Posted by: tomciocco | January 10, 2011


Just to get this out of the way, the pronunciation is “a-yor-YEE-tee-ko”, and it’s simply the Greek for “St. George”, or more likely the other way around, but you get the idea. In a land with as long a viticultural history as Greece, it should come as no surprise that there are literally hundreds of vine varieties that grow nowhere else, and believe it or not, Aghiorghitiko is one of the most widely-planted wine grapes thoroughout Greece, but it is the clear volume leader in the Peleponnese, which is the large, southern peninsular (it’s almost an island) region, and the variety’s home turf since they were hoisting kylixes to Dionysus. 

The unfortunate financial situation currently gripping Greece does absolutely nothing to foster the viticultural development of a fascinating and unique, but still seriously under-achieving wine nation like Greece, and that’s a damned shame. For a while there a few years back, it seemed that Greece might be poised to become “the next big thing” in the wine world, but for various and sundry reasons it never really happened. But maybe that was a blessing in disguise – the ravages of fame and all…but I digress…

Though there doesn’t seem to be any direct genetic links between the varieties, in the glass Aghiorghitiko is often likened to Sangiovese and for the most part I agree. Apart from Aghiorghitiko being a bit shier in acid, and at least with the ones I’ve come across, lacking that last shade of noble structure, the overall texture in the mouth and their general flavor profiles are quite comparable.

I matched this wine with a Greek(ish) yogurt soup with pureed wheat berries, chicken broth, egg, and a swirl of tomato paste and almonds, and then Kofte kebabs and pink beans with oregano, sage, garlic, oil, and lemon.

Semeli “Mountain Sun” Aghiorghitiko Peleponnese 2008

Just barely transparent true garnet color. The nose begins with earthy berry aromas, adding notes of menthol, plastic bandages, toasted corn, and kelp. The nicely balanced, medium body has a high-toned fresh acidity red with currant and cherry fruit and flavors of new leather. Finishes with light prune and dark black coffee note, though just a bit short. A little simple overall, but well-made and tasty, and great match with the food.



  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Markus Stolz. Markus Stolz said: RT @vintuition: Aghiorghitiko […]

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