Greece / Santorini

Wine Tasting in Santorini

For those who enjoy tasting good wine, what better place than Greece and Santorini to discover new flavors?

The production of wine is inseparable from the history of Santorini over millennia. Renowned since antiquity for its excellent wines due to its exceptional microclimate and volcanic soil. The grape varieties cultivated in Santorini are unique, and this is reflected in the diverse aromas and flavors found in the wines.

Among the best grape varieties in Santorini, you’ll find Mavrotragano, Assyrtiko, or Madilaria. But the one that is iconic to the island is Vinsanto, which I will delve into a little further below. Visiting one or more vineyards in Santorini is recommended in travel guides and is considered a must-do on the island. Between tasting unique wines, discovering the history and wine production, Santorini holds many surprises.

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Wine & Its History in Santorini

Wine is an integral part of the history and culture of Santorini. Present since time immemorial, archaeologists have found traces of grape cultivation in the ruins of the village of Akrotiri, some dating back over 6,500 years!

Throughout the ages, the islanders of Santorini have learned to live with the unique and exceptional natural conditions of the island. They cultivated plants that could survive in the arid and hot climate of the island, including vines.

Entire hillsides have been terraced. By building stone walls with black lava pebbles, they provide young shoots with shelter and keep their juicy fruits warm.

The island has gone through many disasters in its history, and various volcanic eruptions have so drastically changed the soil and vegetation that you can hardly find any trees on the island. Only the vines, surprisingly protected by this unique soil, bring the island its touch of green.

« I recommend to all those visiting Santorini to climb Mount Profitis Ilias, especially during the season when the vineyards are lush green, to enjoy this unique spectacle that delights the eyes and the soul. »

abbé Pegues

And to learn more about the island’s wine history, I invite you to visit the Santorini Wine Museum, which is located a few kilometers from Fira. There, you will learn all the subtleties and characteristics of the wines of the Cyclades.

A Unique Vineyard – Assyrtiko and Vinsanto

The vineyards of Santorini are primarily composed of white wines. The Assyrtiko grape variety dominates the island’s vineyards. Along with two other grape varieties, Athriti and Aïdani, they produce the famous Vinsanto.

Prized around the world for centuries, Vinsanto has been the flagship wine of Thera’s craftsmanship. It was traded at a premium all around the Mediterranean and even reached Russia.

Today, Santorini wines are exported worldwide, and many tourists visit the island to taste them. Wine tourism attracts over 600,000 people annually and is on the rise.

Wine Tasting in Santorini

There are numerous vineyards on Santorini, and just as many places to taste their wines. I don’t claim to know which one is the best or to be a sommelier. I’m just sharing the experience we had during our trip.

Artemis Karamoulegos Winery

So, we chose Artemis Karamoulegos for several reasons: its Google rating, the various tasting menus, and the reviews we read online.

Located along a main road in Santorini, I must say that the immediate surroundings of the building are not the most interesting on the island. The relatively large building is constructed on two levels.

The ground floor houses the restaurant (which we didn’t try). The lower level features the tasting terrace, the cellar, and the garden. Spacious, airy, shaded by vegetation, the terrace is particularly pleasant. There’s nothing more enjoyable than sitting in the shade with a gentle breeze while listening to the cicadas sing.

The Various Tasting Menus

The hostess seated us at a nice table and presented the various tasting menus available.

I believe we were a bit optimistic in choosing the WINE TASTING OF 5 WINES menu. Indeed, the portions are… generous. Please note that these are only white wines.

Wine Tasting

The hostess brought the wines one by one, explaining their history, characteristics, and the best way to taste them. I just wish it wasn’t rushed; the wines followed one another fairly quickly, and sometimes we didn’t have enough time to savor them leisurely.

NOTE: Even if you’re on vacation and getting around on a quad, it’s no reason to drink and drive. Make proper arrangements.

We finished our tasting about 40 minutes after our arrival. This could be extended if you opt for a food pairing or continue with the restaurant on the upper floor.

Artemis Karamoulegos Winery

We then concluded our experience with a tour of the Artemis Karamoulegos cellar. Inside, you’ll find large barrels, tables, and more. You also have the opportunity to purchase bottles directly.

The garden is beautiful and overlooks the Artemis Karamoulegos vineyard. There’s nothing in sight but endless vines and the blue sky.

My Thoughts on Santorini Wine Tasting

Tasting Santorini wines is a must-do during your visit, but I recommend doing it in combination with a meal. I found the standalone wine tasting a bit rushed, and the palate (at least mine) became overwhelmed fairly quickly. It became challenging to make a precise distinction between two wines.

For about thirty euros per person, I found the experience enjoyable, but I would have preferred to do it with a meal. Artemis Karamoulegos is a good choice but not exceptional. I believe you can find other vineyards on Santorini that are more interesting than this one.

Besides the organized wine tastings in Santorini, you can also find truly fascinating vineyard tours. This will give you the chance to explore more than one vineyard and, of course, try even more wine varieties!

Article mis à jours le 11 September 2023 par Pierre Bouyer

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