In the misty, mountainous vineyards of central Greece, a native variety nicknamed \u201cThe Chameleon\u201d sits quietly in wait for its long-anticipated day in the global spotlight.\n\nMoschofilero (mow-sko-FEEL-err-oh), the lively and floral white-wine grape grown in the Peloponnese region of Mantinia, gained its moniker for good reason. Pink-skinned and aromatic, the grape\u2019s expression is wide-ranging. Still white, ros\u00e9 and sparkling wines offer flavors that span from light and delicate, to ripe and fun-loving, to exotic and spicy. It\u2019s often compared to Riesling, Traminer and Viognier, though its character is distinctively Greek.\n\n\n\nBoutari 2016 Moscho\u00adfilero (Mantinia); $17, 92 points.\n\u00a0Lemon, orange blossom and rose aromas start this exotic and refreshing wine. On the palate, bright flavors of citrus mingle with melon and pepper. It\u2019s easygoing but distinctive. Terlato Wines International.\n\nMoschofilero has existed in various iterations in Greece since ancient times, but its real popularity dates to the 1970s and \u201980s, when forward-thinking Mantinia producers like Tselepos, Boutari and Spiropoulos drilled down into the behavior of the variety and began producing more elegant and terroir-driven expressions.\n\n"When we began working with Moschofilero in 1979, the wine was used as an enhancer to upgrade other wines, and there was no bottled Moschofilero in the market,\u201d says Yiannis Tselepos, who studied oenology at the\u00a0University of Dijon\u00a0in\u00a0France. He founded his namesake winery in 1989 with his wife, Amalia.\n\nHigher acidity, crispness and citrus notes typify wines from the foothills, while the plateau yields a more floral, aromatic style.\n\nBetter expressions of the variety soon spurred demand. Tselepos says it resulted in \u201ceveryone wanting a Moschofilero label in their portfolio.\u201d\n\nThat proved a challenge, as the fickle variety\u2019s high yields are prone to alcohol and acidity imbalances, and it\u2019s sensitive to bad weather. Winemakers eager to get in on the action didn\u2019t always find success, and an influx of subpar wines further confused the style\u2019s identity.\n\n\u201cMoschofilero belongs to that category of varieties with a very high degree of difficulty, both because of its location and cultivation conditions,\u201d says Tselepos.\n\n\n\nNasiakos 2015 Moschofilero (Mantinia); $16, 91 points.\n\u00a0Opulent aromas of honey, flowers and peach lead this distinctive white. Full-bodied and full of exotic citrus, spice and tropical fruit flavor, it\u2019s classic but will appeal to myriad palates. A balancing acidity gives it focus. Stellar Importing Company, LLC.\n\nMantinia, with an average elevation of 2,100 feet, was established as a Protected\u00a0Designation of Origin (PDO) in 1971. Its cool-climate vineyards sit approximately 2,200 feet above sea level, which can work in the grape\u2019s favor or against it. \u201cThe conditions of Mantinia in September and October change frequently and rapidly, and make it difficult for grapes to mature properly\u2026, which can prevent its expressiveness and typicality,\u201d says Tselepos.\n\nEven within Mantinia, the wines have diverse aromatic and flavor profiles. Higher acidity, crispness and citrus notes typify wines from the foothills, while the plateau yields a more floral, aromatic style. They\u2019re all linked by the elegant balancing acidity that reflects the overall elevation and terroir.\n\n\n\nTselepos 2015 Moschofilero (Mantinia); $17, 91 points.\nThis elegant wine typifies Moschofilero\u2019s alluring nature, with an opulent nose redolent of rose, violet and citrus, and fresh and elegant flavors of melon and lemon. Cava Spiliadis.\n\nThat unique profile includes ageability, according to Athens-based expert Yiannis Karakasis, MW.\n\n\u201cIn the high-altitude plateau of Mantinia, Moschofilero develops a floral and peppery character, with top examples showing strong potential to evolve over four years after the harvest,\u201d he says.\n\nInnovation is in the region\u2019s DNA. Producers have successfully experimented\u00a0with oak aging, wild-yeast fermentation and extended skin contact. Tselepos is working on ros\u00e9, orange and natural wines that \u201cconfirm the multiplicity of Moschofilero.\u201d Bosinakis is also producing a Moschofilero ros\u00e9, highlighting the crisp, flirty nature of the grape.\n\n\n\n\u00a0Domaine Spiropoulos 2015 Moschofilero (Mantinia); $18, 88 points.\nExotic aromas of spice and herbs are followed by a fresh fruit palate and a peppery finish in this appealing and playful white. Athenee Imports.\n\nMoschofilero blends from Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) appellations, such as Peloponnese or Central Greece, are also common throughout the country. International varieties like Chardonnay or indigenous grapes like Roditis and Savatiano can be used, partnering well with the clean, versatile nature of Moschofilero.\n\nDespite the variety\u2019s appeal and affordability, it\u2019s still largely underappreciated outside of Greece, says Kamal Kouiri, wine director of Ousia in New York City.\n\n\n\nMoschofilero\u2019s Favorite Foods\nThough Moschofilero makes a delicious ap\u00e9ritif, its high acidity and fresh flavors give it a food-pairing advantage. Try it with these dishes:\nGrilled or saut\u00e9ed fish, Scallops, Chicken\nGrilled asparagus, Goat cheese, Roasted peppers\nMiddle Eastern meze spread\n\n\u201cMoschofilero as a Greek variety is misunderstood in general,\u201d he says. \u201cThe variety is generally easygoing and fun, but can also offer incredible elegance, versatility with food and impressive ageability.\u201d\n\nThis dynamic character can make the variety hard to grasp, says Kouiri, who says how Moschofilero is marketed is key.\n\n\n\nZacharias 2015 Ambelos Phos Roditis-Moschofilero (Peloponnese); $11, 88 points. \nThis blend of Moschofilero and another indigenous variety, Roditis, marries aromatic and floral notes with a crisp, lively character. Apple and citrus aromas and flavors abound, with a mineral-driven finish adding pep.\u00a0Stellar Importing Company, LLC.\u00a0\u00a0Best Buy\n\nThat multiplicity is part of its appeal, counters Tselepos, as long as the quality is good. In his opinion, each bottling \u201chas its own special characteristics that offer wine with a distinct personality.\u201d\n\nCharles Bililies, owner of the popular Greek grill Souvla in San Francisco, says that at the premium level, its \u201cperfumed, floral, high-acid\u201d character is ideal for fans of sophisticated pairings. He says that sushi, oysters and other raw seafood and shellfish are go-to matches for Moschofilero.\n\n\n\nTroupis 2015 Fteri Moschofilero (Arcadia); $13, 89 points.\nMuscat-like aromas of rose, jasmine and ripe lemon, followed by flavors of lemon zest and white fruit. Finishes clean and crisp. Frederick Wildman & Sons. Best Buy\n\nOther accessible, wallet-friendly bottings are less formal and \u201cperfect for the casual wine drinker who wants a light, bright and easy-to-drink white wine,\u201d says Bililies.\n\nNo matter its style, Moschofilero is here to stay.