IKARIAN GRAPE VARIETIES

The soil of northwestern Ikaria is gifted with certain properties, the combination of which enables us to produce fruit and wine of a unique texture and taste. It is argillic/sandy with low pH (acidic), zero active calcium, minimum phosphorus and organic materials and important concentrations of micronutrients, such as potassium, iron, manganese, boron, etc.

The two grape varieties with a protected geographical indication (PGI) which we cultivate in our island with a lot of love, persistence on organic agricultural methods and a spirit of creative experimentation, are Fokiano and Begleri.

After 20 years of cultivating these two local varieties (unknown to the rest of the world until then) in experimental vineyards on different altitudes and microclimates in the western side of the island and applying different wine-making techniques, we have finally reached the conclusion that Fokiano and Begleri can produce excellent final products, long-lasting and improving with time, both as blended and monovarietal (this is how we make our wines for the last ten years).

Over the years, certain vintages gave us wines of prime quality and unique value. We keep them in our Cellar and we invite you to taste them, matched with some of the most typical dishes of Greek and particularly Ikarian cooking.

FOKIANO VARIETY

From Fokiano, a variety of grapes which was first mentioned by a European traveler in the 15 th century, we produce a wine with special aroma, long aftertaste and bright ruby color. This variety is cultivated in terraced vineyards all over the island, the soil of which has given to the grape some very special properties. Fokiano makes not too thick clusters of medium-sized berries and its yield per 1.000m² is less than 500 kilos.

During its first two years the Fokiano variety produces fresh, high quality red wines which are characterized mainly by red forest fruit scents (red and white cherries, sour cherries, berries and blackberries). In the following 5 years their flavor evolves to ripe red forest fruit together with spices (usually white pepper), as well as scented shrubs, particularly reminding of the endemic species of Ikaria (rock rose, lemon balm, i.e.).

After 8-10 years this variety offers all of the above in a mixed marmalade flavor, creating wines which stick to the whole cavity of the mouth. From that point on, the wines are thick and their taste reminds a Greek grandma's spoon sweets and home-made liqueurs. In some cases, they turn to blood-red wines with scents of leather and strong plum liqueurs, depending on vintage. Tasting even one glass of an aged, over five-year- old, Fokiano wine is a worthwhile experience!

From the Fokiano variety we create the following red wines:

In our state-of- the-art winery:

«Icarus black» – dry red wine, aged in oak barrels for 12 months
«Icarus» – reddish (rosé) wine
«Tama – naturally sweet wine from overripe grapes
«Icarus» – dry red wine
«Afianes» – naturally sparkling brut rosé wine
«Icarus» – semi-sweet rosé wine

In our stone-made wine press with the outdoor wine hold (traditional method):

«Pithari» – dry red wine
«Nicaria» – dry red wine
«Pithari» – semi-sweet rosé wine
«TAMA» – sweet wine from overripe grapes

BEGLERI VARIETY

The white Begleri variety descends from the Syrian variety “Begler”. However, today it is associated only with Ikaria, as our island is the only place where Begleri is being cultivated during the last hundred years. The wine stands out for its intense aromatic and complex character (citrus scents with a kiwi prominence and tropical fruits), as well as its characteristic crispness. Begleri is cultivated on terraced vineyards located all over the island, and its yield rate reaches 500 kilos/1.000m². It favors light meals, seafood, yellow cheese, and fruits. It is served cool.

With time, the crispness of Begleri wines gets more explosive and then their flavors come to remind of fresh tropical fruit, such as pineapple, kiwi, lime and mango. After 2 years an interesting and pleasing turn takes place towards ripe tropical fruit, thus offering more concise wines with fuller, smoother and thicker bodies. After 5 years, their flavor changes again, this time leaning towards ripe stone fruit, such as nectarine and apricot, as well as peach marmalade.

With the years, as their crispness declines, these white wines change to such extent that distinct elements of liqueur start surfacing. But the most spectacular change appears after a period of ten years when more earthly scents prevail, giving off distinct scents of honeycomb, oyster mushroom and other mushrooms native of Ikaria.

From the Begleri variety we produce the following white wines:

In our state-of- the-art- winery:

«Begleri» – Begleri dry
«Litani» – Begleri dry
«Begleri» – Begleri semi-sweet
«Afianes» – Begleri naturally sparkling brut

In our stone-made wine press with the outdoor wine hold (traditional method):

«Pithari» – Begleri dry
«Pithari» – Begleri semi-sweet
«Icarus» – Begleri dry
«Psaronikolas» – Begleri dry