Hellenic Hits

10/25/21 -

In honor of our new Greek selections, we look to the Ancient Olympics and Mythology for inspiration. Our 5 new wines hail from the North, the Peloponnese ( the hand ) and an island as we embark on our own Odyssey. Starting with our wines from nearby the birthplace of the Olympics, we head to the Peloponnese to the land called Arcadia. In ancient mythology, Arcas was a son of Zeus, a hunter who became King of Arcadia. It is also the birthplace of Pan the mythic half man/half goat. Pan’s homeland – and the main seat of his worship – was Arcadia, the mountainous, wild, and rustic central region of Peloponnese. Here the god spent most of his days wandering the forests, playing haunting melodies on his pipes, chasing nymphs, and taking naps in secluded places during the heat of the noontide. This is the inspiration for our first wine:

The Magic Flute


Troupis Winery is located in the heart of Mantinia at an altitude of 700 meters in the region of Fteri or “fern”.

The continental climate together with the soils of the high Mantinia plain, which are a well-drained and clay-rocky lead to the production of exciting, aromatic white wines.

Troupis’ crisp Assyrtiko is fermented in stainless steel tank and displays the slight perfumes of the surrounding Arcadian underbrush and bramble. An unusual retsinated version of Assyrtiko from high altitude vineyards, the wine captures the thrill of schussing down a mountain slope surrounded by pine trees in the early morning sun.  As one famous olympic skier said :" You have to be a little crazy to be a downhill skier."


Traveling a little farther northeast to Corinthia, we arrive at the single woman winery of Heraklia. Corinth is reknowned for its hero Bellophron , son of Poseidon who thanks to Athena was able to tame and ride the winged horse Pegasus and kill the Chimera tri-headed beast.  Just as singleminded, Anna Heraklia started the winery herself with her family's plots behind the house, using minimal intervention and traditional organic farming practices. Her wine is a great showcase for Greece's most widely planted grape, Agiorgitiko.

Bellophron slaying the Chimera


Moving west from Corinthia to the port town of Patras, we hop a ferry to the Island of Caphalonia in the Ionian sea just south of Corfu and Albania. From a sommelier turned winemaker, Panos Sarris has taken over his family's vineyards and created the domaine instead of selling their grapes to the local coop.

View from Fagias

Vineyards are located in “Panochori” and “Fagias”, covering 2.2 acres planted in early 1980s and consisting entirely from Robola vines, an indigenous variety that is grown exclusively on the island?, and is recognized world-wide as one of the finest white varieties. In 2012 and 2013, Sarris won Decanter's Gold Medal.

“Fagias” is the heart of the zone of Robola and is a place of wild beauty with magnificent views laying on the steep slopes of Mount Enos at an altitude of about 700 meters, with limestone ground. The harsh landscape that is organized in terraces, the intense sunshine throughout the year, the rich soil, the forest of black pine that lays just above, the sea breeze that comes from the coast and the well drained ground are all factors which determine the distinguished style of this exceptional vineyard.


From Caphalonia we hop another ferry up the coast to the northern border with Albania and disembark at Igoumenitsa. From there we drive northeast towards Greece's second city Thessaloniki and head up into the mountains of western Macedonia. We arrive at Goumenisa, the ancient capital of Macedon and the seat of the Greek Orthodox diocese. Here, the brothers Tatsis have expanded their grandfathers' domaine since taking over in 1996. In 2002, they converted to biodynamic viticulture.

Xinomavro (greek for acid black) is a dark-skinned grape variety widely planted in northern Greece. The variety is highly regarded in its native Greece as the finest red wine the country has to offer. With its characteristically high tannin and acidity, it is often compared to the famous Barolo wines from Piedmont, Italy. There has even been past suggestion of a possible relationship between Xinomavro and Nebbiolo. It's classic descriptors are of tomato leaf, prunes and strawberries. In order to tame the young Xinomavro, Goumenisa allows for the blending of a minimum of 20% Negoska.  Negoska's rich, dark-fruit laden palate and earthy characters, comparatively low acid and soft tannins more than compensate for Xinomavro's incredibly high acidity and light color.

Local storytelling says that wines from the indigenous Greek varieties of Xinomavro and Negoska were the wines of choice of Philip, the King of Macedonia, father of Alexander the Great. Further to this, legend also has it that great quantities of wine from the region were transferred during the 1st World War to France because it was so exquisite.

King Phillip and Alexander the Great












We end our odyssey by driving straight east in Macedonia to the town of Serres near the Bulgarian border. Albeit a young winery having started in 1988, they have made a name for themselves by reviving lost indigenous varietals and creating the first Serres PDO wine.

"Our land," explains the winemaker, "has been inhabited since the era that human beings from hunter-gatherers switched to farming. Theye started storing the food and created the first human societies called “ polismata” or “ polis”. Pentapolis is the name of the village where our vineyards and winery are located and we dedicated one of our wines by giving it the name “ Polis”, in order to honour the wine growers of this land throughout the centuries."

"Polis" is an interesting blend of Malagousia, Assyrtiko and Asprouda, the latter being one of the indigenous grapes they revived. It adds body and weight to the elegant Assyrtiko , in short fleshing out the wine.

We leave on this last note from our winemakers: “When I walk through the vineyards I feel the untold and lost stories,  the ones that have not even arrived to become myths. I think of the myths, particulary the king of Idones, Lykourgo that captivated Dionysus and forced him to work in the vineyards. I think of the mythical Orpheus that climbed Mountain Paggaion with his lyre in his hands. I think of the myth of Sileas who forced passers-by to work in the vineyards."

Statue of Dionysus, God of wine
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