How many PGI in Greece?
Wines of traditional Appellation
Verdea: Type of “Vinho Verde” produced on the island of Zakynthos from under ripe grapes- Skiado- Poulo (50%), Paulos, Asporobola (White Robola) and Goustoltdi varieties.
Retsina: (Retintis Oenos)- 15 wines may carry geographical appellations (PGI area wines) eg Retsina Attiki, Retsina Viotia, Retsina Evia). Grape Varietals: Savatiano and Rhoditis flavoured with Attica pine resin (removed @ racking)
Greek PDO wines- 28
Anchalos, Amyento, Goumenisa, Dafnes, Zitsa, Lemnos, Mantina, Maurodaphne of Cephalonia, Mavrodaphne of Patras, Monemvassia- Malvasia, Muscat of Lephlonia, Muscat of Lemnos, Muscat of Patras, Muscat of Rio Patras, Muscat of Rhodes, Messekola, Naossa, Nemea, Paros, Patras, Pelas, Slopes of Meliton, Rapsani, Rhodes, Robolla of Cephalonia, Samos, Santorini, Sitia
Finest- multi purpose, dry wines, with citrus aromas. High acid. Santorini (Vin Santo), Macedonia and Attica
Thin skin. Aromatic low acid, blending grape
(At ee tha née) Cyclades aromatic, medium acid blending grape with Assyrtiko and Athiri
Pronounced acidity- peach, melon flavours
Plantings in Macedonia and Attica. Aromatic full bodies, medium acidity tropical flavours.
In Cephalonia citrus and peach notes
Rose skin, Attica, Macedonia, Peleponnese (AOC Patra) low yields
Prodominant in Attica
(Tsa oo see): Plantings mainly in Cephalonia
(Ah yor tee ti Ko): Plantings principally Nemea deep colours, soft tannins. Moderate acidity can produce wines with aging potential
(Ksee no mavro): Plantings in Macedonia tannic wines with aging potential complex aromas red fruits. Spices.
(Mavro thaf née): Plantings in Pelponnese and Ionian Islands. Blended with Korinthiaki to produce fortified dessert wine (Mavrodaphne) good results in blends with Refosco, Agiorghitiko and Cab Sauvignon
- Xinomavro, the most important grape
- Important PDO districts
Naoussa: One of the first AOP regions and located on the slopes of Mt Vermion. Full bodied reds from Xinomavro (Boutari grand reserve)
Cotes De Methion: Red white and rose from native & French varieties (Chateau Carras)
Amynteo: Remote Nrthn area. Sparkling Rose and light reds from Xinomavro.
Goumenissa: N of Naossa. Red wines from Negoka & Xinomavro
Rapsani: Red wines from Xinomavro
Zitsa: White wines (Dry, off dry, Sparkling) from Debina grape.
- Phylloxera free area
- Nemea: Red wines from Agiorgitiko grape near Corinth
- Muscat De Patras
- Mavrodaphne of Patras
- Patras- dry white- Nrthn coast
- High altitude vineyards Central Peleponnese
- Moschofilero most important grape
- Made in still white and rose versions as well as sparkling
- Continental climate with poor, well drained soils also leads to the production of some exciting aromatic white wines
- Wine industries on Santorini, Crete, Rhodes, Samos
- Combination of Mediterranean climate with the rocky volcanic soils
- Grapes: Assyrtiko, Atyiri, Aidani, Mavrotragano, Muscat
- Producers: Domaine Sigalas (Santorini), Boutari Fantaxometocho Estate (Crete)
Samos- Aegean Islands
Sweet wines produced from Muscat A Petits grains. Samos Vin Doux.
Samos Nectar: Sundried fruit, Natural fermentation, aged 3 yrs in wood
Samos Grand Cru: VDN grapes sourced from selected sites
Samos Anthemis: VDL aged 5 yrs in wood
Why was Greek wine originally resinated?
To flavour and protect the vine from Savatiano grapes
Are the following grapes white or red? Agirogitiko, Xinomavro, Asyrtiko, Roditis
Red= Agiorgitiko, Xinomavro White= Roditis, Asyrtiko
The better vineyards in Greece face which direction? North, South, East, West
What are the three tiers within the Greek wine quality pyramid?
High to Low= Appellation wines (AO), Regional wines (TO), Table wines……and Retsina
Where are europe’s oldest vineyards located?
Approximately how many indigenous grape varieties are to be found in Greece?
What is Mavrodaphne?
Dark sweet desert wine from Central Greece
What percentage of Greece’s total wine production is vinted on its many islands?
What percentage of Greek wine is white? Resinated?
70% white, 30% of the total wine of the country is resinated.
Mount Olymbos is located in which wine region?
Where is Santorini?
One of the Southern Cyclades Islands that are apart of Greece
Main White Grapes of Greece…..
Assyrtiko, Rhonditis, Robola, Savatiano, Moscophilero, Vilana, Debina
Main Red grapes of Greece……..
Xinomavro, Aghiroghitko, Limnio, Mandelaria
If a Greek wine is labeled OPE, what is the style of wine?
What is the principal grape variety of Verdea?
Vidiano and Kotsifrali are grape varieties thought to be indigenous to what Island?
Key Region, Cyprus
What is the Frence AC equivalent that is used in Greece?
What does the label term “TA” mean and what country is it used in?
Traditional Appelations, given to traditional wines (eg Retsina) in Greece.
In what Southern Europe/ Mediterranean region is the key region of Trodos Mountains?
Nemea, Naoussa, Santorini
Key Regions of Greece
Cyprus- Key Varietals
The Peloponnese Pennisula: production, location, climate, key AOQS
1/3 Greek production, free of phyll. Nemea red wine excel from Agiorgitiko grape. Vineyards above 250m Med. climate, short, mild winters, hot summers. Best vineyards North- facing, at altitude. Rainfall limited Autumn and Spring, little in Winter. Dry summers. Wines are soft plummy, low in acidity, can have very rich, spicy fruit
The islands of Greece. What islands, what wines?
