Bordeaux and Greece have more in common than you may think – Bordeaux’s wine industry might never have developed had it not been for a “band of pioneering Greek explorers” who settled in Massalia (now known as Marseilles) in southern France around 600 BC. It’s believed they were responsible for bringing viticulture to France.
However it took a little French style and a couple of thousand years to transform it into a European tipple of choice. We also have the Greek Mentzelopoulos family to thank who rescued the First Growth Chateau Margaux in 1977, whose restoration and renovation have firmly placed the great wine back on its pedestal.
We also have to thank the Greeks for Meze – the medley of small dishes that are served with drinks. Meze provide a wonderful variety of flavour and textures and there are many Bordeaux wines that can pair well with these delicious snacks. I have a few suggestions for you to try with Meze – the dishes I have chosen are from the Good Food Network, gourmet food specialists.
Roasted Artichoke Hearts – Ancient Greeks considered artichokes a delicacy and an aphrodisiac – if you haven’t tried these you have a real treat in store. An old Greek myth tells us that the Artichoke was created when the beautiful woman Cynara spurned the advances of the god Zeus who wished to make her a goddess.
He captured her and held her on Mount Olympus but she pined so much for her family that in a fit of rage he hurled her back to earth where she transformed into the Artichoke plant.
Such a gastronomic treat deserves a wine that can enhance its tender flavours and Chateau Lamothe Vincent Rosé 2009 as an excellent choice. The Vincent family have been making award winning wines since 1873. The very name of the family has produced a few comments. The name of the patron saint of vine growers and wine makers is Saint Vincent.
Lamothe Vincent is one of the 3 best Bordeaux Rosés in 2006 TOP VINS, silver medal winner both at the Challenge International du Vin 2006 and Concours des Vins d’Aquitaine 2006. It is a fabulous dry, deep, dark pomegranate pink and is bursting with the flavours of ripe red currant, red gooseberries, raspberry, crushed strawberry and citrus. It is silky smooth, well rounded, deep and has a lovely long finish.
Red Pepper with Feta Meze – this is based on the traditional Greek recipe Htipit which is a blend of sweet roasted red peppers and Greek feta cheese. The cultivation of peppers has a long history in Northern Greece dating back to the Ottoman Empire.
Villages in Macedonia were well-known for the quality of their peppers and specialised in cultivating either the sweet or the hot varieties. The salty bite of the feta marries perfectly with the sweet juicy red peppers and crudités and toasted pita triangles are good dippers for this Greek meze.
Chateau Ballan Larquette Bordeaux Clairet 2010 has the depth and body to compliment this Meze perfectly – it is a beautiful presentation of a Clairet produced in Bordeaux with lusciously intense, mouth-watering flavours of crushed strawberry, mango, pineapple, pomegranate and redcurrant with rounded smooth tannins that just slip down your throat.
A Bordeaux White would be great with this and Chateau Sainte Marie 2005 is a super match. The renown of Château Sainte Marie goes back several centuries, as the vineyard belonged to the 12th century Benedictine Abbaye de la Sauve Majeure (one of the most ancient abbeys in France, located just a mile from the Château).
Sainte Marie is a beautiful pale golden colour and is full of fragrance. With great aromas of lemon, lime and grapefruit with a hint of elderflower it is perfectly balanced on the palate offering a well-structured and long lasting finish. In fact, I think the gods on Mount Olympus would probably have appreciated a glass or three .