Encuentro con vinos griegos

Nos fuimos unos días a Grecia, para vivir y respirar su cultura. Una vez en Atenas, ubicados en un céntrico hotel, el Hotel Achilleas, cercano a la plaza Syntagma, intenté sin mucho éxito que digamos aprender de los vinos griegos.

Grecia, como país mediterráneo, tiene buena mesa y regiones vitivinícolas. Es evidente ojeamos libros de historia y nos topamos con Dionisio, el dios del vino. En Macedonia y Tracia, al norte producen tintos mientras en el centro, hay tres denominaciones: Zitsa, Rapsani y Ankialos. En la zona del Peloponeso hay muchas cómo Mantinia, donde producen un vino blanco bien perfumado que se hace con la cepa moscophilero. Esa cepa lleva un nombre raro, casi como el de la temible enfermedad de la vid, filoxera. En Corinto se produce con la cepa sanjorge un tinto de mucha fruta. Estás no son las únicas cepas y zonas de cultivo de la vid. En las islas también se cultivan uvas para vino.

En nuestro recorrido por Santorini, visitamos un viñedo en Megalochori, un pueblito pintoresco con vistas maravillosas y, por su puesto, uvas. De hecho, nos explicó nuestro guía, que es el único cultivo de toda la isla. Por poco colapsamos al escucharlo. Todos los productos comestibles llegan de la península griega. Peor aún, hasta el agua la traen a la isla.

El año pasado se firmó un acuerdo para establecer un sistema de energía geotérmica que aliviaría el problema de producción energética y alimentaría una planta desalinizadora de agua. Comento este hecho pues me resultó chocante porque toda operación agrícola necesita de estos y otros elementos. Siendo isleña, tengo la preocupación siempre de la sustentabilidad local. Santorini se fundamenta en su turismo pero tiene mucho que ofrecer a sus habitantes de siempre. Supongo que la historia de producción vitivinícola de Santorini, que comenzó hace 3500 años, le da mucha tradición y experiencia a los viticultores.

Las cepas de Santorini son mayormente la Assyrtiko, para los blancos, y la Mandelaria para las tintas. Hay cultivos menores de Akiri y Aidani, que son variedades blancas.

El vino más conocido de esta isla es el Vinsanto. Cuando lo supe me cuestioné qué relación tenía con el Vin Santo de la Toscana, ese que me gusta tanto con un biscotti dentro del vaso. Ah, pero Vinsanto de Grecia significa vino de Santorini. Es un vino dulce, aromático elaborado predominantemente con Assyrtiko, recomendado para acompañar postres.

Un Sauvignon Blanc con personalidad griega, regio para mariscos y ensaladas frescas.

¿Qué probé en mis andanzas por las islas griegas? Entre magníficas comidas en la que destacó la moussaka de berenjenas, el pulpo, las ensaladas con pepinos y olivas, entre otros sabores salpicados de especias, mi limitada incursión se trató de dos vinos, uno blanco y otro tinto.

El blanco era de la bodega Alpha, de Macedonia. Se trató de un Sauvignon Blanc, 2018. Su aroma perfumado, tropical y afrutado, con personalidad única al compáralo con los vinos neozelandeses, chilenos o californianos. Su perfil de terroir es muy definido. Refrescante en paladar, crujiente e ideal para comidas ligeras, ensaladas y mariscos. Me pareció equilibrado y armonioso.

El tinto degustado era un coupage de la cepa xinomavro con Syrah. Procedente de Macedonia, bajo la etiqueta Naparka, añada 2017, es un vino joven, que puede aguantar más estructura. De buen aroma de frutas, le falta complejidad en paladar. Me resultó muy ligero y desequilibrado.

En materia de vinos griegos, reprobé y estoy orgullosa de mi fracaso. Eso significa que tengo que regresar al país del Olimpo, visitar sus viñedos con tiempo y aplicar lo aprendido para hacerle mayor justicia a la vitivinicultura milenaria de esta región.

Esto es lo bueno del vino, se aprende con moderación y a ritmo propio.

© Amanda Díaz de Hoyo and Paquecepas.com, 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Amanda Díaz de Hoyo and Paquecepas.com, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Suicide Mode among Chefs

By: Amanda Díaz de Hoyo

After having written about my encounter with the late Chef Anthony Bourdain for Porthole Cruise Magazine, I remembered Benoît Violier, the French chef who committed suicide en 2016 in his restaurant in France.

Is this a trend or just another mystery? Somethings we will never know for sure. The late Anthony Bourdain was a brilliant mind, you can read his point of view in social media. No problem. But was his death something to do with illness or reputation? It will take some weeks to find out, if scientific research is done and published.

