Category: Greece

Winemaking region of Paros: Everything you should know

Naousa Port, Paros Island, Greece

Paros’s wine, like Santorini’s, but unlike the other Cyclades’, is not a novelty. The inhabitants of the island have been producing wine for thousands of years, and now the entire island, along with its neighboring island called Antiparos, is part of the PDO Paros, which was established in 1981. It produces both white and red wines. However, because Paros is a popular tourist destination, construction and changes in the island’s occupational profile have had a significant limiting impact on viticulture over the last decades.


Winemaking in Paros: a Brief History

Vine Pergola in the streets of Naousa, Paros Island, Greece

When Phylloxera hit the rest of Europe, many Greek islands, including Paros, were left unaffected due to their soil and climatic conditions. Consequently, they kept producing wine to export to Western countries whose production had fallen back due to the disease. By the mid-twentieth century, the island had a viticulture area of 10,000 acres and five wineries.

However, Paros saw rapid development in the field of tourism in the 1970s, and the remaining grapevines now covers only about 1,200 acres. The island was promoted as a viticultural location in 1981, with a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) for wines produced from the Mandilaria and Monemvasia grape varieties.

In addition, a Malvasia Paros PDO was established in 2011. It includes sweet wines made from sundried Monemvasia (at least 85% of the blend) and Assyrtiko (up to 15% of the blend). Before bottling, the wine must be aged in barrels for at least 24 months.


Mount Profitis Elias, Paros Island, Greece

Paros is a flat island with strong summer winds (called Meltemia) and limited rainfall during the summer season, but it also has higher humidity levels than other Cycladic islands. The vines are grown on rich calcareous, sandy, and sandy-clay soil eroded from the slopes of Mount Profitis Elias. The central part of the island is mountainous, reaching a height of 724 meters (2375 ft.). The vines grow freely in bush form, with many self-rooting. The old wood spreads horizontally while young shoots grow vertically, forming a vine-covered floor, a system known locally as Aplotaries (from the Greek verb ‘Aplono’, which means’ To Spread’).


The vineyards are primarily planted with Monemvasia and Mandilaria grapes, but other indigenous varieties are grown that are not used in the blends of PDO Paros wines. These varieties include the rare Maloukato, the white Potamisi which can be considered as the star of the Cyclades , the slightly tannic early-ripening red Mavrathiro, the fruity and tannic Vaftra, and the Aidani Mavro, a light-skinned, very vigorous variety producing very soft, very fruity reds(or some of the most intriguing rosés).

The uniqueness of Paros wines

Bar in the Streets of Naousa, Paros Island, Greece

There’s something special about Paros wines that you won’t see anywhere else in Greece. Paros is the only PDO wine region where winemakers are permitted to blend red and white grapes. When it comes to wine legislation, the countries of the Old World, including Greece, can be very strict, so it may come as a surprise that this is permitted. White wines classified as Paros PDO must be made entirely of Monemvasia. But things are different for soft red colored Paros PDO wines, which can be made with up to 65 percent white Monemvasia and at least 35 percent red grape Mandilaria.

If you’re wondering why that happens, it’s because Mandilaria has very harsh tannins, but when blended with Monemvasia, they become softer.


The wineries of Paros : My Top Choice

When it comes to the wineries of Paros, there may not be many, but the wines they produce are high quality and made with great respect to the traditions of winemaking.

o Moraitis Wines

Moraitis White, Oak Fermented, PDO Paros

You can’t talk about Paros wines without mentioning Moraitis wines. The winery of the Moraitis family is located near the beach of Aghioi Anargyroi in Naoussa (not to be confused with the winemaking area of Naoussa in northern Greece). Manolis Moraitis founded it in 1910. He grew his own vineyards and gathered and vinified grapes from various vineyards on the island. The Moraitis Winery now owns 18,000 m2 of organic vineyards in selected vine cultivation areas of the island, primarily featuring indigenous Paros varieties such as Monemvasia, Mandilaria, Aidani Black, Vaftra, and Karampraimi. They also grow Assyrtiko and Malagouzia. Manolis Moraitis, a third-generation winemaker and tradition keeper, wants to preserve the character of the local vineyards while revealing the quality of their varieties. Don’t pass up their “Paros Oak Fermented” from 100% Monemvasia. This wine is aged in oak barrels for four years, producing a wine with floral and citrus aromas, as well as notes of vanilla and dry nuts. It has a full body and a long-lasting aromatic aftertaste. It is balanced and “oily.”

