More than 40 years ago, acclaimed restaurateur and chef Costas Spiliadis did a complete about-face on his career plans. Instead of pursuing a job based on his graduate college sociology studies, he decided to go into the restaurant business and change people’s perspectives on Greek cuisine.
He has since created a collection of the world’s finest Mediterranean seafood restaurants, opening his famed Estiatorio Milos restaurant in Athens, London, Montreal, Miami, New York, and Las Vegas, with more soon to come.
Now his son, George Spiliadis, has taken on a similar mission with Greek wine. He has created Cava Spiliadis, a collection of premium Greek wines for a new generation of wine seekers. The highly regarded and award-winning portfolio, available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, is focused on Grecian winemakers who are dedicated to certified sustainable and organic viticulture.
Additionally, the younger Spiliadis has worked alongside a knowledgeable team of chefs, servers, and sommeliers to develop the Winemaker’s Table Dinner, a monthly wine and cuisine experience at some of Estiatorio Milos’ global locations, including the one inside The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas on the iconic Las Vegas Strip.
“Greek wine has had a bad reputation,” explains the elder Spiliadis in a telephone interview from his Montreal home. “Most still associate it with cheap wines.”
This poor opinion couldn’t be the further from the truth. For the last two decades, Greece has been producing many fine wines made with local indigenous grape varieties as well international grape varieties. These winemakers are passionate and dedicated to creating superb vintages, an attitude of excellence that extends from the vineyard to the winery to the bottle.
“Greece has a very beautiful climate, macro, and micro, that’s perfect for winemaking and producing, so there was no reason why we cannot have beautiful wines for whatever reasons,” says Costas Spiliadis. “In the last 30 years, a lot of people went across to France and Italy and learned the art of winemaking again and came back to Greece and now, for last 20 years, we have amazing wines.”
And why shouldn’t they? Greece was arguably the first country in the world to produce wine thousands of years ago.
“Plato would never have written his beautiful and very important philosophical treatises if he did not have a glass of wine,” notes the chef, adding, “He was, of course, watering his wine down so he could finish his writings.”
The monthly Winemaker’s Table Dinner at Estiatorio Milos in Las Vegas takes place the first Thursday of every month. The restaurant offers it at an affordable price in order to accommodate as many guests as possible. The goal of the event is to open people’s minds to a new wave of Greek wine.
Guests dine on the bona fide Mediterranean cuisine and pristine sea fare that Estiatorio Milos is known for, paired with international varietals that are famous in Greece.
“Their names may be hard to pronounce but it’s what’s in the glass that counts,” writes George Spiliadis on the Cava Spiliadis website. “They are world-class and great discoveries for every wine enthusiast.”
The menu for the Winemaker’s Table Dinner changes from month to month, offering a new theme at every dinner so guests can experience all the exciting new varieties of Greek wine.
The July dinner, for instance, was called International Varietals of Greece. Guests tasted multiple expressions of their favorite international grapes, with a rare Greek twist. Wines and dishes from the six-course meal included 2016 Gerovassiliou Sauvignon Blanc and prized Loup De Mer Ceviche; 2016 Biblia Chora Plagios Chardonnay and Lobster Salad; and 2008 Katsaros Merlot with Beef Kokkinisto with Orzo.
The August dinner was themed Greece versus The Old World. It was a six-course gastronomical journey through some of Europe’s most famous wine regions. Throughout the evening, guests were able to compare some of Greece’s most typical wines with their classic counterparts from France and Italy.
The menu was comprised of Salmon Tartare paired with Tselepos Amalia Rose NV from Nemea, Greece; Bay Scallop paired with Henriot Brut NV from Champagne, France; Maryland Crab Cake paired with 2016 Venetsanos Nykteri from Santorini, Greece; Octopus paired with 2013 Moillard Meursault from Burgundy, France; Astako-Makaronada (Lobster Pasta) paired with 2014 Katsaros Xinomavro from Mt. Olympus, Greece, and 2012 Batasiolo Barolo from Piemonte, Italy; and a dessert of Baklava paired with 2009 Gerovassiliou Malagousia Late Harvest from Epanomi, Greece, and 2011 Maculan Torcolato from Veneto, Italy.
The next Winemaker’s Table Dinner will take place at Estiatorio Milos Las Vegas on Thursday, Sept. 6. Located on the third floor of the Boulevard Tower at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, seatings for the wine dinner will be available for guests from 5 p.m. to 10:45 p.m. The theme of the night is yet to be determined. Cost is $79 per person for six courses, and each course includes wine pairings.