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Visiting Greek Wineries: Lafazanis of Nemea

Posted: Friday, 22 July 2016 13:15

 

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Visiting Greek Wineries: Lafazanis of Nemea

July 22: Lafazanis is an established winery in Nemea region in the heart of Peloponnese in Greece with its history going back 70 years; it uses mostly indigenous varieties but also international grapes for the blends depending upon the market, writes Subhash Arora who met the 3rd generation Athina Lafazanis in Barcelona at a Wine Tourism Conference and visited the winery during his trip to Greece a couple of months ago, tasted their wines and those of the associate co-operative Nestor, and found the wines to have good Quality-Price ratio

Click For Large ViewThe story of the Lafazanis family winery begins a year before India became independent in 1947. Her grandfather Vassilis Lafazanis started producing wines in Piraeus, the port town adjacent to Athens in 1946. In around 1960, the first family owned winery was established in the south of Athens. In 1985, her father Spyros Lafazanis, the second generation in the family, who had studied at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Athens, started to set up a new winery in Nemea PDO Zone with vineyards all around, said Athina whom I met at the winery, courtesy Marian Spiggos and Sissy Tzelepidou, partners in the wine tourism company Grapefool in Athens, who had organised the visit.

Her father Spyros Lafazanis was the first winemaker coming from out of the region, who believed in the potential and decided to realise the potential by setting up the winery in the small town of Ancient Kleones. He built up a sophisticated winery with elegant architecture with vineyards at the altitude of f 300-400 m surrounding the winery. It has the capacity of crushing up to 5,000 tons and currently produces over 50 products.

Her father bought another co-operative called Nester which he controls. The winery makes a range of wines from entry to quaffable wines, including bag-in-the-box varieties.

The company holds a strong position in the domestic market, while over 20% of its production is exported to over 10 countries including UK, USA, China, Germany, Canada and Netherlands. ‘Our philosophy is to produce wines of high quality at an excellent price / quality ratio,’ says Athina who looks after the exports.They produce 700,000 to 900,000 bottles in the winery. Nestor produces another 200,000 bottles.

Grape Varieties

Click For Large ViewLafazanis Winery utilizes some of the interesting varieties of Greek vineyards to offer a wide range of wines that are representative of the terroir and their history. Agiorgitiko, Moschofilero, Roditis, Muscat of Rio, Savatiano, Malagouzia, Mavroudi, Assyrtiko, and Sideritis are their specialty indigenous grapes, with Agiorgitiko (Saint George) being the specialised variety that grows best in Nemea.  Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are the popular international grapes used generally in the blends.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The winery also makes excellent quality Kleones extra virgin olive oil, with excellent level produced from olives grown in some of the important parts of Peloponnese-including Manaki and Koroneiki. ‘The gold-green coloured oils are a perfect combination of aromatics and tasting delicious with smooth flavours Because of the smooth taste, the gold-green colour oil may be used with multitude of foods,’ says Athina, adding, ‘Kleones Lafazanis is rich in vitamins and mono unsaturated fatty acids, and consists basic ingredient of nutrition in the modern sense.’
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Wines Tasted

Click For Large ViewWe tasted six wines including Nestor Fileri 2014-a clone of Moschofilero produced in Nestor  co-operative winery .  Other wines tasted were Lafazanis Malagouzia 2015, Lafazanis Moschofilero –whites. Very fresh and fruity, though one cannot be sure how well they would travel. Reds tasted were Nemea Agiorgitiko, Agiorgitiko –Cabernet blend 2015 and an Agiorgitiko varietal 100%. Also,I could not resist tasting the olive oil that was an excellent companion with bread.
 
To visit the winery open for visit from Monday to Saturday from 9am-6 pm,  write to winery@lafazanis.gr . To contact Athena for an import query, it’s best to write to sales@lafazanis.gr.

Or visit their website at www.lafazanis.gr. For the wine Co-operative in Messina for details write to pyrgos@onestor.grYou may also write to Marian or Sissy at info@grapefool.com for any help or combining the tour of these two wineries and other popular wineries in the region or other parts of Greece.

Subhash Arora

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