Best reputation for powerful dry white Santorini from Assyrtiko grape. Retains its acidity, exquisite Vionier- like perfume, mineral flavours from volcanic soils. Old v/yards (vines coiled like ropes prot. from wind), low yields, often distructed for holiday complexes. Crete: most volume, only VdP exported Cephalonia, int. standing from Robola var., medium body, crisp acidity, citrus fruit
Lebanon: Location v/ yards? What grapes and wines?
Around Beka’a Valley, alt of 1000m. Var. mainly from Sth France but also important Plantings of CS. Increasing number of producers make high- quality bord. inspired red wines but with xrtra ripeness and spice, ranging from classically cedary, cassis- flavoured CS to powerful, full bodied wines with Balsamic & leathery aromas.
White: gentle varietal fruit to some deliberately oxidises, golden and richly nutty.
Northern Greece Vin De Pays?
Xinomavro blended with int. var. for local VdP.
Many VdP made in Cote De Meliton western flank of next Pennisula to Mt. Athos. Red, White and Rose from int. and Greek var.
Greece, Key AOQS
Naossa (Macedonia: Xinomavro)
Nemea (Peloponnese: Agiorgitiko)
Northern Greece: Climate, Location vineyards, Major App, Style?
In Macedonia region, distinctly cool climate, vineyards planted @ altitude, red wines, major app, Naossa from Xinomavro (powerful tannin, high, AC complex aromas, flavours reminiscent of Barolo)
What’s the most important red grape of Macedonia?
Black: Xinomavro, Agiorgtiko (Saint- George), Cab Sauv, Merlot, Syrah
White: Savatiano, Rhoditis, Assyrtiko, Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc
What are the sub regions of Macedonia
- Cotes De Meliton
Which Macedonian subregions does Boutari make an excellent red wine and what varietal is used?
Xinomavro produced in Naoussa and Amyndeo
What is the only appellation of Epirus and what style of wine is produced?
Zitsa AOSQ is a still or sparkling wine made from Debina
What is the style and varietal of Mavrodaphne of Patras?
A slightly fortified sweet red dessert wine made from Mavrodaphne
The following appellations can be found where: Crete, Rhodes, Samos, Lemnos
What are the two subregions of the Peleponnese?
Mavrodaphne of Patras AOSQ
What are the regions of Greece?
Thrace, Macedonia, Epirus, Thessaly, Sterea Ellada, Pelopennese, Ionian Islands, Aegean Islands
Name appellations of Macedonia
What is the appellation of Epirus
What are the appellations of Thessaly
What are the appellations of Peloponnese?
Nemea- OPAP Mantinia- OPAP Patra- OPAP Muscat of Patras- OPAP Muscat of Rio of Patra- OPE Mavrodaphne of Patras- OPE
List appellations of Ionian Islands?
Muscat of Cephalonia- OPE
Mavrodaphne of Cephalonia- OPE
List appellation of Aegean Islands
Arhanes- OPAP, Sitia- OPAP, Peza- OPAP, Dafnes- OPAP, Santorini-OPAP, Paros- OPAP, Limnos- OPAP, Rhodes- OPAP, Muscat of Limnos- OPIE, Muscat of Rhodes- OPE, Muscat of Samos- OPE
Greece and Cyprus- History
Cultivation of vine introduced form Middle East approximately 4000 years ago. Greeks colonised much of Europe and spread viticulture throughout. Wars, occupations and political instability saw viticulture stagnate for 600 years. All improvements in quality and style have happened since joining the EU in 1981. Dramatic quality improvement recently. Still need to overcome lack of awareness in trade and customer resistance to unfamiliar grapes and language.
Greek Wine Laws
EU governed, based on the french system.
Table Wine- Basic quality
Vin de Pays- International varieties and non traditional styles.
Appellation d’ Origine de Qualite Supérieure (AOQS)- 20 regions, applies to dry white and red wines.
Quality of Appellation and Vin de Pays wine very small, majority basic table wine.
Reserve- three years for white and four for red
Grande Reserve- three years for white and four for red.
Cava- High quality table wine that has been subjected to prolonged ageing.
Macedonia and Thrace
Naoussa- Northern Greece
Macedonian mountains, high altitude with cool climate. Production of red wine. Xinomavro makes wine with powerful tannins, high acidity and complex herbal aromas, similar to Barolo. Blended with international varieties for Vin de Pays
Goumenissa- Northern Greece
Macedonian mountains, high altitude with cool climate. Xinomavro blended with Negoska grapes.
Drama Valley- Northern Greece
North east of Thessalonika. International varieties and local Assyrtiko. Overall exceptional quality.
Epirus, Thessaly and Attica
Rapsani- Central Greece
V/yards near Mount Olympus are owned by 12 monasteries, and are leased to Tsantali wine company. Prevailing winds help prevent fungal diseases. Xinomavro most important grape variety.
Retsina- Central Greece
Produced throughout Greece but main centres are Attica and Euboea. Resinated white wine from Savatiano and Rhoditis with maximum 1000g/hl pine resin added to young wine (removed at first racking, after pine character imparted on wine). Retsina has its own designation; Traditional Appellation (TA) and Traditional Table Wine.
A third of Greek wine production. Free from phylloxera.
Nemea- Peloponnese Pennisula
red from Agiorgtiko only. Wine is low in acidity with plummy, rich and spicy fruit. Mild winters and hot summers, rainfall limited to autumn and spring. Vines planted at altitude for cooler growing conditions.
Patras- Peloponnese Pennisula
Mavrodaphne production (mostly fortified sweet red) dominant.
Santorini- Greek Islands
High reputation, powerful whites from Assyrtiko. Aromatic variety that retains acid. Wine has a mineral backbone from growing on volcanic soils. Very old, low yielding high manual effort vineyards.
Crete- Greek Islands
Important in terms of volume. Currently Vin de Pays is main production level.
Cephalonia- Greek Islands
High quality whites produced from Romola grape. Medium bodied with crisp acidity and citrus characters.
Samos- Greek Islands
Muscat blanc a petit grains grown on steep terraces up to 1000m above sea level. A number of fortified styles produced. Samos Nectar is a sun-dried grape, non- fortified wine, fermented to above 14% abv then aged in cask for at least three years.
