Greece is an unlikely pandemic success story—so successful in its handling of COVID-19 that it is one of the few European countries now enthusiastically welcoming and promoting tourism. International flights have resumed, and seasonal hotels have opened their doors. Once travel restrictions are lifted for Americans heading to the Eurozone, Greece should be at the top of your list. On a sunny mid-June day, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis planted himself in front of a stunning Santorini view and issued this invitation: “You can come to Greece, you will have a fantastic experience, you can sit on a veranda with this wonderful view, have your nice Assyrtiko wine, enjoy the beach.”
Ah, the Assyrtiko. Santorini is famous for the yellow-gold grape that thrives in the volcanic-ash soil of this incomparably scenic Cycladic island. Floral and fruity, it pairs perfectly with shellfish and Greek salads. That’s how I enjoyed it when I hotel-hopped last year on Mykonos, Santorini’s equally popular sister island. I lounged on a poolside pink velvet daybed at the Myconian Villa Collection and cracked open a bottle to go with my tuna tartare. The next day at Korali, another posh hotel in the luxurious group, I discovered another type of bottle entirely—the local Sitia 0.2 Platinum extra virgin olive oil. I eagerly sopped it up with my bread; it was almost good enough to drink.
When I ventured into town and found a waterside spot in Little Venice, I was blown away by Ktima Alpha, which comes from northwestern Greece. The 2017 Sauvignon Blanc is one of those whites that’s so light—with such a subtle, ethereal flavor—that it feels like it’s a part of you as you swallow it. Mellow and melon-y and surprisingly greenish in the Myconian sunset, the wine almost made me forgot the view. Almost.