Just a 30 km drive from Athens, Mesogaia is home to an ancient vineyard surrounded by new wineries. Here old Savatiano vines still flourish alongside novel varieties. Located around Kapandriti, Koropi and Spata, the wineries of West Attica offer various tours, tastings and seated meals. Native Greek grapes like Savatiano and Roditis, are paired with a few select international wines.
The vineyards of Attika are experiencing an impressive renaissance that has elevated it to one of Greece’s pre-eminent wine regions. In addition to a new focus on high quality grape varieties, Attika wineries are adopting progressive methods in both the vineyard and cellar. This change is led by a generation of oenologists who are proving that Attica can produce wines with international appeal while still honoring the region’s long-standing traditions and unique wine styles.
The Attika wine region includes the city of Athens and stretches from the sea at Cape Sounio to the mountainous region of Keratea in the north. It’s home to a number of significant archaeological sites and stunning beaches. The Attika wineries include Papagiannakos, Mylonas and the prestigious Kokotou Estate. Whether you’re looking for a rich savatiano or an internationally styled blend, there is something for everyone.
Located on the shores of Lake Marathon, Kokotou Estate is an organically cultivated estate that has established itself as one of Attica’s premier producers. The winery has a large range of labels including Chardonnay and Agiorgitiko, Merlot, and a rose wine “Mon Rose.” The Estate also produces its own label, Savatiano Zeginis, from grapes grown in their own vineyard.
This is a classic Greek wine with an elegant profile and a crisp finish. The wine is aged in French oak barrels and has a full body with notes of citrus fruits, flowers and spices. It’s the perfect wine to pair with fish dishes or to enjoy on its own.
100% merlot from dry-farmed vines on limestone soil. The wine is aged for 14 months in French oak barrels and has a rich fruity profile with flavors of cherry cordial and vanilla. The tannins are soft and the wine has a pleasant acidity on the finish.
This is a great wine for drinking with friends or to serve with cheese. It’s made from a single vineyard in southeast Attica and is a blend of Assyrtiko, Merlot and Syrah. The wine has a full body with notes of red berries and pepper. The wine is well balanced with a nice acidity and a nice balance of sweetness and tannins.
Wine tourism in Mesogeia, West Attica is all about combining a relaxing day out with a little bit of oenology and gastronomy. The area is home to many small historical vineyards which produce high quality wines based on local varieties. Dionysus, the god of wine and mirth, entrusted the Athenians with the secrets of viticulture, and it is in this special land that wine flourished from ancient times.
The region is surrounded by mountains that offer a mediterranean climate with mild winters and hot summers. The climate is ideal for grape cultivation, as it ensures a perfect balance between sunshine and shade. The soil is also rich in minerals and as such, the local wines are characterized by their minerality. The most popular white variety is Savatiano and the red varieties are Agiorgitiko, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.
In the past, Athenians were partial to koutoukia, tavernas or cum-wine bars that served a wide variety of white wines from the nearby vineyards. The drink was served in coloured pewter jugs and a good koutouki was known for its impressive collection of casks with different wines, each of which was preferred by its patrons.
Among the wineries in Mesogeia is Domaine Papagiannakos, which was founded in 1919. The family-owned estate is today run by the 3rd generation, and has issued a new era of modern winemaking while maintaining the family’s dedication to developing and preserving the area’s most famous wines.
A visit to this award-winning winery is a chance to discover the full range of renowned Greek wines, as well as lesser-known gems. The estate offers tasting tours and caters for a range of events, including weddings. The winery is located in Markopoulos, near the archaeological site of Mycenae and Epidaurus.
A visit to the area is not complete without sampling some of the traditional cheeses and desserts that are produced in this part of Attica. The region is home to numerous types of cheese, such as feta, kefalograviera, halloumi, kasseri, and ladotyri. It is also known for its fig cookies and halva.
The land of Megara is a place where time seems to have come to a standstill and the ancient world still lives on. Megara, named after its founder Megareus, was one of the most prosperous states in antiquity and a major player in the international trade market. It was also an important centre of learning with numerous scholars and academics living and working there.
Its most famous legend is that of Heracles and Meg, who fell in love and were deeply devoted to each other. Their relationship was tragically cut short when Meg, in order to save the life of her beloved, sacrificed herself and offered her soul to Hades, God of the Underworld. Despite her unfailing commitment to uphold the agreement, Meg was heartbroken and became jaded and cynical in the years that followed.
Wine was an integral part of the daily life in the days of Megara, with archaeological finds such as amphorae and kylixes (drinking cups) attesting to this fact. In addition, winemaking was an important economic activity in the region. Local vineyards were cultivated, and Attica wines were exported to the then known world.
Today, the vineyards of the Megara area, extending to the foothills and the northern slopes of Mount Gerania, produce excellent Savatiano wines. However, they are not limited to this variety alone as the wineries of Megara, such as Papagiannakos, Mylonas, Anastasia Frangou and Kokotou Estate have expanded their range to include delicious bottlings of Roditis, Malagouzia and Assyrtiko, in addition to red varieties such as Agiorgitiko.
During the Wineries of West Attica tour, visitors will be able to sample all the best that these vineyards have to offer. Moreover, the tour will include a visit to Cape Sounio at Attica’s southeastern tip, where the Temple of Poseidon lies and where you will have an extraordinary experience on the sea. There will also be generous wine tastings, and you can explore the village of Pachi, where you can savour fresh fish straight from the Saronic Gulf. You will also be able to visit the viticultural manor of Chateau Kaniaris, which is located in the countryside of Megara.
One of the most interesting developments in Greece’s wine scene has come from this once industrialized region. In the last several years, it has seen a shift away from the bulk production of the cheap and bitter retsina to a new generation of winemakers embracing modern viticultural practices, alternative fermentation techniques, and low-intervention sulfite free wines. The result has been a collection of highly drinkable wines that are a fascinating blend of tradition and innovation.
The town of Elefsis (; /lfsna/) is the ancient site of the eponymous Eleusinian Mysteries, the annual cult-centered observance of Demeter’s return from the Underworld each Autumn. The Mysteries remained a cherished part of the Greek religion right up to the end of the era of paganism.
Situated eighteen kilometers (eleven miles) west of Athens on the Thriasio Plain, the ancient city possessed several natural advantages for its settlement and development. The location was near the sea and on the main road from Athens to the Isthmus of Corinth, and its terroir was well-suited for cultivation.
In the Archaic period, Eleusis became a deme in its own right, and its citizens were even able to mint their own currency. This privilege was lost with the rise of Athens, but the city regained its status in the Hellenistic period and became a polis again.
Today, the town has lost its former industrial luster but it is still home to the Aeschylia Festival, the longest-running arts event in Attica. It also boasts a large archaeological site and recently opened a new museum.
Elefsis is a fascinating destination for both the history buff and the wine enthusiast. The wineries of the area are known throughout Attica for their modern styles and reasonable pricing. They are pioneering the use of Lees treatments and innovative viticultural practices while holding on to long-standing traditions. They are producing wines with complex flavors and outstanding balance that can be enjoyed with meals. For example, the Alpha One 2005 Montepulciano ($48) displays a dried plum compote and fig character with hints of vanilla, tar, and bacon fat.