Created from the combination of two ancient varieties, the white Monemvasia (25%) and the deep red Mandilaria (75%), which flourish under the bright sun and resist the famous “Meltemi” winds of Paros. The Mandilaria grape is also known as Amorgiano and grows well in poor rocky clay soil mixed with sand. It is found in various appellations, usually with other grapes such as Monemvasia in Paros, Kotsifali in Crete or as a single variety on the island of Rhodes, producing distinctive red wines.
The grapes are selected from low-yielding vineyards – 60 year old vines. They are harvested early September and co-ferment at 24°C (75F). The wine is aged for 12 months in 2nd use 225l barrels, 70% French oak and 30% American oak barrels. Spice and prune aromas with dark berry tones. Rich and robust on the palate with concentrated tannins and a long finish. 13% alcohol. 2000 cases produced.
About the Producer
Though only a 1.5 hour high-speed boat ride away from Santorini, the comparatively lush island of Paros is very different from the hardscrabble terroir of Santorini. Moraitis Winery can be found just up the road from the picturesque old fishing port of Naoussa. Theodore Moraitis is an affable man whose great grandfather founded the winery in 1910. Grapes are grown on many parts of the island (there are 1200 hectares of vineyards planted) but Moraitis is one of only two wineries, the other being the coop. Theodore owns 35 hectares and is in the process of planting more. The total yearly production is 45,000 cases, including some cuvées he makes with grapes he purchases.
Climate: Paros climate is pretty constant, with some rain from October to April and no rain from May to September (from blossom to picking). There is no frost in springtime. The strong Meltemi winds that dry the overnight humidity blow during the summer and contribute to healthy vines which also benefit from a pollution-free environment - there are no industries on the island - with clean air and clean water. There are planted on their native rootstock as Paros has not been hit by phylloxera. The stems and the must are returned to the vineyards to fertilize the soil.
Farming/winemaking practices: the estate vineyards are certified organic. All vineyard work is done by hand, as well as destemming and sorting at the winery. Theo is experimenting with native yeasts, and with red and white wine fermentation in terracotta amphoras. If a fining agent is needed, one made from peas is used. The red wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered. Sulfites are kept to a minimal level. The wines are vegan.