Two Greek vineyards were included in the top 50 of the prestigious “World’s Best Vineyards” awards. They are the “Domain Sigalas” and the “Kir-Yianni”.
Wine experts, foodies and travel industry insiders from around the world gathered in London’s Banqueting House on Monday night for the inaugural World’s Best Vineyard Awards, created to honor the finest in modern wine tourism.
The 2019 winner is an Argentinian winery in the lush heart of the Uco Valley, at the foot of the Andes mountains. A family-run business founded in 1963, the Zuccardi Valle de Uco unveiled a stunning new modernist bodega in 2016, designed by architects Tom Hughes, Fernando Raganato and Eugenia Mora.
35. Domaine Sigalas
An island’s transformation
It’s funny to think how, 30 or 40 years ago, barely a soul had heard of Santorini or its wines. How that has changed. It’s estimated that around two million tourists descend on Santorini every year, and it’s a good bet that a considerable number of those are attracted by its stunning wines. Of the wineries that have risen to prominence during the past three or four decades, Domaine Sigalas in Oia ranks among the very best.
The home of Assyrtiko
Situated on the ancient plain of Oia to the north of the island, Domaine Sigalas is owned by former mathematician Paris Sigalas and specialises in wines made from the island’s main white variety, Assyrtiko, along with two other indigenous white grapes, Aidani and Athiri, and reds Mandilaria and Mavrotragano.
Visitors to Domaine Sigalas can be assured of the warmest of welcomes from the hospitality team, led by the infectiously exuberant and wine-savvy Panatyiota Kalogeropoulou. Winery tours are available all year round. Here you can learn about the unique volcanic terroir of different parts of Santorini, its unique vine training methods, and how the island’s resistance to the phylloxera epidemic has resulted in the island being home to some of the oldest vines in the world.
An earthly paradise
According to Greek tradition, paradise was thought to lie ‘on the other side’ of Mount Vermio in northwestern Greece. Perhaps Greek wine pioneer Yiannis Boutaris had this in mind when he established vineyard holdings on both sides of the mountain, in Naoussa and Amyndeon. For wine lovers, at least, his family’s Kir-Yianni estate in Naoussa could certainly serve as a version of paradise.
Greece’s noble red
Established in 1997, the 60ha estate is one of the most picturesque in Greece. The focus is on Greece’s ‘noble’ red variety, Xinomavro – which means ‘acid black’ and gives a clue to both its colour and key characteristic. Kir-Yianni has become a centre of excellence for this variety. It was around the estate that seminal clonal selection studies on the variety were completed in the 1980s and where the influence of different soil characteristics on it continue to be monitored, block by block and vintage after vintage.
This must be the place
Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Kir-Yianni vineyards nestled on the rolling slopes of Mount Vermio, stroll among Xinomavro vines, taste the estate’s celebrated Diaporo and Dyo Elies wines in the place where they are produced, and get acquainted with the Boutaris family history. The winery tour will also give you the opportunity to get a close look at Kula, the main landmark of the estate, a 200-year-old Ottoman watch tower restored by the Boutaris family and which forms part of the Kir-Yianni logo.
Beyond the estate
A visit to Ktima Kir-Yianni can be combined with a plethora of activities in and around the city of Naoussa – surely the prettiest city in the region, whose traditional architecture styles point to its rich cultural past. For those of a more sedentary disposition, there are plenty of high-quality modern and traditional restaurants, while two ski centres – Seli and Tria Pigadia – offer a more action-packed travel experience.