SANTORINI VINSANTO

DOMAINE SIGALAS
SIGALAS SANTORINI PDO
SIGALAS ASYRTIKO ATHIRI PDO
SIGALAS SANTORINI BARREL PDO
SIGALAS VINSANTO PDO

DOMAINE SKOURAS
Moscofilero Skouras
Saint George Nemea
Grande Cuvee Nemea
Cuvee Prestige Rose

TSANTALI
KANENAS
RAPSANI GRANDE RESERVE
AGIORITIKO ABATON GOLD SELECTION
MARONIA MAVROUDI

THEOPTRA – TSILILIS
THEOPETRA ESTATE MALAGOUZIA ASSYRTIKO
THEOPETRA ESTATE SYRAH LIMNIONA
THEOPETRA ESTATE LIMNIONA
THEOPETRA ESTATE CABERNET SAUV. SYRAH LIMNIONA

Menu

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There’s a phrase used in Greece, “strosse to trapezi”, which means “Let’s set the table”. Food is such an important part of Greek culture – next to family, it’s the most important thing. It follows then that the idea of sitting down with family to share a meal is basically the cornerstone of Greek society, and something we couldn’t ignore at Oinofilia.

The teams from Elyros and Epocha restaurants, and Prahran Market’s Sweet Greek have banded together to put together a true Greek feast, drawing on the concept of “trapezia” or a shared grazing table.

Kali Orexi!

MEZZE BAR

Olives
Pickled veg
Taramosalata
Melitzanosalata
Beetroot & Feta
Bastourma
Spanakopita triangle (via Sweet Greek)

SEAFOOD

Oysters
Pickled Octopus
Pickled Mussels
Cured Kingfish

MEAT

Pig from the Spit
Elyros Lamb Shoulder
Loukaniko (via Sweet Greek)

SALADS

Trahana – currants, almonds and parsley
Marouli salata- lemon and dill
Fennel Slaw (via Sweet Greek)

CHEESE

Merino Gold
Lathotiri
Barley Bread and Rusks

SWEET

Baklava Squares (via Sweet Greek)
Galaktoboureko (via Sweet Greek)
Gluten Free Cakes (via Sweet Greek)
Halva – Chocolate and Almond (via Sweet Greek)
Kourabiethes (via Sweet Greek)
Melomakarona (via Sweet Greek)

“There you go!” – The Greek Origins of Everyday Words

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words by Mihalis Boutaris

In the sequel of the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding, one of the grandsons of Gus, the stereotypical Greek-American patriarch, has fully adopted the habit of deriving the origins of any conceivable word of American English directly from ancient Greek. Upon explaining (in a most incredulous way) the etymology of a random word, he echoes his grandfather’s exclamation: “There you go!”

This exaggeration is one of the key triggers of laughter in both the original film and its sequel. It is also the reason my foreign friends often tease me… But there is some truth to it: More than 50,000 English words are transliterations of Greek words. Some are used mainly in scientific terminology, but many are used every day.

For the sake of continuing the fun, I picked out a few that are related to the world of food and wine. Here are some geeky ones that come to mind:

  • Ampelography: the science of identifying and classifying different vines and grape varieties. It stems from the words “ampelos” (άμπελος) [vine in Greek] and “graphy” (γραφή) [writing, record-keeping]
  • Microclimate: “micro” (μικρό) [little] + “climate” (κλίμα) [climate]. It is the divergence from the average climatic conditions of an area that apply only to one of its sub-regions because of localized weather phenomena, that only occur there due to some special land formation. Microclimates are particularly important for winemaking. Especially in Greece due to the prevalence of mountains and islands on a highly variegated terrain, one can be surprised by how cool a north-facing plateau could be in South Greece during a hot summer day or how humid a valley could be in an overall arid place. Grapevines do generally thrive anywhere in the world, but every microclimate gives rise to different grape and wine characteristics. Perhaps it is not a coincidence that the Greek word for climate (κλίμα) is so close to the word for grapevine (κλήμα)… They are both pronounced as “klima”, but written in a slightly different way for the “i” sound – climate sounding more like “klima” and grapevine more like “kleema”
  • Biodynamic: “bios” (βίος) [life] + «dynami” (δύναμη) [force]. Biodynamic wines are becoming more and more known. The theory behind them is based on the aspiration of a biodynamic winemaker to become a mere steward of the life force of a vineyard and winery with all the micro and macro factors that come into play, to produce a product that is as free from artificial interventions as possible.

