Taste the famous international grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah) in their Greek versions, but above all you have to discover the indigenous varieties!
The most popular red wine grapes in Greece are Agiorgitiko (also known as St George and Mavro) and Xinomavro. These are the two varieties on which the Greek winemakers bet to sell on the international market and you can find them in specialty stores.

Agiorgitiko | Αγιωργίτικο

This dark red grape is usually planted in dry and infertile soil so as to produce fewer but more concentrated grapes. Connoisseurs compare it to the Merlot and it is used for blended as well as for single varietal wines.

Xinomavro | Ξινόμαυρο

A dark red grape (its name means "sour black") rather unclassable: some connoisseurs compare it to Pinot noir, others with the great wines of Bordeaux. But it is indeed a native grape variety, and among the best!

Mandilaria | Μανδηλαριά

This is the most common red grape in the islands of the Aegean Sea. As it generally gives low alcohol wines, it is mostly used in blends. In Crete, it is blended with the indigenous grape Kotsifali, on Mykonos and Paros with the white variety Monemvasia, on Santorini with the rare red grape Mavrotragano.

Aidani Mavro | Αηδάνι Μαύρο

A native grape grown in the Cyclades (Naxos, Santorini and Paros), used for blends with Mandilaria, Cabernet Sauvignon or Monemvasia. There is also a parent white grape, the Aidani Aspro.

Mavrotragano | Μαυροτράγανο

It's grown mostly on its native island, Santorini, and in limited quantities. It's sometimes blended but it reaches its peak when it's pure, with wines containing 14-15% alcohol that are said to be fit for ageing during 12 to 14 years! (Actually, it's so good that we could never wait such a long time before drinking it...) Unfortunately, it's so rare that it's quite expensive. It's also grown in Paros, Milos and Tinos, as far as we know.
The Pictorial Guide of the Cyclades

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