Haritatos vineyard – a botanical retreat

The anticipation of discovering something new, learning about tradition, local varieties and wines … I’m sure you’re familiar with that feeling too. And what a pleasant discovery Haritatos vineyard has been!

Situated close to the village of Monopolata on the northern part of the peninsula Paliki lies a boutique winery that produces wine from local varieties Muscat, Vostolidi and Mavrodaphne. They cultivate approximately 10 hectares of vineyards, where 34 are represented by Mavrodaphne and the rest of white varieties Muscat Blanc and Vostolidi.

In total they produce 5 different wines – all single varietal vinified in dry. Two white wines, a rose and two red wines.

We’re greet by Ioanna, the co-owner of Haritatos estates who walks us through the property, vineyards and their wines.

A botanical retreat

At first we’re taken on a closer look at Haritatos heritage. An old country house carrying the family’s coat of arms which was built in 1863 and was among the few to survive the damaging earthquake in 1953 and has suffered a bit also in the earthquake of 2014 which is why they’ll soon start renovating it.

They have been making wine since generations, with a slight halt in-between by her father. Initially grapes were taken into an open vat. Children used to crush it with their feet and the juice that flew out was used to make wine. They still like to keep this tradition, but only as an hommage to past times.

Ioanna and her brothers restarted with winemaking. Initially they wanted to learn as much as possible by tasting different wines, and they were writing down on every bottle why they liked the wine and what impressed them. You can see these notes at many wine bottles kept in the house.

We’re then taken to a walk through the garden, woods, fruit and olive trees and the small church close to the house.

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Vineyards, medicinal herbs, clay soil all of this is Haritatos

The property is planted with many aromatic and medicinal herbs as Ionna points out it is because they make their own micro climate. I stop to make a closer look at the soil. Actually most of the peninsula consists of clay, with limestone and silica sediments. And such is the case here. All of this important as it leaves a distinct imprint in their wine.

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Tasting the Haritatos nectar

We start by tasting the 2017 white wine, which is a 100 % Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains. A strawy yellow colour which strikes with intense aromatic flavours. You sense the Muscat, but to it also tropic fruits, yellow apples, quince, white flowers, wild mint, basil and a hint of limestone. The taste is intense, soft, warm, fresh and mineral – it feels almost balanced. Its body is full with an elegant and lasting finish. A wine that could gladly accompany shrimps or fish dishes.

Next in line is Hariton, a 100 % Vostolidi of the 2018 vintage. The wine is named after Ioanna’s grandfather. Now, this grape is usually used in blends as it is known to have a pronounced acidity. Needles to say that everyone was suspicious when they decided to vinify it as a single variety. Well, it shows some amazing results! A strawy yellow colour and rather intense aromas of green apple, white peach, bergamot, melon and lemon with a hint of thyme and minerals develop in the nose. The taste is intense, quite soft, warm, freshness and minerality prevail on the balance. An intense, medium bodied wine with a lasting and elegant finish. Ideal for pairing with salmon, fired squids or shrimps.

We move on to the Rosé 2018, a 100 % Mavrodaphne. Marked by a deeper rose colour as a result of a 3-hour skin contact of must. Intense aromas of peaches, redcurrant, roses, thyme and minerals in the nose. The taste is intense, warm and soft counter parted by the freshness and minerality making it balanced, full bodied elegant and lasting. A wine that refreshes but also calls for dishes. I wouldn’t mind sipping it next to shrimp saganaki or stuffed tomatoes.

Our glasses are changed as we prepare to taste the first red wine – Mademoiselle Haritatou 2017. A 100 % Mavrodaphne vinified only in steel tanks. However, you should know that here everyone says Mavrodaphne requires refinement in wood and this wine went against all odds! Initially it was conceived for a small order of 200 bottles. Shortly it became so popular it is now vinified in batches of up to 1.000 bottles. It has a ruby red colour with a slight purple hue. Aromas are intense and fine with hints of blackcurrant, plums, raspberries, violet, black pepper and forest undergrowth. The palate is soft and warm, fresh, tannic and tasty, driving the balance towards the harder side. It is full bodied, intense, lasting and elegant. A wine I wouldn’t mind enjoying on its own, or with pasta or chicken dishes.

We arrived to the grand finale! A 2016 Mavrodaphne is refined in American and French oak for 2 years and then rests in bottles for 1 year before entering the market. A dense, ruby red coloured wine. Intense on the nose, aromas of ripe blackcurrant, sour cherry and strawberry marmalade, chocolate, dried tobacco, aromatic herbs, leather and a graphite like hint. The palate is warm and soft, tannic, fresh and tasty but in a striking balance. It is persistent, with a vigorous body and pronounced finesse. A wine to pair with oven baked lamb and potatoes, pastitsio or mousakka.

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A green retreat for the body and soul

Our visit to Haritatos estate has been a real treat for our senses! As Ioanna points out this is the whole essence of the visit. Keeping it personal and showing an insight into the tradition and philosophy of winemaking, to showcase the terroir in their wines. And this indulges and pampers your body and soul.

If you’re in Kefalonia treat yourself and pay a visit to the Haritatos eatate, it is an absolute must-see!- Haritatos vineyards

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