The Greek Grape

YOUR SOURCE FOR ALL THINGS GREEK WINE-RELATED

GGWT’s Newest Addition: Gerovassiliou Winery

15326172_10154441053762415_8548430607231112860_oThis fall I had the pleasure of visiting Gerovassiliou (Ghar-oh-vah-cee-lee-ewe) for the first time. I had naturally read many great things about the family, the wines, and winery.  However, I was most excited to visit because their famous Malagousia (Mal-ah-goo-zee-ah) was the white wine I chose for our Greek wedding.

After the 40 minute drive from Thessaloniki and a couple wrong turns (ooops), I passed the village of Epanomi and found the contemporary visitor center nestled in the vineyard. I walked through the winery and vineyards learning all the details of Gerovassiliou’s history, and winemaking and viticulture philosophies from Magdalene Livadioti and Thrass Giantsidis, managers of Gerovassiliou’s wine
museum and exports.

Wine was always in Vangelis Gerovassiliou’s blood. From a grape growing and agricultural family, Vangelis studied wine in university and enjoyed a long winemaking tenure at Domaine Porto Carras who at the time was producing some of the most renowned wines in Greece. It was here that the Malagousia grape was (re)discovered.

img_3727In the 70’s, Dr. Vassilis Logothetis of the Agricultural University of Thessaloniki traveled extensively throughout Greece discovering rare vine cuttings that he thought had the potential to produce quality wines. Malagousia was one of 27 cuttings he planted in an experimentation plot at Domaine Carras.

Vangelis began experimenting with this all-but-forgotten grape, recognized its quality potential, and in 1981 decided to return to his family vineyard to focus on bringing this glorious grape back from the edge of extinction. His first wines were exceptionally delicious and commercially successful.

Konstantinos Lazarakis MW, in his book The Wines of Greece, calls the first wines made from the grape “stunning,” adding that “the wine had the power of a Chardonnay, the extract of a great Semillon, a great affinity with oak, and an aromatic character that can only be described as unique.”

It did not take long until Malagousia was widely planted throughout Northern Greece and is now one of the most important Greek white varietals.

By now, I’m dying to try the current vintage of my wedding wine!  On the way back to the Visitor Center, we paid a quick visit to the extensive Gerovassiliou Wine Museum.

Museum GerovasileiouEarly on in his winemaking career, Vangelis began collecting viticulture, winemaking, bottling and cooperage tools from around the world dating back to the 18th century. Included is his collection of more than 2,600 corkscrews, the 3rd largest collection in the world! This museum hides underneath the winery and next to the barrel aging room. It is so beautifully and professionally designed that you forget you are in a small village surrounded by vineyards and not in the city center.

Back in the Visitor Center, I finally try the 2015 Malagousia along with other current vintages. As expected, the wines did not disappoint. My Malagousia was bursting with pear, lemon and lime aromas similar on the palate and lingered soft and elegantly on the finish….just like I remembered.

Afterwards, Vangelis invited me to join him for an outstanding lunch prepared by the wineries two on-site chefs. Over Grilled Octopus and Fennel Salad, Eggplant with Rich Tomato, Herb and Feta Stuffing, and another bottle of MY wine, we discussed all the unique tasting and pairing opportunities my Greek Grape Wine Tour guests will enjoy next year. OMG, amazing stuff!  I am dying to tell you all now, but you will have to wait until next June or September!  This will definitely be a memorable day!  Book now to ensure you don’t miss out!

Finally, an enormous THANK YOU to the Gerovassiliou team not only for your amazing hospitality but also for saving my favorite Greek white wine from extinction! I never would have imagined this experience when I was toasting with your Malagousia at my wedding. The world works in crazy ways….especially the wine world! στην υγειά μας!!

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