o Louridis Winery

Louridis, Dry Red Wine, PDO Paros, Greece

Sofia and Nikos Louridis own and operate the Louridis winery. The winery’s history begins in 2008, when the winery, distillery, and bottling plant were established in Marpissa, Paros, Greece. Monemvasia and Mandilaria are planted in their privately owned vineyards on the east side of Paros, and are excellent raw materials for the production of top quality wine due to the sun and the sea of the Aegean. One white and one red PDO Paros wine are produced by the winery. The Louridis dry white wine shows a vibrant color, aromas of peach and wild flowers, a rich mouthfeel, and a refreshing finish. Their dry red wine is a typical Paros red, with a deep ruby color, aromas of red fruit and vanilla, a velvety mouthfeel, and a long finish.

o Domaine Roussos (Asteras Winery)

Domaine Roussos Rosé, PDO Paros, Greece

Domaine Roussos is a new winery in Paros’ Asteras region. The winery began with only 130 family-owned acres planted linearly with indigenous Paros varieties. The first large planting of vines was 40 acres in 2007, and another 30 acres were covered with vines over the next four years. The Roussos winery has established high standards and is committed to providing high-quality bottled wine for all tastes at a reasonable price. A must-try is their rosé wine, which is made entirely of Adani Mavro. This variety produces a distinct rosé wine with a soft orange color and a very rich aromatic bouquet of red fruits and flowers.



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Santorini Winemaking: My Top 5 Wineries to Visit


Do you want to know which Santorini winery to visit? This is your guide to the best Santorini wineries! Santorini is famous for its caldera views, whitewashed houses, blue domes, and beaches, but did you know that Santorini is also one of the top wine destinations in Greece? Santorini wines, famous for the grape Assyrtiko, have been compared to some of the world’s most expensive wines. The unique volcanic soils and grape-growing methods make wine tasting in Santorini an absolute must. When visiting Santorini, make sure to visit at least a few wineries, but since there are over 20 wineries on the island, making a choice can be difficult. Make sure to keep reading until the end to find out which ones to go to.


Sunset on Santorini Island (click here for better quality in a new tab)

A brief history lesson about wine in Santorini

Around 3000 BC, the first inhabitants of Santorini arrived on the island, where they soon began growing vines and producing wine.

The vineyards of the area were destroyed in 1640 BC by a volcanic eruption that covered the island in a thick layer of lava. After about 250 years, in 1200 BC, a new soil was formed, and inhabitants soon discovered that grape vines were one of the few plants that could thrive in these conditions.

During the 19th century, an insect known as phylloxera made an appearance and destroyed nearly every vineyard in Europe. Surprisingly, Santorini’s vineyards remained untouched. The reason for this was that Santorini’s soil consists mostly of lava, pumice, and volcanic ash, in which the insect couldn’t survive.


Santorini has a distinct terroir that cannot be replicated or found elsewhere in the world. The relatively warm winters, with temperatures ranging from 8 to 10 degrees Celsius, are followed by warm, windy, and dry summers. The Aegean Sea acts as a “climatic buffer,” softening climates.

During the hot summer, the only source of water is the nocturnal fog that covers the island.

As previously stated, the soil is primarily composed of lava, pumice, and volcanic ash. Therefore, it is deficient in organic matter.

Kouloura Vine Training, Santorini Island

The island is also very windy, and trellised vineyards can be destroyed in a matter of minutes due to the strength of the winds. The only way for grapes to survive direct sun exposure and strong winds is to be protected by low-basket-shaped vines. This is the traditional “kouloura” training system.


