Americans love traveling to Greece, experiencing the breathtaking landscapes, taking in the rich history while exploring the wines and local cuisines. Many foreigners head to the sunny picturesque isles of Greece and they make the mistake of not visiting the mainland. I love visiting the islands, but I find the mainland to be the heart and epicenter for discovering true authentic Greek wines and cuisine. Modern Greek wines are making a huge splash on the international wines scene. Lantides Winery in the Greek Peloponnese is a notable winery making elegant and exceptional wines.
I recently returned from an incredible journey through Greece, discovering various regions and wineries. The first stop is the Peloponnese to visit the magical vineyards of Lantides Winery. A 90-minute car ride from Athens, the journey to Lantides was breathtaking. Peloponnese is where the legends are made, Hercules battled with the Nemean Lion, Gods walked the land, and Paris of Troy eloped with Helen. While driving to Lantides Winery we saw snowcapped mountains, sprawling vineyards, gorgeous beaches and beautiful deep blue Mediterranean waters. It is in this region where we got to experience some of the best wine and cuisine in all of Greece.
Peloponnese is known for its Moscofilero and Agiorgitiko and we were in for a real treat with some of the best from Lantides. If you love Pinot Grigio you will love Lantides Moscofilero. It is crisp, aromatic and the perfect wine for warm weather sipping. For all you Bordeaux and Cabernet Sauvignon fans, Lantides Nemea Agiorgitiko is your Greek wine of choice. Agiorgitiko is native to Nemea and Lantides grow their vines on high elevations. It is the best quality red grape of the region, one that is highly age-worthy, but more to come on that.
Panos Lantides is a pioneer in the Nemea region. Panos first established his winery in 1993, at a time when Greek wines were not nearly as fashionable. Panos was born in Morphou, Cyprus but later went on to study enology in France. He spent several years studying in Montpelier and then learned from some of the best in Bordeaux. His heart was ultimately in Greece and he returned home with the mission to create the highest quality wines of Greece. Passionate about wine and especially his homeland, Panos was committed to growing indigenous varieties of the region, specifically Moscofilero and Agiorgitiko which are native varieties to Nemea. Lantides has 16 different vineyards in the Peloponnese. You need one day to visit them all. This may make farming very difficult, but it allows Lantides to offer the entire palate and range of grape varieties, as they have the best vineyards at high altitudes, low-lying areas that are cooler and vineyards in the valleys that have great diurnal shifts. With diverse microclimates, they can grow white and red grape varieties. With Panos’ French background they planted French varieties as well. Today Lantides Estate has more than 22 hectares of vineyards producing approximately 200,000 bottles per year. Today Lantides is run by Panos along with the second generation. I had the opportunity to spend a memorable few days with Panos and his son Andreas. One of the things that struck me was how beautifully the wines of Lantides paired with food, especially the local Greek cuisine. These are surely gastronomic wines.
The winery is designed in a sophisticated neoclassical style with a magnificent landscape. As you drive into the winery, you are drawn in by the spectacular architecture. The winery is surrounded by Chardonnay planting. At Lantides Winery, they host visitors in their charming guestrooms. The estate is a great base to explore the wines of the region.
Lantides prized wine is their Nemea Agiorgitiko. We took a drive up to the vineyards and it was a site that I will remember for a lifetime. You could see the landscapes change quite dramatically every few minutes. It was important to take this drive up to the vineyards, cause you can see that not all Nemea wines are the same. There were vast variations in the altitudes, exposures, temperatures and soils. Upon arrival, you immediately knew that Lantides has some of the best vineyards for Agiorgitiko in all of Nemea. It is impossible to fully grasp from the pictures, but take my word, the location of Lantides Nemea vineyards are very strategic and optimal in terms of elevation, winds, andcool temperatures. All factors contributing to the ideal viticultural environment for this red grape variety. Lantides wines are exceptional and deserve your attention. They are especially enjoyable when served with Greek food but don’t limit it to just Greek fare. The whites will pair wonderfully with any grilled seafood, octopus, white fishes, salads, light pasta, and Asian noodle dishes. While the red will pair with a grilled rack of lamb, a juicy steak, and pasta bolognese.
Lantides Nemea Agiorgitiko 2019
Agiorgitiko is long known as one of the oldest varieties of Greece. According to mythology Agiorgitiko is connected to the god Hercules and is also known as the blood of Hercules. Lantides vines are on a high elevation of 650 meters(2200 feet) in Asprocampos & Koutsi. The Lantides Nemea is aromatic and inviting on the nose. It releases fresh scents of red fruit, cinnamon and cloves. The palate is generous with fruit and spice. This is a very elegant wine with bright acidity and smooth mouthcoating tannins. It is delicious today but also has a long life ahead of it. Lantides Agiorgitiko can age gracefully.
Lantides Nemea Agiorgitiko 2007
Agiorgitiko from Nemea has definitely shown its potential to age and Lantides is a prime example. I had the great opportunity to taste a wonderfully aged Nemea from Lantides. The 2007 was vibrant with spicy freshness. The wine has a sensual mouthfeel that is velvety and smooth. Great structure with a balance of fruit, acidity and alcohol has made the wine very ageable. With 14 years in the bottle, it is incredibly fresh. Panos and Andreas had hosted a lovely lunch in the historic town of Nafplio. We experienced exceptional Greek hospitality. The local cuisine of Nafplio was extra delectable when paired with the wines of Lantides. The highlight was the 2007 Lantides Nemea was with a juicy steak.
Lantides Goldvine Chardonnay 2020
This was one of my favorite wines from the Lantides portfolio and is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The wine opens with a fragrant nose of floral and spice. This is a generous Chardonnay on the palate with bright fruit and zippy acidity. It is crisp dry and fresh with a wonderful and distinct minerality. The banana, pineapple and hazelnut notes are prominent. This Chardonnay is great to have as an aperitif but is also complex enough to pair with grilled fish, souvlaki, spanikopita and feta.
Lantides Little Ark Rosé 2020
The Little Ark Rose is my summer go-to rosé. It is perfect for every occasion: on a picnic, by the pool, on the beach or paired with a meal. The first thing I noticed is its pale rich salmon color that is gorgeously inviting. There is a lovely balance between the fresh fruit, fine minerality and zippy acidity. This is a rich and elegant rose with nice texture and notes of stone fruit strawberries, cherries and jasmine. This is a rosé that immediately transports you to the sunny Peloponnese.
Lantides Anosis Moschofilero 2020
Ths Aanosis Moschofilero is an intensely aromatic wine with notes of jasmine, citrus, rose, and bergamot. It is medium-bodied with notes of exotic fruits with tropical notes. Its bright acidity makes it the perfect food wine. The minerality leaves a long lingering finish. Pair with Greek mezzes, light salads, raw seafood.