This Greek wine comes from the countryside and reflects its origins with authentic tastes and traditional Greek values, says its importer, Greek Boys Choice Foods Inc. in Tarpon Springs, FL. It’s a traditional drink from the Greek countryside where the art of distilling goes back hundreds of years to the Byzantine era where the monks of Agio Oros on the Athos Peninsula initiated the Meteora monks in the secrets of distillation.
Tsipouro is said to resemble its country of origin, enduring over time, adapting, but never losing its authenticity. This version, without anise, is a grappa or Greek brandy and lights up the roof of your mouth upon first sip. There is a purity about this richly flavored wine and a sense of its long history (first made in 1856). During distillation in Tirnavos, Greece, the winemaker takes off the first fractions, the “heads,” and the last ones, the “tails,” retaining only the “heart” which settles, becoming “jivari” and receiving several distillations before settling in stainless steel tanks to mature. It’s generally served in shot glasses, we’ve heard, although we poured it in a wine glass.
The wine distiller and bottler, Katsaros Nikolaos & Co. in Tirnavos, Greece, calls it the “water of life.” In the U.S. it is available from Greek Boys Choice Foods, Inc. in Tarpn Springs, FL (www.gbcfoods.com).