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Located in northern Greece, the region has a tradition of polyculture. The climate is harsher than the rest of the country, experiencing extremes in the summer and winter temperatures.
The area is ideally suited for the production of dry red wines from the Xynomavro grape. There are three OPAP Appellation of Origins in the area: Naoussa, Goumenissa and Amyntaion.
Amyndeon: In 1971, the appellation of Amyndeon was created for red, rose and sparkling wines from the Xinomavro grape. The appellation rests on a plateau of Alluvial soil from 540-700 meters above sea level. The area of Amyndeon enjoys a temperate microclimate with cold winters and moderately warm summers with low humidity. In order to qualify for the Appellation, an Amyndeon red must have at least 85% Xinomavro and up to 15% other grapes. Xinmavro in this region is very similar to Pinot Noir in texture and flavor. Wines produced here are aromatic, medium bodied with moderate tannins that require a few years of aging before consumption. White wines made in this area qualify for the Regional Wine of Florinas Appellation, which is a city within the region of Amyndeon.
The center of the mainland is primarily a fertile plain that is surrounded by various mountain ranges and bodies of water. Thessaly has two OPAP Appellations: Rapsani and Ankhialos. Attika has one OPAP Appellation: Kantza.
The Rapsani Appellation is for red wines only. There are three authorized grape varieties: Xynomavro, Stavroto and Krasato. The OPAP Appellation of Ankhialos is for white wines. The authorized grape varieties are Rhoditis and Savatiano. Appellation law requires 85% of the blend must be from the Rhoditis grape.
Kantza is a small Appellation with Savatiano as the only authorized grape variety.
The southern mainland of Greece is home to some of the most exciting new wines available on the market. Most of the vineyards are located in the northern half of the region on high mountainous terrain. For dry wines, there are three OPAP Appellations and two OPE Appellations.
Peloponnese dry wines can fall under the following three Appellations: Nemea, Mantinia and Patras. Nemea, authorized in 1971, is the appellation authorized for dry red wines produced in the town of Nemea and 15 neighboring towns. The only authorized grape variety is the Agiorgitiko grape. Nemea wines can be produced in a wide variety of styles ranging from a light bodied Beaujolais style to a deep, rich tannic style with aging capabilities, similar to a premier cru Bordeaux.
Authorized in 1971 as well, Mantinia is a plateau on which the wine of the area is grown on. Moschofilero is the only authorized grape variety. The appellation includes dry and semi-sweet styles of white and rose wines. A small amount of sparkling wine is also produced, but is not entitled to the appellation.
Patras, a well-known port town, is known for its sweet Mavrodaphne and Muscat wines. There is one appellation for dry white wine from the rhoditis grape variety. Of the OPE Appellations, there are two sweet styles categorized. The Mavrodaphne of Patras appellation is for sweet wine made from the mavrodaphne and mavri korinthiaki grapes. This wine is fortified and reaches levels of 15% alcohol. The Muscat of Patras appellation is authorized for the region east of Patras. The Moschato aspro is the only authorized grape variety. The wines can be either fortified or unfortified.
Greece is made up of hundreds of islands, many uninhabitable. Of the populated ones, wine making has been practiced for thousand of years. The major islands of significance are Cephalonia, Samos, Santorini, Crete and Rhodes.
Cephalonia is located in the Ionian Sea. In 1971, an OPAP area was designated for dry white wine from the Robola grape. The appellation covers the southwest portion of the island that extends upwards from the ocean to 800 meters above sea level. Click here for a more in-depth profile of Cephalonia and its characteristics.
Samos is located close to Turkey in the Aegean Sea. In 1971, the island was granted the OPAP Appellation for dry and sweet wines made from the moschato aspro grape. The local Cooperative controls the island’s wine production. The vineyards are located throughout the island, from sea level up to 800 meters above sea level. As a result, the harvest begins in late July and lasts until late September.
Santorini, one of the most famous islands of Greece, is home to one of the only active volcanoes in the country. The island is unique in this respect because it has volcanic soil that is very poor quality. The summer on the island is harsh with high daytime temperatures and strong summer winds, better known as the Meltemi winds. The vine survives however. Due to the volcanic activity, the island is enveloped in a nightly fog that acts as a protector and gives moisture to the vine.
Crete is the largest and southernmost island of Greece. The appellations are divided according to the four regions: Sitia.
Greece has 28 Appellations of Origin, two of which are in Rhodes. Specifically:
- RODOS AOC (Appellation of Controlled Origin)
It includes the areas that cultivate the variety white Muscat of the municipalities of Rhodes
- RODOS VQPRD (Appellations of High Quality Origin)
It includes two zones, the one of the white grape variety “Athiri” designated between the municipalities and the other is of the red grape Amorgiano that includes the municipalities Kritinias, Monolithou, Agiou Isidorou, Apollonon, Embonas, Salakou, Mandrikou, Kalavardon, Fanon, Soronis, Theologou, Damatrias and Maritson
In Greece the wines of Appellation of Origin represent 8 – 10% of the total production of wine. In Rhodes, the percentage reaches 90% of the total production in grapes whereas in wines it approaches 40%.
Approximately 7,500 acres of vine are grown on the island in two vine zones (Zone A: Plain – Pedina, Zone B: Hillsides of Mount Attaviros – Orina) Each zone both due to climatic as well as soil differences produce wines of different quality. As in most Aegean islands, the shape of the vines is cyclical – Kipeloides. This guarantees stronger endurance to drought and high temperatures and does not expose the grapes to the strong summer rays.
The vineyards of Rhodes, in small and dispersed areas, never experienced phylloxera (plant lice). For this many grapevines are 50-60 years old. From the 900 tones of must that Emery manufactures every year, over 90% come from steady and long term contracts with grape growers, with vineyards (Zone B) at an average altitude of 720m and performance per acre around 42 HL/HA.