A LUXURY TRAVEL BLOG: Blog names 5 best Greek destinations for wine lovers

Athens, Greece

VIJAY SHAH via MARIA NIKOLAKAKI/A Luxury Travel Blog

 

Greece is known for many things: sun-drenched beaches, impressive and healthy Mediterranean cuisine, and its picturesque mountainous sceneries and hundreds of little islands set in the azure stretches of the Aegean and Ionian seas, but it might come as a surprise to many that Greece is also home to a number of wine-growing regions, and wine-making is in fact one of the oldest industries in the country, with a history going back thousands of years. Wine making and consumption was closely tied with the old Greek religion and was mentioned in great historic sagas such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey. The ancient Hellenes even had a deity of wine, Dionysus.

For many vinophiles (wine lovers) more accustomed to sampling wines from popular markets like Australia, France, Chile and Germany, Greece seems more likely the sort of place where one could sip a few shots of raki or ouzo, but wine?

Travel blog “A Luxury Travel Blog”, run by seasoned traveller Dr. Paul Johnson and a team of 600 writers and guest bloggers, ‘visited’ the country in 2018 and wrote about what it announced were the top five regions for tasting a whole new world of fine wines, the likes of which have escaped the palates of most discerning drinkers. The article was penned by guest blogger Maria Nikolakaki, a Greek native who was a managing partner at top-end villa service Beyond Spaces.

 

Since the difficult political situations of the 1960s, which battered the Greek viticultural landscape, local vineyards have enjoyed a quiet resurgence, and now the various regions have developed and promoted their own unique grapes and specialities, which sadly many mainstream wine aficionados have yet to chance upon.

A Luxury Travel Blog‘s five top destinations for wine lovers is headed at first place the volcanic Cyclades island of Santorini, famous for its black beaches, and also playing host to a number of local and ancient wineries. Grape varieties grown on Santorini include the Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano types, with Assyrtiko being the most well-known. This is a white wine usually aged in oak barrels made from juvenile trees. Another wine variety of very good repute is Vinsanto, a sweet wine made from the same grape and aged for three years before bottling.

In second place is the island of Paros, off the coast of bigger sibling Naxos in the Aegean. Famed for its small traditional villages and largely undiscovered beaches, Paros is also home to the Malvasia grape which is planted over a large part of the island. The wine growers of Paros also like to dabble in other varieties such as Mantilaria, Aidani, Savvatiano and Malagouzia. The vineyards are xeric (with very dry soils) and mostly employ the “aplotaria” technique; the vine spreads along the soil, parallel with the ground so that the leaves and seed are protected from the wind and sunlight. The island has mild winters that are conducive to wine growing and its products are so reputable that they have protected designation of origin status designated by the European Union, a privilege also shared with top spot Santorini.

Coming in third place is the well-known island of Crete, which is said to have some of the best organised wineries in all of Greece. Indeed, Cretan growers are said to have set the bar for the national wine-making industry as a whole. Crete is home to white varieties Malvasia di Candia, Vilana and Vidiano and red types such as Mantilari, Liatiko, and Kostifali. The local tourism industry has strongly emphasised the local wine growing traditions and visitors can embark on special ‘wine tours’ to get a full flavour (pun intended) of how the locals like to drink.

The fourth best destination for wine fanciers is the mainland village of Nemea, an hour’s drive from Greek capital Athens and located on the Peloponnese peninsula. This village is famed for its red wine, which has its own designation (appellation) marking it as very unique even among the uniqueness that is Greek wine. There are forty wineries located in this one village, according to A Luxury Travel Blog, and its indigenous grape is named after a local church dedicated to Saint George. The village also is an important doorway to the Peloponnese’s travel economy, and the local tipple can certainly be thanked for its contribution to that.

In fifth place is the northern village of Naoussa. The fields around this undiscovered place heave with cherries, apples, peaches, but also importantly, the local red grape variety known as Xinomavro. The village lies around 100 kilometres (62 miles) from the port of Thessaloniki and is credited with being the first wine region to receive an official appellation far back in 1971, and has served as a model for other regional appellations. Naoussa uses the Xinomavro fruit to produce a local red savoury wine. Xinomavro is also popular in the neighbouring country of North Macedonia and across the Greek Macedonia region. Naoussa’s vineyards are located predominantly on limestone-rich clay soils, which gives its wine bolder fruit characteristics, according to the blog. The village has its own wine roads, so visitors can tour the area, tasting as they go.

A Luxury Travel Blog‘s experiences of the Greek wine industry shows how many gems the country offers for discerning wine drinkers. A veritable paradise of variety and discovery with much to offer and experience.

SOURCES:

Vijay Shah { विजय }, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/VShah1984

A Luxury Travel Blog, Twitter, Twitter Inc. https://twitter.com/luxury__travel

“The top 5 destinations for wine lovers in Greece” – Maria Nikolakaki, A Luxury Travel Blog (17 September 2018) https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/2018/09/17/the-top-5-destinations-for-wine-lovers-in-greece/

“About A Luxury Travel Blog” – A Luxury Travel Blog https://www.aluxurytravelblog.com/about/

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