The Greeks certainly have an edge on most of the Western world. Democracy, the Olympic games, important philosophy, great theatre, and (most relevant for this post) a long tradition of making wine, are all attributable to the Greeks. In fact, Greece is one of the oldest known wine-producing regions in the world, with evidence of household wine making dating back 6,500 years.
Legacies aside, I’ve had mixed results with modern Greek wines. You just don’t see a lot of them in Canadian stores. So I must admit, I was a little surprised when I learned from my husband that Greece has a number of protected wine regions, in the same way true champagne can only come from the Champagne province of France. One of these regions is Nemea, in the Peloponnese.
Here is where Lafkiotis Winery comes in. Lafkiotis is in the Nemean wine terroir, in ancient Kleonai, producing the most wonderful wines, including some that uses Agiorgitiko grapes. Legend has it that Hercules himself drank a red Agiorgitiko wine before slaying the Nemean lion, resulting in these wines being nicknamed the blood of Hercules.
After almost getting lost (I’m still convinced the only reason we found it was because of a fortuitous detour due to construction), we were lucky enough to visit the winery and sample their wares. I’m not a sommelier, so I won’t try to describe the wines in too much detail, but I wanted to share the ones that stood out to me (and the ones that came home with me…).
First, a white. I generally gravitate towards red wines, but on a hot summer day, the Lafkioti Moschofilero was a reinvigorating way to start. Moschofilero is another protected grape varietal from the Peloponnese. Crisp, citrusy, refreshing.
Next up was the rosé, which tasted as delicious as it looked. I’ll be honest, most rosés taste like Koolaid to me, so my expectations were low. I was blown away by how tasty it was; it tasted like summer.
The finale came with the Agionimo, a beautiful, deep red. The Agionimo is 100% Agiogrgitiko grapes, aged in French oak barrels. I don’t know how many bottles came home with me, but suffice to say that I’ve now drank my fair share of the blood of Hercules.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the beauty of the winery itself. The winery is set in the middle of, well, wine country, with plenty of olive groves to change the scenery of countless vineyards. The tasting room is lovely, with an amazing view of the surrounding landscape. Wine is forthcoming, as is the invitation to see their cellar. If you decide to make your way to the winery, you can make a day of it and visit plenty of surrounding archaeological sites. We went straight to ancient Nemea after a glorious early afternoon at the winery.
To learn more about Greek wines in general, check out this site.
Have you done a wine tasting before? Any recommendations?