Yes, we know Easter was last weekend. So why are we offering a recipe and wine for a holiday table?
We have a number of responses (Easter was earlier this year than years’ past, for one thing), but the answer we choose to offer is instead another question: Do you really need a holiday as your excuse to make a delicious bread and enjoy a tasty treat in a glass?
Didn’t think so.
We like that Ann Vogel opted to write about a Greek bread for this week’s recipe, because it gives us a chance to introduce people to Greek wines.
Many of the wines from Greece are produced using grapes whose names are long and tough to pronounce — Assyrtiko, Mavrodaphne, Moscophilero, Agoirgitiko and Xynomavro are a few that come to mind.
Luckily they are much easier to quaff than they are to say.
The making of wine dates back about 7 millennia or so in Greece, to when Dionysus was known as the god of wine. Remember Ulysses? After 10 very eventful years before returning home from the Trojan War and his infamous horse play in Troy, he and his troops had amphorae of Greek wines to celebrate his return.
But enough about Greek gods and more about Greek wine —
specifically which Greek wine we’d drink with Vogel’s bread.
Since the bread is dusted with sugar and on the sweeter side, we recommend Mavrodaphne, a dark-skinned grape variety grown around Patras on the Pelopennese Peninsula of Greece.
This varietal produces a port-like dessert wine made from red grapes with aromas of caramel, apricot and toffee, and flavors similar to ruby port with raisins, chocolate, toffee and nuts.
Mavrodaphne wines spend their first summer in oak barrels outside, in the sunshine.
This technique allows the wine to soften into a pleasant dessert wine. This is similar to what the folks on Madeira did to soften their wines.
The two big producers of Mavrodaphne oof Patras are Achia Clauss and Kourtakis.