Sometimes it is difficult to go against the temptation to discuss summer wines beyond the traditional whites and even Roses. But it is important to take a chance, to stretch and hopefully introduce a wine that few have tried in order to not only sell a different wine, but more importantly attempt to expand individual palates for the simple love of it. I feel the same way about film. If a movie is old and in black and white, or does not seem relevant to their life experience, people tend to bypass them, not knowing what a gem they are missing. The Santo 2013 Santorini is such a wine and Zorba the Greek from 1964 is such a film. Both may require a bit of “googling” initially, but once explored, they will bring about plenty of enjoyment.
The wine is from the village of Pyrgos on Santorini island overlooking the Aegean Sea. Full bodied and made in stainless steel tanks, it is a golden yellow color, and has strong citrus and white flower aromas. It is dry, acidic, crisp with citrus, pear, tart apple, and due to its volcanic soil origins, a lingering mineral taste in the finish. It is an obvious winner for fish and seafood, but because of its heft, go ahead and try it with herb crusted chicken or pork. Have it with Greek style summer salads with cucumber, feta, tomato, olives, with salad greens. By the way, the antithesis of this wine is Vinsanto which is made from the same grape, yet is very syrupy and sweet. It is a popular dessert wine in both Greece and Italy.
Zorba the Greek from the novel by Nikos Kazantsakis is about a British- Greek writer named Basil, played by Alan Bates who comes to a village on the island of Crete where he encounters an interesting bunch of characters including Zorba, (Anthony Quinn who was nominated for an Oscar) a larger than life personality who acts guide and counter-point to the writer. There is also a lovely and mysterious widow (Irene Pappas) and an aging French courtesan played by Lila Kedrova who earned a best supporting Oscar for her role. You may recognize the final scene (above) where Zorba teaches Basil to dance. The music is terrific and the whole scene is life affirming.
Many people maybe puzzled why the film is not in color considering it takes place in Crete and the Greek islands where a very blue Aegean is so attractive. The film, however, is stunning in contrasting black and white tones and reflects not only the starkness of the scenery, but the mood of the film as well.