Vins De Pays- Greece
Many new plantings are outside quality appellations or have varieties not permitted at the appellation level. Often the best wine from these small estates.
70% of the total production of Cyprus is of Mavro (black variety) and Xynisteri (white variety). Both can be used for the production of the rich fortified wine, Commandaria as well as light wines. Now being replaced by international varieties, especially Grenache, Carignan, Cab Sauv and Riesling. Phylloxera free soils, ingrafted vines. Bush trained vines planted on the Southern side of the Troodos mountains. 19th Century wineries established on the coast, away from the vineyards on the mountain slopes. Long transportation times and large vehicles meant oxidation was unavoidable. Quality producers reduced damage by transporting early in the morning. Regional wineries near the vineyards are being constructed, meaning an update of winery equipment also. Export sales twice as large as domestic, most exports to Germany, Greece and UK. Much production sold as must for British fortified, liqueur wine and brandy.
Large island to the south east of greece famous for the Minoan civilization (c.2000–1400 bc). Its wines were most famous in the Middle Ages when the island was known as Candia. Today the most important viticultural centre is the area south of Heraklion, although ambitious producers are also to be found around Chania in the west and Sitia in the east.
one of the southern Cyclades islands that are part of greece, known in classical times as Thíra.
The island is a part of the core of an ancient volcano, which erupted c.1640–1620 bc (perhaps a century earlier), destroying the Minoan civilizations of Thíra and, it is thought, neighbouring Crete. A large part of Thíra became submerged, and has remained so to this day. In antiquity, the island was not especially famous for its wine, but this was to change in the Middle Ages. It belonged to the Byzantine empire until the crusaders sacked Constantinople in 1203–4 and Santorini was given to one of the Venetian conquerors, remaining in his family until 1336. It then became part of the duchy of Naxos but venice retained a strong influence; 1479–89 was another period of direct Venetian rule. It was Venetian enterprise that made Santorini an important wine producer. The wine it exported was made from a mixture of grapes, chiefly the white athiri and red mandilaria, and it was prized for its sweetness and high alcohol which enabled it to withstand the six-month sea voyage, via Venice, to western Europe. Santorini was conquered by the Ottoman Turks in 1579, but the Turks did not discourage the production of the only cash crop that the island’s volcanic soil could sustain. Loanwords from Italian still in use in Santorini today testify to Venice’s importance in its winemaking past. For example, the local dialect word for the vintage is vendemma from Italian vendemmia.
Santorini- Modern Times
Modern times have been equally kind to the wines of Santorini. Since at least 2005, Santorini has been the champion of modern Greek wine, at least in terms of visibility, media coverage, and prices commanded, with several producers enjoying superstar status, even in export markets. The fact that Santorini is one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, with millions of tourists every year, has helped. Santorini is one of the most surreal terroirs for viticulture. The winds are extreme and, in most places, vines have to be trained in a low basket shape for protection. Everything that grows on the outside of the basket is pummelled by the wind, resulting in very low yields. Recent trials with conventional trellis systems in sheltered areas have been successful, but highly controversial in the eyes of traditionalists. The island is very arid, with only mist rising from the caldera every morning to sustain any form of agriculture. The soils are volcanic and not just free of phylloxera but immune to it. As a result, vines are ungrafted, that portion below ground being up to 400 years old. Yields are seldom more than 15 hl/ha (0.8 tons/acre), which means that Santorini wine may eventually become a thing of the past. The pdo Santorini allows for dry wines and sweet wines made from sun-dried grapes, based on Assyrtiko, with smaller amounts of Athiri and Aidani. The dry wines are, more often than not, pure Assyrtiko and generally present an outstanding combination of minerality, high alcohol, and high acidity, often resulting in phs below 3. Dry but late-harvest wines, harvested during the night, enjoy a short skin contact and are then aged for at least three months in partly-filled old oak casks in order to initiate deliberate oxidation. These wines, called Nychteri, can reach 16% alcohol, are not for the faint-hearted but are clearly one of the most impressive and individual white wines in the world. Sweet wines are called Vinsanto, a term wrongly assumed to be a loanword from the Italian Vin Santo. However, it has been proved that Visanto, the Vino of Santorini, was exported, mainly for religious purposes, to Russia well before Italians initiated the style. Vinsanto is made from sun-dried grapes, mainly Assyrtiko, oak-aged for several years, if not decades. The best Vinsantos can age for ever but, given the yields in Santorini, they are necessarily extremely expensive. Mezzo is a less sweet, younger but delicious and cheaper alternative. The promising Mavrotragano variety can produce some exceptional reds, not (yet?) included in the appellation framework.
- 4000 years ago: cultivation of vine introduced from Middle East
- 730BC: Greeks colonised most of Europe and contributed to develop winemaking all around the Mediterranean
- 1974: end of military dictatorship and start of move towards quality in wine industry
- Up to 1981: no laws in force to regulate the Greek wine production i.e. no guarantee of quality
- 1981: Greece joined the EU and has been improving its wine quality & style but wines are difficult to export due to lack of awareness amongst the trade and customers.
Greece- Soils and Typography
- Mountainous country with vineyards on flat land or up 800m (i.e. Nemea).
- Generally low fertility soils. Mainland subsoils are limestone and volcanic on the islands.
Greece- Climate and Weather
Mediterranean climate with short winters and very hot summers (-> drought) w most vineyards close enough
to the sea to benefit from some cooling sea breezes
Greece- Grape Varieties- Red
Xinomavro (‘acid black’)
- Needs some years to mature and become a soft, hi acidity wine
- Mainly grown in Northern Greece
- Native to Nemea in the Peloponnese & most planted red grape in Greece
- Blends w other varieties esp. Cabernet Sauvignon or made into rosé
- Fruity but can lack acidity
Others: Cabernet Sauvignon
How many grape varieties are believed to be in Greece?