“Assyrtiko is the main grape variety on the island, accounting for roughly 80% of total grape production”

Santorini is best known for its indigenous white grape varieties, Assyrtiko, Athiri, and Aidani, though there are some wines made from international varieties as well as indigenous red grapes such as Mandilaria and Mavrotragano.

Assyrtiko is the main grape variety on the island, accounting for roughly 80% of total grape production. It is a multi-dynamic variety that adapts well to various bioclimatic conditions. As a result, its cultivation has spread almost throughout Greece. Within the Santorini ecosystem, the assyrtiko variety develops a distinct expression, yielding wines with metallic character, a full body, and a high alcohol content, while still maintaining high acidity and freshness.

The PDO Santorini, which was established in 1971, only includes dry white wines made from Assyrtiko (at least 75% of the blend), Aidani, and Athiri, and sweet wines made from sun-dried grapes that are made from Assyrtiko (at least 51%) and Aidani (a small quantity of other native white grape varieties is allowed).

Also worth noting, are the dry wines labeled “Nychteri,” which require ultra-mature grapes and wines with a high alcohol content (a minimum of 13.5% ABV) that have been aged in oak barrels for at least three months. Its name, “Nychteri,” is derived from the Greek word “Nychta,” which means “night.” In the past, grapes were harvested during the day and pressed at night to take advantage of the lower temperatures.

Food Pairings with Assyrtiko

“keep in mind that the wine does not pair well with sushi”

Assyrtiko is one of the wines that proves the saying “what grows together, goes together,” as it pairs with almost anything from the sea, such as sardines, grilled fish, fried calamari, and grilled octopus with olive oil and lemon. Oysters and lobster go perfectly with Santorini Assyrtiko. For non fish-based dishes, you can pair it with a Greek salad, feta cheese, “lemonato” chicken with potatoes, or even roasted lamb with lemon. However, if you ever visit one of the many restaurants or wine bars on the island that serve sushi, keep in mind that the wine does not pair well with sushi and will leave you with a taste similar to aluminum foil. Assyrtiko is simply too delicate for sushi.

Santorini wineries you should visit

Gaia wines

Gaia Wines is well-known in both Nemea and Santorini. The winery is located on the island’s east coast, at Vrachies of Exo Gonia, between Kamari and Monolithos, by the sea and close to the airport. It is open to wine lovers from mid-April to October. Gaia Wines has transformed a stone-built industrial building that was once used to produce tomato paste and sun-dried tomatoes at the turn of the century into a modern winery.

Wine Tasting at Gaia Wines winery, Santorini Island

The winery visit includes a tasting of the entire range of Santorini and Nemea wines as well as a tour of the winery.

If you visit Gaia wines, make sure to try and ask everything about their “Thalassitis Submerged”, a wine made from 100% Assyrtiko that stays for 5 years submerged into the Agean sea.

Argyros Estate

Argyros Estate vineyards, Santorini Island, Greece

Argyros Estate was established in 1903, but the Argyros family has had a long history in winemaking, producing wines for decades before opening their own winery. The estate is the largest private owner of vineyards in Santorini, with a current landholding exceeding 120 ha. The knowledgeable and expertly trained Estate Argyros staff can provide a memorable visit through a carefully structured range of options that cater to various needs. People looking for a quick stopover or a longer stay, casual wine drinkers or wine connoisseurs, will all find something to their liking, much to learn and much to enjoy. All Estate Argyros wine tours include time spent in the vineyards and on the winery’s production side, followed by a tutored tasting of world-class Estate Argyros wines, including the famous Vinsanto, paired with artisanal cheeses and cold cuts.

Hatzidakis Winery

Wine tasting in Hatzidakis Winery’s wine cellar

In 1997, Haridimos Hatzidakis and Konstantina Chryssou founded the Hatzidakis Winery. Konstantina first showed Haridimos her family’s neglected vineyard at an altitude of 330 meters in the village of Pyrgos Kallistis. The vineyard had not been cultivated since 1956, creating an excellent opportunity for organic farming. It was Santorini’s first organically grown vineyard, and it was DIO certified.

