Domaine Porto Carras is located on the western side of the middle finger (Sithonia Municipality) of peninsular Halkidiki which is, itself, a part of Greek Macedonia. The maps below show the placement of Domaine Porto Carras within a broader geographical context.
|Macedonia Region within Greece (inset) and Halkidiki within|
Macedonia. Source: askelena.com
|Domaine Porto Carras location in Sithonia on|
the Halkidiki Peninsula
|Tasting setup at Melissanthi Tasting Hall|
|Team Member John Matson with Stergios Giannos and |
Popi Golfi of Domaine Porto Carras
As we walked between the vehicle and the lookout point, Stergios provided some background on the Domaine. At 4500 ha, it is the largest organic vineyard in Greece. Originally purchased by Mr Carras in 1963, 27 ha were eventually planted to vine in 1967 after careful planning and testing of vineyard sites by professors from Thessaloniki School of Agronomy and Athens Vine and Wine Institute. The post-experimentation design had white varieties planted close to the sea while red varieties were planted at higher elevation. The famed Bordeaux Oenologist Emile Peynaud collaborated with the estate from 1970 to 1975.
The top level wines in the Greek appellation system are wines designated PDO and the Porto Carras vineyards on the slopes of Mt. Meliton constitute a single-domaine PDO called Slopes of Meliton. The characteristics of that PDO are displayed in the figure below. The Domaine also makes wines that are classed as PGI Sithonia, an appellation which encompasses grapes grown anywhere on the Sithonia peninsula, and PGI Halkidiki which encompasses grapes grown anywhere in that geographic area.
|Stergios with Robin Gheesling (right) and Olga Mosina|
|Popi Golfi leaving no doubt as to where we are|
|Stainless steel tanks (Courtesy Domaine Porto Carras)|
Table 1: Domaine Porto Carras Wines
|Wine Type||Wine Name||Appellation||Varietal Composition||Yield (kg/ha)||Production||Aging|
|Skin contact and then classic fermentation in SS vats|
|Blanc de Blancs||PDO Meliton Slopes||Athiri, Assyrtiko, Roditis||6000 - 7000||do.|
|Amathousa||PGI Halkidiki||Sauvignon Blanc||do.||do.|
|Red||Limnio||PDO Meliton Slopes||Limnio||
|Classic fermentation||12 months in oak|
|Limnio-Cabernet Sauvignon||PGI Halkidiki||Limnio, Cabernet Sauvignon||
|Magnus Baccata||PGI Sithonia||Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Limnio||do.||do.||24 months in French oak|
|Chateau Porto Carras||PDO Meliton Slopes||Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Limnio, Merlot||do.||do.||24 months in French oak, 1 year in bottle|
|do.||24 months in French oak, 1 year in bottle|
|Grande Reserve Porphyrogenitos ‘93||PDO Meliton Slopes||Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Limnio||
|do.||French oak barrels for 24 months; 15 years in bottle|
|Rosé||Rosé||PGI Sithonia||Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon||
|Skin contact for 8-12 hrs; fermentation in SS tanks at 16 - 18C|
Of the white wines tasted, I was pleasantly surprised by the Assyrtiko. Of the reds, while the Magnus Baccata merits attention, it was the Bordeaux blends that blew me away with spice, tobacco, cedar, dark chocolate, and vanilla notes accompanying a red-fruit character, velvety feel, and lengthy finish. The 1993 was just an evolved version of the 2006. I brought a few bottles of these wines home.
After the tour and tasting we travelled to the Porto Carras Grand Resort and had dinner at one of the restaurants.
If a harbinger of what was to come, I had died and gone to heaven.
©Wine -- Mise en abyme