The Wines Of Attica

Greek grape harvest 2012

Greek grape harvest

To be enjoyed with all 5 senses

Today I am going to write about one of my favorite subjects – wine. A master of wine told me that you have to enjoy wine with your five senses and I definitely follow his advice! I love to look at the plump, bursting with juices, grapes on the vine, the color of the wine in the glass as I hold it up against the light, I love to hear the popping sound of the cork which fills me with excitement and anticipation  every time and the soothing almost hypnotic “gluck, gluck, gluck” sound of the divine liquid pouring out of the bottle and into my glass.

Every wine has a story to tell

But what fascinates me most is the voyage and not the destination as dear Cavafy taught me. The aromas and  “bouquet” of each particular wine has a story to tell of its distinctive terroir, its homeland. This is perhaps the most fantastic and creative voyage of discovery as one tries to “follow their nose” along the geography and character of each wine. And then there is the thrill of the taste of each wine as it pleasantly rolls over the tongue and the warmth its passing brings to the throat.

Caravaggio's famous painting of Dionysos

Caravaggio’s famous painting of Dionysos

So many excellent Greek wines so little time

Greece is the birthplace of Dionysus, the god of wine and has over a 4000 year history of wine production. The Greek historian Thucydides wrote:

“The peoples of the Mediterranean began to emerge from barbarism when they learned to cultivate the olive and the vine”.

Over the years Greek wines have improved tremendously and Greek winemakers can be compared on an equal level of excellence with most of their international counterparts from other famous wine regions of the world.

Attica wine country in Koropi

Attica wine country in Koropi

Attica is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and the area is blessed with high mountains, opulent soil and a friendly sun, all of which contributes to a great variety of quality wines with the authentic flavour that made ancient Greek wine what French wine is today.

The largest wine making regions in Attica are primarily in the areas of Pikermi, Kapandriti, Koropi, Stamata, Spata and Pallini – all areas which are between a 30 and 60 minute drive from the center of Athens.  The region since antiquity has produced the Savatiano grape variety which produces a dry white wine and Retsina. But Attica vineyards over the years have extended their varieties to other grapes of both Greek and international varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Athiri  and Agiorgitiko. The wine region of Attica has approximately 29,000 acres of vineyards and 32 wineries.

The wine harvest in Greece begins, depending on the region, around the end of August and lasts for one month. By the end of September and beginning of October the juicy grapes have been meticulously picked, stomped,  pressed and gathered into thousands of oak barrels around the country.

Wine Tasting at a winery in Pikermi

Last year’s wine harvest in Greece was particularly good. The higher than normal summer temperatures and reduced rainfall produced a heightened flavor intensity in some grape varieties.

And if in Athens, sign up for the Athens Wine Tasting Tour and learn more about Greek wines and traditional Greek flavors!

This entry was posted in Around Athens, Gastronomy Tours, Greek Food and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.