The winery continues to produce quality wines in limited quantities, always aiming for the expression of the island’s terroir through Santorini’s indigenous grape varieties and fermenting only with indigenous yeasts. These wines are made by young people who adhere to the Hatzidakis family’s philosophy. Their production is made for people who appreciate high-quality Santorini wines.

Hatzidakis Winery; barrel of Vin Santo

The winery offers guided tours that typically begin in the area of the winery where you find the stainless steel tanks and end in the barrel cave, where Vinsanto has been aged for over 14 years! Each wine is presented in detail during the wine tasting. All the visitors, no matter if they know about wine or not, have the opportunity to learn about Santorini’s grape varieties, wines, vineyards, and microclimate, as well as the organic farming that is practiced.

Artemis Karamolegos Winery

PDO Santorini, Pyritis from Artemis Karamolego Winery

When Artemis Karamolegos invested in the production facility and privately owned vineyards in 2004, Artemis Karamolegos Winery made a dynamic entry into contemporary winemaking, producing, for the first time, protected designation of origin (PDO) wines. The winery proudly continues the family’s winemaking tradition on the Greek island of Santorini. The winery’s sommeliers will take you on a journey through the volcanic tastes and aromas of Santorinian wines in the specially designed wine tasting area. The staff of the winery have created a series of “interactive” wine tasting experiences, as well as food pairings that enhance the experience. The Karamolegos winemaking philosophy, combined with a presentation of each label, transforms the wine tasting into a priceless and unforgettable experience.

Venetsanos Winery

View on the Caldera from Venetsanos Winery

Venetsanos Winery is located directly above the port of Athinios, overlooking Santorini’s magnificent caldera. The Venetsanos family built the winery in 1947, making it the island’s first industrial winery. Its most notable feature was the structural design, which relied heavily on gravity to maximize energy efficiency at a time when access to electricity and other energy sources was extremely limited. The winery was built in an unusual way, starting at the top and working its way down. Venetsanos Winery now manages 15 hectares of vineyards, the majority of which are planted with the Assyrtiko grape variety. Athiri, Aidani, Platani, Mavrotragano, and Mandilaria complete the puzzle of the other indigenous grape varieties available for research and development in the region. The winery offers 30-minute to hour-long guided tours and wine tastings for both experienced wine lovers and newcomers to the wine community.



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Everything you should know about the winemaking region of Naoussa

Naoussa Vineyards and Mount Vermio

Naoussa was known in antiquity to be the place of birth of the God Dionysus, the god of grape-harvest and wine-making, so, as you would expect, the area has a centuries-old tradition of wine production. During the 17th century, many notable foreign travelers wrote in their journals about Naousa. Pouqueville wrote that the wine of Naoussa is one of the finest that can be found in the area of Macedonia, and Cousinery stated that the region of Naoussa is for Macedonia, what Burgundy is for France. Unfortunately, in the early 20th century, the vineyards were destroyed due to an outbreak of phylloxera. Since the 1960s, when vines were replanted, the wines of Naoussa have been revived.



Location of PDO Naoussa

The vineyards of Naoussa are located in the Northern area of mainland Greece around the town of the same name on the eastern slopes of Mount Vermion (it must not to be confused with the port city of Naoussa located on Paros Island). You’ll find vines at altitudes between 150m and 350m (500-1100ft) above sea level. While Greece may be known as a warm and sunny country, there are regions in Naoussa where the climate is so cold that grapes struggle to ripen. The best spots for vineyards are on south and south-east facing slopes that get the most sunshine. The soils of the area are low-fertility and well-drained, which allow for the development of strong root systems.


As you may have guessed already, due to these specific soil and climatic conditions, not many varieties can thrive in Naoussa, especially native Greek ones that are accustomed to warmer climates. The most popular variety cultivated in Naoussa, which makes up 95% of the total production in the area, is Xinomavro. Roditis is another indigenous variety that expresses itself well in the cold climates of the area. When it comes to international varieties, you’ll find many plantings of Syrah and Merlot. The PDO Naoussa (Protected Denomination of Origin) was established in 1971 and refers to red-dry, medium-dry and medium-sweet wines made by 100% Xinomavro.