Furthermore, there are some ordinary cases that are not readily recognizable as words that come from the wine culture of ancient Greeks. For instance:

  • Symposium: < symposio (συμπόσιο) < “syn” (συν) [plus, together, jointly, added] + “pinw” (πίνω) [to drink] = literally “to drink together”. Today the meaning of the word symposium is used almost exclusively for scientific conferences. In ancient Greece, but sometimes still in modern Greece, drinking wine together was not an end in itself, but a means of gaining knowledge. The subject was invariably philosophical, but at the time, philosophy was all about science and politics and any subject of discussion for that matter to find the best way to live. So a wine gathering was really a way to expand the horizons of the mind and through discussion come up with better ideas about which way of life was better, how one could solve a technical problem and so on and so forth. The role of the symposia was to promote the intellectual curiosity and emotional maturity of free-born citizens.
  • Gastronomy: gastronomia (γαστρονομία) < “gastra” (γάστρα) [belly] + “nomos” [law] = the rules of what and how one should eat and drink wine, since for Greeks wines have been always been considered part of food – not an alcoholic beverage. Wine styles in different parts of Greece are markedly different from each other and they all seem to be an ideal match to the local cuisine.
  • Tragedy: tragodia (τραγωδία) < “tragos” (τράγος) [male goat] + “ode” (ωδή) [ode, song, oration] = literally and metaphorically “tragedy”. Tragic poetry in classical times originates from prehistoric rituals associated with wine drinking. Goatskins were used in ancient times to store wine, as well as to make bagpipes. The combination of ecstatic music, wine-induced inebriety, and feasts was central to these “tragic” rituals – all related to goats. Goat milk was also a liquid of living force like wine governed by the force of Dionysus, the wine deity worshipped by ancient Greeks to assign meaning to the seemingly miraculous phenomenon of winemaking and its psychotropic effects.
  • Crater: “kratir” (κρατήρ) = ornate jug to mix water with wine. It was not until the Age of Enlightenment in West Europe that sulfites at very low concentrations started being used in wine to stop bacteria from turning wine into vinegar. Until then, the main method of preserving wine was to keep it sweet. Antique wines like the Greek Vinsanto, medieval wines like the Italian Vinsanto and Madeira were examples of how wine could keep its fruit and weather through highly oxidative conditions. A combination of high residual sugar and alcohol would mean that the symposia would end up being too short to reach the goal set for learning, so ancient Greeks used a “kratir” to dilute the potent wines of the time with water. The other side of the same coin was that wine was used to actually disinfect water and make it potable – they had realized that stagnant water which was the norm would most likely kill them, unless they mixed it with wine. A kratir could be quite big depending on the size of the drinking party. Some really big “kratires” must have inspired the first geologists to call craters by this name…

Finally, there is one more case I’d like to point out: the etymology of the word sommelier. It’s not Greek in any way, although the profession of the sommelier is as ancient as Greece. The job of the sommelier in ancient Greece was to know the origins of the wine, source it and store it much like today.

In addition, the job entailed blending the selected wine with water in a kratir at a dilution rate that would keep all the guests at the same pace of sobriety and extend the wine drinking gathering as late as possible. Part of the job was to keep the guests sober, but tipsy enough to keep the symposium going.

