Grab a gyro and a glass of krasi because we are going to eat and drink our way through this wine with Greek food pairing guide! There are few things I love more than food, wine, and Greece so I feel like I’m kind of the authority when they combine. Now the obvious choice is that Greek wine goes with Greek food, but I’ve made it even easier on you. Below you’ll find a Greek wine and an international wine that pairs with each Greek dish.
Greek Food Wine Pairing
First, the Greek word for wine is krasi. The “proper” Greek word for wine is oenos or oinos, both pronounced ee-nos.
Wine Pairing with Greek Appetizers and Spreads
Every Greek table is full of meze or appetizers. The best wine with Greek food will match with an array of flavors and textures. The wines I’ve paired not only complement specific dishes but match with many different Greek foods as well.
Taramosalata is a dip made with fish roe, garlic, and lemon juice. The best complement to these elements is a citrusy wine with minerality. The best Greek wine with taramosalata is Assyrtiko. International wine pick: Sancerre.
Tzatziki is a delightful dip made of strained Greek yogurt, cucumbers, and garlic. The fresh tasting dip needs a wine with bright character. Greek pick: Malagousia. International pick: Riesling.
Spicy feta cheese? Yes, please! Tirokafteri is one of very few spicy foods you’ll find in Greece. It’s feta cheese with hot peppers. The best Greek wine pairing with tirokafteri is Moschofilero. International pick: off-dry rose.
Not to be confused with fava beans, fava is a split yellow lentil dip, not unlike hummus. Fava spread is usually topped with olive oil and lemon. The earthy flavor of fava would pair best with Dafni, a white wine from Crete. For an international wine pairing, Gruner Veltliner would work nicely.
Dolmades are grape leaves stuffed with rice and herbs, often served with Greek yogurt. A good choice for wine pairing with stuffed grape leaves is a earthy white wine. Pair dolmades with Savatiano for a Greek wine choice or Pinot Blanc for an easily found variety.
Spinach pie & Cheese pie
Spinach pie, or spanakopita, is spinach layered between phyllo dough. Likewise, cheese pie, or tiropita is a blend of cheeses layered between phyllo dough. Delicious! The crispy buttery phyllo dough of spinach pie pairs great with a simple Roditis white wine from mainland Greece because it has really fresh acidity. A Pinot Grigio would also pair nicely with spanakopita and tiropita.
What wine pairs with Greek Salad?
Every meal in the summer starts with a Greek salad. Visitors are often surprised when they order a Greek salad in Greece and it’s served with no lettuce. Greeks salads in Greece are tomatoes, cucumbers, feta cheese, olives, and onions, and optional ingredients like green peppers and capers. The best Greek wine with a Greek salad is Vidiano from Crete. Vidiano is overall a great Greek wine with vegetarian dishes. Assyrtiko is another natural choice with Greek salad as it pairs nicely with both tomatoes and feta cheese. Sauvignon Blanc goes with Greek salad as well. Any high acid white wine would be a good match with Greek salad.
Wine with Greek Food: Meat Dishes
Souvlaki/Gyro Wine Pairing
Despite the incredible culinary offerings of Greece, souvlaki or gyro seemed to be our national dish. A street-food delight. Usually made with shaved pork or chicken in a pita wrap with yogurt or tzatziki, tomatoes, onions, and sometimes even stuffed with fries, too! The best Greek wine with gyro and souvlaki is Assyrtiko. It’s crisp and refreshing to wash down the gyro. A high acid white like Verdejo would also be a great wine pairing with gyro and souvlaki. Looking for a red wine with gyro? Tempranillo or Sangiovese would also pair well with gyro.
Giouvetsi Wine Pairing
Giouvetsi is slow braised beef or chicken with orzo pasta in tomato sauce with herbs and spices. Pair giouvetsi with a Kotsifali/Mandilari blend from Crete. The international variety that would pair best with giouvetsi is Sangiovese.
Roast Lamb Wine Pairing
Greece is a famous for our lamb dishes. Xinomavro from northern Greece is a natural wine pairing with lamb. I’ve written extensively about wine pairings with lamb here where you’ll find lots of pairing suggestions. Syrah is universally an excellent pairing with lamb.