A few words about Xinomavro

The name of the variety (pronounced k-see-noh-mav-raw) literally translates into “sour-black”, although in practice, its grape skins are not particularly rich in pigments. However, Xinomavro surprises with its performance and versatile character, offering reds, dynamic rosés, aromatic sparkling wines, and even sweet ones.

“have rightfully given it the title “Greek Nebbiolo”

“Difficult” and demanding, Xinomavro needs suitable terroir, increased cultivation care, low yields, and ideal weather conditions to unfold its greatness. Due to its difficulty when it comes to cultivation, it has been compared to Pinot Noir, another notoriously demanding variety. However, you might find that Xinomavro is more reminiscent of the great variety of Piedmont, Nebbiolo, and people tend to confuse them during blind wine tastings. The ruby ​​color, the magical bouquet, which includes aromas from violets to olive pulp and from tomato to tobacco and gooseberries, the high-grade, full acidity mouth, and the wild tannins, have rightfully given it the title “Greek Nebbiolo”. This charismatic variety justly holds a high position in the hierarchy of Greek varieties. With its uniqueness, it promises to offer powerful experiences to every true wine enthusiast, convincing them from the first sip that they are in front of something special.

Food Pairings with Xinomavro

“Aged versions demand complexity as well as finesse”

Reds go well with dishes that have tomatoes in them, such as braised veal and stew. They are also an excellent pair for stews.

Aged versions demand complexity as well as finesse: game dishes such as wild boar with dried plums, wild mushroom and truffle dishes such as risotto, and complex aged cheeses. Definitely avoid fish, as the tannins do not help at all and the result is a strong “fishy” and metallic taste.

The rosés are excellent with pasta, red sauce, stewed beans, but also with prawns.

The whites have a nice vegetality and acidity that would suit a “fishy” fricassee, but also steamed mussels, squid stuffed with grilled cheese, and chicken.

The parkling Xinomavro is a totally different category: from scallops to a rich caccio e pepe pasta, the combination will be enchanting.


Naoussa estates you should know

Naoussa, Estate Chrisohoou, 100% Xinomavro

Four kilometers outside of Naoussa lies the area of ​​Strandza. There, on the south-eastern slopes of Vermio, at an altitude of 250 meters above sea level, are the Chrisohoou vineyards and the winery. The estate has a long history in winemaking, as they produced their first products in 1965,and haven’t stopped since. Their red wine from 100% Xinomavro labeled as “Naoussa Chrisohoou” perfectly showcases the character of the variety. It shows delicate aromas of red fruit, tomato, and olive paste that blend perfectly with the old wood. Fine and light, with soft but aggressive tannins and excellent balance.

Ktima Karydas Single Label

Domaine Karydas (Ktima Karydas) is a small, boutique winery, created in 1990 by Konstantinos Karydas in the Gastra region, outside of Naoussa. The winery focuses on Xinomavro and, for 30 years now, the Karydas family has chosen to produce only one single label (named Domaine Karydas Xinomavro). All of their efforts focus on the quality of this one wine, so it comes as no surprise that Karydas is a household name in Noussa. Their wine has gained the attention of wine lovers all over the world, and now 50% of the bottles are sold in the U.S., the U.K. and France.

Xinomavro Nature

Thymiopoulos Vineyards is a winery that belongs to the Thymiopoulos family, which has been involved in agriculture and grape-growing in the village of Trilofos for generations. Apostolos Thymiopoulos, the man behind the winery, truly believes in sustainable viticulture and minimum intervention during the winemaking process. The winery produces 10 different expressions of Xinomavro, trying to reveal every aspect of the variety. Thymiopoulos winery makes the “Xinomavro Nature”, which is the purest, and at the same time, most typical expression of the beloved red variety!


