PDO Wines of Greece (“Protected Designation of Origin”) include the Greek wine category of “Designation of Origin Wines” (AOQS and AOC).

The areas where AOQS wines are produced – “Designation of Origin of Superior Quality” (part of the PDO Wines of Greece) are in essence the historical winegrowing and winemaking areas of Greece. In those areas, winegrowing zones determined on the basis of the borders of communal municipalities have been established, together with certain restrictions regarding altitudes or natural and artificial limits. With the exception of two areas, varietal compositions are determined strictly on the basis of Greek native grape varieties. All zones are subject to restrictions as to the maximum allowable yields per 0.1 hectare and various other prerequisites which wines must comply with. Especially AOQS wines, which carry a mandatory characteristic red band on the neck of their bottles, must be produced by wineries located within their winegrowing zone. In other words, it is not only the grapes which must originate within a certain zone: the wineries vinifying them must be established within that zone as well.

The AOC wines zones – “Controlled Appellation of Origin” (part of the PDO Wines of Greece) are historically and geographically determined winegrowing areas. AOC  wines, which must be vinified by wineries located within their zones, carry a mandatory characteristic blue band on the neck of their bottles, must meet all the prerequisites of AOQS wines and, additionally, have higher specifications as to their content in sugars. They are exclusively sweet wines which are produced in the following two ways:

  • By addition of alcohol originating in wine (previously fortified wines – currently liqueur wines). Such wines are characterized as “vin doux naturel“. The use of alcohol in their vinifications gives them the designation of “controlled” wines.
  • By concentration of the grape contents through various natural techniques (over-maturation on the vine stock; exposure to the sun (sun-dried grapes); sun-drying; or air-drying following the harvest). These wines bear the characterization of “vin naturellement doux”. Should the grapes yielding these wines have been sun-dried prior to vinification, the wines are also entitled to being characterized as “straw wines” or “vin liastos”. No additional sweetening is allowed through the addition of must, concentrated or not, or through the addition of alcohol or any distillate.

PDO Wines of Greece (AOQS and AOC) are required to display certain indications and other information on their labels. These concern aging times (oxidized aging in oak barrels and fermentation in bottles) as well as details of the winegrowing entity producing them.

In the popular zones of PDO Wines of Greece (AOQS and AOC) provisions allow aging in oak barrels (with the exception of the PDO Santorini and PDO Monemvassia-Malvasia zones); bottling (except PDO Monemvassia-Malvasia) and bottle fermentation also in wineries located outside the zones. Thus, PDO Wines of Greece (AOQS and AOC) are also produced by wineries outside the zones that collaborate with wineries within them.

PDO Anchialos

The PDO Anchialos zone (est.1971), characterized by low hilly terrain, lies west and northwest of Pagasitikos Gulf in the district of Magnissia, Thessalia region. It is mainly concentrated around the town of Nea Anchialos (Nea Anchialos, Aidini, Mikrothives) and to a lesser degree near  Almyros (Krokio).

Winegrowing in the area was developed by the refugees from Asia Minor who settled mostly in Nea Anchialos and the villages of Aidini, Kastraki and Mikrothives, where most of the vineyards are still located. Roditis is a variety widely planted throughout Greece. It has numerous clones and a number of different names. Besides the PDO Anchialos blend, it is also found in PDO Patras and PDO Slopes of Meliton. Savvatiano is not as widespread and is normally encountered in eastern Central Greece (Attiki, Viotia, and Evia). Four wineries operate within the zone, with three of them producing PDO Anchialos wines.

Varieties
Roditis (80% minimum), Savvatiano.

Wine type

  • Dry white
  • Medium dry white
  • Medium sweet white

PDO Amynteo

The PDO Amynteo zone (est. 1972) stretches in the southeastern part of the Florina district and mostly on the plateau of the area of Amynteo (Amynteo, Agios Panteleimon, Klidi, Xino Nero, Petres, Rodonas, Fanos), in the area of Aetos (Aetos, Agrapidies, Anargyri, Pedino), Filota (Antigonos, Vegora, Levea ), and Variko (Variko). The altitudes range from 570m to 750m. The plateau is girded by “the 3 V’s”, i.e., the mountains of Vermio (2,052m), Vitsi (2,128m), and Voras (2,554m). Two lakes are also part of the plateau’s terrain: Vegoritida, the largest of the two, is at the plateau’s northeasternmost tip with half of its surface belonging to the district of Pella. Petron, the second lake, lies west of Vegoritida almost halfway through the plateau. One of the PDO Amynteo zone’s characteristics is its sandy soil which has resulted in the presence of many relatively old, self-rooted vines.

PDO Amynteo is the northernmost and has the highest average elevation (615m) among the four PDO wine zones in which the Xinomavro variety is cultivated. The other three zones are PDO Goumenissa, PDO Naoussa and PDO Rapsani. Xinomavro and Amynteo have always been linked in the production of both red and rosé wines, due to the particular favorable mesoclimate of the Amynteo plateau. Case in point, these wine types account for most of the area’s total production. What is more, the area’s PDO blush (rosé) wine is the only one produced anywhere in Greece and one of the only two PDO sparkling wines in the country (the second one is PDO Zitsa). There are seven wineries active within the zone, all producing PDO Amynteo wines.

