Over the last few months, Wine Columnist, Nicole Andersen, a.k.a. Greek Wine Girl, has shared her Greek wine travels. Get more tasting notes & recommendations.
Hi there, it’s me, Greek Wine Girl! Over the last few months, I’ve been sharing with you stories and tasting notes from my trip to Greece earlier this summer. Here’s Part 3 of my travelogue. This time, we’ll stop at one last Peloponnesian outpost before heading to the islands.
Greek wine trek: Kalavryta
From Tripoli, we made our way to Kalavrita, to visit Tetramythos Winery. The history in the area is rich and a feeling that something bigger exists here is an understatement. Growing up, local brothers Aristides and Stathis Spanos found their calling early on. The Tetramythos story begins in 1999 when they met Panagiotis Papagiannopoulos, an oenologist who also hails from the area. This trio is young and dynamic. Though they do follow some traditional methods, they like to experiment and try new things. Together, embracing organic farming techniques, they planted their vineyards. Soon after, they produced the first bottles of Tetramythos. By 2003, they began construction on a beautiful winery, which was completed in 2004.
Rising from the ashes
Things were going very well, but then in the summer of 2007, devastating forest fires broke out in the area. The fires claimed more than 670,000 acres of forest, olive groves, and farmland — not to mention countless homes and the lives of more than 80 people. If you take the ATV’s up the vineyards the fires’ imprint still exists, leaving its mark on the land. The trio regrouped, replanted, and got back to business.
The winery was also rebuilt after the fires. Things are moving forward, however, when you walk down to the cellars, there is a faint reminder of the past: hints of the smoke still linger in the air. There are some old bottles stacked against a wall — charred labels and all.
Today, the vineyards are located at 650-1050 m above sea level, and total about 40 hectares. Of those, 85% are dedicated to indigenous varieties, of bush vines. This is a fabulous designation for Roditis — second only to Patras.
Hotels, next generation
Tetramythos also owns and operates two nearby hotels. The adjacent guest house is more rustic — this is where I stay when I visit. Down the road is a newer, more modern hotel.
This winery is family operated and the next generation is eager to get to work. Stathis’ son, Panayiotis, age 6, is being raised in the vineyard. He already has an affinity for the grapes. It’s in his blood. I can’t wait to see him evolve.
Here are my personal favorites and tasting notes:
2015 Black of Kalavryta
100% Mavro Kalavryta
Production: 14-year-old vines, 15-day extraction, only using free run juice, stays in the tanks for 4-5 months.
Tasting Notes: The current vintage is drinking most unique than the past ones. It’s fruity and cool and has notes of gummy red candies, low tannins, and medium acid.
NV Tetramythos Retsina
Production: Amphorae-fermented and sealed with a beeswax/pine resin mixture. This wine is resinated with pine from local vineyards using tea bags at a ratio 1 kilo resin/1,000 liters of wine during alcoholic fermentation.
Tasting notes: Faint hints of pine, lemon, with mineralogy and acidity which are very forward. This is a new age of retsina, that will change everyone’s opinion of the storied wine.
More Greek wine travels
What a wonderful time we had on the mainland. From Tetramythos we drove to Athens for some rest. Early the next morning, we boarded a speed boat to Paros.
Find out more about this summer’s island Greek wine adventures, in the final piece in this series, Greece and Her Wines – Part 4
Until then, enjoy Greek wine — and responsibly. Στην υγειά μας! – Cheers!
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