Greece- Grape Varieties- White
- Most common Greek grape
- Light-berried vine w good drought resistance; Low acidity
- Most common ingredient in Retsina w Rhoditis and
Assyrtiko but can also produce well balanced dry whites
- Most planted in central Greece
- Originates from Santorini
- Aromatic variety that retains acidity and can age well
- Wine w mineral backbone when grown on volcanic soils
(e. g. Santorini)
- Slightly pink-skinned grape; late ripening; retains acidity in hot climates
- Often blended w Savatiano for Retsina
- Ripens early for deep coloured, hi acidity wines w powerful lemony flavours
- Most famous on Cephalonia island
- 130,000ha w 70-80,000ha for winemaking
- Traditionally bush vines but newer vineyards use the trellis systems
- Key hazards: drought (esp. on the islands and the south). Irrigation usually not permitted.
- Majority of the vineyards belong to smallholders. Cooperatives, bigger and ambitious growers modernising.
Greece- Winemaking and Characteristics
• Refrigeration and stainless steel vats are most common since the mid 1980s.
• Whites: early picking and cool fermentations for clean but characterless wines. Now some skin contact or later
picking or slight oxidation. Some barrel maturation.
- Reds: increasing use of French barriques for maturation.
- Retsina: resinated white wine from Savatiano and Rhoditis w max 1,000g/hl pine resin added to young wine. Has its own designation (Tradtional Appellation and Tradtional Table Wine).
Northern Greece- Macedonia and Thrace
- Northern border with Macedonia; north of Thessalonika
- Located in the Macedonian mountains, on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Vermio (200-350m)
- Cool climate
- Mainly red wines from Xinomavro with powerful tannins, hi acidity and complex herbal aromas, similar to Barolo. Sometimes blended w international varieties for Vin de Pays
- Located in the Macedonian mountains, on the north-western slopes of Mount Vermio (up to 650m)
- Xinomavro-Negoska based reds. Also some sparkling rosé.
- North-east of Thessalonika, in Thrace.
- International varieties and local Assyrtiko. Overall exceptional quality.
Central Greece – Epirus, Thessaly and Attica
Epirus is on the east coast, Thessaly central Greece and Attica towards Athenes.
- Located near Mount Olympus near Greece’s eastern coast in Thessaly.
- Vineyards owned by 12 monasteries and leased to Tsantali wine company - Prevailing winds help prevent from fungal diseases.
- Xinomavro dominates
Attica and Retsina
- Attica is the centre for the production of Retsina with Euboea.
Peloponnese Peninsula- Greece
- Peninsula west of Athens; represents 33% of production and viticulture is the main agricultural activity
- Greatest number of appellations and some interesting VdP and table wines. Free from phylloxera
- North-eastern part of the peninsula; vineyards on marl and deep red soils at 200-800m high.
- Mild winters and hot summers w rainfall mainly in Autumn & Spring.
- Important investment since the late 90s.
- Hercules Blood wine from Agiorgtiko is deep coloured, low in acidity with plummy, rich and spicy fruit
- Northern part of the peninsula; mainly produces Mavrodaphne-based fortified reds, a white Muscat and a dry white made from Roditis under the Patras appellation.
The Greek Islands
Santorini – 1,200ha
- Part of the Cyclades islands, south-east of Athens
- Very windy w vines trained in basket shape; slate and limestone soils; - Powerful whites made from Assyrtiko
Crete – 50,000ha
- Large island south of Athens believed to be the location of the first vineyards in the Mediterranean
- Important volumes w mainly Vin de Pays
- Located on the western coast of Greece, in the Ionian sea.
- High quality whites from Robola w medium body, crisp acidity and citrus characters.
Sámos – 2,300ha
- On the Turkish coast, east of Athens; vineyards from plains and on steep slopes up to 1000m high
- Appellation Muscat of Sámos must be made from Muscat Blanc a Petits Grains (95% of plantings)
- Nectar de Sámos is made from sun-dried grapes, non-fortified and fermented to above 14% abv before
min 3 years ageing in cask
- France imports nearly 50% of Sámos annual production
Greece- Wine Laws
• EU governed, based on the French AC system with:
- Table wine - basic quality
- Vin de Pays – international varieties and not traditional styles
- Appellation d’Origine Controlée (AOC) – 8 different regions. Mainly sweet wines (e.g. Mavrodaphne / Muscat)
- Appellation d’Origine de Qualité Supérieur (AOQS) – 20 regions, applies to dry whites and reds
• Other labelling terms
- Reserve: 2 years for white and 3 years for reds
- Grande Reserve: 3 years for whites and 4 years for reds
- Cava: high quality table wine that has been subjected to prolonged ageing.
- Nearly 4m hl annual production; mostly table wine and only 350,000hl exported (under 10%)
- Key producers:
o Boutari – 130,000hl
- Winery established in Naousa in 1879; first merchant to sell Greek wine in bottles - Now 6 wineries and exports to 37 countries a broad range of VdP and OPAG
- Founded in 1890, produces 125,000hl/yr. Best wine: Metochi Chromitsa made from Limnio & Cabernet.
Meaning ‘red of Rhodes’, is a red-skinned Greek grape variety traditionally grown in the Peloponnese that has been shown by dna profiling to be distinct from, even if often planted with, the more common pink-berried roditis. Also known as Tourkopoula.
Slightly pink-skinned grape variety that is greece’s second most common after savatiano on a total of 9,127 ha/22,544 acres in 2013. Although its name is probably derived from the island of Rhodes, it was traditionally grown, often as a field blend with other clones of Roditis, in the Peloponnese and was even more important in the pre-phylloxera era. The vine is particularly sensitive to powdery mildew. It ripens relatively late and keeps its acidity quite well even in such hot climates as that of Ankhíalos in Thessaly in central Greece, although it can also ripen well in high-elevation vineyards. It is often blended with the softer savatiano, particularly for retsina.
Wine and grape variety for which the Ionian island of Cephalonia in greece is most famous. The distinctively powerful, lemony dry white is made entirely from Robola grapes, which are cultivated almost exclusively on the island. The wine made from these early-ripening grapes is high in both acidity and extract and is much prized within Greece. dna profiling established that Robola is quite distinct from rebula (ribolla Gialla). The few hundred hectares are mainly limited to the Ionian islands of greece.