Variety
Xinomavro 100%

Wine type

  • Dry rosé
  • Medium dry rosé
  • Medium sweet rosé
  • Sparkling dry rosé
  • Sparkling medium dry rosé
  • Dry red
  • Medium dry red
  • Medium sweet red

 PDO Archanes

The PDO Archanes zone (est.1971) lies in the north-central part of the Heraklion district in Crete. One of the region’s three consecutive PDO zones, it is situated in-between the other two. To the east it borders on the PDO Peza zone and to the west on PDO Dafnes. It comprises parts of the areas of Archanes (Ano and Kato Archanes; Vathipetro; Karnari; Patsides), Heraklion (Vasilies; Skalani) and Temenos (Agios Syllas and Profitis Elias).
The boundaries of the PDO Archanes zone begin in an area of historic significance (somewhat farther south of the Knossos archeological site), ending south at Vathipetro where archeological excavations have brought to light one of the oldest Minoan (2ndmillennium BC) wine presses on Crete. Towering in the center of the zone is Mount Yuhtas (811m) which was considered sacred ground in antiquity. The PDO Archanes zone is not as developed as its neighboring Peza zone and it includes only three operating wineries. Although of the same varietal composition as the PDO Peza red, the area’s red wines, due to their higher content of the Mandilaria variety have definitely distinct  characteristics.

Varieties

Kotsifali, Mandilari (Mandilaria).

Wine type

  • Dry red

PDO Goumenissa

The PDO Goumenissa zone (est.1979) extends on the southeastern foothills of Mount Paiko (1,650m), in the southwestern part of the Kilkis district in Macedonia; the zone comprises part of the area of Goumenissa (Goumenissa; Gerakonas; Griva; Karpi; Pentalofo; Stathis; Filyria ) and the areas of Axioupolis (Gorgopi) and Evropos (Polypetro). As legislation stipulates that cultivation altitude be no less than 150m, the total area of the zone is rather limited. In essence, the largest part of the vineyards is to be found along the Karpi-Goumenissa-Filyria axis.

The PDO Goumenissa zone is the smallest of the four zones where the xinomavro variety is cultivated -the other three being PDO Amynteo, PDO Naoussa and PDO Rapsani. The presence of the Negoska variety makes the wines somewhat softer than those of Naoussa. At the same time it intensifies their color and their alcohol content. All five wineries within the zone produce PDO Goumenissa wines.

Varieties

Xinomavro, Negoska (20% minimum).

Wine type

  • Dry red

PDO Dafnes

The vineyards of the PDO Dafnes zone (est.1971) stretch on the western part of the Heraklion district, on the eastern foothills of Mount Psiloritis on Crete (2,456m). The zone includes parts of the areas of Heraklion (Dafnes), Agia Varvara (Agia Varvara; Agios Thomas; Ano Moulia; Douli; Larani; Megali Vrysi; Prinias), Gorgolaini (Agios Myron; Ano Asites; Kato Asites; Pentamodi; Petrokefalo), Paliani (Avgeniki; Venerato; Kerasia; Pyrgos; Siva) and Rouva (Gergeri, Panasos).

PDO Dafnes is the largest of three successive PDO zones (PDO Archanes and PDO Peza being the other two), occupying the northern and central part of the Heraklion region. The Cretan red variety of Liatiko, which is included in the composition of PDO Sitia, has demonstrated tremendous potential with regard to the production of sweet wines. In recent years, many of the area’s wine growers have produced samples of such wines and, in that manner, possibly indicating future trends. Of the wineries active within the zone, eight produce dry as well as sweet PDO Dafnes wines in some cases.

Variety
 Liatiko 100%

Wine types

  • Dry red
  • Sweet red

PDO Zitsa

he Zitsa plateau is situated in the central and western part of the Ioannina district in the region of Epirus, at an average altitude of 650m. To the north, east, and south it is surrounded by hills and mountains. To the west it descends towards Thyamis (Kalamas) River. The PDO Zitsa zone (est.1972) also includes parts of the areas of Zitsa (Zitsa, Karitsa, Protopappas), Ekali (Gavrisioi, Ligopsa) and Evrymenes (Klimatia).

Almost all of the PDO Zitsa zone’s vineyards are fenced in since the area’s boars and other fauna are quite fond of the Debina grapes cultivated there. Traditionally, the greater Zitsa area has produced sparkling wines, as the resumption of fermentation in the spring after the winter interruption due to the cold weather would produce carbon dioxide in the sealed canisters or barrels. This is the method through which PDO Zitsa has traditionally produced the only PDO sparkling white wine in Greece (PDO Amynteo does a sparkling rosé), in three wineries within the zone.

Variety

Debina 100%

Wine types

  • Dry white
  • Semi-sparkling/sparkling dry white
  • Semi-sparkling/sparkling, medium-dry white
  • Sparkling, medium-sweet white

PDO Lemnos

PDO Lemnos wines are produced in the homonymous zone (est.1982) of this northern Aegean island where the white grape variety Muscat of Alexandria is widely cultivated. Although legislation has determined that the entire island is open to winegrowing, in practice, Muscat of Alexandria vineyards are found mostly in its central and southern parts, in the areas of Atsiki, Moudros and Nea Koutali, where they are sheltered from northerly winds.
Lemnos is a midsized, hilly Greek island without any significant elevations. Due to the favorable climatic conditions there, a large percentage of the island’s vineyards are cultivated with organic methods. About 10 years after the establishment of PDO Muscat of Lemnos, the exceptional variety it comes from, Muscat of Alexandria, was also granted the appropriate geographical indication for the dry wines it yields. At present, all seven of the island’s wineries produce PDO Lemnos dry wines.

Variety

Muscat of Alexandria 100%

Wine types

  • Dry white
  • Medium-dry white
  • Medium-sweet white

PDO Mantinia

The PDO Mantinia zone (est.1971) stretches in the central eastern part of the Peloponnesian district of Arkadia (Arcadia), between the mountains of Parnon (2,404m) to the east and Mainalo (1,980m) to the west. The average elevation on the Mantinia Plateau is 660m. The zone includes parts of Tripoli (Tripoli, Agios Vasilios, Agios Konstantinos, Merkovouni, Pelagos, Skopi), Valtetsi (Daphne), Korythi (Agiorgitika, Zevgolatio, Neochori, Partheni, Steno), Levidi (Kandila, Levidi, Orhomenos, Paleopyrgos), Mantinia (Artemisio, Kapsia, Loukas, Nestani, Pikerni, Saga, Simiades) and Tegea (Lithovounia).

