Wine Regions

Greece   |   Hungary   |   Slovenia

GREECE

We are very fortunate to represent the wines from a select few wineries in Greece, most of whom hold International awards from Decanter, IWSC and Organic Wine Competitions.

Winemaking has been an integral part of the Greek culture and history for over 4000 years. The ancient Greeks knew the nutritional value of wine, and it became a part of their daily regimen and also was a large part of the local economy. The deity Dionysus, son of Zeus and Semeli was one of the most worshiped of Greek Gods as the God of the Grape harvest, Winemaking, Wine and the Theater. A delightful combination for any culture!

The Ancient Greeks organized gatherings called "symposia" where they would eat and discuss philosophical subjects while drinking wine. While moderation was strictly adhered to, the Greeks would utilize the beneficial effects of wine to help achieve greater intellectual clarity and spiritual awareness. Wine was always diluted with water before drinking in a vase called "kratiras," derived from the Greek word krasis, meaning the mixture of wine and water. The word Krasi is now currently used in the Greek language as the term for wine.

We import from the Macedonia, Peloponnese, Santorini and Crete wine regions. These regions are on similar latitudes as Napa, California. All have a type of volcanic soil and/or sand and clay which are ideal for growing world class wines. The vineyards of Domaine Porto Carras are located on the western coast of the Sithonia peninsula in Halkidiki, Greece; the Macedonia wine region. At the point where the lush slopes of Mount Meliton slope to meet the clear waters of the Gulf of Torone, over 1100 acres of stunning terraced vineyards make-up one of the largest and most picturesque vineyards in Greece. The waters of the Aegean Sea and Mediterranean moderate the temperatures of this Mediterranean region. The volcanic soils of Crete bring forth the most delicious floral aromatic Moschifilero wine, an ancient indigenous white variety. The wines of this region are aromatic and refreshing! Most memorable! The wines of Naoussa bring forth rich, bold red wines and distinct ancient varietals such as the Xinomavro (Sin-Oh-ma-vrow). It is such a treat to be introduced to these luscious and exciting varietals that have been in obscurity for too long.

We invite you to share a bottle of history with us and understand our love of the Greek gift of wine!

Yiamas' To our Health!

HUNGARY

The Hungarian wineries we represent are producing world class wines. Our portfolio offers a selection of exceptional indigenous varietals as well as common varietals. All are appropriate for the American palate

Hungary is situated in the heart of Europe, in the lower central part of the Middle-Danube basin, surrounded by the eastern slopes of the Austrian Alps and the Carpathian Mountains. Prior to the World Wars, Hungary was known as Europe's bread basket. Agriculture and wine were abundant. Wine production is part of the food culture and every farmer from this part of the world produces their own wine. Its fertile land is an ancient sea bed from the Pannonian Sea that originally was referred to as the Carpathian Basin. It has frontiers with seven countries: Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, Croatia, Serbia, Slovenia and Austria. This ancient sea bed makes the land prime for agriculture and growing premium grapes.

Its twenty-two wine regions enjoy a temperate zone, climate is typical continental, extreme weather changes are subdued by the Carpathian ranges, and the level of rainfall is optimal for wine production. In summary, this small country has all the climate and soil-related potentials to grow excellent wine-grapes




Tokaj Wine District in the Northern Hungary Wine Region:

Tokaj-Hegyalja or Tokaj is Hungary's most famous wine region and home of the royal Tokaj Aszú sweet wine. The region lies on the edge of the great Hungarian plain, dominated by the extinct Tokaj volcano and the Zemplen Hills. It was declared a World Heritage Site in 2002, on account of its viticulture traditions and landscape. The region also has a variety of dry and semi-sweet wines. Grape varieties include Furmint, Hárslevelü, Zéta, Kabar, and Muscat.

The world famous sweet Aszú style dessert wine is made from late-ripened grapes covered by Botrytis cinerea. This is a mold, often referred to as "noble mold", that concentrates grape sugars and flavors into apricot and honeylike sweetness. The beauty of the sweet Aszú wines is their high acidity. The sweet honey and apricot flavors on the palate dissapate and are followed by a smooth, clean citrus finish; never leaving an overly sweet taste in the mouth. The high acidity also allows the wine to age forever.