The winery and vineyard of Kelesidis Estate are located in the heart of the winemaking region of Naoussa. The aim of the Kelesidis family is to create wines made from organic grapes that will stand out for their characteristics and unique flavor. Arothymies by Kelesidis Estate is a complex red wine made from Xinomavro, blended with Syrah and Merlot, proving that these varieties can not only coexist but blend harmoniously and create an amazing silky and smooth wine.


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Everything you should know about the winemaking region of Nemea

In ancient times, the core of Nemea’s wine region was known as “the Land of Phliasia,” and its wine was popular with an “international” audience who traveled to the ancient Nemean Games, one of the most important spectacles in Greek history. Phliasion wines became known as Agiorgitiko over time. Today, Nemea is Greece’s largest PDO (Protected Denomination of Origin) wine production zone, and its lush grape cultivation demonstrates why Homer named it Ampelóessa, which means “full of vines.”



Gaia Wines Vineyards in Nemea

Nemea has a unique terroir, which distinguishes it from the other winemaking regions in the Peloponnese, where it is located. The vineyards are mostly found in the highlands, as the zone’s altitude ranges from 90 meters to roughly 1000 meters. Warm days and chilly nights work together to produce very good raw material throughout the ripening phase, which lasts from August to September. Nemean soil is made up of clay, stone, gravel, and sand. The soil’s unique composition holds all of the required moisture and feeds it to the plants.


For all those reasons mentioned above, combined with the extensive knowledge that winemakers in the region have, there are a lot of varieties grown in Nemea, both indigenous and international. Native Greek varieties include Asyrtiko, Malagousia, Kidonitsa, Malvasia, and Sklava.

“One variety, however, stands out the most and is the star of Nemea”

Kidonitsa is a unique and ancient Greek grape that was nearly extinct at one point. It was saved by several Peloponnese growers who recognized the grape’s exceptional potential to make aromatic white wines with a distinct character. Sklava is a rare and nearly extinct white-skinned grape variety grown in the eastern Peloponnese, particularly in Argolida, its birthplace, and Nemea. Sklava was traditionally blended with other grape varieties, but there are some examples of single-varietal Sklava wines made by producers attempting to revitalize the variety. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Gewurztraminer are some of the international varieties grown in Nemea.

Plantings of Agiorgitiko in Koutsi with a view on Mount Megali Rachi

One variety, however, stands out the most and is the star of Nemea. This variety is none other than Agiorgitiko (pronounced “eye-your-yee-tee-ko”). Agiorgitiko cultivations currently span approximately 2.5 hectares in Nemea. The Nemea PDO, created in 1971, is only for dry or sweet red wines made entirely of this variety.

The importance of Agiorgitiko

“known as a “versatile” variety because of its capacity to create a wide range of wines”

This charismatic variety is one of the noblest varieties in Greek vineyards and one of the richest colored varieties that we can find in the country. Differences in altitude, microclimate, and soil composition create different “expressions” of the variety.

Plantings of Agiorgitiko

Agiorgitiko is known as a “versatile” variety because of its capacity to create a wide range of wines, from fresh and rosé to powerful aged and dessert sweet. Agiorgitiko has an exquisite and highly fruity taste. It has medium to high acidity, silky tannins, and a medium body.

Young wines of the style have an intense purple color with purple highlights. On the nose, the aromas of red fruits stand out, such as cherries, sour cherries, plums, and raspberries, while their aftertaste is fruity.

Rosé Agiorgitiko can be found in colors ranging from pale to intense pink. It is delicate, with a wonderful fresh and cool character and the aromatic intensity of red fruits.

Aged Agiorgitiko is more complex. Ruby in color, with an exuberant body, aromas of red fruit jam, chocolate, sweet spices, tobacco, and wood with a long aftertaste stimulate the senses. Their tannins are, of course, prominent but at the same time soft.

The sweet wines of the variety are dominated by aromas of dried fruits, such as fig, plum, raisin, and caramel.

Food Pairings with Agiorgitiko

“An aged Nemea needs more exuberant sauces and meats”

Rosé wines can be combined very nicely with salads, pizza, pasta with light red sauces, or even with delicious vegetable pies.

