Most people know that Mykonos is a top global destination thanks to its amazing coastline with sunny golden beaches and crystal clear, azure waters, on one hand, and to its legendary nightlife that year after year attracts the jetsetters, on the other. Fewer know though that Mykonos is also an exclusive paradise for wine lovers, with a viticulture that has been flourishing on the island since ancient times.
[dropcap font=”” size=”1″ background=”” color=”” circle=”0″ transparent=”0″]M[/dropcap]ykonos is home for many traditional Aegean varieties, like Assyrtiko, Athiri, Monemvasia, Mandilaria that produce excellent white, rosé and red P.G.I. wines. Furthermore, there are also foreign varieties thriving there, like Cabernet, Sauvignon and Syrah. The vineyards are planted in lines and have a rather low elevation due to the Aegean’s strong north winds.
Besides Mykonos, the PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) Cyclades zone includes all the islands in the southern Aegean Sea, provided that their vineyards are planted at altitudes that exceed 30m from sea level. Specific geographical boundaries and varietal compositions have been set and producers can now display vintage years of wines. After all, Greece is one of the oldest wine-producing regions in the world and apparently home to the second oldest known grape vine remnants plus the world’s earliest crushed grapes.
Today, most bars and restaurants on the island feature exquisite wine lists that include old, rare, collectors’ wines that you can also find in many of its boutique wine cellars. In Mykonos there are also many wineries that offer private tastings as part of a “ritual” that includes trying homemade delicacies, like pure goat cheese and louza; a special kind of local cold cuts. No matter how passionate a wine lover you may be, there is absolutely no way that you will get disappointed by the Mykonian wine culture.
…and a bit of wine history
Ancient Greeks drank wine by mixing it with water, usually one-part wine to three parts of water. Wine not mixed with water (“akratos oinos”) was considered a barbaric choice and was used only by the sick or the travelers as a booster. Also, if one drank too much of undiluted wine, he would be prone of misbehaving and thus the dilution of wine with water was indeed a mark of civilized behavior.