Peloponnese is the largest wine making area of Greece. Its 22,000 hectares of vineyards produce annually 1,5000,000 hectoliters of wine. There are famous Appellation of Origin wines: Nemea, Mantinia, Patras, Muscat of Patras, Mavrodaphne of Patras, Muscat of Rio of Patras and Regional Wines of: Peloponnese, Corinth, Achaia, Klimenti, Arkadia, Ilia, Ilio, Tegea, Lakonia, Monemvassia, Messinia, Pilia, Trifilia, Letrina, Pissatida, Slopes of Aegialia, Slopes of Petroto.
The vineyards of Nemea are stretched in the plain and as far as the foot of Mt Killinio, at an area of 2,200 hectares. They are at an altitude of 200-850 metres and the unique grape variety cultivated here is Agiorgitiko. Spherical grapes with thick skin, deep blue colour and velvet surface characterize the beautiful, charismatic variety. It flourishes here, where the fresh north winds and the low temperatures favour its smooth maturation.
Since 1971, the red, dry wine Nemea, one of the most classic reds of our country, belongs in the V.Q.P.R.D. category. Nevertheless, as Nemea is the largest Appellation of Origin area of Greece, it is obvious that its wines present an exceptional lack of homogeneity. Different altitudes, soils and microclimates constitute a jigsaw of complexity, which is converted into a plethora of wine types.
The vineyards of the Mantinia zone lie on the northeast of Tripolis. The altitude is higher than 650 metres and the climate is characterized by high rainfall and snow in winter and low temperatures in summer compared to most other areas of the continental country. The above factors of this ecosystem contribute to the prolongation of the ripening period of the vines. So, vineyards in Mantinia usually ripen in the second half of September, quite late for a southern, Greek area.
The varieties cultivated are two white ones: Moshofilero and Asprouda, the first being dominant. Moshofilero is found exclusively here, although a less aromatic clone, Fileri, is also cultivated in southern Peloponnesus, in Lakonia. It is a variety with intense, easily recognizable fragrance, with Muscat-like notes and it defines the character of the white, dry wines of Mantinia, labeled as V.Q.P.R.D.
With vineyards of more than 6,700 hectares surface, Achaia suggests 4 Appellation of Origin wines. The only dry is the white, fruity V.Q.P.R.D. Patra, made from Roditis. When the grapes come from mountainous vineyards of controlled production, then the wine surprises us with its intense nose and its dense taste.
The rest of the three V.Q.P.R.D. of Achaia are sweet, Appellation of Origin Controlled wines: Muscat of Patras, Muscat of Rio pf Patras and the universally known Mavrodaphne of Patras. The first two wines are produced from white Muscat grape variety, known globally as Muscat Blanc a petits grains. The third wine is made from Mavrodaphne and Mavri Korinthiaki grapes.
Just outside the town of Aegio, we can find Aegialia, a charismatic vineyard zone. On the northern hills, enjoying the fresh air currents and in vineyards with lower yields than the rest of Achaia, the Regional Wines of Aegialia are produced. The varieties participating in their production are: Roditis, Chardonnay, Lagorthi, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
In vineyards around the town of Pirgos, the Regional Wines of Letrina are produced from Refosco -a red grape variety of northern Italian origin- and Mavrodaphne, whose velvet touch completes the personality of the wine. The indications Regional Wine of Pissatida and Ilia refer to the white, rosé and red wines produced by the above varieties as well as Roditis, Fileri, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Grenach Rouge.
The relatively low altitude, the fertile ground, the mild climate and the dry and hot conditions during maturation have defined the grape composition of the vineyards of Messinia. The Greek varieties planted are Roditis, Fileri, Assyrtiko, Fokiano and Mantilaria. The wine makers, though, mainly use foreign varieties like Chardonnay, Ugni Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache Rouge and Merlot, Carignan, which cover the greatest part of the vineyards. The wines produced are labelled as Regional Wines of Messinia, Pilia and Trifilia.
The vineyards of Monemvassia and generally of Laconia are based on Greek varieties. The white variety Kidonitsa, which is cultivated exclusively here, blended with other white varieties like Monemvassia, Petrouliano, Thrapsa and the select Assyrtiko produce the white Regional Wines of Laconia and Monemvassia. Correspondingly, the composition of the red Regional Wines include Mavroudi (an old red variety, which is alleged to have participated in the production of Malvasia) and Agiorgitiko.