Nestled in the heart of Macedonia, Greece, lies a hidden gem – the PDO Slopes of Meliton. With its rich history and breathtaking landscapes, this region is a haven for those seeking a journey of the senses — from coastal scenery to mouthwatering flavours. The symphony of terroir and grape harmonize to create wines that are nothing short of exquisite.
The winemaking zone (established in 1982) is located about 120 km southeast of Greece’s second-largest city, Thessaloniki. Specifically, the decades-old wine growing region sits on the middle leg of the Sithonia peninsula, on the western slopes of Mount Meliton.
A Glimpse into the PDO Slopes of Meliton Terroir
The terroir of the PDO slopes of Meliton is a testament to nature’s artistry with human collaboration. Here, the ancient soils weave a story of millennia, nurturing the vines that call this land home.
The dry-farmed and organic vineyards sit at altitudes between 350 and 1000 feet. The ‘slopes’ are many, though some reach steep inclines up to 42 degrees.
The Mediterranean climate, characterized by warm, sun-soaked days and cool nights, creates a unique dance between the grapevines and the elements. The result? Grapes with a distinctive balance of ripeness and acidity.
A Symphony of Grape Varieties
What truly sets the PDO slopes of Meliton apart is its celebration of indigenous and international grape varieties.
The winegrowing zone of Meliton belongs to a single winery owner who, among well-known international grape varieties, focuses on Lemnio, an ancient red variety native to Greece, in addition to Assyrtiko. Known for being a Santorini variety, the white grape thrives in this mainland area thanks to the higher altitude, surrounding protective forest, and Aegean sea breezes.
White wines of Malagousia (an almost extinct local variety brought back by local winemakers), Athiri, and Roditis also grow across the PDO. Commonly found red grape varieties include worldwide favourites like Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah. In total, the PDO is home to 28 grape varieties, each lending a distinct voice in every glass.
Winegrowing, an Art of Patience
Winegrowing in the PDO slopes of Meliton is an art of patience and precision. The winemakers here understand the rhythm of the land and the subtle nuances that each vintage brings. Vineyards are meticulously tended, with hands that lovingly prune, train, and harvest the grapes. This hands-on approach extends to the cellar, where traditional and modern winemaking techniques intertwine.
A Culinary Affair: Pairing with Meliton Wines
The PDO slopes of Meliton wines are an invitation to indulge in a culinary affair. With their versatility and structure, Limnio is a perfect pairing for hearty Mediterranean dishes such as grilled lamb, moussaka, or roasted eggplant. The Assyrtiko whites, on the other hand, shine alongside fresh seafood, tangy Greek salads, and even creamy cheeses, where their vibrant acidity cuts through richness and enlivens the palate.
Embarking on Your PDO Slopes of Meliton Journey
Whether you’re a seasoned oenophile or a curious novice, the charm of this Macedonian wine region is undeniable. The PDO slopes of Meliton are a treasure trove of liquid artistry, ready to transport you to a world where time-honoured traditions and modern craftsmanship converge in every sip.
This project is co-financed by Greece and European Union. For more information on the region, visit https://www.facebook.com/sithoniamelitonslopes/.
Editor’s note: This article is the result of a press trip taken to the PDO Slopes of Meliton region.