Tag Archives: Greece

A selection of the best wines in the Eastern Mediterranean.


(Une sélection des meilleurs vins en Méditerranée de l’Est)

  • Greece

Agiorgitiko: This grape produces lush, velvety reds with black-cherry flavors.

Agiorgitiko, which is the most widely planted grape in Greece, is most easily comparable to Cabernet Sauvignon, as it has similar dark fruit flavors of prunes and plums, and the same heavy tannins that dry your mouth out and beg for the wine to be drunk alongside meat. It’s also due to this similarity that you can often find the two grapes blended together. It’s a powerful and bold red wine that fans of this style will love, which is what makes it go so well with the heavier meat dishes.

  • Turkey

Öküzgözü: is a grape variety and a Turkish wine produced from this grape. “It’s called ‘bull’s eye’ because it’s a big, round, dark grape.

The grape is one of the two native grape varieties of Elazığ province, located on the Anatolian plateau at the north of the Taurus Mountains. Öküzgözü makes bright, fruit-driven red wines. These grapes make a full-bodied, intense red wine that marries well with food and can benefit from time spent in cellar.

  • Lebanon

Ixsir red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon Variety):Plenty of fruit with licquorice on the finish – and yet, it is dry with elegance, enveloped in fine, soft oak, and finishing very long.

This (unusual) red blend of Caladoc, Syrah, Tempranillo made with the help of St-Emilion’s Hubert de Boüard (of Château Angélus) from vines grown at an altitude of 1,000 metres is refined and elegant, a pronounced streak of freshness giving verve and definition to the blackcurrant fruit, while the tannins are polished to a fine sheen. 90/100: The Wine Gang

  • Egypt

According to the Oxford Companion to Wine, today Egypt produces about half a million gallons of wine a year (about as much as England). This is a remarkable amount of wine, especially considering that 75% of Egypt’s population are (mostly) non-drinking Muslims.

There are only a very few modern Egyptian wines in production. Egypt’s climate is simply too hot and dry to support viticulture on any scale. Although vines are famously fond of dry conditions, they need a certain amount of water for respiration and photosynthesis. Beyond that, water makes up a significant part of the grapes which are, after all, the entire point of viticulture. The famously fertile Nile Delta (one of the world’s largest river deltas) is the only part of Egypt where viticulture is a practical enterprise. The delta is formed as the Nile River fans out before draining into the Mediterranean. It stretches westwards along the coast from Port Said to Alexandria (home of the Muscat of Alexandria grape), and thus benefits from the cooling effects of the nearby sea.

Grand Marquis: This wine needs food like red meats because of its power.

Sometimes sweet or simple red , smooth, easy, middle of the road, clear, vanilla, silky, short finish, well integrated, diluted like a Crystal Light packet, blackberry jam, Egyptian version of table wine, low sugar, low tannins.

  • Cyprus

Marathevtiko: its grapes can give rich wines with soft tannins and aromas of cherries and black chocolate. With proper care it offers an excellent wine with great body, intense color and a pleasant bouquet. The characteristics of this wine rank it among the most high-quality varieties of our country with prospects of development. Specifically, it is characterized by a scent of freshly cut grass, vanilla, berries and wood.

Maratheftiko does not have hermaphrodite flowers like many cultivated grape varieties and requires co-planting with other varieties in order to achieve fertilisation and fruit development. This exceptional variety was grown amongst other grape varieties and was used in winemaking only to improve the colour and body of wines made from the local Mavro. Maratheftiko still represents only 3% of cultivated vineyards on the island but has become extremely popular among Cypriot winemakers and wine enthusiasts.

  • Palestine

Taybeh wine.(source)

Nadim Khoury, a Palestinian who is known for establishing Taybeh Brewery, has also opened a winery in the West Bank Christian majority village of Taybeh. Using 21 indigenous varieties of grapes, the wines produced were quick to gain visitors’ praise.Khoury admits that Israeli restrictions has made it difficult to do business, his shipments for example, including his wine-making equipment, have been delayed because of Israeli checkpoint inspections.The family behind the wine and beer says they are carrying out “peaceful resistance” by investing in their homeland and staying put.A wine festival is now held annually in the town.

Nadim Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied, elegant and complex wine that exhibits flavors of local spices and ripe cherry. Its equilibrated acidity and persistent tannins allow this wine to age effortlessly for years. Nadim Merlot is a well-balanced, medium-bodied and aromatic wine. The nose and palate exhibit intense aromas of fresh herbs combined with hints of cherry and a background of earth. Its maturity and smooth tannins allows for immediate enjoyment of this wine.

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Goodnight Kemal, this world will never change…


  • This post’s tale is about Kemal, a young prince from the East, who in his youthful impulsiveness believed he could change the world… but other is the will of Allah and of the shady souls of mankind…

There are some lyrics, no matter how many years will pass since it were written, you feel like they were written today. You could get the idea of modern hypocrisy from listening to all the crapola from extremists of the right and the left that people really care about something called “free speech”….so long as it’s the speech they agree with, of course.