The Aszú wines are measured by the number of puttonyos of Botrytis grapes used during the wine making process; generally 1 to 6 puttonyos. A puttonyos is a 25 kg basket used during grape harvest. The long, sunny and humid autumns encourage the Botrytis, but not every year produces enough Botrytis to make high quality Aszú wines. Thus, increasing the value of these cherished Aszú vintages. The most prized Aszú is Eszencia, above 6 puttonyos of Botrytis grapes and aged in oak barrels. Tokaji Aszú 6 puttonyos typically contain around 150g/l of residual sugar while Eszencia, can be as high as 180g/l to 250g/l of residual sugar.

Tokaj has the world's oldest classification system that dates back to 1772, and the production of wine is the most regulated. This system has succeeded in keeping the noble Hungarian varieties of Furmint and Hárslevelu", whereas other Hungarian indigenous varieties have lessened in production and notoriety.



Balatonboglár Wine District in the Del Balaton Region:

Balatonboglár perhaps offers some of the most elegant wines from the Lake Balaton region. The large expansive Lake that is surrounded by 3 wine regions creates a variety of meso-climates, smaller and more localized climates, that influence the types of grapes grown in each region. Balatonboglár produces some of the best Chardonnay, Olaszrizling and sauvignon blanc varieties. The high lime, clay-content soil and well protected, warm slopes yield elegant, mature, fruit forward wines with well balanced elements.

The wines in this region have convinced the most experienced consumers and expert fans from the younger generations that its wines are of the highest quality. Locals say, "The wines reflect the Balaton sunshine and radiate the delight of the Pannonian plain."

Most of the vine-growing area is located around Balatonboglár, on the (Balaton side) slopes of Somogy Hills. Somogy was the first county to be endowed with a coat of arms, a knight's arm holding a bunch of grapes, and has been a traditional vine growing area for over 2000 years. The Romans were the first to plant vineyards in the region.




Somló (Shohm-low) Wine District in the Lake Balaton Wine Region:

Somló is the smallest designated wine region in Hungary, located just west of north Lake Balaton. It resides on the slopes of an almost symmetrical extinct volcano. It is famous in two ways: Due to the volcano, it has its own microclimate and basalt-based soil that is similar to that of Vesuvio; and its wines were favored by the Habsburg Emperors of Austria and Hungarian Royalty, specifically, Maria Theresia and Joseph II.

On the rim of the ancient volcano are the ruins of an 11th century castle that overlooks the fertile vineyards of the Carpathian Basin,; also known as the Pannonion Plain.

The high mineral soils produce crisp complex wines with well balanced fruit flavors and layers of minerality. The region is mostly known for the Juhfark, Olaszrizling, Hárslevelü and Furmint varietals. The Juhfark, (pronounced, ewe-fark), varietal is the most unique and delightful varietal. It is a varietal that comes alive with cheeses, prosciutto, fish and poultry.

Somló is a compact patchwork of wineries and farmers; using only GPS coordinates as their addresses. If you lose your way, just stop and ask someone for help, they are sure to know the way and direct you to your destination. It is a wine region to watch as a few of its winemakers are considered rising stars.




Villány (Vee-lawn) Wine District in the DéL-DUNáNTúL Wine Region:

The most southerly of Hungary's great wine regions is Villány with some of the most advanced viticulture techniques of the country. This area is well known for its robust red wines and is earning global notoriety for their wonderful big mouth feel Cabernet Franc wines that are full bodied with well balanced fruit, acidity and velvet tannins. Red wine varieties are most notable in this region: Kékfrankos, Kadarka, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.

The area covers about 2000 hectares and is divided by two towns - Villány and Siklós. The climate is sub-mediterranean in character with hot summers, mild winters and lots of sunshine that enables the fruit to develop in a cold climate offering balance to the acidity.

Archaeological findings demonstrate that viticulture has an ancient history here pre-dating the Romans. After the last battle fought against the Turks in 1687, the Serbians settled in the village and re-ignited viticulture with the Kadarka grape and became the founders of red wine production in this region. After 1770, the arrival of German viticulturists brought newer technology and further promoted the red wine production with the Blue Oporto grape.

Recent decades have brought advancements in technology and strain resistant vines to the viticulture and wine production of the region. The citizens of Villány were among the first to develop wineries of European standards within Hungary, however, with the advancements of viticulture, Villany has equally protected their traditions and culture. The historical street cellars still line the main street and pressing rooms still dot the vineyards. Visitors can walk the main street and taste wines from small producers in the historical cellars.



