A Wine-Hopping Adventure in the Cyclades

The Cycladic islands are widely acclaimed for their rich viticulture. Join us on an island-hopping tour of some of the archipelago's top wineries and wine bars.


Sikinos, Serifos, Milos, Kythnos

At an altitude of 430m, on the northwestern side of Sikinos island, you will find the small winery owned by the Manalis family, with its amazing views over the sea and the surrounding islands. Four wines are produced here, including Sikoinos, a white wine made with the Assyrtiko, Aidani and Monemvasia grape varieties, and a rosé made with Mavrotragrano and Limnio.

INFO

Manalis Winery

Aghioi Anargyroi, Sikinos

 

Τel. (+30) 693.227.2854, 693.227.2857

Next stop: Serifos. The certified organic grape vines of Christos Chrysoloras mainly produce Cycladic wines, such as the indigenous Serifiotko, as well as rarer ones such as Platirahos and Xylomaheriou. This winery in Flaskos also features a tasting area and a balcony with views over the Aegean, where one can enjoy a glass of the full-bodied Aspalathros rosé (Psarasyriko, Tsampato, Aspalathros) or an orange Serifiotiko, among others. 

On the same island, one can visit the amazingly beautiful vineyards that produce Santa Thecla, a wine created by Christos Papanastasiou and oenologist Giannis Papaoikonomou. This special white wine includes a blend of 50% Serifiotiko and other rare local varieties, such as Psarosyriko, Aidani, Assyrtiko, Kountoura, Tsampato and Platiraho. Preserved on the property and located next to the chapel of Aghia Thecla, are several very old pre-phylloxera (i.e., before 1860, when the insect pest phylloxera arrived in Europe) and ungrafted vines (planted directly into the ground), which, according to local accounts, were planted at the end of the 19th century.

INFO

Chrysoloras Winery

Flaskos, Serifos

 

Τel. (+30) 697.923.9597, 697.727.5993

Santa Thecla Vineyards

Sklavogianni, Serifos

Τel. (+30) 693.732.2406 

 

Off to Milos. Five minutes on foot from the fishing village of Pollinia, Konstantinos Konstantakis’ winery is built in a charming setting, in front of a natural cave. The small production (approximately 12,000 bottles per year) is available solely on the island. We try the Spilia, a red wine made with 100% Assyrtiko, a rosé made from Mandilaria, Mavrotragano and Aidani, as well as four more amazing bottles.

INFO

Konstantakis Cave Winery

Pollonia, Milos

 

Τel. (+30) 693.664.4481

The vineyard of the Gonidakis family is nestled on terraces in Kythnos, where they cultivate four Cycladic grape varieties. Among Kostas Gonidakis’ exclusively single variety wines, all bottled in the region of Ilia, we were impressed with the impressive, ruby-colored Psarosyriko. You can also participate in wine tasting at the family restaurant in Merihas, the island’s main port. 

INFO

Gonidakis Estate

Loutra, Kythnos

 

Τel. (+30) 697.745.7739

Sifnos 

Sitting on the white-washed steps of Loggia, in the late afternoon sun, with a glass of Serifiotiko in hand and nibbling on some local, rolled manoura cheese, we gaze out over the bay from above, the endless sea unfolding before us. There are no other images that encapsulate Greek Cycladic summers so succinctly.

Here, under the arches of the medieval castle, a bar named Loggia opened in 1988. In the summer of 2021 three friends, who had been united by music and the multiple layers of wine they explored during lockdown, decided to set up a wine bar in the same space.

 

Owners Nikos Lavdas, Orestes Falireas and Nondas Pappas, a sound technician and two musicians respectively, created a list of almost 150 wines. Their selections are based on wines that they have tried and were moved by, but also ones that one would like to taste while on holiday on the island. “Our goal is to serve good wine. We mainly focus on Greek wineries, but we also stock some mild vinification and minimum intervention wines from abroad,” Nondas tells us, as he introduces the business. The wine bar also offers some sparkling wines, along with a menu of quality snacks.

July is the best time to come to Loggia, just after 19:30, to enjoy the sunset. Various DJ sets, fresh shellfish and a slow bohemian vibe: you’ll soon be lounging on the steps of Loggia as you experience all of these elements at the same time. And for that, you will be grateful.

INFO

Loggia wine bar, Sifnos

Τel. (+30) 22840.319.65

Irakleia 

Since August 2019, when local chef patron Giannis Gavalas opened his small restaurant in the Gavalas family home, Irakleia, the largest of the Lesser Cyclades, has been considered a gastronomic destination. And rightly so. Made with local and Cycladic ingredients, serving modest, simple yet meaningful cuisine accompanied by a wine list featuring local wines, Araklia restaurant is an example of “farm to fork” philosophy in action.

Giannis’ relatives – local producers on the island – provide him with the best of their produce straight from their fields, yet the quantity is not enough for the full season. As a result, other amazing and rare produce also comes from nearby islands. Irakleia’s delectable fava, handmade tomato pastes, tyrovolia (soft cheese) and other traditional Cycladic cheeses, as well as meat such as local sheep and lamb and wild greens compose a delicious menu.

 

The wine list features approximately 25 wines from the Cyclades, as well as selected wines from the Greek mainland, such as Naoussa, Nemea and Viotia. You can also taste a variety of distillates, as well as many different island beers. Book a table on the balcony, with views over Schinoussa and Venetiko island. In the summer afternoons, the patio is flooded with orange light, which soon turns mauve and then into the deepest sky blue.

INFO

Araklia restaurant

Aghios Georgios, Irakleia

 

Tel. (+30) 22850.715.70, 694.486.2603

Open from mid-May to mid October, 17:00-00:30

Naxos

It is in the wine pub owned by agriculturalist and viticulturist Konstantinos Makridimitris that we enjoy our wine, accompanied by a small selection of meze from their garden in Glinado, where they grow old seeds, collect and process fruits and vegetables, including sun dried tomatoes, spicy peppers, petimezi syrup (grape molasses), sweet and sour pickled garlic and onion, chutney with tomato, nectarine and ginger (ideal with cheese), small Koroneiki variety olives, samphire, capers, and more. Enjoy plain, or on bruschettas, together with divine local cheeses from small farms, as you take your pick from a list of over 500 different wines. Hailing from all over Greece, with a particular emphasis on indigenous Greek varieties (almost 97% of the menu), you’ll find all Greek D.P.O wines at Oinochoros, as well as a great variety from the Aegean.

Be sure to try their own label, Tranabelo Single Vineyard, made with the local Potamisi variety, as well as the Tranabelo Field Blend made from Potamisi, Monemvasia and Mandilaria blended with other local varieties, as per tradition. For the first time this year we will also find Field Blend, a wine from their new Eco Project made with local varieties and pre-phylloxera grape vines from Mount Zas and Aghia in Naxos, as well as Limnio from the island of Lemnos. You can also buy retail at Oinochoros. With the wine bar as its springboard, they organize Full Moon tasting sessions once a month in the vineyard and the vegetable garden where, after touring the gardens, they serve food and wine on a table drenched in the silver light of the moon.

 

This article was originally published in Greek in Oinoxoos magazine.

INFO

Oinochoros

Naxos Town

 

Τel. (+30) 22853.015.07



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