Great to be back in Greece

It is great to be back in Greece for the start of our Autumn programme of tours. For once this year the flight was on time and we arrived in Nafplio in plenty of time to relax and explore this beautiful town before heading out for dinner.

As usual, the team at Arapakos taverna laid on a wonderful spread of salads, grilled prawns and calamari, aubergine and tzatziki dips, grilled seabass and a wonderful walnut pie to finish. All washed down with a delicious Moschofilero/Roditis white and a Nemean Agiorgitiko from Skouras.
An excellent start to the tour.

On Thursday, our first full day took us to the ancient town of Nemea and two fabulous yet contrasting wineries – Palivos and Semeli. Visiting in September gives the added advantage of seeing the harvest in full flow and the opportunity of witnessing grapes arriving, the crusher destemmer in action and the sense of urgency all around the winery.
Hosted by Mandi and Elsa at Palivos, we were treated to an excellent insight into the history of the estate, the nuances of Nemean topography and the impact of altitude on the styles of wine made. The estate has moved to organic production and is very experimental in planting a wide range of grapes both indigenous and international to see what works best. Of course the Agiorgitiko grape is the most famous and the only varietal allowed for PDO wine but we discovered that Palivos are launching a Malbec and a Sangiovese next year to add to their evergrowing portfolio of wines.
After a visit to the barrel cellar, we settled into a tasting of 9 superb wines culminating in their flagship Nohma – an amazing blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Agiorgitiko.

From Palivos, it was a twenty minute drive to Semeli. This is a fabulous estate with stunning views over the valley and illustrated perfectly the elevation and terroir. As usual, we were hosted by Margarita and Maria who do a superb job in presenting the winery. Grapes were arriving as we stood at the top of their gravity fed facility and we admired the high tech machinery that abounds throughout the estate. A tasting ensued of six wines which really showed the quality of Semeli. Elegance, balance and harmony were the watchwords and we culminated in the Grande Reserve 2003 – their very first vintage! An unbelievable treat.
All that was left to do was have lunch in their bistro. Delicious salads, courgette pie, beef and pasta and a sumptuous orange cake rounded off the day very nicely.