Greek Wine Regions - Aegean Islands

Posted by Ken Miller on

Please find below a look at the wines of the Aegean Islands of Greece, an arid wine region consisting of many islands between Mainland Greece and Turkey, stretching down towards Crete - including Samos, Santorini, Límnos, Paros and others. 

White Grapes –

  • Assyrtiko – complex white grape from Santorini, offers acidity, apple and lemon flavours, saline minerality and ability to express terroir. Age worthy, considered very fine
  • Muscat Blanc (Samos), Athiri (Santorini), Malvasia (called Monemvasia)

 Red Grapes –

  • Limnio – an ancient variety from Limnos, making deep well flavoured wines, mentioned in Homer and many other ancient texts
  • Mandilaria (Paros, Santorini), Mavrotragano

 MAP – Greek Wine Regions

Santorini

A small volcanic island group in the southern Aegean, ancient Thira and possible source of the Atlantis myth. Santorini has almost no rainfall; the vines, curled up like birds nest on the volcanic soil, rely on morning mists rising from the ancient volcano’s caldera for moisture. This incredible terroir produces white wines of superb quality - with lemon, tropical hints, minerality and saline flavours. Nykteri (night harvested) Santorini white wines are oak aged and tend to have higher alcohol, but retain that refreshing acidity.

Santo Nykteri, PDO Santorini, Greece 2016 – Creamy and fruit driven dry Assyrtiko from the Santorini Co-op. Real power. Jancis Robinson 16.5/20 (2015), Decanter World Wine Awards - Silver 92/100 (2018)

Avantis Estate Dolphins Santorini Assyrtiko, PDO Santorini, Greece – Intense aromas of lemon blossom and peach, undercut with salinity and white pepper adding balanced acidity. Jancis Robinson 17/20 (2014), Decanter World Wine Awards - Silver 91/100 (2017), IWC Commended – 2018, Tom Cannavan wine.pages.com 91/100 (2017)

Artemis Karamolegos, 'Santorini', PDO Santorini, Greece – Elegant nose dominated by the aromas of stone fruits, citrus fruits, and stony minerality. Notes of flowers like jasmine and herbal like mint derived from the percentage of Athiri-Aidani giving in this way many layers of flavour. Jancis Robinson 17/20, Tom Cannavan 93/100, Decanter WWA 2019 - Silver 92/100 (2017)

Hatzidakis Santorini Familia, PDO Santorini, Greece - Intense Assyrtiko from the leading lights of winemaking on Santorini. Bright yellow colour with lemon and white flowers nose. Smooth and aerial on the palate with a gentle and refreshing acidity on the finish. Jancis Robinson 17.5/20 (2016)

Thymiopoulos Atma Red, Naoussa, Macedonia, Greece 2015 - Red fruits, crisp acidity, and round silky tannins. Long and luscious palate. Blended in Macedonia, but including red Mandilaria from Santorini

Paros and Samos

Paros in the Cyclades shares similarities with Santorini, the vines being trained close to the ground due to the hot winds, but without the volcanic soils. It produces red and white wines, plus some sweet wines. On Samos Muscat Blanc á Petits Grains is grown at heights up to 800m, and transformed into Vin de Liquer and Vin Doux Naturel of superb quality.

Moraitis, Sillogi White, PGI Cyclades, Greece – Lovely blend of Assyrtiko and Malagousia, grown in the traditional way on Paros. Fresh aromas of flowers and grapefruit. Jancis Robinson 16/20 (2013), Tom Cannavan 90/100

Samos (EOSS), Anthemis, Vin de Liquer de Samos, PDO Samos (500ml) - One of the world's great fortified sweet wines - ageless Anthemis. Jancis Robinson 16.5/20 (2012), Decanter WWA 90/100 Silver (2013)

Limnio Wines

The vineyards of one of the most historic estates in Greece, Domaine Porto Carras, stretch amphitheatrically over 475 hectares along the western side of Sithonia, Halkidiki (South East of Thessaloniki). Established in the 1960's, the wines bear the PDO Slopes of Meliton identification and are vinified with expertise and care by experienced oenologists in the Domaine’s facilities.

Porto Carras, LimNeon, PDO Slopes of Meliton, Greece 2016 - Lovely fresh 100% Limnio red, with red cherry fruit, that will age nicely. Jancis Robinson 15.5+/20 , Silver IWSC 2018

Porto Carras, Chateau Porto Carras, PDO Slopes of Meliton, Greece 2008 – Superb Bordeaux blend including Limnio, Porto Carras flagship red, with it's own PDO – 17/20 points from Jancis Robinson when tasted in 2018. Gold IWSC 2018 'Outstanding'