Bourdain is not the only one to take this road. Violier did the same in 2016. The chef, according to an article published in The Telegraph, written by Alexandra Williams, was victim of a huge wine scam by a Swiss wine company. The then best chef of the world was 44 years old.

In 2003, Bernard Loiseau was on the verge of loosing his beloved Michelin stars. Under such stress he took his life. According to Eater.com, in an article written by Amy McKeever, published in 2013 “the Michelin Guide may have cover up its role in the affair”.

The late chef Homaro Cantu Jr, who mixed in a bowl food and science, died at 38 yrs old in 2015. He was a very creative chef who gained a Michelin star. Cantu worked with the acclaimed chef Charlie Trotter. Trotter died at 54, on 2013 due to a stroke. Cantu was a visionary in terms of food and environment according an article published in the Chicago Tribune, by Mark Caro.

Chefs David Halls and Peter Hudson had a cooking TV show for 11 years in New Zealand before moving to London. Then BBC was their home. According to pantograph-punch.com, with no formal cooking training, they were excellent hosts, cooks and entrepreneurs. Also, they were lovers in an era when being a homosexual was a crime. After chef Peter Hudson died of cancer in 92, David Halls was so depressed that committed suicide in 93.

All of them left behind a powerful statement, not written in a note, but for us to reflect upon. We are all mortals, with ups and downs. There is no true happiness unless you find it within yourself. As a society, we must really research this behavior. We have to learn that uncontrollable stress, ignorance, hatred, bigotry, and the daily excesses lead us to a complicated emotional state. Seek help from health professionals, understand your human nature. Depression is a burden that you can´t handle alone. Do not be afraid to talk about it. It can happen to anyone you know, including you.


© Amanda Díaz de Hoyo and Paquecepas.com, Timetravelslife.com 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Amanda Díaz de Hoyo and Paquecepas.com, Timetravelslife.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Adeline Backstreet: Symbiosis of Wine and Weed


By: Amanda Díaz de Hoyo

Lately I have been writing some columns in English for a web magazine. On my blog it will not be different, just a practice! I have done that before, doing my own translations, and here I am after an unforgettable trip to California, with my sister.

Wines, of course we will had some with delicious and fresh food; local beers, mainly artisan made and even apple cider, produced on a nearby county. There is no doubt about the array of cultures, food, religions, music and beliefs in California. Now days, when recreational marijuana has been approved, for some people in the wine country is going to be competition, for others more confusion and mental rush, and from an increasing amount of tourists means of pairing sativas and indicas, with Sauvignon Blanc or Zinfandel. What about the cannabis hybrids? Not so quick, please. This is a learning process.

As a new member of the medical cannabis society in Puerto Rico, I have to say that I have learned a lot. Since smoking pot was not my thing, just wine and food, but my body and cells have another point of view, I had to overcome the stigma that my Catholic upbringing –although I am agnostic now—had done in my mind. Catholic guilt, gone like forever. That was the first thing to get rid off.

After having my dispensary and my doses sorted out, and honestly I feel quite a relief from my illness, I was on my way to California for a week or so.

No problem, I thought, since California approved Medical Cannabis more than 20 years ago. Now, it has the recreational part included.

Look what I found out as a cannabis patient in the wine country. If you go to Solano County, the city of Vallejo, according to people from a dispensary, if you are not a resident of the state with a valid ID, you cannot buy medical or recreational marijuana.

If you go to Alameda County, Oakland to be exact, the county´s laws are different. You can have any proof of being US citizen and no problem.


This ambiguity in a new law has many cons for cannabis patients traveling out of their areas. So, counties, states and territories must have reciprocity laws allowing patients with a valid cannabis license to buy their medicine.

In terms of wine and weed, there are several companies in California doing tastings of both. Some of them are: California Cannabis Tours, Sonoma Cannabis Company, MJ Tours. Just google their names.

Many of the tours start in Oakland, as Shawn, from Magnolia Wellness on Adeline Street, explained in my incursion for my pot. “Here we serve medical and recreational cannabis, with different strains, and also hybrids”, he added. Adeline, the name of my godmother comes again to Oakland, I thought.

With a sensorial experience with the one I had, a hybrid infused with tangerine and citrus flavors, mainly sativa, and that´s why I thought about the Savignon Blanc, or perhaps a Verderjo or Vinho Verde, will pair with it.

I have a long way to go, so do laws allowing patients to decide how to treat their conditions. I hope federal government can allow patients to travel with their doses and acknowledge their licenses in every jurisdiction of the USA, territories included.

Next, I suppose, there will be more tourists going to places like California, Colorado, Washington and other states that are feeling this new kinf of tourism. Last but not least, we went to Mendocino county, to visit a couple of wineries and you can smell cannabis on the road to the grapes. Symbiosis.



Paquecepas by Amanda Diaz de Hoyo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License