A fresh Agiorgitiko highlights appetizers, meat or fish dishes with lighter sauces, and also spaghetti with minced meat.

An aged Nemea needs more exuberant sauces and meats like roast beef, sausages, traditional Greek moussaka, and even burgers.

Sweet wines from Agiorgitiko match with chocolate. A souffle (soufflé) with dark chocolate, a chocolate pie, a chocolate bar or chocolates with caramelized nuts create an explosive combination with sweet wine.


Nemean estates you should really know, visit and/or try

Gaia Wines

Notios Red

This winery was founded in 1994 on the south-western slopes of Koutsi, at an elevation of 650 meters, and has now become one of Nemea’s household names. Wines from Gaia are exported to 25 countries worldwide, ranging from Japan to the United States. Their production is guided by consistency and a commitment to quality. The steady increase in exports and the prizes that Gaia Wines has acquired demonstrate that this incredible journey best represents the aspirations and goals of the people at Gaia Wines, and it will continue to develop a thirst for new experiences and knowledge.

Semeli Estate

Nemea Grande Reserve

Semeli established their huge vineyard in 2003 at 600 meters above sea level in the village of Koutsi, just a short distance from Gaia. Their finest white, Thea, is aged on fine lees for a distinctive and almost Burgundian take on Moschofilero, earning winemaker Leonidas Nassiakos a gold medal at the 2017 Decanter World Wine Awards.

Palivou Estate

Organic Nemea by Ktima Palivou

George Palivos founded the winery in Ancient Nemea in 1995. The vineyards are predominantly planted with Agiorgitiko, with some Roditis, Malagousia, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah. It is worth noting that all of the grapes from Palivou Estate are farmed organically. Their vines are located in a range of altitude varying from 300m to 600m and cover a variety of soil types such as calcareous, clay, loam, sand, and gravel.

Domaine Nikolaou

Nemea 100% Agiorgitiko, Estate Nikolaou

Nikolaou Estate was formed in 1984, continuing a family heritage of winemaking that began in 1936. The mountain air and the dampness of the mythological river Asopos create a one-of-a-kind microclimate for the 14-acre organic vineyard. Winery Nikolaou’s organic vineyard is located in Douramani and covers an area of 0.11 km2. Its farming adheres strictly to organic agricultural standards, with the goal of preserving the winery’s distinctive microclimate as well as the ecosystem of the surrounding region.

Organic Vineyards Papaioannou

Thanasis Papaioannou, the founder of Organic Vineyards Papaioannou, was one of the first wine growers-producers in Greece to embrace and support the concept of true Greek terroirs and their wines, with regard for the environment and its balance. Thanasis Papaioannou has made sure to plant the optimum variety, native or international, depending on the particular mesoclimate, in their large, privately held vineyard in different regions of Nemea.


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Discover the Malagousia grape and the wineries that show its best expression

Malagousia, or melaouzia, as some people in Greek villages call it, is a white grape variety native to Greece. Malagousia is widely known as a grape that has been resurrected because, up until the 1970s, very few people knew about it and it was considered to be extinct. Today, due to the efforts of viticulturists and winemakers around Greece, Malagousia is a widely known variety that provides excellent dry white wines and some sweet ones as well.

Historically, the variety originated from Aitoloakarnania, where it was cultivated on a very small scale, and now it is grown on 182 hectares all around Greece. Malagousia makes great wines, both as a stand-alone variety as well as in combination with other native Greek or international varieties. Many wines with a protected geographical indication (PGI) feature the variety, and it is also used in a blend along with Athiri and Assyrtiko in the white wine of the PDO (protected designation of origin) Rhodes.


What to look for in a Malagousia wine

“medium body, subtle acidity, and tend to leave an “oily” sensation on the palate”

The typical characteristics of the variety are high alcohol content, with ABVs (Alcohol By Volume) that can reach up to 13% for dry wines, medium body, subtle acidity, and tend to leave an “oily” sensation on the palate. Malagousia is a highly aromatic variety with prominent notes of white flowers (jasmine and citrus blossoms), ripe stone fruits (peach and apricot), as well as citrus fruits like lime, grapefruit, and lemon. If the variety is cultivated in a cool climate, then you might notice herbal notes like green tea and spearmint. Malagousia, from warmer climates, has a more tropical character, featuring notes of mango, pineapple, and passion fruit.

