(Excerpt from my book, The Artist on the Road: Impressions of Greece)
Nearing Hotel Adams, I see the wine shop I noticed when we first arrived in Greece. Since my dad and I will be going to Ireneâ€™s for dinner tonight, we would like to bring a hostess gift for her. This will provide an excellent opportunity to become more familiar with Greek wine. I enter the shop and see an abundance of wine bottles in wooden racks lining the walls. In the far corner, a girl of eight or nine sits on a stack of wine boxes and says hello to me as I enter. Seeing no one else in the shop, I tell her that Iâ€™m looking for a bottle of Greek white wine. She says, â€œJust a minute,â€ and runs across the street calling up to her mother through an open window on the second floor. Moments later, a woman enters the shop with a smile and asks, â€œAre you looking for something in particular?â€ I tell her that Iâ€™m looking for a bottle of white wine for a dinner party but that Iâ€™m unfamiliar with Greek wines. She pulls out a bottle of Chardonnay from a rack. I ask her if the wine is strongly oaked with a smooth buttery character, which I find typical of Californian Chardonnay. She smiles and replies, â€œYes.â€ I tell her that Iâ€™m more interestedÂ in an earthier wine with less oak and a bit more of a kick to it, like a Sauvignon Blanc. She recommends two bottles, and I choose the one that was stainless steel fermented. She wraps the bottle in a colorful bag and ties it with a bow, perfect for our hostess.
I swing by the hotel to pick up my dad, and together we take the train from the Monastiraki station to the northern town of Kifissia, where Irene lives. She meets us just outside the station and drives us to her house where friends, family, and food are waiting.