Greece’s most common wine grape, widely planted on 11,306 ha/27,926 acres in 2012 throughout Attica and central greece. This light-berried vine, with its exceptionally good drought resistance, is the most common ingredient in retsina, although roditis and assyrtiko are often added to compensate for Savatiano’s naturally low acidity. On particularly suitable sites, Savatiano can produce well-balanced dry white wines.
Also known as Aghiorgitiko and St George, most planted and admirably versatile Greek red grape variety native to Neméa in the Peloponnese, whose wines may be made from no other variety. It blends well with other varieties (notably with Cabernet Sauvignon grown many miles north in Metsovo) and can also produce good-quality rosé. The wine produced by Agiorgitiko is fruity but can lack acidity. Grapes grown on the higher vineyards of Neméa can yield long-lived reds. Virus-free clones are being developed.
Black grape variety grown in 2013 on 2,239 ha/5,530 acres all over northern greece as far south as the foothills of Mount Olympus, where Rapsani is produced, but most famous as the grape of Naoussa. Its name means ‘acid black’ and the wines can indeed seem harsh in youth but they age well. One of the few Greek vine varieties which may not reach full ripeness in some years, it is blended with a small proportion of the local Negoska to produce Goumenissa and is also used as a base for sparkling wine on the exceptionally cool, high vineyards of Amyndeo. The wines tend to be relatively soft but to have good acid, attractive bite, and age well. It has also been planted in Gansu in china at a joint venture project by Mihalis Boutaris of Kir-Yianni in Naoussa.
Means ‘black’ in Greek and is the common name of the dominant but undistinguished grape on the island of cyprus.
The most common white grape variety grown on Cyprus, more than 2,200 ha/5,500 acres in 2010, almost a quarter of the island’s vineyard. It is preferred to the dark-skinned mavro for the rich fortified wine commandaria, the island’s most distinctive wine and also makes dry whites of varying quality.
Famous sea, wine-producing climate, diet, and many other things besides. By classical times, vines were grown for wine in almost all the countries bordering the Mediterranean sea and on many of the islands; from Spain in the west to Byblos in the east, from northern Italy to Egypt, the vine made inexorable progress, with amphorae of wine traversing the sea regularly. Historically, the Mediterranean was the focus of viticulture, and most wine was produced in mediterranean climates. In the Middle Ages, particularly when temperatures rose overall and when consumers were accustomed to very light, acid wines, viticulture spread much further north than the shores of the Mediterranean
Of the earthenware vessels in which the ancient Greeks and Romans kept their wines (see amphorae) only the very best were airtight. Normally they were porous, and it is clear from the Roman writers on agriculture that the insides of jars were therefore coated with resin. It was therefore probably as a purely practical measure that resin was initially used. But soon people must have discovered that the wine would keep even better if they added resin to the wine itself. columella deals at length with the different kinds of resin that can be employed in this way (De re rustica 13. 20–14), but he emphasizes that the best wines should not have resin put into them. Yet many people came to like the taste of resin and used it not only as a preservative but also as a flavouring agent. pliny recommends that resin should be added to the fermenting must (Natural History 14. 124) and he discusses which kinds of resin are best: resin from mountainous regions has a more pleasant smell than resin from low-lying areas (16. 60).
The Romans abandoned amphorae in favour of wooden casks in the 3rd century ad because barrels were lighter and easier to handle. Wooden casks do not need an inside coating of resin, and this saved the winemaker time and money. Thus the Romans ceased to make resinated wines. Winemakers in Transalpine Gaul, most of whom did not have pine trees nearby, and those of Cisalpine Gaul, Illyria, and the alpine region, where the climate is cooler and wood does not crack so easily, had started using wooden casks in the 1st century ad. Unlike the west, however, Byzantium did not lose its taste for resin when it was no longer needed as a preservative. The pine forests of the eastern part of central Greece and of Euboea still provided the resin to enhance the flavour of some Greek wines after the 7th century.
This was very much not to the taste of one western visitor to Constantinople. In 968 Liudprand, bishop of Cremona, was sent there to arrange a marriage between the daughter of the late Emperor Romanos and the son of his own patron, Otto I, the Holy Roman Emperor. The mission was not a success. The Emperor Nicephorus treated Liudprand rudely and kept him a virtual prisoner. Liudprand’s De legatione Constantinopolitana (‘The mission to Constantinople’) was his revenge. He has not a good word to say for the Byzantines in general and Nicephorus in particular. We are dealing with a masterpiece of invective, and since Liudprand’s purpose is satirical, we should not believe his every word. But his observations on the food and wine he had are interesting. Horrified, he relates how he was given goat stuffed with onions, garlic, and leeks, swimming in fish sauce. Worst of all, and mentioned in his very first chapter, is the wine: undrinkable because it is mixed with resin, pitch, and gypsum. Like the fish sauce, not in the least remarkable to an Ancient Roman, but not a thing to serve a modern Lombard. Liudprand may have had perfectly decent, unresinated, wine at times during his enforced stay, but it would have spoilt his story to tell us about that.
For not all Greek wine was resinated in the Middle Ages. The strong, sweet wines that reached the markets of western Europe were not, but pilgrims travelling to the Holy Land say that some local wines were. The account of Pietro Casola, who sailed to Jerusalem in 1494, stopping off frequently on the way, is particularly valuable because he takes pains to describe the customs, the food, and the wines of every region. He often speaks of the excellent sweet wines in Greece, but in Modone, on the south-western tip of the Peloponnese (near Monemvasia which gave its name to malvasia), he is given a wine that has had resin added to it during fermentation in order, he explains, to preserve it. He objects to its strong unpleasant odour, but he goes on to describe the fine malmsey, muscatel, and rumney of Modone. Of Cyprus he says that he loves everything about it except the wine, which has resin in it. He must have been unlucky not to have tasted the famous sweet wines that Cyprus exported, but an earlier account by an anonymous French cleric, Le Voyage de la Saincte Cyte de Hierusalem of 1480, confirms what he observes about Cyprus and Modone.
