Archive for the ‘Peloponnese’ category

How to pronounce Moschofilero

September 13, 2011

What better way to launch our fall 2011 Greek Grape Name and Appellation Pronunciation Project than Moschofilero, the most widely known Greek grape variety outside of Greece?

And who better to “speak” the grape name than Yannis Voyatzis, Boutari’s chief enologist and the man credited by many for revolutionizing the way the world perceived the food-friendly Moschofilero grape?

And what better place to serve as backdrop than the vineyards of Moschofilero that roll over the high plateau of the Manitinia appellation, where Boutari grows its fruit for its most popular wine?

For all of the videos to date, please click here.

And stay tuned for weekly updates!

Greek wine: “Who knew?” asks Vegas Wineaux.

July 23, 2011

Here’s what super fabu Vegas Wineaux (left) had to say about the 2005 Moschofilero by Boutari, which she discovered at a recent blind tasting she hosted.

“The Moschofilero surprised, because that’s the name of the actual grape from the Peloponnese (doesn’t that sound sexy?), and it was quite good. The descriptions of the older wines that I was able to find all came from the time that they were young. The description that I was able to find on the Moschofilero described it as straw-colored with a greenish tint. Six years after vintage, it is a shimmering gold. And, yes, I’m still stunned… The moral of this story? Don’t deny yourself the experience of trying wines from different areas. There’s a reason why the people make the wines; we may not like them, but we gain more experience, educate our palates, and occasionally find the gem.”

Vegas Wineaux, we love your style! 🙂

The heart and soul of Moschofilero

July 1, 2011

It’s been quite a week here at the Boutari Social Media Project and it ended with a visit today to the Mantinia (Mantineia) appellation in the Peloponnese (southern Greece, above), where the plateau, surrounded by mountains, reaches more than 600 meters a.s.l.

Most people in the wine world tend to think of Greece as a “hot weather” wine country. In fact, places like Mantinia enjoy a “continental” climate where high-altitudes make for cool summer evenings in the months leading up to the harvest.

If you’ve ever tasted Boutari’s classic Moschofilero, you know that it is a fresh, bright wine, with healthy acidity and judicious alcohol (around 11%). Now you know why! 🙂

The last “official” meal of my trip was served in the heart of the Moschofilero vineyards: salads, roast pork, cheese, and Moschofilero (still), as well as a sparkling Moschofilero, one of the winery’s experimental wines. That’s Boutari’s chief enologist, Yannis Voyatzis, the dude who put Moschofilero on the map, directing the implementation of this wonderful meal.

There are many more wonderful meals to recount and many tales to tell of my trip along the wine trail in Greece.

But now it’s time for me to take a break and do some sight-seeing in Athens before heading back to Texas.

Thanks to everyone for following along this week. See you in a few days!

Greek wine basics: history of the Peloponnese

March 6, 2011

The following post is the fourth in a series of Greek wine basics. It’s been transcribed from Konstantinos Lazarakis MW’s The Wines of Greece (London, Mitchell Beazley, 2005, currently out of print). While Lazarakis’ book is difficult to find these days, it remains THE number-one resource for information — technical and historical — on the wines of Greece. We highly recommend it. You’ll find an archive for our Greek Wine Basics series in the right-hand navigation of our home page.

Above: The ancient theater at Mantineia (Mantinia). Photo via the Wiki.

The Peloponnese must surely have been one of the first places on earth to systematically grow grapes and make wine. We know that viticulture has been present for at least 4,000 years — some claim as long as 7,000 years. Although export successes came later than for the Aegean Islands and Thrace, it outlasted many of these regions. The high point came during the Middle Ages, when the port of Monemvasia became world-renowned as the source of the famous Malvasia wine. Monemvasia remained vital for the Malvasia trade at least until the sixteenth century, even if, by that time, other Aegean Islands had become equally important. The next two centuries under Ottoman rule were extremely difficult, and viticulture was neglected. People began relocating to the key coastal areas, bringing vineyards with them.

A turning point in the viticultural history of the Peloponnese was the development of raisin plantations just after the end of the Ottoman rule in 1828. These lasted until the end of the phylloxera crisis. The region of Corinth was home to Corinthiaki, a variety capable of producing excellent raisins. At the time, the Peloponnese and the Ionian Island of Zakynthos had the exclusivity on Corinthiaki production. Thus, booming sales persuaded vine growers to plant more Corinthiaki vineyards. Corinthiaka vine is a difficult plant to grow: it is highly sensitive to all fungal diseases and responds very badly to rich soils, high-capacity sites, crowded canopies, and high crop loads. In essence, Corinthiaki requires top terroir and careful viticulture. Consequently, all wine grapes have been uprooted from the best parcels of land to make room for ore Corinthiaki. Even today, a century after the end of Corinthiaki’s Golden Age, there is no dilemma in a grower’s mind — planting a site with Corinthiaki can be as much as three times more profitable than growing wine grapes, even if the latter attracts top prices. This has been the area’s vine-growing curse. It is certain that without Corinthiaki the Peloponnese would have been a differnt, more diverse wine region.

Despite the difficulties, vine-growing persisted in the Peloponnese. Real growth emerged after World War II, mainly in the centre and the north, in Patras, Mantinia, Nemea, and the Corinthian coast.

Greek wine basics: Peloponnese

February 20, 2011

The following post is the first in a series of Greek wine basics. It’s been transcribed from Konstantinos Lazarakis MW’s The Wines of Greece (London, Mitchell Beazley, 2005, currently out of print). While Lazarakis’ book is difficult to find these days, it remains THE number-one resource for information — technical and historical — on the wines of Greece. We highly recommend it.

It is especially difficult to generalize about the climate here. Overall, the area is one of the southernmost parts of Greece, falling between the latitudes of 38.15 and 36.17 degrees — only Crete, Rhodes, and a few other Aegean Islands are further south. The climate can be considered broadly Mediterranean, with mild winters, short springs, hot and dry summers, and prolonged autumns. Nevertheless, the Peloponnese is exposed to all sorts of influences: it is affected by the Meltemia winds of the Aegean, unsheltered from either the cold northern winds or the hote Livas blowing from Africa. Since the rain-bearing clouds travel in an easterly direction, the western part of the district is much more humid than the rest. For example, Pyrgos in Ilia receives an annual average of 920 millimetres of rain (thirty-six inches), Mantinia, in the centre, has 780 millimtres (thirty-one inches), and Nemea, less than fifty kilmetres further east, just 410 millimetres (sixteen inches).

These vast permutations of altitudes, slopes, and exposures, and the presence or absence of the sea’s influence create numerous different mesoclimates. For example, overall Triopoli might receive less rain than Pyrgos, but from June to September, it gets ninety-three millimeters (3.6 inches) while Pyrgos receives about forty per cent less, just fifty-five millimeters (2.2 inches). However, over the same period, the average atmospheric humidity of Tripoli is thirty-five per cent lower than Pyrgos.

The Peloponnese is divided into seven administrative prefectures, six of which are located on the periphery of the region, with Arcadia in the centre. Running clockwise from the north, the prefectures are: Achaia, Corinth, Argolida, Arcadia, Laconia, Messinia, and Ilia.


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