Posts Tagged ‘Nemea’

Wine, Inebriation and Ecstatic Dance – Road Trip

Dionysus was the Greek god of the grape harvest, wine and winemaking, inebriation and ecstatic dance. What a combo. In addition, from Wikipedia (just because I like the write up):

“Dionysus is represented by city religions as the protector of those who do not belong to conventional society and thus symbolizes everything which is chaotic, dangerous and unexpected, everything which escapes human reason and which can only be attributed to the unforeseeable action of the gods.” [Attributed to Gods of Love and Ecstasy, Alain Danielou p.15]

As it turns out, Dionysus was one of the most popular Greek gods, go figure.

In honor of Dioysus, we took a road trip into the Nemea region.  Nemea is wine country, in a big way.  Before we go any further, let me make it clear that I am no wine expert. I enjoy wine and am a “I know when I like it” kind of wine aficionado.

Our first stop was the Semeli Winery. They were just putting the finishing touches on a renovated reception/tasting area and it was beautiful. The view was fantastic and the guy who guided us through the tasting was knowledgeable and friendly (plus his English was very good).









We bought a case of a white wine. It is very good, in spite of an unfortunate English pronunciation of the name.












Next up and just around the bend in the road was the Gaia Winery.  They were not open for tasting, but we had had some of their red and dry white wine at Mike and Sue’s place – we knew what we wanted here.  A very popular Greek  grape varietal is the Agiorgitiko or Ayoryitiko. It used to produce a variety of reds. If you have an opportunity to try a Greek wine made from this grape, by all means, give it a go.  It is a nice complement to usual Cab, Merlot, Pino Noir, Shiraz, Malbec choices I usually face. You may just find a new favorite and something you can surprise your friends with.











While at the Gaia Estate, we also bought a very nice dry white wine, called Thalassitis, made from the Assyrtiko grape.  The Gaia Winery is located in Nemea and on the island of Santorini.  This wine is produced on Santorini and bottled in Nemea.











Our last stop was the Palivous Vineyards.  This vineyard is very close to the fantastic Nemean stadium and the temple of Zeus.  Our guide for the tasting was also very friendly and knowledgeable. Proud of the local varietals, he lamented that they have to produce some Cabs and Merlots because that is what tourists are familiar (and comfortable) with. Once they try those, he attempts to move them on the the Greek grapes, sometimes with success sometimes not.  It is too bad that people get locked into such a narrow view of wine.  Great wine can be produced from many different grape varietals.  As a matter of fact, in New England, I had nice wines produced from other kinds of fruits grown locally because the New England climate makes it difficult to grow many conventional grape types.  At any rate, we bought another case in Palivous.  Here is our haul for the day.








Greece produces some outstanding wines, but very little is exported.  They are beginning to receive some international recognition for their fine product, so you may see this change.  Ask your local wine supplier about Greek wines from the Peloponnese and see what they can do.  I was delightfully surprised at the wines we tasted (and bought).

As for the inebriation and ecstatic dance, lets just say that at this point we were very well prepared and leave the rest for a future post.