Modern form of resinated wine that is extremely common in greece, and a potent catalyst of taverna nostalgia outside it. Modern retsina is made like any other white (or rosé) wine, except that small pieces of resin from the Pinus helepensis pine are added to the must and left with the wine until the first racking separates the finished wine from all solids. Major producing areas are Attica, Euboea, and Boeotia, all in the southern part of central Greece close to Athens, but retsina is also made for local consumption all over the country. savatiano is usually the principal grape, often enlivened with some roditis or occasionally assyrtiko, but a wide range of local grape varieties are also used, and an interesting athiri retsina is made on the island of Rhodes.
Poor-quality retsina was possibly the final nail in the coffin of Greek wine’s image in the 1970s and thereafter. Low quality was the result of adding bad-quality resin to conceal bad-quality, often heavily oxidized, wine. Nevertheless, and perhaps surprisingly to many, a number of producers such as Kehris and Gaia decided to create top-quality retsinas, by using top-quality pine resin to elegantly flavour exceptional wine made from Assyrtiko or high-elevation Roditis. The final results prove that great retsina is no oxymoron.
Retsina is protected by the eu as a traditional appellation. With one South Australian exception, it is rarely made outside Greece and southern Cyprus, where local palates are accustomed to its distinctively pungent flavour, and visitors expect it, even if in terms of shock to the palate, retsina can resemble a fino sherry.
Somewhat amorphous category of wines whose basic wine grape flavour is modified by the addition of other flavouring materials. vermouth is a flavoured fortified wine, while the Greek retsina is perhaps the most strikingly flavoured unfortified wine.
Flavoured Wine- History
Spices have traditionally been added to wine (as they have to food) to provide some variety in taste, or, more likely, to hide any imperfections of taste. A wine that tasted like vinegar would have been much improved by such additions.
The ancient cultures of the Mediterranean added spices, herbs, and honey (and also drugs or resins such as myrrh) to their grape and date wines. Descriptions and recipes abound in ancient texts from mesopotamia to Ancient rome. (See also Ancient egypt and Ancient greece.) The Greeks were reputed by the Romans almost never to drink their wines straight, and pliny lists virtually everything from pepper to absinthe as wine flavourings.
Flavourings such as herbs and honey would not only cover off-flavours but would give appeal to light-bodied wines (see german history). There have long been local specialities of wines flavoured with herbs, spices, flowers, or nuts.
In medieval times, wine usually needed some improvement within a few months when it began to turn sour. This was often done at home and the most popular recipe was for ‘hippocras’, made with red or white wine. Sugar, honey, cinnamon, ginger, and pepper were the usual ingredients, and the name came from Hippocrates’ sleeve, a reference to the muslin bag through which the infused wine was strained. Hippocras remained popular in England well into the 17th century, when it was enjoyed by Pepys, undergoing various changes of name and composition to emerge as punch, so beloved by the Victorians.
Meanwhile in Europe, spiced wines, often fortified with alcohol, evolved into the vermouths we know today.
Flavoured Wine- Modern variations
The category has been much expanded in recent years, however, by the emergence of flavoured, often low-alcohol wines—an attempt to persuade those who do not see themselves as wine drinkers to buy wine diluted and disguised as something else. They come in all degrees of alcoholic strength, sweetness, and fizziness and are popularly flavoured with fruits, even nuts, and chocolate. Such products should be distinguished from fruit wines, whose alcohol derives from the sugars of the (non-grape) fruit itself.
Islands in the Aegean Sea between modern greece and turkey. From 1050 bc onwards most of these islands were populated by Greeks. Some of the best Greek wine came from these islands, with chian wine, from the island of Chios, ranked highly in both Ancient Greece and Ancient rome. Wines from Lesbos, Thasos, and Cos also featured strongly. Chian wine was still highly valued in the Middle Ages and traded in quantity by the Genoans, for example. Today the islands, led by santorini, are home to several important wines and appellations. In addition, a number of grape varieties such as assyrtiko, mandilaria, and limnio are considered quintessentially Aegean.
White grape variety that is native to and the most widely grown on the island of crete. It is solely responsible for the delicate spicy dry white Peza pdo, and is blended with thrapsathiri for Sitia PDO.
The sprightly white grape variety that is solely responsible for the lightly sparkling white wines of Zítsa in Epirus high in north west greece near the Albanian border. At these elevations (600–700 m) acidity levels remain high.
Dark grape variety native to the island of Límnos in greece, where it can still be found. It has also transferred successfully to Khalkhidhikhi in north east Greece, however, where, sometimes blended with Cabernet, it produces a full-bodied wine with a good level of acidity and some herbal aromas. Limniona resurrected from mainland Greece is unrelated according to dna profiling.
Distinctive speciality of various Greek islands, including Crete, where it is often blended with the much softer kotsifali. The grapes have thick skins and therefore the wine produced is deep coloured and notably high in tannins. It can produce harmonious dry reds such as Peza, or even sweet reds. Known as Amorghiano on Rhodes. Total plantings in 2012 were just under 1,000 ha/2,500 acres.
Elegant white western Greek grape variety rediscovered by Evangelos Gerovassiliou. It yields full-bodied, perfumed wines in many Greek regions.
which has its own docg for the zone around the village of Tufo), is a late-ripening Campanian white wine grape that has been shown by dna profiling to be identical to asprinio. The variety also grows in northern Puglia, Lazio, and Tuscany, and is genetically distinct from greco Bianco. Wines tend to be dry, assertive, and to have more body than aroma. The 2010 vine census notes a total area of 829 ha/2,048 acres and a smaller, separate total for Asprinio.
Strictly Grechetto di Orvieto, sometimes Greghetto, characterful central Italian white grape variety most closely associated with umbria. It is an ingredient in orvieto and in the whites of torgiano and the Colli Martani doc, typically blended with Trebbiano Toscano and Verdello. The grapes’ thick skins provide good resistance to downy mildew. Grechetto di Todi is a synonym for pignoletto and dna profiling suggests a parent–offspring relationship between the two Grechettos. Several DOC regulations specify simply ‘Grechetto’. There were over 1,500 ha/3,750 acres of ‘Grechetto Bianco’ in the 2010 vine census (and 500 ha of Pignoletto).
