The Babatzimopoulos family has been making wine and distillations since the mid-19th century. Anestis Babatzimopoulos Senior lived in Constantinople and was the owner of a vast vineyard with more than 850,000 plants. He founded the Babatzim company in 1875 and produced wines that he exported to Russia and Austria. He was a man of great ambition and wanted to penetrate the local market, knowing that while the country’s Muslims did not drink wine, they were very fond of raki. So, the astute businessman concentrated all his efforts in this direction and began producing an excellent grape spirit flavored with mastic gum, anise, fennel, carob and figs – using the famed variety cultivated in the area of Troy. Within a few years, his raki was a hit in every Turkish salon.
In 1932, after a period marked by population exchanges between Turkey and Greece, the family found itself back in Thessaloniki, where it had first started out, and the passion of wine-making and distilling, along with Anestis’ name, was passed down to his grandson. In 1970, the younger Anestis Babatzimopoulos bought his first plot of land and started planting it in 1974 with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. Today, beside these famous foreign varieties, the vineyard is also growing lesser-known Greek ones like Ugni Blanc and Greco, as well, of course, as the domestic varieties that form the pillar of foreign exports: Xinomavro, Roditis, Malagousia, Moschofilero and Malvasia.
Today the Babatzimopoulos Estate is a 55-hectare paradise at Ossa in the area of Lagadas, with beautifully arranged vines flanked by a forest of oak, beech and chestnut trees. The vines are cultivated in accordance with the principles of organic farming and annual production comes to 150,000 bottles.
Other than his wines, Anestis Babatzimopoulos is also renowned for his excellent distillations of ouzo and tsipouro, made according to his grandfather’s original recipes. He is also planning a line of fruit liqueurs – plum, pear, raspberry, cranberry and peach – and we can’t wait for it!
Just like it was once served in the homes of Constantinople’s affluent elite, flavored with anise, smooth and fragrant, in a tall glass with ice and a dash of water.
Taramosalata fish roe dip, mushrooms, olives, stuffed vine leaves and any kind of seafood snack.