Greece isn’t the first country you think of when it comes to sparkling wine. It’s probably not even the 10th, but you’ll be surprised to know that there are now over 50 Greek Sparkling Wines, Pet Nats, Sparkling Retsinas, and Frizzante wines on the market. It makes sense for there to be so many Greek sparkling wines, after all, Greeks celebrate life every day!
What is Greek Sparkling Wine Called?
The word for Greek sparkling wine is simply Afrodi (Αφρώδη), the Greek word for sparkling. Afrodi is pronounced Ah-fro-thee.
Greek Sparkling Wine and Food Pairing Tips
The best way to pair Greek sparkling wine with food is to look at the elements of each. Sparkling wine in Greece runs the gambit from extra brut to semi-sweet. The sweetness in sparkling wine will make a big difference in the food that matches best with it. Brut Greek sparkling wines will pair best with fried food dishes, oily dishes, and salty dishes. The bubbles act like a palate cleanser and lift grease and wash it away.
Sweeter styles will pair best with desserts or strong cheeses. Wine should always be sweeter than the food you’re serving with it. Keep reading to see the best foods to match with your favorite Greek sparkling wine.
The Best Greek Sparkling Wines and their Food Pairings
As I mentioned there are well over 50 different Greek sparkling wines available now so it was a bit hard to narrow down the best. This is a mix of traditional method, pet nat, and even an Greek orange sparkling wine. The food pairings are also a mix of Greek food and international flavors. Enjoy!
Domaine Karanika Brut Cuvée Rosé
Domaine Karanika is the premier Greek sparkling wine producer. The domaine is located in Amyndeon (sometimes written Amytnaion) in the northwest corner of Greece. All of their sparkling wines are great, but the rosé is exceptional. Karanika follows a strict disgorgement calendar based on biodynamic principles, meaning disgorgement only occurs after the full moon during the waning stage. This has a somewhat unbelievable effect on the effervescence of the sparkling wine.
Karanika Brut Cuvée Rosé
Cépage: 100% Xinomavro
Food Pairing: There is something special about pairing a sparkling rosé and raw foods. Beef carpaccio, salmon carpaccio, sushi & sashimi, and tuna tartare are just perfect with Karanika Brut Cuvée Rosé.
The illustrious Hartman Molavi is a collaboration between two Greek wine powerhouses, Domaine Karanika and Manousakis Winery. This Extra Brut sparkling wine is made with 50% Xinomavro from Domaine Karanika and 50% Romeiko from Manousakis Winery. It gets its name from Laurens Hartman, the owner of Domaine Karanika, and Afshin Molavi, the owner of Manousakis Winery. The wineries are on opposite sides of Greece, one in the the northwest and the other on the southernmost island of Crete but came together to make this cult wine.
Cépage: 50% Xinomavro, 50% Romeiko
Food Pairing: Hartman Molavi spends 4 years sur lees before disgorgement which gives it an intense flavor profile. This Greek sparkling wine is paired best with foods with big flavors and herbaceous dishes. I love this wine with Greek chicken and lemon potatoes with lots of oregano. It adds a decadence to the homemade comfort food. But my super guilty pleasure is pairing it with mozzarella sticks.
Dourakis Winery Cassiopeia
Dourakis Winery has been experimenting with traditional method sparkling wine for years; first with Muscat of Spina, then with a Grenache rosé, and finally settled on their newest wine, Cassiopeia a brut sparkling wine of Romeiko. Romeiko is a finicky little grape with a difficult reputation of making insipid village wines with a pale red color, high alcohol, and oxidative flavors. Romeiko’s true calling is to make sparkling wine and thankfully that’s the direction its going in.
Dourakis Winery Cassiopeia
Cépage: 100% Romeiko
Food Pairing: Cassiopeia is a Greek sparkling wine with amazing acidity which helps cut through the fat and grease of fried dishes and dishes with cream sauces. Dourakis Cassiopeia is perfect with french fries, mac & cheese, and particularly good with brunch as long as their lots of bacon. Traditional Cretan food is another perfect pairing with Cassiopeia. For a more elegant food match, try Cassiopeia with duck confit.
Chatzivaritis Estate “Migma” PetNat (White)
The next generation of Greek winemakers is something everyone is talking about. One of the women at the forefront of “new” Greek wine is Chloe Chatzivaritis of Chatzivaritis Winery in Goumenissa. Goumenissa is Greece’s smallest wine region just outside of the most famous one, Naoussa. It’s evident that Chloe’s passion for organic and natural wine is resonating. Migma PetNat is made in the ancestral method of sparkling wine, meaning the last bit of fermentation occurs in a capped bottle. The resulting carbon dioxide has nowhere to go and creates bubbles in the wine. The result is an very aromatic sparkling wine with a touch of sweetness.
