The wine of Samos

Samos and the ancient art of wine-making.

According to Greek mythology, the first king of Samos was Ancaeus, which apart of being son of Poseidon and member of the Argonauts, was also a wine producer of epic proportions. It is not a coincidence that the myth wants the first ruler of Samos to be a wine maker. The island has been famous for its wine since antiquity and mentioned many times in texts of the 5th century BC. Yet, it was in the 19th century that the Samian wine has met its apotheosis. During this period the phylloxera louse wiped out the majority of the vineyards in Italy and France. As a result, Europeans started to search for other sources of wine and their research led them to Samos, which was then bestowed with the honor of making the Holy Communion wine.

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The grapes for the wine of Samos, the Samos Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains, are cultivated on the slopes of Mount Ambelos, on the traditional island tiered terraces, up to an altitude of 900 meters with every hectare carefully controlled for a low yield. The main characteristic of the Samos Muscat wines is its aroma.  It has fruity and floral notes, reminiscent of fresh grapes, orange blossoms and rose petals. The most renown wines of Samos are sweet, with the best ones being Samos Artemis and Samos Nectar. Artemis is aged for about 5 years in wooden casks and has developed an impressive dark orange color with playful hints of bronze, discreet witnesses to its slow ageing process. Nectar is a wine crafted from sun-dried grapes that have been patiently aged in oak barrels over a period of three years.

Samos may be famous for its sweet wines yet its dry white wines are exceptional. Psiles Korfes is one of the latest creation of the winemakers of Samos. As its name, Psilés Korfés (Tall Peaks), denotes, it is crafted from grapes of the most select mountain vineyards of the island that are perched on their stone terraces 800 meters above sea level.

If you are going to visit Samos you should definitely try the variety of wines that the island offers. You can order them at any restaurant but you can also visit one of the two wineries open to the public, the first at Karlovasi and the other at Malagari. The second one opened in 2005 a wine museum housed in one of the oldest wineries of the island.

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