“Mantinia” is pronounced with the inflection on its first “i”, i.e., “Mantínia,” rather than on the second “i”, as it is often pronounced or written. The modern word derives from name of the ancient city of Mantíniawhose ruins are located on the plateau’s northern part. Travelers to the area find themselves before the Mantinia Plateau upon exiting the Artemisio tunnel. The plateau is a long stretch of land of approximately 36 km north to south. At the northern end, in the area of Levidi, its width is small but further south it opens up, reaching approximately 18 km. Due to the location and terrain some parts accumulate stagnant waters in winter and are specifically excluded from the zone. Apart from the vineyards in the plain, the Moschofilero variety is also cultivated on the foothills of the mountains surrounding the plateau. Growth of the grapes is slow and harvesting comes late, in October, occasionally posing the risk of the crop going bad due to autumnal rainfall.
PDO Mantinia wines have two distinct aromatic and flavor profiles. The plateau’s grapes are more aromatic, redolent with rose aromas, while the grapes from the foothills bring forth the aromas of citrus fruit and are rather higher in acidity. In either case, Moschofilero and Mantinia are inseparably linked, producing characteristically Greek dry wines. There are 11 wineries within the zone and 20 outside it producing the popular PDO Mantinia wines.

Varieties

Moschofilero (85% minimum), Asproudes.

Wine type

  • Dry white

PDO Mavrodaphne of Cephalonia

Most of the vineyards of Cephalonia are on the western part of this Ionian island, on the Paliki peninsula (Agia Thekla, Damoulianata, Katogi, Kouvalata, Koundogourata, Monopolata, Skineas, Soullaroi, Havdata, Havriata). The second largest area of cultivation is in Elios, Pronni (Arginia, Pastra, Poros, Skala). Smaller areas of vineyards are in Argostoli (Angonas), Livathou (Svoronata, Spartia) and Sami (Katapodata, Mesovounia). The PDO Mavrodaphne of Cephalonia (est.1971) is the only PDO or PGI wine from the district of Cephalonia in which the grapes of the neighboring island of Ithaki (Ithaca) also participate.

The clones of the mavrodaphne variety cultivated in Cephalonia are not the same as those of Achaia (which produce the PDO Mavrodaphne of Patras). The production of wines from wineries outside the PDO Mavrodaphne of Cephalonia zone is permitted provided they are on the island. Dessert wines under the geographical indication “Mavrodaphne of Cephalonia” are produced by four wineries on the island.

Variety

Mavrodaphne of Cephalonia

Wine type

  •  Sweet red

PDO Mavrodaphne of Patras

The PDO Mavrodaphne of Patras wine zone (est.1971) lies in the northern-central part of Achaia district, northernPeloponnese. On the basis of the road network, the zone is divided into three sub-zones. The main and central sub-zone includes parts of Vrachneika (Achaiko, Vrachneika, Theriano, Monodendri, Tsoukaleika), Dymi (Agiovlassitika, Alissos & Kato Alissos, Ano Achaia), Larissos (Agios Nikolaos), Messatis (Agios Stefanos, Thea, Kallithea, Krini, Ovria, Petroto, Saravali), Paralia (Midilogli, Paralia, Rogitika), Farron (Platanovrissi, Halandritsa), and Olenia (Ano Soudaneika, Arla, Lousika, Mazaraki, Flokas, Fostena, Haikali). The eastern sub-zone of Rio (Agios Vassilios, Agios Georgios, Vernardeika, Kato Kastritsi, Platani) is smaller than the main one. The western sub-zone is the smallest of the three and includes parts of Dymi (Kato Achaia, Petrohori), Morvi (Krinos), and Larissos (Petas).

The Mavrodaphne variety exists in different clones in Achaia and the Ionian island of Cephalonia (where it yields PDO Mavrodaphne of Cephalonia wine). PDO Mavrodaphne of Patras naturally sweet wines (vin de liqueur) have to be aged for a period of at least one year in oak barrels of a capacity not exceeding 1,000 litres. If they have been oaked for two years and bottled for one year they can carry the indication “Reserve”. If they have been oaked for a total of seven years (minimum three in the barrel and three years in the bottle) they are entitled to the indication “Grand Reserve”. The Mavrodaphne of Patras dessert wine is the most popular Greek sweet red wine. There are 12 operating wineries producing PDO Mavrodaphne of Patras within the zone and a further 13 joint ventures outside the zone.
Varieties

Mavrodaphne, Corinthian Black currants

Wine type

  • Sweet red

PDO Messenikola

In the southwestern part of Karditsa district in central Greecethere lies one of the most beautiful lakes of the country: artificial Lake Plastira, a very popular tourism destination.PDO Messenikola, one of the two more recently established zones (1994) and definitely the smallest PDO wine zone (measuring a mere 95 hectares), is situated around the lake’s northeastern part (Morfovouni; Messenikola; Muscat) at altitudes of up to 750m.

Most of the PDO Messenikola vineyards lie in a captivating landscape, in a valley which climbs from the Karditsa plain towards the lake. In springtime, the entire valley is lost amid the purple flowers of the area’s Judas trees. The name of the black Messenikola variety and the homonymous village possibly derives from a certain Monsieur Nicola who brought the variety to the area during Ottoman rule. The characteristics of the grape variety, which also yields rosés of note, have made it necessary to fortify it by blending in the carignan and syrah varieties which are also cultivated in the area. PDO Messenikola and PDO Slopes of Meliton are the two Greek PDO wines whose composition includes foreign varieties. As the zone is quite small and there were already wineries in the greater area when it was established, a provisional regulation allows the production of the wine outside the zone provided they are within the Karditsa district. At present, there are three wineries within the region producing PDO Messenikola wines, with one of them situated within the zone’s boundaries.