SLOVENIA

We are honored to represent world class wineries of Slovenia. Their winemakers have garnered numerous awards at top international competitions such as Decanter World Wine Awards in London and Austrian International Wine Competition. Our portfolio offers a unique selection of local varietals such as Rebula (Ribolla Gialla), Sauvignonasse (akaTocai Friulano), Sivi Pinot (Slovenian Pinot Gris), and Rumeni Muskat (Slovenian Muscatel), as well, amazing Amfora styled wines made with international varietals. All amazing wines.

Viticulture and winemaking has existed in this region since the time of the Celts and Illyrian tribes; 5th and 4th centuries BC, long before the Romans would introduce winemaking to the lands of France, Spain and Germany. The region has a continental climate with cold, dry winters and hot summers. Winemakers in the northeastern half of the country enjoy fertile land that is prolific in high quality grapes. This is the region of Slovenia that was part of the ancient Pannonion Sea; pre-WWI it was referred to as the Carpathian Basin. The winemakers in the western part of the country enjoy continental climate tempered by the warmth of the Adriatic Sea and So?a River. The limestone subsoil and marl topsoil from the ancient dried seabed produces vibrant wines with luscious fruit and pronounced aging ability.

This small but lively country has three wine regions Podravje, Posavje and Primorje that are subdivided into smaller wine districts. Our winemakers represent the Goriska Brda district within the Primorje Wine region and the Ljutomer-Ormoz district in the eastern Podravje Wine region. The majority of the country's wine production is classified as premium (vrhunsko) wine with less than 30% classified as basic table wine (namizno vino).




Goriska Brda Wine District in the Primorje Region:

The Slovene word "brda" means hills and that is the simplest description of the Brda area: a very picturesque region of low rounded hills in the western part of Slovenia bordering Italy. If it weren't for the high mountains in the far distance you would mistake this area for the rolling hills of Tuscany.

The soils of the area are a loose crumbly shale and sandstone adjacent to a rising mountain belt that is common in the Alpine region of Europe. The hills are very prone to erosion, so most of the vineyards must be terraced. The climate is Mediterranean although the area has no direct contact with the coast. There is the plateau of river Soc(a between the Brda region and the Adriatic Sea, which is only 20 km away. Higher hills in the north protect the region against north winds and the cold.

Wine production in this area has existed in this region since the time of the Celts and Illyrians tribes, long before the Romans would introduce winemaking to the lands of France, Spain and Germany. Today's winemakers mix current technology with ancient techniques passed on over thousands of years. The red wines are robust, higher in tannins and age well. Popular red varietals are Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. White wines of the region are rich complex dry wines with an aromatic nose. The white varietals are Rebula (Ribolla Giallo, and not a wine for aging), Sivi Pinot (Pinot Gris), Pinot Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. The higher acidity in the white wines from this region also increases their aging potential.

Like all of the Balkan countries they have been occupied and struggled with the changing politics over generations. Through all these changes the winemaking from these countries is starting to emerge and make an enlightening impact of the global wine market.



Ljutomer-Ormoz Wine District in the Podravje Region:

Podravje, is in one of Slovenia's largest winegrowing regions and for centuries has produced some of the most prestigious wines in Slovenia. The area is well known for its aromatic whites and particularly for its late harvest and Muskat wines. This area is part of the ancient Carpathian basin, also known as the Pannonian Plain, that is an old ancient sea that stretched across several countries and today provides fertile soils that are ideal for the production of rich, aromatic white wines. The best white wines of the region are similar to those grown in the Rhine and Mosel valleys. Due to the high acidity in the wines the white wines from this region age well if stored in ideal conditions. Most abundant varietals are Renski Rizling, Beli Pinot, Sipon, Kerner and Laski Rizling.

Jeruzalem - Svetinje History in the heart of the Ljutomer-Ormoz Wine District

The Ljutomer-Ormoz District includes the village of Jeruzalem that is also known for its exceptional white wines. Viticulture and winemaking in the area peaked during the time of the Austrian monarchy. The area of present day Jeruzalem Gorice Hills represents the largest winegrowing area from the then Austro-Hungarian Empire.

It was the Romans who planted the first vineyards specifically in Jeruzalemsko-Svetinjske Gorice Hills. That was at a time when Slovenia's oldest town Poetovio (today's Ptuj) was the Roman Empire's largest eastern stronghold. When Roman Emperor Probus, tasted the local wine, he declared the province "Vinea nobilis districtis" (Noble Wine District).

As the crusades moved into the land in the 11th century, winegrowing was preserved and the study of vines and wine took on an almost scientific nature. The people named the area Jeruzalem, the nearby hill Svetinje (Slovene for "sacred things") and gave all the other hills the names of their apostles.