Greek Chicken Wine Pairing
In Greece, we just call it chicken, lol! Greek chicken is oregano rubbed chicken with an olive oil and lemon dressing. A great Greek wine pairing with Greek chicken is a zesty Robola from Kefalonia. An unoaked Chardonnay would be absolutely delicious with Greek chicken, too.
Rabbit Stifado Wine Pairing
Stifado is a preparation of meat (usually rabbit) cooked with lots of onions in a tomato broth. Stifado would pair best with a lighter Agiorgitiko from Nemea or a Pinot Noir.
Wild Boar Wine Pairing
Northern Greece has wild boars! Cool, right? Pair wild boar with a wine from Goumenissa, a blend of Xinomavro and Negoska. Classically, wild boar pairs with Barolo, Brunello, or Bordeaux.
Moussaka Wine Pairing
Moussaka is a layers of baked eggplant, potatoes, ground beef, topped with béchamel. Pair Moussaka with Limniona wine from the mainland of Greece. Moussaka would also pair nicely with Malbec. Generally, Malbec is a great wine with Greek food.
Pastitsio Wine Pairing
Layered similarly to moussaka, pastitsio has tubular pasta noodles instead of eggplant and potatoes as it’s base. Agiorgitiko is the best Greek wine with pastitsio. You can also pair pastitsio with Barbera or Merlot.
Wine Pairing for Greek Fish and Seafood Dishes
Greece has incredible seafood like calamari, octopus, cuttlefish, smelts, red mullet, grey mullet, and sea bream. No surprise that Greek island wines would be the best pairing with seafood. A few great choices to pair with seafood are Assyrtiko, Athiri, Thrapsathiri, and especially retsina, Greece’s (in)famous pine-flavored wine! It really doesn’t get much better than grilled octopus and a quality retsina at a sea-side taverna. For an international wine with Greek food from the sea, try a dry Riesling or dry Chenin Blanc.
Wine Pairing for Greek Vegetarian Dishes
Greece is a vegetarian’s paradise. There is so much local produce that’s bursting with flavor. A few traditional Greek vegetarian dishes are briam (think Greek ratatouille), boureki (squash and cheese pie), gigantes (baked giant beans), fakes (lentil soup), and gemitsa (vegetables stuffed with rice and herbs). Vidiano is slam dunk the best Greek wine with vegetables. Liatiko or Limniona are great red wines with vegetarian dishes if you’re looking for red. For Greek white wines with vegetarian dishes check out Debina or Malagousia, too. Even more Greek wine with vegetarian food pairings here.
Wine Pairing with Greek Cheeses
What Wine Goes with Feta Cheese?
The best Greek wine with feta cheese is Assyrtiko. The salty creamy cheese is perfect with the bright white wine from Santorini.
Athotiro Wine Pairing
Fresh athotiro is really one of the greatest cheeses you can try. It’s similar to fresh mozzarella but less firm. This delicate cheese needs a delicate wine like Monemvassia or a dry Muscat of Alexandria.
Kefalotiri Wine Pairing
Kefalotiri is similar to Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. This cheese can handle a Greek red wine like Limnio or Fokiano.
What Wine Goes with Haloumi?
Okay, so haloumi is Cypriot and not Greek but they are technically Cypriot Greeks, right? Anyway, you’ve got to try a Xynisteri white wine from Cyprus with haloumi; it’s an amazing pairing. A dry Chenin Blanc would also be great with haloumi.
Best White Wine with Greek Food
If I could only pick one white wine with Greek food, I would choose Assyrtiko. Assyrtiko has high acidity and matches best with the most types of Greek food especially seafood, tomatoes, and salty cheeses like feta. A French Sauvignon Blanc would be a comparable substitute for Assyrtiko.
Best Red Wine with Greek Food
Overall, Xinomavro would be my choice for Greek food wine pairing if I only could pick one. Like Assyrtiko, it’s the acidity of Xinomavro that makes it the best wine with Greek food. Acidity is key to cutting through olive oil based dishes and fatty meats like lamb. Xinomavro also has an unique tomato leaf flavor that complements tomato-based stews. Chianti Classico would be a fair substitute.