Varieties

Messenikola Black 70%, Carignan + Syrah (up to 30%).

Wine type

  • Dry red

PDO Monemvassia-Malvasia

The PDO Monemvassia-Malvasia zone includes the areas of Monemvassia, Asopos, Vies and Molai at the southeastern end of the Lakonia region in the Peloponnese. The area is actually the Epidaurus of Limira peninsula, whose tip -the weatherbeaten Cape Maleas (Kavo Malias of legend and lore)- forms, together with its counterpart to the west, Cape Tainaro, the Gulf of Lakonia.

PDO Monemvassia-Malvasia is the newest PDO wine zone, established in July 2010, and has helped in bringing about a revival of the historic, sweet “malvasios oenos” which originated in Monemvassia. From here, the variety spread to the Cyclades and Paros in particular, where it now forms part of PDO Paros whites and reds. From the Cyclades the variety traveled to Crete where, during Frankish rule, by sheer virtue of the volumes it yielded alone it became famous throughout Europe. Oxidized aging of at least two years is mandatory and, if longer, it has to be four years or multiples of 4. Legislation also permits the sale of wines coming from a specific harvest and the blending of different harvests together, provided that the more recent of them is clearly indicated. It is mandatory that the wines bear the double name of «Monemvassia-Malvasia” which must bear a uniform form, shape, and overall appearance. The first dessert wines bearing the geographical indication of “Monemvassia-Malvasia” are expected in 2012 by at least two of the region’s wineries.
Varieties

Monemvassia (at least 51%), Assyrtiko, Asproudes, Kydonitsa.

Wine type
Sweet white

  1. Vin liastos / vin de raisin passerile
  2. Vin de liquer de raisin passerile

PDO Muscat of Cephalonia

The PDO Muscat of Cephalonia wine zone (est.1971) stretches on the western side of this Ionian island, on the Paliki peninsula at the boundaries of the Paliki area (Lixouri; Zola; Katogi; Soulari; Skineas; Havdata).

Apart from yielding PDO Muscat of Cephalonia, the Muscat White variety is also present in four more Greek PDO wines (PDO Muscat of Patras, PDO Muscat of Rio Patras, PDO Muscat of Rhodes and PDO Samos). The cultivated area on Cephalonia is very small and mostly found in the northern part of the Paliki peninsula. Production of wines is permitted on the island outside the zone. Dessert wines bearing the geographical indication “Muscat of Cephalonia” may be either vin naturellement doux or vin doux naturel – vin de liqueur. Provided that the grapes used in production come from their own vineyards of low yields per hectare, vintners can produce sweet wines bearing the additional “grand cru” indication. There are four wineries on Cephalonia.

Variety

Muscat White 100%

Wine type

  • Sweet white

POP Muscat of Lemnos

he Muscat of Alexandria white grape variety, which yieldsPDO Muscat of Lemnos, is extensively cultivated on the homonymous northern Aegean island. The cultivation zone (est.1971) comprises the entire island but the vineyards are located mainly in the central and southern parts, in the areas of Atsiki, Moudros and Nea Koutali, where they are sheltered from the northerly winds.
PDO Muscat of Lemnos dessert wines may be either vin naturellement doux or vin doux naturel – vin de liqueur. Provided that the grapes used in production come from their own, private vineyards of lower yields per hectare, vintners are allowed to add the indication “grand cru” on the bottle. Five of the seven wineries operating on Lemnos produce dessert wines under the geographical indication “Muscat of Lemnos” and all produce PDO Lemnos dry wines.

Variety

Muscat of Alexandria 100%

Wine type

  • Sweet white

PDO Muscat of Patras

Besides Roditis and Mavrodaphne, the grape varieties which form the bases of PDO Patras and PDO Mavrodaphne of Patras wines respectively, another variety cultivated in the Achaia district, northern Peloponnese, is Muscat White, which yields PDO Muscat of Patras . This variety’s cultivation zone (est.1971) is clearly smaller than the other two and includes parts of the Roditis and Mavrodaphne zones. It is found in the areas of Vrachneika (Achaiko, Vrachneika, Theriano), Dymi (Agiovlassitika, Alissos & Kato Alissos, Ano & Kato Achaia, Niforeika), Larissos (Agios Nikolaos, Riolos), Messatis (Agios Stefanos, Thea, Ovria, Saravali), Paralia (Midilogli, Paralia), Rio (Rio, Agios Vassilios, Agios Georgios, Argyra, Vernardeika, Ano & Kato Kastritsi, Drepano, Platani, Psathopyrgos), Farres (Vasiliko, Isoma) and Olenia (Ano Soudaneika, Arla, Lousika, Mitopoli, Fostena, Haikali). A small section is situated in the northeastern part of the city  of Patras area.

Muscat White is often called “Moschoudi” in Achaia. It is the white grape variety which, apart from yielding PDO Muscat of Patras, it is also blended into four more Greek PDO wines (PDO Muscat of Cephalonia, PDO Muscat of Rio Patras, PDO Muscat of Rhodes and PDO Samos). The dessert wines bearing the geographical indication “Muscat of Patras” may be either vin naturellement doux or vin doux naturel (vin de liqueur). Provided that the grapes used come from privately-owned vineyards of low yields per hectare,  vintners are permitted to produce sweet wines bearing the additional “grand cru” indication. There are seven wineries operating within the zone and three more, on a cooperative basis, outside it.