Chatzivaritis Estate Migma PetNat
Cépage: 50% Muscat of Samos, 50% Malagousia
Food Pairing: The subtle sweetness and the mild acidity of Migma PetNat makes it a beautifully pairing with Pad Thai, sweet & sour pork, and green curry. Migma PetNat can also be served before or after the main meal either with appetizers or a fruit plate.
Glinavos “Paleokerisio” Semi-Sparkling Orange Wine
Glinavos Paleokerisio was the first Greek orange wine I’ve ever had. It is made in the oldest Greek sparkling wine styles which closely resembles the ancestral method. The region of Ioannina has been making these wines for years but then it all but stopped with the introduction of modern winemaking. I’ll be honest, this is a real odd-ball wine that isn’t for everyone. It’s incredibly aromatic, semi-sweet, and semi-sparkling.
Domaine Glinavos “Paleokerisio” Semi-Sparkling Orange Wine
Cépage: Mostly Debina with a touch of Vlahiko
Food Pairing: Glinavos Paleokerisio needs to be paired with strong flavors. Steak with blue cheese may seem extreme but trust me, it’s fantastic together. The wine has a bit of tannins so although the sweetness dictates it would pair with desserts, it really doesn’t. Stick to savory foods like meat-lovers pizza, loaded baked potatoes, and German sausages.
Tselepos Amalia Brut
Tselepos is one of the biggest wineries in Greece. Their Amalia Brut is the Greek sparkling wine you’ll come across most often. It’s made from 100% Moschofilero, the intensely aromatic gris grape from the Peloponnese. Tselepos Winery is one of the pioneers of Moschofilero dating back to the 1980’s. The wine is named after Yiannis Tselepos’s wife, Amalia.
Tselepos Amalia Brut
Cépage: 100% Moschofilero
Food Pairing: Tselepos Amalia Brut is a classic style of sparkling wine. It can be drunk on its own as an apertif or paired with nibbles and charcuterie. Raw seafood dishes also work well with this Greek sparkling wine. Amalia Brut is particularly well suited with vegetables; try it with salads or fried zucchni balls (kolokithokeftedes). Goat cheese and feta are also great pairings with Amalia Brut.
Kechris Afros (PetNat Retsina)
Kechris is my favorite producer of Retsina. Now before you get up in arms about Retsina, there are two kinds, shitty turpentine Retsina, and quality Retsina that is delicious; Kechris makes the latter. For those that don’t know, the addition of retsini, or pine sap from the Aleppo tree, is an ancient wine making tradition in Greece. Unfortunately, throughout most of the 20th century, it was pretty disgusting. In recent years, many producers throughout Greece have focused on high quality wines flavored with high quality retsini. The result is a Retsina revolution! Kechris makes several great Retsinas but one that I buy at least once or twice a month is Afros, a semi-sparkling Retsina made from the Roditis grape.
Kechris Afros Semi-Sparkling Retsina
Cépage: 100% Roditis
Food Pairing: While Retsina is known for pairing beautifully with meze, or Greek appetizers, particularly anything with seafood like sardines and fried calamari, I’m a huge fan of Kechris Afros with autumnal dishes. This past fall, every time I made something with sweet potatoes or butternut squash, I grabbed a bottle of Kechris Afros. The nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger flavors are great with this wine.
Nikolou Winery Botanic Brut Sparkling
Nikolou Winery is a small family-run winery located just outside of Athens in Koropi, Attica. Attica is the epicenter of Retsina production. To honor that tradition Nikolou Winery makes this traditional method sparkling wine from the grape Savvatiano with the addition of retsini during the fermentation process. The sparkling wine has aromas of mastixa and pine from the retsini, but there’s also lovely citrus and fruit notes as well.
Nikolou Winery Botanic Brut Sparkling
Cépage: 100% Savvatiano (Retsina)
Food Pairing: Pair Nikolou Winery Botanic with marinated sardines, smoked salmon, fried calamari, and traditional Greek meze. This Greek sparkling wine goes particularly well with feta and olives, too. Is there anything more Greek than Retsina, feta, and olives? I think not.
Yes, Domaine Glinavos made the list twice, but the wines are so different, I had to include both. Zitsa is a region in Ioannina that has a long tradition of making sparkling wine from the grape, Debina. I’m willing to say this was at first a mistake. The wines were bottled after harvest then the yeast went dormant from the low winter temperatures. Well, come springtime, those yeast woke up and started the fermentation process again, but now, the CO2 had nowhere to go. This made the wines sparkle. Glinavos Zitsa is a frizzante wine, not too bubbly, made in the same method as Prosecco.
