An 11-Bottle Tour of Northern Greece’s Essential Wines

There’s a wine region you don’t know about but definitely should. Introducing Macedonia, the rocky, mountainous region of northern Greece. Brimming with steep slopes and bustling port cities, Macedonia is a wine producing mecca, with bottlings ranging from crisp, refreshing whites to heavy, bone- dry reds. The region is broken down into four parts: Amyndeon, Epanomi, Goumenissa, and Naoussa. Generally speaking, the wines of northern Greece are often associated with the indigenous Xinomavro grape and international varieties. However, roots run much deeper than that in this rugged, wine-soaked region. Get to know the wines of northern Greece with these 11 bottles.

Kir-Yianni Estate ‘Paranga’ 2015

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Kir Yianni ParangaWhen it comes to northern Greek wineries, legendary Kir-Yianni Estate is one of the best. Comprised of 50 percent Merlot, 25 percent Syrah, and 25 percent Xinomavro, the wine exudes flavors of bright red fruit and spice. Perfect for Greek wine novices looking to get their feet wet. Average Price: $17

Alpha Estate Rosé 2016

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Alpha Estate Rose When it comes to Amyndeon, Alpha Estate is king. Fruit for their 100 percent Xinomavro rosé comes from northern-facing vineyards and ferments at slowly increasing temperatures, allowing the wine to develop texture and complexity. Fruit-forward and floral, the wine pairs beautifully with tomato-based sauces, cold soups, and a variety of salads. Average Price: $19

Domaine Glinavos “Palekerisio” Semi-Sparkling NV

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Domaine Glivanos Semi Sparkling Orange WineFor lovers of bubbles, light sweetness, and wines that veer off the beaten path, this one’s for you. This semi-dry sparkling orange wine is produced with the Debina grape, an indigenous white grape variety of the region. Skin contact coupled with a minimal percentage of Vlahiko, an indigenous red grape of the region, produces a wine brimming with crisp apple and sweet baking spice. Hands down one of the most interesting bottles coming out of northern Greece. Average Price: $13

Tatsis Winery ‘Angel’s Heart’ White Xinomavro Blanc de Noirs 2013

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Tatsis Xinomavro Blanc de NoirsWho says Xinomavro has to be big, bold, and red? Tatsis Winery takes this often austere red variety and vinifies it as a still Blanc de Noirs, brimming with juicy melon and pineapple flavors. Succulent and satisfying, this wine is one to remember. Average Price: $19

Porto Carras Assyrtiko 2016

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Porto Carras AssyrtikoPorto Carras takes this Santorini-born variety and gives it a gorgeous northern twist. Unlike many northern Greek Assyrtikos that can be flabby and lacking, Porto Carras maintains the crisp acidity and minerality that white wine lovers crave. Sauvignon Blanc drinkers, this one’s for you. Average Price: $13

Tsantali Rapsani 2013

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Tsantali RapsaniHailing from one of the smallest appellations in all of Greece, Rapsani produces only red blends made from Xinomavro, Stavroto, and Krasato. The grapes are all grown together in the vineyards, identified by harvesters by their unique cluster shapes. The wine is plush and smooth, full of dark fruit flavors and smooth tannins. Great value for the price. Average Price: $13

Porto Carras Limneon 2015

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Porto Carras LimnioIndigenous to the island of Lemnos, the Limnio grape has a serious past. Historians believe Limnio may have been the grape used to create the wines that Aristotle described as the famous Lemnian reds. Juicy red fruit, slight spice, and a lingering finish make this wine insanely drinkable. Average Price: $15

Thymiopoulos ‘Uranos’ 2012

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Thymiopoulos UranosDrinking Xinomavro has never been easier than with Thymiopoulos’s ‘Uranos’ bottling. The wine pours a gorgeous magenta color, brimming with fresh, fruity flavors, almost reminiscent of a refreshing Gamay. One of the freshest bottles of Xinomavro on the market. Average Price: $29

Kir-Yianni Estate ‘Ramnista’ 2013

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Kir Yianni RamnistaThis 100 percent Xinomavro definitely holds the standard for this northern Greek indigenous variety. Hailing from 60-plus-year-old vines, flavors of juicy red fruit and persistent tannins dominate the palate, making the wine perfect for beef-based dishes and steak on the grill. Decant for 45 minutes -to one hour before serving, or lay the bottle down in the cellar for a few years to see how the wine evolves. Average Price: $25

Karanika Cuvée Speciale 2015

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Karanika Brut Cuvee SpecialeJudging by the insane quality of the wines, you’d never guess that Karanika has only been producing wines for less than 10 years. This Blanc de Noirs sparkling is produced in the méthode traditionelle, with 100 percent Xinomavro. Toasty aromas and a fruit-forward, yeasty palate make this vintage sparkler unforgettable. One of the best sparkling wines produced in the country. Average Price: $20

Alpha Estate Reserve ‘Vieilles Vignes’ 2013

Get to Know the Wines of Northern Greece With Alpha Estate Xinomavro Vieilles VignesReturning to one of the greats, Alpha Estate’s old vine Xinomavro is not to be missed. The grapes are fermented in horizontal takes, allowing for slow extraction of tannin and flavor. The grapes come from the single-vineyard block of “Barba Yannis,” named after the “Old Man John” who used to own the vines. Dark fruit flavors and smooth tannins make this a California red wine lover’s perfect match. Average Price: $34