As mentioned earlier, there are also dessert Malagousia wines.These are still very fruity but also more honey-like, with notes of honeysuckle, honeycomb, orange jam, and apricot. Sweet wines that have spent some time in oak barrels exist, but they may be difficult to find as the most common versions are the flowery ones that are bottled right after they leave the tank.

Recently, due to the popularity that the natural wine movement has gained, there have been a lot of natural Malagousia wines. This winemaking practice of fermenting the wine juice along with the skin of the grapes seems to agree with this variety, as the oily mouthfeel blends with the mellow tannins that come from the skins of the grapes, and the fruity character of the wine is even more accentuated.


Food Pairing with Malagousia

When it comes to food pairing, one of the things that I have always been taught and continue to believe is “what grows together, goes together,” which means that Malagousia is a perfect match for Greek dishes. Since the variety has a strong aromatic profile and a very unique “oily” texture, it is a perfect match for shellfish like calamari and cuttlefish, either roasted or sauteed, in order to maintain their “buttery” texture and blend with the wine. Malagouzia can perfectly complement green salads and pasta with light sauces or pesto. The wines that have more “herbal” notes can go with light dishes that include chicken, fish, traditional cheese pies, and green salads. Traditional Greek orange pies, or anything that is fruit-based, even a pavlova, are a perfect match for the sweet versions of Malagouzia wines.


Discover the wineries

Domaine Porto Carras

This is where the resurrection of the variety took place, as Domaine Porto Carras was the first winery to bottle a Malagousia, thanks to the efforts of the oenologist Vangelis Gerovassiliou. This wine’s appellation is PGI Halkidiki and it is made in the region of Macedonia. This organic wine is partly aged on lees for a few months and partly barrel aged, resulting in an intensely aromatic profile. You will notice floral aromas, along with stone fruit. It is deceptively drinkable given its high ABV (13.5%). Flavorful, fresh and scented, without being “too much”. A perfect example of a wine made from the Malagousia grape.


Ktima Gerovassiliou

The Ktima Gerovassiliou winery has gained 105 distinctions for its Malagousia over the years, so you know it’s definitely worth a try. It’s part of the appellation PGI Epanomi. The zone’s wines are among the most successful and highly acclaimed PGI wines in Greece. The vinification process is partly done in stainless steel tanks and partly in French oak barrels, After that, the wine is left in contact with the lees for a few months to become fully structured. In this Malagousia, you will find characteristic notes of ripe fruit, like pear, mango, and citrus aromas.

Ktima Gerovassiliou makes a great sweet wine from grapes that are left to overripen on the vines, but that can only happen in the years when the weather allows it, so you could say that this is a rare find. The must that comes from pressing the grapes is vinified in French oak barrels, where it stays and ages for 3 years. The resulting wine has a straw gold color and aromas of fruits and honey. If you like sweet, aromatic wines , you’ll love this “Gliko Lefko.”


Domaine Lafazanis

Another award-winning Malagousia is Geometria (which literally means Geometry) by Domaine Lafazanis. It’s part of the appellation PGI Peloponnese, which means that the wine is made in a relatively southern part of Greece, as opposed to the previous wines mentioned that are made in the northern part. From this Malagouzia, you can expect the characteristic fruity and floral aromas, as well as a balanced flavor and a lingering finish.


My Advice

If you’re trying to expand your palate by tasting wines from around the world, a Greek Malagouzia is definitely a must-try. Fruity and fresh, structured but not overwhelming, dry or sweet, it’s a perfect match for the summer.


Oray Wine

References and citations

  4. “Ampelographia” by Stavrakas, D. E. , Ekdoseis Ziti, Peraia, Thessaloniki – 2. Edition

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