Inspiration and eloquence were the objectives of the symposium members and the sommeliers “oinochooi” had the responsibility to unleash the magical powers of wine to this end. The Greek word for sommelier is “oinochoos” < “oinos” (οίνος) [wine] + “heo” (χέω) [to pour]. If I were to ask Gus or his grandson to derive the word from Greek, they would probably come up with something as far-fetched as this: “sommelier” < “soma” (σώμα) [body] + “elia” (ελιά) [olive, olive tree] = young wine waiter as slender as the divine olive tree, the gift of Goddess Athena, pouring her wisdom into my wine cup!

There you go!

Wine Regions of Greece: Naoussa

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Naoussa, in the hills of Macedonia, is another wine region. It’s most famous for producing Xinomavro… the King of Greek grapes. We asked sommelier and consultant Kavita Faiella to tell us what she knows about this lovely place.

1. The wine region of Naoussa is located in the north of Greece in the greater area known as Macedonia

Macedonia is both a region in northern Greece, a country in south-east Europe (Republic of Macedonia) and an ancient kingdom (Alexander the Great). 

2. Naoussa is also famous for its stone fruits.

In summer you will find orchards full of peaches, plums and the most delicious cherries! Hence the jam brand Naousa is also famous across Greece.

3. The weather of Naoussa is largely influenced by Mount Vermion (2000m)

The Vermio Mountains are the home of Greece’s ski resorts. That’s right – you can can ski in Greece!

4. Naoussa is the home of Xinomavro

Xinomavro, a tannic red varietal, is thought of as the King of Greek grapes, whose Queen is most certainly Assyrtiko. 

5. Wines of Naoussa are often referred to as ‘Greek Burgundy’.

The region produces some of the country’s most elegant and age-worthy wines made from Xinomavro, which are also lighter in colour.

6. Xinomavro literally translates to acid (xino) black (mavro) or black acid…

Sounds more like a heavy metal band, but also gives you an indication of the high acid levels of this wine. 

7. Just like oysters and Chablis or hot chips and Champagne…

The perfect pairing for Xinomavro is lamb. Bring on the souvlaki!

Welcome to Oinofilia

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The Greeks might not have invented wine, but they’ve been making it, pretty damn well we might add, for a helluva long time. The Greek word for wine, oinos, forms part of the term oinofilia which actually means “a love of wine”. If you’re an oenophile, you’re someone who loves wine.

(Incidentally, the word symposium stems from drinking wine, too. In ancient Greece, academic minds of the time (i.e. Plato and Aristotle) would get together and talk shop over kraters (giant jugs) of the stuff, and so symposium came to mean “to drink together”.)

We have the largest Greek population in Melbourne outside of Greece itself, and they’ve brought us gyros and souvlaki, dolmades, saganaki, fetta and haloumi, and more. They’ve also brought us Assyrtiko, Moschofilero and Xinomavro, and Vidiano, Savatiano and Kotsifali. We bet you’re not as familiar with this lot as you are with the former. But that’s where we come in.

Oinofilia is a one-day festival celebrating the wines and food of Greece. We have over 30 producers from Greece showing off over 60 different Greek wines, giving you a chance to taste and learn and discover what this wonderful country has to offer.

Our favourite Cretan restaurant, Elyros, is on board with its sister Epocha, putting on a serious spread to soak up all that delicious wine. On the menu will be dishes like Greek roast lamb shoulder, kalitsounia (Cretan pies), a mezze bar, oysters and so much more. Kathy Tsaples from Sweet Greek will be there, bringing her incredible food (including the best spanakopita and galaktoboureko you’ll ever eat) to the table. And that’s just the tip… there will be more. Kali orexi!

Come on down for this incredible, one-day Greek fest, celebrating the absolute best of this wonderful country.

The details

Date: Sat June 24, 11am till 5pm
Venue: Meat Market, 5 Blackwood St, Melbourne
Tickets: $55 (includes Plumm Wine glass and ALL wine tastes. NO TOKENS!)