Variety

Muscat White 100%

Wine type

  • Sweet white

PDO Muscat of Rio Patras

The PDO Muscat of Rio Patras (est.1971) zone occupies a stretch of the coastal area along the Gulf of Korinthos (Corinth), east of the city of Patras and the town of Rio in the northern Peloponnese. The zone (est. 1971) is mainly in theRio area (Agios Vassilios, Agios Georgios, Ano and Kato Kastritsi, Argyra, Vernardeika, Drepano, Platani, Rio, Psathopyrgos). Another small part of it is situated northeast of Patras.
Muscat White is often called “Moschoudi” in Achaia. It is the white grape variety which, apart from yielding PDO Muscat of Rio Patras, it is also blended into four more Greek PDO wines (PDO Muscat of Cephalonia, PDO Muscat of Patras, PDO Muscat of Rhodes and PDO Samos). The PDO Muscat of Rio Patras zone is significantly smaller than the PDO Muscat of Patras zone to the west but the two overlap to a considerable extent. The dessert wines bearing the geographical indication “Muscat of Rio Patras” may be either vin naturellement doux or vin doux naturel(vin de liqueur). Provided that the grapes used come from privately-owned, low-yield vineyards, vintners are permitted to add the “grand cru” indication on the bottle.

Its proximity to the city of Patras and the brisk pace of construction in the area has much restricted the POP Muscat of Rio Patras zone land available for cultivation. Nevertheless, some of the best Greek sweet white wines are produced here by the five wineries within the zone which put its limited production to good use. The area’s vista is much enhanced by the Rio-Antirrio bridge whose modern, imposing structure spans the Gulf of Corinth, bridging the Peloponnese with Central Greece.

Variety

Muscat White 100%

Wine type

  • Sweet white

PDO Muscat of Rhodes

The Muscat White and Muscat di Trani vineyards of the PDO Muscat of Rhodes wine zone (est.1971), on theDodecanese island of Rhodes, are few and scattered on small isolated lanes of land in the areas of Archangelos, Atavyros (Embonas, Monolithos), Afandou, Kamiros (Apollona, Fanes) and Kallithea (Psinthos). The PDO Muscat of Rhodes wine zone has neither the extent of land nor the continuity of land that the PDO Rhodes varieties of Athiri and Amorgiano (Mandilaria) have.

The Muscat White variety, apart from contributing to the PDO Muscat of Rhodes blend, also participates in four other Greek PDO wines (PDO Muscat of Cephalonia, PDO Muscat of Patras, PDO Muscat of Rio Patras and PDO Samos). Muscat di Trani is a clone of the Muscat variety that the Italians brought from the town of Trani, Apulia, during their rule of the Dodecanese (1912-1947). However, over time, cultivation of the variety on Rhodes gradually declined with the result that, today, only a handful of vineyards are planted with Muscat di Trani. The dessert wines under the geographical indication “Muscat of Rhodes” may be either vin naturellement doux or vin doux naturel – vin de liqueur. Provided that the grapes used come from privately-owned, low yield vineyards vintners are allowed to display the additional “grand cru” indication. There are two wineries on Rhodes.

Varieties

Muscat White, Muscat di Trani.

Wine type

  • Sweet white

PDO Naoussa

The largest vineyard of the Xinomavro variety in northernGreece lies in the northwestern part of the district of Imathia, on the southeastern slopes of Mount Vermio (2,052m) and at altitudes ranging from 150m to 350m. It is the PDO Naoussazone (est.1972), which includes part of the areas of Naoussa (Naoussa, Giannakohori, Stenimahos), Anthemia (Kopanos, Lefkadia, Marina, Polla Nera) and Dovra (Trilofos, Fytia). The zone has rendered the combination of Xinomavro-Naoussa one of the most dynamic and renowned twin sets in the arena of dry red wines of Greece.

Amid a gorgeous natural setting around the picturesque town of Naoussa -the most distinctly Greek city of wine- and overlooking the Gulf of Thermaikos, the city of Thessaloniki and Halkidiki peninsula there lies one of the most significant vineyards of Greece, that of the PDO Naoussa wines. This is Xinomavro country, where the most multi-faceted native variety of northern Greece reigns supreme. The great diversity of terrain as well as of climatic conditions gives Xinomavro and its robust red wines many an outlet for expression. It is worth noting that the considerable growth the zone has enjoyed originated to a great extent with the interest and investment of local wine growers. Thus, there are 18 wineries within the zone (17 of them are locally owned) and four more outside the zone which produce PDO Naoussa wines on a joint-venture basis. Another noteworthy fact is that the PDO Naoussa zone is the best researched winegrowing zone in Greece and it shows: the grand wine made from Xinomavro of a new era is in the works.

Variety

Xinomavro 100%

Wine types

  • Dry red
  • Medium-dry red
  • Medium-sweet red

PDO Nemea

PDO Nemea (est.1971) is the only PDO wine whose zone stretches over two of the country’s districts. Most of the zone lies in the south-central part of the district of Korinthia and especially in the area of Nemea (Nemea, Aidonia, Ancient Nemea, Ancient Kleones, Galatas, Daphne, Kastraki, Koutsi, Leonti and, Petri). Smaller parts of it are to be found in the areas of Sikyonia (Bozika, Titani) and Stymfalia (Asprokambos, Kefalari, Psari). The zone’s land lying in the northwestern part of the district of Argolida is small and concentrates in the areas of Koutsopodi (Malandreni) and Lyrkia (Gymno).

