The Protected Designation of Origin wine production zone Slopes of Meliton
The Protected Designation of Origin wine production zone Slopes of Meliton was recognized in 1982. It refers to white and red wines produced from grapes grown on the slopes of Mount Meliton in N. Marmaras, in the southern part of the Sithonia peninsula of Chalkidiki.
The vineyards are located at an altitude of more than 100m, are not irrigated, their yield does not exceed 800 kg of grapes per acre and are vinified with know-how and care by experienced oenologists within the Estate’s facilities.
The daily temperature in the vineyards is balanced by the altitude and the sea and ranges from 0.5 to 0.9°C per 100m, creating favorable mesoclimates for the adaptation and the cultivation of a wider range of grape varieties that thrive on the south-western slopes at an altitude of 200-300m.
Thus, the high-quality white wines we find are produced from Assyrtiko, Athiri, Malagouzia, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Roditis. Malagouzia in particular, which is one of the most ancient white varieties in the world, had almost disappeared and was revived at the Porto Carras Estate. Among the red wines, the famous ruby Limnio, the oldest variety in the world, predominates, accompanied by the cosmopolitan varieties Cabernet Saunignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cinsault and Syrah, which at an altitude of 300-400m are wonderfully adapted to the cool north-eastern slopes of the region.
Today Domaine Porto Carras comprises the largest single organic vineyard in Greece and one of the largest in Europe, covering 4,750 hectares. It has won more than 150 awards in internationally renowned competitions and exports its products to more than 25 countries.
Oenological practices “PDO Slopes of Meliton”
For the production of the dry white wine PDO Slopes of Meliton, the method of pre-fermentation maceration is used. This is followed by static debourbage and inoculation with pure selected yeasts which express the wine’s aromatic features. During alcoholic fermentation, the temperature does not exceed 20 °C. Its most distinctive characteristics are its pale-yellow color, intense citrus character, balanced flavor and enveloping, shapely body. The classic red wine-making method is used for the production of dry red PDO Slopes of Meliton wine. The alcoholic fermentation of the grape-pulp and the wine in fermentation after separation from the grape marcs is carried out at controlled temperatures below 30 °C. They are characterized by a deep, purple color, aromas of small forest fruits, a clean and complex nose, a full and oily body with a long aromatic aftertaste.
Varieties of “PDO Slopes of Meliton”
PDO Slopes of Meliton white wines contain the variety Athiri which is widespread in the Aegean and in central and eastern Macedonia. Assyrtiko, the distinct variety that is the ambassador of Greek wine, is also involved here, along with the Roditis variety. The proportion of the blended varieties is 50% Athiri, 35% Roditis, and 15% Assyrtiko.
The red wines PDO Slopes of Meliton are the only ones that contain the red variety Limnio, which is widely used in northern Greece, and the first to contain not only Greek but also international grape varieties in their varietal composition. The proportion of the blended varieties is 70% Limnio and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
The Limnio variety deserves special mention, as it is widespread throughout Northern Greece and is an ancient Greek variety that has been mentioned by many ancient writers, such as Homer, Hesiod and Polydeukes (the latter refers to it as ῾Limnia grape῾). Although Lemnos is considered its birthplace, as its name indicates, it is not very widespread on the island, and the majority of its crops are found in the vineyards of northern Greece.