Fast and furious - the Peloponnese

By: Markus Stolz

 


There is one winemaking area in Greece, where tremendous financial investment has been undertaken in recent times: the northern part of the Peloponnese. During the last decade, new wineries have mushroomed and vineyard prices have risen steeply. There have even been some heated rows between some of the top winemakers in the pursuit of land of the very best terroir.  

Markus Stolz is on the ground in the region and we are thilled to have his unique persepctive on these wines to share with you. Being based in Athens, Markus has easy access to the world of Greek wines and is able to offer us insights that can only come from personal visits, and relationships, with the local producers. Greek wines are an exciting, growing part of the market and worth learning more about.

Markus Stolz: An introduction

Markus Stolz, originally from Germany, lives with his Greek wife and his four children in Athens, Greece, where Greek wines first captivated him. He holds the Advanced Certificate of the WSET. Markus authors Elloinos, a blog that shares his passion for Greek wines and the Greek culture, and can be found on Twitter @elloinos.
The Peloponnese is the most southern part of mainland Greece. It is an area of utter and bewildering beauty, marked by a great number of mountainous zones. In fact, only very few low altitude plains can be found. The climate is overall Mediterranean with short winters and hot summers, but marked differences in humidity and rainfall exist. The poor soil conditions make it often hard to grow anything but vines.  
Viticulture has existed for at least 4000 years, and the Peloponnese is one of the very first places on earth where wine was produced. During the Middle Ages, the Malvasia wines of Laconia were world-renowned and at this time also marked the high point for the wine production.

The Turks invaded Greece in the 15th century and occupied large parts of it until 1828. Under the Ottoman rule, the consumption of alcohol was forbidden and as a result, viticulture became neglected. It took another good hundred years after Greece regained its independence, for growth in winemaking to be resumed. The real dynamic wine production started only 25 years ago, and accelerated during the last decade.

Today, some of the most energetic and best-known vintners are to be found here. The Peloponnese is the second largest wine producing area in Greece. As can be seen on the map, there are 7 prefectures, with every single one having significant vine plantations.

Below I introduce the different Peloponnese wine regions and some of its most remarkable winemakers.


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Comments

  • Snooth User: Duker001
    84235 37

    Can't you guys add a "print" function to these
    great articles? Sure would save a lot of printer ink!
    Thanks,
    John M.

    Jan 11, 2010 at 12:00 PM


  • Snooth User: skuatt
    87766 81

    What Duker001 said!

    Jan 11, 2010 at 12:29 PM


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,435

    Thanks, Markus, for this very informative survey of the wines of the Peloponnese. Considering the near absolute lack of familiarity most winedrinkers have with Greek wines, I think it would also be useful to provide some more info about Greeek varietials (beyond agiorgitiko), some tasting notes for specific examples of representative wines--and URLs for links to wineries, etc., too. Am looking forward to hearing more from you since you're in such an excellent position for educating us interested-but-ignorant drinkers! ;-)

    Jan 11, 2010 at 1:34 PM


  • Snooth User: atonalprime
    Hand of Snooth
    157790 1,412

    I'm just happy to know a little more about Greek wine now -- thanks!

    Jan 11, 2010 at 1:42 PM


  • This completely intrigues me about Greek wines! They were some of the first to produce them, but they don't seem to be the most prevalent of wines talked about, or on the shelves. I am now on a quest to find and drink Greek wines! Thank you for the information!

    Jan 11, 2010 at 2:50 PM


  • @Duker0001 @skuatt Very valid point, I am sure the Snooth guys are on it.
    @dmcker Point taken, I have to find the time to share more information and would be delighted to do so. Please be patient until I figure out an efficient way to contribute more.
    @atonalprime Cheers, am happy to answer any questions you might have.
    @andfabiana It is so great that you wish to explore Greek wines further, please report back. They are captivating, and it is well worth seeking them out.

    Jan 11, 2010 at 4:35 PM


  • I love the fact that you include a map...its really nice to be able to visualize as we read! THX great job on reporting back to us...wine geeks! Im absolutely captivated with all these cool new indigenous grape varietals.... could they be compared to any other more mainstream varietals? im so privileged to work as Sommeliere in a tapas style restaurant in Montreal...owned by a Greek chef. Consequently, I've tasted most Greek wines I can put my hands on and I have to admit that I am more impressed that dissapointed. Can wait to hear more from you Markus! Miss B Curious

    Jan 11, 2010 at 7:26 PM


  • I am a Tamil.
    We occupy the southern part of South India.
    Our history goes back to three thoursand years plus.
    Our 'Golden Age' called 'Sangam Era' came to an end in the 2nd century AD.
    During the Sangam Era, there are numerous mentions of imported Greek wine.
    The Tamils did make beer from rice and millet. They also made wine from jack-fruit mixed with mango and honey. And there were other rarer wines like pomegranate wine, date wine, etc.
    Beer was home-made also. This was known as 'il-adu-kaL'.
    Inspite of the varieties of local wines and beers, the Tamils imported ship loads of wine from Greece.
    And they paid for it with pure gold.
    Even the wine goblets from Greece were very much priced.
    I always wondered whatever was so special about Greek wines.

    Regards

    Dr.Jayabarathi

    Jan 11, 2010 at 7:35 PM


  • Snooth User: dmcker
    Hand of Snooth
    125836 7,435

    Thanks for the quick response, Markus. Will be looking forward to seeing more from you in the future.

    Jan 11, 2010 at 9:19 PM


  • Snooth User: Plonked
    38885 1

    Can anyone tell me anything about a local wine called [in Greek] "Hermes Blood". Drank a lot of it on leave in early 60's.
    The article was good, and brought back great memories.
    EAW

    Jan 12, 2010 at 1:53 AM


  • @Miss B-Curious - I like your nickname :) You are in a nice postion working as a Sommeliere in a restaurant owned by a Greek chef. Some varieties might be comparable - although only in a very general sense. Agiorgitiko has been compared to Gamay, Xinomavro to Pinot Noir or Nebbiolo. Moschofilero from cooler growing areas could be mistaken as Gewurztraminer.

    @jaybee0110-08 Very interesting, I knew that Greeks wines were famous in ancient times, but not that they were also imported by your people.

    @Plonked: Agiorgitiko is called "lion's blood", as Hercules apparently killed a lion in Nemea where this grape has its home.

    Jan 13, 2010 at 8:25 AM


  • Here is a general article about Greek Wines written by Markus that I posted on my Schiller Wine Blog:

    http://schiller-wine.blogspot.com/2...

    Jan 13, 2010 at 8:28 AM


  • Snooth User: akos54
    264139 1

    I have enjoyed the Skouras Domaine, Argiorgitiko, Nemea, Grand Cuvee 2004 and 2006. deep red color, complex aroma and long finish at the end About 15 Euros..whatever the exchange rate may be at the time

    Jan 13, 2010 at 12:42 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 213,771

    Thanks everyone for such a great response, and to Markus for his writing and great follow-up here. I think we all are looking forward to another installment, and I hear you in regards to the print button.

    Jan 13, 2010 at 7:20 PM


  • Snooth User: Suffie
    103633 5

    My favorite Greek wine is called "Hatzimichalis"

    Another one that's not as good but still pretty good is "Amesthytos"

    Jan 17, 2010 at 12:08 AM


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