PDO Nemea is the ancient Greeks’ “flyasios oenos”, a wine linked with the myth of Hercules whose cult was prevalent in the area. Nemea is also where Hercules’ sanctuary is to be found and it is no coincidence that lore refers to the wine of Nemea as “Hercules’ blood”. In earlier times Nemea’s name was Agios Georgios, which is possibly why the variety is known as Agiorgitiko and the area is its main place of cultivation. Both terrain and climate conditions are highly diverse along the land the zone covers. Informally, the zone tends to be divided into three sub-zones which were determined on the basis of the different altitudes and on which the grapes’ maturation process and sum total of characteristics lead to different styles (or types) of wine. Indeed, the Agiorgitiko variety has become the most multi-purpose native red grape variety. Many are the vinification “schools” in Nemea, all offering from fresh red wines to wines of long aging. Especially in the case of the latter, the combination of Nemea-Agiorgitiko constitutes one of the most significant wine presences of the Greek vineyards and their new wines with regard to the dry red type. Another trend that has emerged lately is that of the production of sweet (dessert wines) which fall under the PDO Nemea category. Apart from local winegrowers, there has been considerable outside investment in the area. At present, there are 38 wineries active within the zone, and 35 more outside it that produce PDO Nemea wines on a joint-venture basis.

Variety

Agiorgitiko 100%

Wine types

  • Dry red
  • Medium-sweet red
  • Sweet red

PDO Paros

On the foothills around the mountain of Profitis Elias (726m), in the center of the Cycladic island of Paros, one finds most of the island’s vines. Most of them are old and self-rooted since the pest of phylloxera never spread despite its appearance. The entire island belongs to the PDO Paroszone (est.1981), which produces both white and red wines. However, as Paros is a very popular tourism destination, construction development and the changes in the occupational profile of the island have had a significant limiting impact on viticulture.

Monemvassia is Paros’s white grape variety. Its name alone connotes its origin and corroborates the role the island played in having the variety spread throughout the Aegean and Crete in particular. Equally important was the island’s role in promoting “malvasias oenos” which was the most popular Greek wine during the time of Venetian rule. PDO Paros red is the only PDO wine whose composition includes a white grape variety: That is the Parian way of taming the tempestuous characteristics of the Mandilaria variety, which is also present in the PDO Archanes, PDO Peza and PDO Rhodos wines. There are three wineries on Paros, with two of them producing PDO Paros wines.

Varieties

For the white wine: Monemvassia 100%.
For the red wine: Mandilaria, Monemvassia (ratio of 1:2 by weight).

Wine types

  • Dry white
  • Dry red

PDO Patras

On the northeastern and central part of the Peloponnesian district of Achaia, the PDO Patras zone (est.1972) comprises semi-mountainous and mountainous terrain in the areas of Aegira (Aeges, Vela, Monastiri, Oasi, Seliana, Senevros, Chrysambela or Chrysanthio), Aegio (Daphnes, Koumaris, Mavriki, Melissia, Paraskevi, Pteri, Selinounda, Hatzis), Akrata (Akrata, Ambelos, Valimi, Voutsimos, Kalamia, Platanos and Paralia Platanou), Diakopto (Ano Diakopto, Diakopto, Zahloritika, Kerynia, Mamousia, Trapeza), Dymi (Elaeohori), Erineos (Ano & Kato Salmeniko, Arravonitsa, Damakini, Erinaeos & Neos Erinaeos), Kalavryta (Plataniotissa), Larissos (Velitses, Mihoyo), Patras (Ano Syhena, Elikistra, Mira, Souli, Haradro), Rio (Ano & Kato Kastritsi, Argyra, Pititsa, Sella), Sympolitia (Agios Konstantinos, Alsos, Verino, Graikas, Grigoris, Dimitropoulo, Doukaneyka, Krini, Lakkos, Loggos, Mageiras, Myrovrisi, Neratzies, Rododaphne, Selianitika, Toumba), Tritaia (Aghia Varvara, Agia Marina, Drosia, Erymanthia, Kalfas, Manesi, Roupakia, Skiadas, Skouras, Spartia, Chiona), Farres (Ano Starohori, Vasiliko, Elliniko, Kritharakia, Mirali, Halandritsa), Olenia (Galaneika, Ganeyika, Kato Mazaraki, Mitopoli, Portes, Santameri, Flokas, Haravgi), Kalentzi (Avrami, Agios Georgios, Bouteika) and Leontio (Ano Mazaraki).

The PDO Patras zone is by far the largest PDO wine zone. A large part of it is compact and continuous but many mid-altitude and high-altitude vineyard “isles” are added to it along the way. Its most breathtakingly beautiful part is found in the mountain area of Egialia. With the exception of Crete and some of the Aegean islands Roditis is the Greek white grape variety most cultivated, encountered throughout the country under many clones and names. There are nine wineries within the zone and two more outside it producing PDO Patras wines, the latter under joint venture schemes with Patras operators.

Variety

Roditis 100%

Wine types

  • Dry white
  • Medium-dry white
  • Medium-sweet white

PDO Peza

The PDO Peza zone (established in 1971 for red wine and in 1982 for white wine) is situated centrally and somewhat to the north in the district of Heraklion, Crete, most of it in the Nikos Kazantzakis area (Peza, Agies Paraskies, Agios Vassilios, Alagni, Astrakies, Astritsi, Kalloni, Katalagari, Kounavi, Melesses, Myrtia, Houdetsi). Geographically, it is an unfragmented zone, which also occupies land on the northwestern part of the Arkalohori area (Patsideros, Panorama) and the northern part of Thrapsani (Sambas). The vineyards must be planted at altitudes higher than 300m.

The PDO Peza zone is the easternmost of three successive PDO wine zones in the district of Heraklion. It is far more developed than the other two (PDO Archanes and PDO Dafnes). The red grape variety of Mandilaria -widely planted throughout the Aegean and called Mandilari in Crete- apart from its presence in PDO Peza wine it also contributes to PDO Archanes, PDO Paros and PDO Rhodes wines. Its rough characteristics make it necessary to have it blended or vinified together with other, softer grape varieties. At Peza and Archanes, vintners use Kotsifali; in Paros they blend it with the white Monemvassia; it is only on Rhodes that the variety is vinified on its own. Although not required by regulations, the PDO Peza reds have traditionally contained a ratio of 75% Kotsifali to 25% Mandilaria. There are 11 wineries within the zone producing red wines and five producing white ones.