We live in the time of decadence where truth has no value and politicians are there just to fill the chair. Democracy has lost its purpose. Sadly ,nowadays, there will always be violence and tragic scenes will shock us.

Kemal is a great song by Manos Hadjidakis with Nikos Gatsos lyrics, very sensational, but if I adopted these lyrics as my “raison d’être” every day, I would have no reason to exist, I would have no reason to try to improve life , my place, my world, my être.

And of course the world is changing. Even if i don’t have many decades of existence, I can surely say that sometimes we have improvements in our lives and some times we just don’t have any. On the other hand, crying for anything, the leveling and the nullification of everything does not suit me as a person, i believe that this world will change positively some day.

I also know that crying, leveling, and and point at zero begin somehow from own state of mind, from our inability to act, to think and to reflect.

The words of Manos Hadjidakis remain a reference, especially during these dark and overcast times. There are songs that make people rise up .But there are also those which stir up hearts. Never the type to seek popularity through his art, Hadjidakis was quoted for saying: “I don’t care about fame. It imprisons me inside its own limitations, not mine.” True to his words, he did not show up to pick the Oscar he won, generating a funny comic relief by Bob Hope, the award presenter.

Manos Hadjidakis is without a doubt, the most important composer and conductor in Greece’s modern history. I simply can’t compress this man’s life and works in a few lines and we will certainly refer to him repeatedly on the posts to come. Regarding his life and works you can take a look to the wiki article.

The album “Reflections” was released in 1969 in New York, composed by Manos Hadjidakis and perfomed by New York Rock and Roll Ensemble. In 1993, it was released again with Greek lyrics written by Nikos Gatsos in Athens. The most famous song of the album is Kemal, a splendid song, with haunting lyrics and tune, very evocative of the mysterious near east.

What Manos Hatzidakis said about his music:

I shun at fame. It restricts me within its confines and not mine.I believe in the song that reveals us and express us deeply, and not the one that humours our naive and forcibly acquired habits.

I feel contempt for those whose object is not to receive their ideas and intellectual pursuits; complacent contemporaries; dark and shady journalism; and every form of vulgarity.

Thus, I managed to put the finishing touches to my personality, one traumatized in childhood, ending up by selling “lottery tickets in the sky” and inviting the respect of younger people, since I have remained a genuine Greek and a Magnus Eroticus.

And the story behind the song:

“In New York City in the winter of 68, I met a young twenty-year-old boy called Kemal. I met him. What a big and memorable name for such a beautiful and young boy, I thought. He had left his country under the pretext of some of his political contradictions.I imagine, he wanted to be lost in America. I told him what i thought. He smiled.

-Will you allow me to show you around the city?He refused my offer courteously. He preferred to do it alone.

So when I came back home, I made him a song, music.

Nikos Gatsos, after some time, he wrote the greek lyrics of the song and presented him as a prince who protects the weak. Something like a film by Erol Flynn in ’35.

The only thing we left intact in Greek was the that “Goodnight Kemal”. Whether an arab prince or a young man from New York City, we owe him a “good night” anyway, so we can sleep quietly at night. Without remorse, without useless aspirations and desires. We must therefore say to him good night as is our due as Greeks, face to face to a young muslim as our poet friend Cavafy would say”

  • Hear now the story of Kemal
    A young prince from the East
    A descendant of Sinbad the Sailor,
    Who thought he could change the world.
    But bitter is the will of Allah,
    And dark the souls of men …

Once upon a time in the East,
The coffers are empty, the waters are stagnant.
In Mosul, in Basrah, under an old date-palm,
The children of the desert are bitterly crying.
A young man of ancient and royal race
Overhears their lament and goes to them.
The Bedouins look at him sadly
And he swears by Allah that things will change.
When they learn of the young man’s fearlessness,
The rulers set off with wolf-like teeth and a lion’s mane.
From the Tigris to the Euphrates, in heaven and on earth,
They pursue the renegade to catch him alive.
They pounce on him like uncontrollable hounds,
And take him to the caliph to put the noose around his neck.
Black honey, black milk he drank that morning
Before breathing his last on the gallows.
With two aged camels and a red steed,
At the gates of heaven the prophet awaits.
They walk together among the clouds
With the star of Damascus to keep them company.
After a month, after a year, they find Allah
Who, from his high throne, tells foolish Sinbad:
‘O my vanquished upstart, things never change;
Fire and knives are the only things men know.’
Goodnight, Kemal. The world will never change. Goodnight…

Links:

  • Giorgos Kovos “The American Manos” (BHMagazino, June 11, 2017)
  • Liner Notes for Manos Hadjidakis Gioconda’s Smile (Fontana, 1965)
  • Richie Unterberger, Liner Notes for The New York Rock & Roll Ensemble Reflections (Collector’s Choice Music, 2006)