Thanks all!!! Keep it coming !!!
So we chose to fly from Athens to Santorini and Naxos to Athens. Plan on booking ferry from Santorini to Naxos .
Those are the 3 things things we did today, along with a visit ti the Jewish museum. Actually saw the guards twice (daytime then nighttime), although the second tone was due to happenstance. Off to Santorini tomm morning.
Bruce, how’s the weather/fires/smoke? My sil is flying to Greece in about a week. Not sure exactly where she’ll be.
No issues for us. I believe the fires are a bit north of Athens and elsewhere. No smokiness in the air, but if winds change direction or subside then could be an issue I assume.
Temperature 90 F but not too humid and nice breeze in afternoon.
Off to Santorini this morning-11 AM flight.
My wife and I spend a couple of days in Athens recently. We actually really enjoyed the city, which seems to run counter to the prevailing sentiment.
We had two notable meals – one at Soil which was a recommendation of our hotel, and the other at Oinescent which I believe has already been covered here. Soil was a long tasting menu with an impressive array of dishes. While it had some tell-tale fine-dining-itis (caviar, etc.), the dishes stayed close enough to the restaurant’s identity and avoided feeling anonymous. The best goat I’ve ever eaten.
Oinescent was a good time, too. It was surprising to see some familiar new world names on their list and in the cellar (Sine Qua Non, Realm, etc.), but we opted for Greek wines. The somm was friendly and brought some extra pours over for us. They have both a standard list and a ‘reserve’ style menu with finer wines and wines with more age. The food was solid, too.
Just returned this past weekend from our Athens/Santorini/Naxos trip.
In Athens, other than Oinoscent which others have endorsed already and I loved as well, we enjoyed our last dinner of the trip at Varoulko in Piraeus. Thought it was deserving of its Michelin star and a great option if you happen to be spending a night in Piraeus due to ferry schedule and still want to combine that with a gourmet experience. Instead of doing their full tasting menu (€110/pp), we just ordered 5 dishes plus a dessert shared between the two of us off the a la carte menu and still came out reasonably full.
For Santorini winery visits, we found that it is doable using the island’s bus system if you’d rather not be chauffeured around, especially if you’re based in Fira. From Fira, if you take the bus to Kamari and ask to be let off at Exo Gonia, Art Space, Karamolegos, Argyros and Canava Roussou are all within 5-10 minute walking distance of the Exo Gonia bus stop. Similarly, you can also take the bus to Akrotiri or Perissa and get off at Santo Wines (which is also near Venetsanos) or at Megalochori where Boutari and Gavalas are located. Unfortunately, best I could tell Hatzidakis is one that’s not really near any bus stop. Having read Otto’s recent tasting notes, I opted to visit Art Space and Karamolegos. Loved the Karamolegos assyrtikos and ended up buying a case.
Naxos was more for relaxing at the beach and I don’t recall any particular culinary highlights (although almost anything tastes good after swimming or diving). On one of the days in Naxos I went scuba diving, and to be honest I did not find the marine life there to be as exciting as in the Caribbean or the Red Sea. I mean, I still had fun and it was nice to get back in the water after more than a year, so if you want to scratch that itch and have time to kill, it’s fine but I wouldn’t say it’s a must in Naxos. Having said all this I loved Naxos overall and want to return; Santorini is one and done for me.
Sam, glad you had a great trip-as we sort of overlapped . We did as well, until I got sick for the last 2 days (fever, chills, the shits , etc.).
We did not visit any wineries , but I did find it really interestyikg that almost all grape vines are grown low to the ground and in a particular “form” so as protect them from the wind.
Any insight there from your tours/visits ?
Oof, sorry to hear. Getting sick on travel is no fun. Hope you’re feeling better.
It was indeed interesting how the vines grow so low on the ground and are trained into nest shapes! I don’t know I’ve seen that anywhere else. I was also told that Santorini is one of the few places in Europe where phylloxera never gained ground due to the island’s volcanic soil meaning that the vines are ungrafted, with some being more than a century old.
I’ve come to really appreciate assyrtiko on this trip. The Santorini ones do cost more but once I saw what a desolate clime the island is for growing anything, with no source of water other than direct rainfall, I could understand why. Also I’ve come to the view that you can make assyrtiko ripe but anything more than the tiniest amount of oak will wreck it (or at least, render it pointless) which some wineries seem to insist on doing especially with their “nykteri” cuvees. My two favorites tasted on this trip were the '21 Pyritis from Karamolegos and the '21 Laoudia from Tselepos, the latter a great recommendation from the somm at Varoulko. I liked the unoaked assyrtikos from Art Space well enough but found them to be overpriced for what they are, at almost twice what everyone else charges. Maybe the price has to do with their insistence on micro-scale production (only 1000 case annually in total) and therefore a lack of any economy of scale. The couple of examples I’ve tried from Argyros and Anhydrous, I found to be so-so.
The one non-Santorini wine that left an impression on me was Economou’s Sitia which may lead to Crete being the destination for my next Greek trip, whenever that may be.
I was randomly watching a youtube about a cruise of the Greek islands and Santorini and Mykonos looked so crowded but I was fascinated by Milos – looked amazing. Keeping on my future list. (The island, not the cruise)