Varieties

For the white wine: Vilana 100%
For the red wine: Kotsifali, Mandilari (Mandilaria).

Wine types

  • Dry white
  • Dry red

PDO Slopes of Meliton

The PDO Slopes of Meliton zone (est.1982) is located in the Sithonia peninsula, the “middle” leg of the region of Halkidiki on the western slopes of Mt. Meliton (811m), near the Neos Marmaras area. It was the first Greek PDO wine whose composition included foreign grape varieties (12 years later PDO Messenikola became the second one).

The PDO Slopes of Meliton red wine is the only PDO wine whose composition includes  Lemnio -an ancient variety native to Greece (referred to as “Lemnian grape” by Pollux) and Lemnos in particular, where it is commonly known as “Kalambaki”. The variety is quite widespread in northern Greece. The winegrowing zone of Meliton practically belongs to a single owner and PDO Slopes of Meliton wines are produced by his winery.

Varieties

For the white wine: Athiri, Assyrtiko, Roditis.
For the red wine: Lemnio, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc.

Wine types

  • Dry white
  • Dry red

PDO Rapsani

Most of the PDO Rapsani zone (est.1971) in the district of Larissa, Thessalia region, extends on the northeastern side of the valley of Pinios river, in Rapsani, and in Pyrgetos,Lower Olympus. The remaining part lies on the southeastern side of the valley, in the area of the traditional settlement of Ambelakia. Traditionally, the vineyards were planted with approximately 1/3 of all three varieties of this PDO zone each and that practice is still active today.
With the enchanting valley of Tempi as a backdrop, Pinios river’s banks separate the southeastern end of Olympus (2,917m), Greece’s tallest mountain, from the northwestern end of Mount Kissavos (1,978m), revealing a vista of verdant slopes opposite each other, replete with the PDO Rapsani vineyards. The hub of the zone, which is the southernmost of the four where the Xinomavro variety is grown (the other three being PDO Amynteo, PDO Goumenissa and PDO Naoussa), is found at the scenic village of Rapsani whose Byzantine predecessor dates back to the 10th century AD. Up until 2005, the only producer was Tsantali company, to which the PDO Rapsani zone owes its survival. Since 2005, three more wineries have been added in the area.

Varieties

Xinomavro, Krassato, Stavroto (Ambelakiotiko).

Wine type

  • Dry red

 PDO Rhodes

The main winegrowing zone of Rhodes stretches on the central-western part of this Dodecanese island. The zone devoted to the cultivation of the white grape variety of Athiri is much smaller and is concentrated on the slopes of MountAtavyros (Agios Isidoros, Embonas, Kritinia, Lakki, Monolithos, Sianna) and somewhat in the area of Kamiros (Apollona). Amorgiano, as Mandilaria is called on Rhodes, is also cultivated in the same areas but the variety’s total zone of cultivation is wider and partially includes the area of Kamiros (Kalavarda, Salakos, Soroni, Fanes) and Petaloudes (Damatria, Theologos, Maritsa). On the other hand, Athiri, which yields PDO Rhodes wine, is planted at mid-to-high altitudes as opposed to Amorgiano whose cultivation takes places at lower altitudes.

Due to its location, Rhodes was the access gate from where viticulture would enter from the East to spread through Greece. Wine growing and selling has been a part of the life on Rhodes since antiquity, a fact corroborated by the amphorae (sealed with the stamp of Helios) which have been found around the Mediterranean basin. Phylloxera did make its appearance on Rhodes but the terrain is such on the island that the pest had no opportunity to spread. As a result, especially on the higher altitudes of MountAttavyros, there are numerous self-rooted vines of advanced age. The PDO Rhodes red wine is the only one of the four PDO wines where the red grape variety of Mandilaria is vinified on its own (PDO Archanes, PDO Paros and PDO Peza are the other three). There are three wineries producing PDO Rhodes red and white wines.

Varieties

For the white wine: Athiri 100%.
For the red wine: Amorgiano (Mandilaria) 100%.

Wine types

  • Dry white
  • Medium-dry white
  • Medium-sweet white
  • Dry red
  • Medium-dry red
  • Medium-sweet red

PDO Robola

The PDO Robola wine zone (est.1982), on the Ionian islandof Cephalonia, covers a surface area of 180 hectares at altitudes ranging from 175m to 800m. The entire zone is located in the south of the island, on the Omali Plateau (Agios Eleftherios, Valsamata and Fragata, Epanohori, Mihata) and on the western and northwestern slopes of Mt. Enos (1,628m). From the plateau (whose average altitude is 390 m) the zone descends in a northwestern and southwestern direction towards the upland areas of Argostoli (Davgata, Demoutsanata, Dilinata, Troyanata, Faraklata). Going south, the zone descends towards Livathou (Vlahata, Mousata, Peratata), with the main Argostoli-Elios Pronnon traffic axis as its lower border.

The PDO Robola is the only PDO wine named after its grape variety that yields it rather than the area it comes from. In Cephalonia, Robola is the most widely planted variety and flourishes on thin (barren) soil which, at times, is so poor that the Italians’ name for Robola was “Vino di Sasso” (“stone wine”). The slopes of Mount Enos host many self-rooted vines of advanced age. There are 10 wineries on Cephalonia–some outside the zone- all producing PDO Robola wines.