Cépage: 100% Debina
Food Pairing: This is the lightest Greek sparkling wine on the list and should be paired with the lightest fare, or on its own. Delicate white fish, summer salads, crudité are the best options with Glinavos Zitsa. Sushi is another obvious match.
Kir Yianni Akakies Sparkling Rosé
Kir Yianni is a wine brand by Stelios Boutari who named it after his father, Yianni Boutari. The Boutari family is the most recognized wine family in Greece. They have properties and vineyards throughout Greece. Akakies Sparkling Rosé is from Amyndeon, in north west Greece. This is the sweetest Greek sparkling wine on the list with residual sugars near 20gm/liter.
Kir Yianni Akakies Sparkling Rosé
Cépage: 100% Xinomavro
Food Pairing: Akakies Sparkling Rosé is a versatile wine with food. It can be served before a meal on its own, during a salad course with a strawberry and goat cheese salad, or even during the main meal if there’s a bit of spice with the dish like spicy fish tacos or curry. At one of the resorts I worked at as a Sommelier, Akakies was always the go-to wine for any fruit based desserts. It was perfect for the hot summer evenings when a traditional dessert wine would have been too much.
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Bubbles Bubbles Everywhere!
Interested in hearing more? Join our Wine Pairing Weekend group on Twitter at 11 am EST/8 am PST on Saturday, January 8. Just follow the hashtag #WinePW. Don’t hesitate to speak up and tell us you are there.
Meanwhile, here’s what the group has planned:
- Wendy at A Day in the Life on the Farm bubbles over about Celebrating Little Christmas in Michigan with a Local Bubbly
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla sabers open Gelukkige Nuwe Jaar with Pannekoeke + Boschendal Brut Rosé
- Linda from My Full Wine Glass cracks open Cava: Because everybody needs a go-to bubbly
- Martin at Enofylz Wine Blog pops the cork on Sparkling Wine from Chablis? Oui! Val de Mer Brut Nature Rosé
- Anna Maria of Unraveling Wine toasts us with 10 Best Greek Sparkling Wines with Pairings #WinePW
- David at Cooking Chat Food disgorges Baked Fiesta Dip with Mexican Bubbly
- Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles riddles with Bubbles by any other name…Sparkling wines from all over the globe
- Jennifer of Vino Travels charms with Upcoming the Game with Asolo Prosecco
- Lisa at The Wine Chef adds dosage with Dive Into the OG Bubbly With Blanquette de Limoux #WinePW
- Nicole at Somm’s Table gets cagey with Re-introducing Cava!
- Gwendolyn from Wine Predator adds the crown with Sparkling Wine Secrets from Around the World
- Susannah from Avvinare sparkles with Brazilian sparklers come of age
- Terri at Our Good Life shares Favorite Bubbles from Around the World
- Andrea The Quirky Cork celebrates with A Vertical Tasting of Vinkara’s Yaşasın #WinePW
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I’ve had a number of these and love so many of them. I bought the Hartman Molavi while I was on Crete and cannot wait to try it. Will be making the chicken to go with it!
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What a comprehensive and wonderful post Anna Maria! I’ve never had a sparkling wine from Greece. Looks like I’m missing out. Great pairing recs too!
Wow that’s a lot of wines and a lot of good pairings. Great article. Thanks for sharing.
My husband and I want to cruise to Greece in the next two years. Perhaps we will be able to try these in person!
What a fascinating article! I will admit that my knowledge of Greek wines is limited and I was thrilled to learn about these sparkling wines! I did find the Glinavos “Paleokerisio” Semi-Sparkling Orange Wine available here in the States. Do you know of other importers for these wines?
Wow, Anna Maria, this is an impressive list of Greek bubblies and the foods to pair with them. I will bookmark this page for future reference. Thanks!
I don’t think I’ve ever had a Greek sparkling wine. Thanks to your article, it’s at the top of my list now!
Interesting article! I don’t think I’ve had Greek sparkling wine before, but enjoy preparing Greek food, so I need to give it a try!
Thanks for this excellent round up! I’ve tried a few of these, but now have a lot more Greek bubblies to look out for. I also love the pairing suggestion for Domaine Glinavos “Paleokerisio” with steak and blue cheese. You’re right that the wine is an odd-ball, but I can absolutely see that combo working beautifully.
It’s great to learn more about Greek wine. It’s just not something featured too often or well known, especially a sparkling wine. I was in Greece years ago, but never had one when I was there either.