A dark-skinned top-quality southern Italian grape variety for long thought to be of Greek origin (the name itself was said to be a corruption of the word Ellenico, the Italian word for Hellenic) although dna profiling has failed to find a relationship with any known Greek variety. It retained the name Ellenico or Ellenica until the end of the 15th century, when it took its current name of Aglianico. First planted around the Greek colony of Cumae, close to present day Avellino (home of taurasi), it is today cultivated in the mountainous centre of Italy’s south, in particular in the provinces of Avellino and Benevento in campania, and in the provinces of Potenza and Matera in basilicata. Scattered traces of this early-budding vine variety can also be found in calabria, in puglia, molise, and on the island of Procida near Naples. Italy’s total plantings were 9,910 ha/24,488 acres in 2010. The vine can ripen so late even this far south that grapes may be picked in November. Attempts to pick it earlier, or to increase yields, invariably lead to a failure to tame its rather ferocious tannins. The grape’s best wines are deep in colour with full chocolate and plum aromas, fine-grained tannins, and marked acidity on the palate. Aglianico seems to prefer soils of volcanic origin and achieves its finest results in the two docs of Taurasi in Campania and aglianico del vulture in Basilicata where elevations are lower and the wines rather softer and earlier-maturing. Its nobility is so obvious that it is now grown in both Australia and California.
Name given to southern Italy when Greek colonists first arrived in the 8th century bc or soon after. The Greeks may have found the indigenous inhabitants already producing wine and using stakes to support the vines, and it is possible that they adopted a word meaning ‘stake’ (oinotron) as a name for the inhabitants. But this word is very rare; a different word (kharax) is used in most dialects of classical Greek; so it may be that Oenotria was the name already used by the local population and the similarity between it and the word meaning ‘stake’ is purely coincidental.
A dark sweet-wine speciality of the island of Cyprus with a honeyed, raisiny flavour and alcohol content usually around 15%, produced from partially dried grapes.
Evidence suggests that Commandaria is the oldest named wine in the world still being made today, with records of its production methods dating back to 800 bc. It was praised by the Greek poet hesiod, who described a sweet Cypriot wine, produced from sun-dried grapes, and is arguably the pioneer of the concept of controlled appellation. Cyprus Nama, the forerunner of Commandaria, was famed throughout the classical world (dried-grape wines). See the history of cyprus for how Commandaria got its name.
In 1993, Commandaria became the first Cypriot wine to be granted full, legal protection covering both its geographical origin and production techniques and was further regulated by government decree in 2005, while today it has pdo status. Commandaria must be produced within a strictly defined region comprising 14 wine-producing villages on the Troodos foothills about 30 km/20 miles north of Limassol, from the mavro (red) and xynisteri (white) grape varieties, grown as bush vines, and planted at a low vine density of 2,000 to 2,750 vines per hectare. Either grape variety may be used and both are usually, but the most subtle versions of Commandaria are made from white grapes only.
The wine must be vinified within the region and may be moved (for example to be aged elsewhere) only after fermentation is complete. Minimum must weights are 13 ºBaumé for Xynisteri and 14 º for Mavro. Grapes are then sun-dried to a concentration of at least 21 or 23 ºBaumé respectively. After fermentation, the wine must have an alcoholic strength of at least 10% without fortification, and no more than 1.5 g/l volatile acidity. The wine may (but doesn’t have to be) fortified by the addition of grape spirit at 95% to 96% or with grape distillate at around 70% alcohol to a maximum of 20% actual alcohol while its total potential alcohol must be at least 22.5%.
The wine must be aged for at least two years in wood although in practice ageing is typically much longer. Traditionally, producers use a blending solera-like system called mana in which selected older barrels are topped up with younger wines, although recently successful single-vintage Commandarias have appeared as part of the revival of the island’s long wine heritage.
Although even within Cyprus it is of very limited commercial importance (total production of the island’s PDO wines was only 2,000 hl/52,830 gal in 2012, of which the majority would be Commandaria), Commandaria is one of the world’s classic sweet wines.
How old are Greek wines?
Over 4,000 years ago
Which grape in Greece is seen as the work horse?
What are the styles of Assytiko?
- Blended with Athiri and Aidani- FRUITIER
- Unoaked- MINERAL
- Unoaked with lees- FULLER
- Oak involved- CREAMIER
- Vin Santo
Where in Greece does Phylloxera not live?
Where in Greece is dry farming really important?
Santorini due to lots of old vine material, up to 100 years old
Aidani- Greece (White Wines)
Steely, elegant floral wines, with fresh acidity and round texture. Mainly found in the Cyclades Islands and most commonly used in Santorini blends to round off and soften the structured Assyrtiko grape.
Assyrtiko- Greece (White Wines)
First cultivated on the AOC Island of Santorini. Firm structure, with fresh and crisp acidity and occasionally high levels of alcohol. Distinctive citrus fruit flavour profile and intense minerality. Aged wines reveal a more solid structure and increased complexity.
- The most quality grape
- Best example beyond Santorini include Crete, Thinos, Northern Greece (Kavala)
- Terroir driven mineral wines- fruitier
- High alcohol, high acidity
- Can age for decades
Athiri- Greece (White Grapes)
One of the most Ancient Greek varieties, originating from the AOC Island of Santorini. Fresh, elegant, fruity wines with moderate to high alcohol, medium- body and soft acidity. Due to thin skin it produces a very sweet juice, often used to add suppleness and softness to the more angular Assyrtiko.
Malagousia- Greece (White Grape)
Originated in the Nafpaktos region of Western Greece, and is now most commonly found in Macedonia. Intense, complex and idiosyncratic aromatic profile, with ripe peaches and apricots, coupled with hints of fresh green pepper. Moderate acidity, high extract and a full palate. When aged in oak, it shows excellent development and aging potential.
