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Drinks: It's all Greek, all good

Greek wine, extolled by Plato and Homer, used to be known here mainly for retsina, the pungent and piney white wine. Now, saying that seems as distant as antiquity.

In the past 20 years, quality and variety have risen significantly. Whites such as assyrtiko and moschofilero, reds ranging from xynomavro and agiorgitiko to mavrodaphne and limnio, all deserve your attention.

You'll feel like cruising to Santorini. And staying a while.

The portfolio of Cava Spiliadis, associated with the excellent Milos restaurants, gives you a tasty sampling.

Consider the 2009 Biblia Chora Areti White ($23), a fruity, citrusy and aromatic assyrtiko, that's a match for seafood. Likewise, the fuller, flavorful 2009 Biblia Chora Ovilos White ($38), an assyrtiko-semillon blend. Tropical fruit highlights the crisp, versatile 2009 Domaine Gerovassiliou Malagousia ($23), a slightly floral white. For a creamier, fuller white, consider the first-class 2009 Domaine Gerovassiliou Viognier ($39), a versatile wine with plenty of peach and pear.

Going red: the 2007 Biblia Chora Areti Red ($29), a spicy, full-bodied agiorgitiko. The 2005 Domaine Gerovassiliou Avaton ($55), made with limnio, mavrotragano and mavroudi, is a standout red blend. It's a rich and ripe single-estate wine, with cassis and spice notes. Equally impressive is the 2006 Domaine Gerovassiliou Evangelo ($79), a hearty, complex syrah, lightened with viognier.

And the 2006 Domaine Katsaros Estate Merlot ($53) offers generous red fruit. The merlot is a solid choice to accompany either roast or grilled chicken, roast beef or roast lamb.


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