Greco

As the name implies, and like so many other grape varieties grown across the ancient trading routes of the Mediterranean, Greco is of Greek lineage. Its plantings have grown from a mere 1,000 hectares in 1990, to well over 2,500 hectares today which, while small, suggests the popularity and versatility of this grape variety.

Greco reaches its apogee on the mineral-laden soils in the Campania region of southern Italy, just outside of Naples. Here, in the small village of Tufo, it renders white wines that intrigue because of their dichotomous synergy of mouth-filling weight and viscosity on one hand, and piercing minerality and freshness, on the other. The Mediterranean sun gives Greco's wines ripe stone fruit flavours, while Greco's herbal tang, akin to sage and a whiff of thyme, is ever-present on the back palate.

Greco also assists with gallons of wine for the layman. Blended with other local varieties including Biancolella and Falangahina, a grape that appears almost as a weed-growing uncouth on the sides of Naples' freeways and in the gardens of the city's homes-Greco is partly responsible for the oceans of innocuous dry white poured from unlabeled carafes, from Capri to Ischia.

Farther south in Calabria, Greco di Bianco is a wine made from semi-dried grapes as a passito style, in and about the town of Bianco. In Australia, experimental plantings of Greco are instigated by an interest in grapes that thrive in semi-arid conditions, bereft of regular rainfall. In McLaren Vale, the small producer Beach Road has produced some exquisite examples..

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