- Classic blend with Assyrtiko
- Growing fast in popularity
- Early budding and ripening, large compact bunches
- 1994 first commercial release
- Many styles exist
Moschofilero- Greece (White Grapes)
Found within the AOC region of Mantinia, in the Peloponnese. The grapes have grey coloured skins producing wines with intense flowery characters, with an emphasis on rose petal aromas, citrus and fresh fruit. The palate carries fresh flavours and acidity, with medium to low alcohol levels.
- Some of the best last 5 years
- Light to medium body, dry, white sparkling, food friendly
- Alcohol is never high, due to low yields
Muscat of Alexandria- Greece (White Grapes)
Mainly grown on the island of Lemnos but also in northern Greece, Muscat of Alexandria is a variety with a vigorous growth, susceptible to diseases that requires warm climate. The wines have medium to low acidity levels and explosive aromas of ripe grapes, citrus fruits and flowers. It is part of the PDO Lemnos and PDO Muscat of Lemnos designation.
Plyto- Greece (White Grape)
The Cretan Plyto a remarkable case of a variety which was literally snatched away from the verge of extinction. At present, Plyto yields a small number of white wines. Modern irrigation methods in Irakleion’s contemporary vineyards seems not only to have helped this rare grape variety overcome its aversion to droughts but to have enhanced its lemony character and resplendent freshness as well.
Robola- Greece (White Grape)
Most notably grown in the mountainous Cephalonia vineyards, producing delicately balanced wines with crisp lemony acidity, minerality and medium body and depth of fruit complexity. Interesting when aged in bottle.
- Quite prone to oxidation
- Vigourous, best in poor soils
Roditis- Greece (White Grapes)
Pink- Coloured variety, very popular in Attica and Macedonia, Thessaly and Peloponnese where it harvested for AOC Patra wines. Produces best results from low- yielding vines on mountainous slopes. The wines contain high levels of fruit- often reminiscent of ripe melon and honey- broad, dense structure on palate and a refreshing, almost Sauvignon Blanc- like, lemony finish.
Vidiano- Greece (White Grape)
Vidiano is a variety mainly found, in small acreage, around the area of Rethymnon in Crete. It is a white grape variety coming from Crete, used to produce white dry whites, sometimes aged in oak.
Agiorgitko- Greece (Red Grape)
The most notable variety of Nemea. These wines stand out for their deep red colour and aromatic complexity. Soft tannins in combination with acidity allow for both fresh aromatic young reds and extraordinary ageing reds.
Kotsifali- Greece (Red Grape)
Pale- coloured, Cretan grape, that is a truly Mediterranean variety. Kotsfali has high alcohol content, intense red fruit aromas and moderate acidity. Kotsifali needs a blending partner that can add colour, acidity and tannins, usually Mandilaria.
Limnio- Greece (Red Grape)
An ancient grape variety indigenous to the island of Limnio- first mentioned by Homer. The wines are full of fresh herbs and small- berried fruit aromas, coming across with clarity and intensity. The palate displays moderate tannins, relatively low acidity and moderate- full body.
Limniona- Greece (Red Grape)
Also Limniona is the rising star of the Greek red grape varieities saved from extinction when only a few vines were left. The wines combine extract, concentration, acidity and flavour without leaning towards fatness and volume. Limniona is thought to be originating from Thessaly although it is increasingly found in other regions all over Greece.
Krassato- Greece (Red Grape)
Krassato is the heart of Rapsani, the red dry wine made out of the vineyards of the “godly” Mount Olympus, Krassato yields wines with a deep Ruby red colour, a nose full of character, showing leather notes and black, sweet fruits. On the palate they are rich, high in extract, dense in structure, moderate in tannin and relatively high in alcohol. Krassato responds very well to oak aging, especially in top quality new oak barriques.
Mavroudi- Greece (Red Grape)
The Mavroudi variety owes its name to the dark, nearly black colour of its berries. This dark colour is also the reason why Mavroudi is used mostly in the production of dark red wines, though they remain rare. Either on it’s own or as part of a blend, Mavroudi is stamped with such a forceful personality that no oenophile with his wine can remain indifferent to it.
Mandilara- Greece (Red Grape)
Also known as Amorigano, mainly cultivated on the islands of Rhodes and Crete. The most deep- coloured variety in Greece with intensity of aromas and flavours. Relatively small bodied but with plenty of acidity and tannin. Therefore, Mandilaria’s role is frequently to act as a colouring agent in many blends.
Mavrodaphne- Greece (Red Grape)
Mainly found in the Peloponnese regions of Achaia and Ilia (as well as the Ionian Islands). Usually associated with a pale, tawny- red, sweet, fortified wine. Silky, fine- grained and faintly tannic; impressive and extraordinary complex when aged in oak barrels for years, even decades. Very promising dry varietal reds too.
Mavrotragano- Greece (Red Grape)
Relatively recent discovery, found on the island of Santorini, with deep, dense colour, a concentrated and “old Viney” nose, but without a single note of hotness. It is rich on the palate and coated with graceful tannins that can stand up to two years in oak. A rising star.
Stavroto- Greece (Red Grape)
Stavroto is cultivated only in the area of Rapsani, central Greece, where together with a Krassato and Xinomavro it yields PDO Rapsani wines. It’s resplendent colour is responsible for the ruby red in Rapsani wines while it’s ostensibly tough tannins soften quickly giving way to those of Xinomavro without, however, relinquishing their hold on its own spicy aromas and quaffable taste.
Xinomavro- Greece (Red Grape)
The predominate grape variety in Macedonia, producing wines that rise to prominence with aging. Displays bright red colour, strong tannins, good structure and elegance. Xinomavro displays a complex aromatic character, with red fruits, tomatoes, olives, subtle spice, dried prunes, tobacco and nuts present, accompanied with wood ageing characteristics. Long ageing potential in bottle.
What % of Greece’s varieties are indigenous?
What are Greece’s most planted varietals?
Savantino- used to be in retsina, now a single variety Roditis Agoritiko Xinomavro- Pinot/ Nebbiolo like variety C/ Sauv Assytirko Moschofilero Chardonnay