Breweries, Wine, and Cheese Lifestyle

The Grapevine: A Greek White for Summer

By Gina Trippi

May I introduce you to Moschofilero (Mow-sko-FEEL-err-oh), a lively and floral white wine grape grown in the Peloponnese region of Mantinia, Greece? While there are some parcels of the grape in Tripoli, Messina and ancient Olympia, due to its preference for a cool climate and slopes, almost all of the Moschofilero grown is found in this location.

Pink-skinned and aromatic, the grape offers itself to still whites, rosé and sparkling wines with a texture that can go from light and delicate to ripe, and flavors ranging from fruity to exotic and spicy. Often compared to Viognier, Moschofilero is uncompromisingly Greek.

Some evidence dates this grape back to the 1600s. Moschofilero really caught fire in the 1970s and ‘80s. Nicknamed “The Chameleon,” the grape was once used mostly as an enhancer to upgrade other varietals. Eventually, winemakers produced better expressions of the varietal and gave Moschofilero its place in the global wine world.

But sudden demand for the grape made its shortcomings visible. The high-yield varietal was prone to alcohol and acidity imbalances and it was sensitive to bad weather. Eager winemakers were producing wines that did not show, with proper care, what Moschofilero could be.

Because of its pink skin, Moschofilero presents a pale yellow with an elegant gray to silver cast in the glass and generally offers aromas of rose petals, jasmine, lemon blossom, orange zest, pungent spice and minerality.

The Asheville Sister Cities Committee for Karpenisi, Greece, recently hosted a fundraiser at Metro Wines and they chose Seméli Mantinia Moschofilero Mountain Sun Dry White, 2021, for the event. From vineyards planted in the Mantinia plateau and the Aigiala Mountains in the Peloponnese, this bottle is a vibrant, aromatic white wine made mostly from Moschofilero. The fruit is hand-harvested, pressed and fermented in stainless steel vats and is bottled unoaked.

We say “mostly Moschofilero” because this bottle is blended with Sauvignon Blanc which adds a liveliness and acidic high note to the wine while offering the herbaceous flavors for which Sauvignon Blanc is known. The grapes for this bottle are grown in high-altitude vineyards producing high-quality fruit that reflects the limestone and clay soils in the vineyard. Grapes are handpicked and gently pressed to retain perfection.

Pair Moschofilero with herb-seasoned fish and fruit salads. One avid follower of this grape recommends sea bass ceviche with fresh chives, cracked black pepper and ginger. While being floral and quite aromatic, the wine presents a crisp acidity and herbaceous character on the palate, making it an easy partner for Mediterranean flavors.

Spend summer on a Grecian island without leaving home! Moschofilero lightens summer fare and makes for a lovely afternoon on the porch.

Gina Trippi is the co-owner of Metro Wines, 169 Charlotte Street, in Asheville. Committed to the community, Metro Wines offers big-shop selection with small-shop service. Gina can be reached at or 828.575.9525.

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