The inevitable group photo shot was taken with us crowded around this monster; I wasn’t really playing attention being more captivated by the spread of vineyards laid out before us and in the distance, across a thin strip of the Thermaic Gulf, Mount Olympus.
I doubt ‘normal’ tourists visiting will be hosted by Giantsidis Thrasivoulos, the company oenologist, but he gave us an impassioned welcoming speech and introduction to the Gerovassiliou Estate with that view and Malagouzia vines behind him.
The intro covered the building of the winery, two building phases in 1986 and 2008, the size (60 hectares), the vines planted (all the usual Greek suspects – Limnio, Mavroudi, Assyrtiko, Malagouzia plus a few off the international stage Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, Chardonnay, Viognier and Sauvignon), and how 60-70% of production is white wine.
After the group shot and a walk under a Venencia Sculpture called Horizon (and was firmly told later that it most certainly is not a venencia) a tour and a visit to a rather impressive museum.
As I tweeted at the time, if you are in need of a corkscrew, I know exactly the place to go. Here there are thousands. A whole wall full of glass cases containing every single style of corkscrew that you could possibly imagine. A corkscrew museum might not sound as the most exciting of days out but actually it is rather impressive. Mixed amongst the corkscrews were plenty of other wine producing and vine growing tools and equipment. This collection began in 1976. There are now 2,500 corkscrews, although as you peruse the long line of glass fronted cases it seems more.
I doubt also that visitors will have the estate owner, Vangelis Gerovassiliou, pour wines for a tasting either, but here is was, back in the bar/restaurant behind the bar pouring samples from their entire range.
Photo Gallery: Visiting Domaine Gerovassiliou Greece
While we all had our favourites – a sign of a decent tasting where the discussion on the favourite dominates conversation back on the coach after the visit – mine I think would be the creamy, nutty, barrel fermented Chardonnay and the Avaton, a red blend (Limnio, Mavroudi and Mavrotragano) with great spice-led, blackberry fruit. [Available in the UK from Wine Direct £14.50]
Apparently Limnio is mentioned by Aristophanes as ‘Limnia Ampelos’ in this play ‘The Peace’. Perhaps you are unfamiliar with this play? It isn’t what you would call a recent penning, having been written in the 5th century BC after all, but it does make Limnio the oldest known Greek grape variety. Basically Trygaeus flies to Olympus on a giant dung beetle to obtain an end to the Peloponnesian War…
The stand out and what would turn out to be my favourite grape of the tour, was the Gerovassiliou Malagousia. [Available in the UK from WineTrust for £16]. Here the aromas are gentle and lightly peachy/melony and the palate, quite weighty and rich, has a steak of minerality and lovely texture.
It was my go-to grape for the post-tasting lunch – superb with the fresh salads and stonkingly good with some exquisite little courgette tarts. They certainly treated us well for lunch – those tarts, dolmades, salads, mushrooms graced with goats cheese and some impressive desserts.
The estate also bottles a Malagousia/Assyrtiko blend [Noel Young Wines £14.95]; more lemony with hints of green pepper and orange that I also enjoyed. While the oaked Sauvignon Blanc was tropical and complex and cried out for shellfish or smoked cheese.
Photo Gallery: The Wines at Domaine Gerovassiliou, Greece
Great place is Domaine Gerovassiliou, well worth a visit, and as it is only 25km from Thessaloniki (15km from the airport) really accessible.
Epanomi 57 500, Thessaloniki, Greece