|Big city closest||Athens (80 min), Corinth|
|Famous wine/grape||Agiorgitiko (red)|
|Mentioned wineries||Barafakas, Semeli,|
|Best time to visit||All year|
|Visited?||Yes. Trip report (link).|
|Other grapes||Assyrtiki, cab sauv, gewurztraminer, tannat, syrah. Moschofilero, Roditis|
In April 2019 we visited several vineyards in this area. While there is a specific subjective trip report (found here) the idea of this post is to be more objective.
Nemea is a small wine region of 3000 hectares in the Peloponese of about 70 wineries that is located about a 80 minutes drive from Athens. The small town was previously called Agios Georgios (St George) but has been renamed Nemea, potentially as it is a lot easier to remember. Greek as of time of writing this post is perhaps not famous for it´s wines but their wines can often be quite extraordinary and will for sure become more and more popular. In terms of Nemea, the famous grape is the light red Agiorgitiko that can be done as a monovarietal or as a blend from a range of styles and is native to the area. The grape is named by the St George’s church in the area which translates as “St George’s grape”. This grape traditionally has a deep dark ruby color with a lot of red fruit with similar characteristics as Pinot noir. More greek grapes are used such as Moschofilero and Assyrtiko here but also there is also french varieties as Chardonnay, Cabernet sauvignon and Syrah often being used, often in oak. Both red, rose and white is made in the area. We did a trip here and one of the favorites from the trip here was an amphora aged rosé.
Greek wine history and greek mythology has a link to Nemea in terms of the the ancient greek wine of Fliasion was made here and was known as the blood of Heracles which still has its connection with nemean wine. Wine has a long history, at least to 5th century BC.
The vines here are grown both in the flat land around the village, the hills and then then more mountainous area close to Mount Kyllini in the north where it grows around 250 to 800m above sea level. The grapes at the lower parts sometimes have issues with heat which can result in less acidity and these grapes are often made into a sweet wine and uses carbonic maceration.
Currently Nemea PDO formed in 1971 only allows 100% Agiorgitiko but if there are blends then the wines would have to be labelled under the regional Pelloponnese appellation instead.
The landscape of Nemea is very nice but it is not a town to have a nice stroll around as very little but wineries are located here. We would recommend to call well ahead and arrange the visit rather than driving out on a whim. In terms of venue Semeli in the bottom is probably the biggest and most refined of the visited vineyards with a recent Piraeus bank-investment. Nemea Wine Land is run by Nikos and Mary Bouzinelos that opened in 2017 seving local wines and have etensive tastings so this is something to check out.
Semeli is located on a hill in a modern well designed facility, a relatively big winery that produces a lot of wines. They offer free tours that includes tasting for a very reasonable price and you can expand the tasting in 2 ranges from a reasonable price (I believe it was 3 wines free, 6+snacks and 8 wines both around 10-20€). All of their wines are quite easy to drink and you can buy there and take away. In 2019 most of their wines was around 6 to 20€. See trip report for more images and more info.
This winery arranges tastings but it is without the fancy design but the wine speaks for itselfs. Their biggest seller was apparently a semi-sparkling rosé that I did not care much about but the other wines was really great, both red and white. The prices too were very reasonable with around 10€ per bottle and I am looking to import some of this. See trip report for more images and more info.
Skouras arranges tours, tastings and have a nice selection of wines.
See trip report for more images and more info.