The Great White Way: five refreshing Mediterranean wines

The Great White Way: five refreshing Mediterranean wines

Ultra-refreshing wines from the sun-baked eastern Mediterranean

The Great White Way

Toronto’s current love affair with cuisine from Lebanon, Greece and other eastern ­Mediterranean nations gave me reason to revisit the bottles from that region. I’ve found them underwhelming in the past, but his time around, I was swept up by their vibrant ­flavours. The high acidity of indigenous grapes (especially Greek varietals like assyrtiko and moschofilero), the stony minerality of the terroir and modern winemaking techniques have created exactly the wines I want to drink in the heat of a late summer night.

1 | Château Ksara 2012 Blanc de Blancs
$16.95 | Bekaa Valley, Lebanon | 89 points

Lebanon’s wine growers often opt for French varietials. This blend of sauvignon blanc, sémillon and chardonnay has intense, nutty, spicy flavours, with notes of green fig, lime, pineapple and papaya that hold up nicely to Middle Eastern cuisine. Vintages 744805

2 | Alpha Estate 2013 Axia Malagouzia
$17.95 | Florina, Greece | 87 points

The malagouzia grape is a rising star of Greek viticulture. Somewhere between aromatic muscat and viognier, it’s full bodied and quite rich, with exotic melon, mango and floral notes. It’s backed by good acidity, with a dry, slightly bitter finish. Chill well. Vintages 371666

3 | Thalia 2013 Sauvignon Blanc
$9.95 | Crete | 86 points

There’s a flinty, sulphuric character to this wine, but it also shows classic sauvignon character: nettle herbal notes and a ripe guava nuance. Broad and fleshy and a bit low on acid, it still maintains freshness, and the length is very good. Chill well and serve with feta-accented dishes.
LCBO 273490

4 | Boutari 2013 Santorini
$18.95 | Santorini | 89 points

The picturesque (if tourist-plagued) isle of Santorini is home to one of Greece’s best whites, from a grape called assyrtiko. It’s a fruity wine with intriguing flavours of candied lemon, quince, guava, fennel and fresh herbs. Very bright, polished and fleshy, with a hint of sweetness. Vintages 47985

5 | Di Giovanna 2013 Grillo
$16.95 | Sicily | 86 points

Grillo is a distinctive Sicilian grape that can deliver opulent, dry whites. Di Giovanna’s is understated but serves up a solid, viscous, almost creamy texture that works well with seafood pastas and rich fish dishes. Its melon, waxy and nutty flavours have very good length. Vintages 343053