Variety

Robola 100%

Wine type

Dry white

PDO Samos

The PDO Samos zone (est.1970), on the homonymous eastern Aegean island, is one of the most beautiful Greek wine zones. Most of the vineyards are on the northern part of the island, in the areas of Vathi (Vathi, Agios Konstantinos, Ambelos, Vourliotes, Kokkari, Manolates, Stavrinides, Hora Samou) and Karlovassi (Karlovassi, Agii Theodori, Kastania, Kondeika, Kontakeika, Kosmadei, Leka, Platanos, Ydroussa). Small parts of the zone are located in the center of the island, in the Pythagorio area, on the northwestern side (Koumadarei, Mavratzei, Mesogio, Pandroso, Pyrgos), on the northern side (Mytilinii), and in the southwestern one (Pagondas, Spatharei).

Muscat White is often referred to as Muscat Samos since the variety is closely associated with the island. Apart from its presence in the PDO Samos, the variety is also found in four other PDO wines (PDO Muscat of Cephalonia, PDO Muscat of Patras, PDO Muscat of Rio Patras and PDO Muscat of Rhodes). Muscat vineyards are spread on stone terraces mostly around Karvounis (1,153m), Samos’s central mountain, which is also known as Ambelos, after the homonymous village on its northern side. Sizeable vineyards are also found on the northeastern slopes of Kerki (1,443m), Samos’s western mountain. Samos has long had its own particular wine management,  the Union of Vinicultural Cooperatives of Samos being the only producer. This cooperative has succeeded in making the sweet wine of Samos the best known Greek wine abroad, while dessert wines under the geographical indication of “Samos” have also found their way into the international pantheon of excellent sweet wines. Two wineries outside the island which collaborate with the cooperative also market  PDO Samos wines.

Variety

Muscat  White 100%

Wine type

  • Sweet white

PDO Santorini

Santorini, whose official name is Thira, is the southernmost island of the Cycladic cluster in the southern Aegean. For over 35 centuries, the geomorphology and fortunes of the island have been stamped by its volcano’s eruption, one of the most momentous the Earth has ever experienced. It is in this particular ecosystem that one of the most ancient vineyards of the world has been developed, a veritable monument created by nature and men. Vineyards are seen anywhere on Santorini, especially on the island’s central and northern parts. A small part of the vineyards is also located on nearby Thirassia island which is included in the PDO Santorini wine zone (est.1971).

The PDO Santorini vineyard is self-rooted since the pest of phylloxera cannot survive on the island’s volcanic soil. The vines’ trunks are pruned in a wreath-like basket shape (“kouloures” or “ambelies”) within which the grapes, sheltered from the sun and the northerly winds grow with virtually no water. Similarly with the rest of the Cycladic islands, Santorini does have many a native variety but the most important one is that of Assyrtiko. Besides the combination of Assyrtiko-Santorini is an explosive wine couple of exceptional variety and a unique appellation coming together to yield world-class dry whites.

Dry wines marked under the indication of “Nychteri ” necessitate that the grapes be ultra mature and that the wines be of high alcoholic content (a minimum of 13.5% ABV) – mandatorily aged in oak barrels for a period of at least three months. The indication “Vinsanto” regards dessert wines. It necessitates that the grapes be ultra mature and that they have been left to dry in the sun so that they may become desiccated. thus raising the concentration of sugars to at least 370gr/l. Wines bearing the “Vinsanto” indication should be mandatorily aged in oak barrels for at least 24 months. Should they be the result of longer ageing, they should remain in the oak barrels for at least four years or for periods of time which are multiples of 4. The Vinsanto wines could be either “naturellement doux – vin de raisin passerile” or “vin de liqueur de raisin passerile”. Vinsanto wines can be harvest-specific and different harvests can be blended provided the more recent one is indicated.

All 15 of the island’s wine producers offer PDO Santorini dry wines -nine of them using the indication of «Nychteri”. Vinsanto wines are produced by 14 of the island’s vintners. Through the appropriate joint ventures there are another six producers off Santorini also offering PDO Santorini wines.

Varieties

For the dry wine: Assyrtiko (minimum 75%), Aidani White, Athiri.
For the sweet wine: Assyrtiko (minimum 51%), Aidani White (small quantities from other native white grape varieties are allowed).

Wine types

  • Dry white
  • Vinsanto – sweet white

PDO Sitia

The PDO Sitia zone, in the district of Lasithi, Crete, took shape in two stages: The zone for red wines were established in 1971 and is located mainly on the slopes of Lasithi’s northeastern part and the area of Sitia in particular (Sitia, Agios Spyridon, Ahladia, Exo & Mesa Mouliana, Katsidoni, Maronia, Myrsini, Piskokefalo, Sitanos, Skopi, Stavromenos, Tourloti, Hamezi). The white wine zone was established many years later in 1998, is located in approximately the center of the district, on the Lefki Plateau (Ziros, Armeni, Exo & Mesa Apidi, Katelionas, Papayannades, Handras), at an average altitude of 620m and includes land devoted to the cultivation of red grape varieties.

Traditionally the wine grapes of the region of Lasithi were red, mainly those of the Liatiko variety which yielded to the PDO Sitia a smaller bunch with smaller grapes than the Liatiko the PDO Dafnes belongs to did. Systematic cultivation of white varieties began much later: hence the late establishment of thePDO Sitia white wine zone. Yet even now PDO Sitia remains at low levels of production as there are only two wineries within the zone. The combinations of Vilana (which is also blended with the PDO Peza white) with Thrapsathiri and of Liatiko with Mandilaria are unique and interesting and provide the handful ofPDO Sitia wines with particular diversity and organoleptic character. Although not many of the sweet red wines under the geographical indication of “Sitia” are based on an exceptional combination of grape varieties where the sweetness of Liatiko (a variety ideal for the making of dessert wines) is perfectly balanced by the tannins of Mandilaria.

Varieties

For the white wine: Vilana 70%, Thrapsathiri (30%).
For the red wine: Liatiko (minimum 80%), Mandilaria.

Wine types

  • Dry white
  • Dry red
  • Sweet red