Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)
Vine-Growing Regions in Northern Greece
In accordance with the European Union regulations, the term Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) on a label means that the wine comes from a legally-defined vine-growing area with a specific name, is produced from the varieties which are indicated by the legislation for that area, is vinified using the area’s traditional technique and has specific organoleptic characteristics.
Wines with the indication PDO have typicity and character that indicate the area from which they originate.
There are 6 PDO regions in Northern Greece:
The PDO region Amynteon lies in Amynteo, around Lake Vegoritida.
The wine-growing area producing PDO Amynteon was recognised in 1972. It extents to the area of the Amyntaio plateau between the Vegoritis and Petres lakes. At an altitude of 570 – 750m, it takes up about 550 hectares of vineyards and includes the communities of Agios Panteleimonas, Vegora, Lakkia, Kleidi, Petres, Antigoneia, Maniaki, Xino Nero, Fanos, Pedino, Aetos, Rodonas, Agrapidies, Anargyroi and Variko in the Florina prefecture.
It has an almost continental climate with low temperatures and heavy snowfalls in the winter, whereas north winds are rather frequent in the summer.
The area`s min variety is the Xinomavro and based on this variety, the following types of wines are recognised as PDO Amynteon:
– Red and rose, dry, semi-dry and semi-sweet
– Naturally sparkling rose, dry and semi-sweet
The PDO region Goumenissa extends around the foothills of Mount Paiko, around the town of Goumenissa.
The wine-growing area producing dry red PDO Goumenissa was recognised in 1979. This area includes the municipality of Goumenissa and the communities of Filyria, Stathi, Gorgopi, Karpi, Griva, Pentalofos, Polypetro and Gerakona in the Kilkis prefecture.
The red varieties of Xinomavro and Negoska are grown in most of the area`s vineyards, on about 200 hectares that extend to the eastern slopes of Mount Paiko and to hills with slight inclines, at an altitude of over 150m. The vines are not irrigated and their yield does not exceed 10.000kg per hectare.
The red PDO Goumenissa contains more than 20% Negoska and its alcoholic strength is at least 11.5% vol. It is left to mature for at least a year in small oak barrels and is deep-coloured with a fruity bouquet and supple taste.
The PDO region Zitsa is in Epirus.
The PDO Zitsa was recognised in 1972 and concerns white wines, V.Q.P.R.D. still and dry, and V.M.Q.P.R.D. naturally sparkling, dry and semi-sweet, exclusively made from the Debina variety.
The wine-growing area of Zitsa includes the vineyards of the communities of Zitsa, Protopapa, Ligopsa, Klimatia, Karitsa and Gavrisia in the Ioannina prefecture, which extend to the Kalamas River, are at an altitude of 700m and their yield does not exceed 10.000kg per hectare.
The PDO region Naoussa lies around the town of Naoussa on the foothills of Mount Vermion.
The PDO Naoussa was recognised in 1971 and concerns red wines made of Xinomavro variety grapes, which are grown in the communities of Trilofos-Fyteia, Stenimachos, Kopanos, Lefkadia, Marina-Polla Nera, Giannakohori and the municipality of Naoussa in the prefecture of Imathia, in an area of about 700 hectares.
The Naoussa wine-growing area is known for its cold north winds in the winter and frequent rainfall throughout the year, except for the summer months, during which droughts often occur.
The soil in the mountainous parts of the area (Giannakohori, Fyteia) is sandy-clay loam and in the flat parts sandy clay. This type of soil makes well-structured red wine, rich in body.
The vineyards are located on the sunny south-east slopes of Mount Vermion, safe from the north winds, at an altitude of 150 to 350 metres. In this type of ecosystem, the Xinomavro variety finds the necessary amount of water for its growth and sun in order to ripen.
The red PDO Naoussa are mainly dry, but can also be semi-dry and semi-sweet. The dry red PDO Naoussa are left to mature for at least a year in oak barrels; they are ruby-coloured, have a complex bouquet of red fruit and spices and a rich and smooth taste.
PDO Meliton Slopes
The PDO region Slopes of Meliton is located in Halkidiki, on the slopes of Mount Meliton on the Sithonia peninsula.
The wine-growing area producing PDO Plagies Melitona (Meliton Slopes) was recognised in 1982. It concerns white and red dry wines made of grapes from the vineyards extending to the slopes of Mt. Meliton in N. Marmaras on the Sithonia peninsula, Halkidiki.
The vineyards are at an altitude greater than 100m, they do not get watered and their yield does not exceed 8.000kg of grapes per hectare. The climate is dry and hot, but the vineyards` neighbouring with the sea as well as the presence of trees that constitute a natural barrier which traps the evening`s atmospheric moisture, establish a balance in the warm summer days.
White wines have acquired alcoholic strength at least 11% by volume, combining the white varieties Athiri 50%, Roditis 35%, and Assyrtiko 15%. On the other hand, the red wines have a natural acquired alcoholic strength of at least 11.5% by volume, come from the combination of the red varieties Lemnos 70%, Cabernet Franc, and Cabernet Sauvignon 30%, and are aged for at least one year in small oak barrels.
The PDO region Rapsani lies on the foothills of Mount Olympus.
The PDO Rapsani was recognised in 1971 and concerns dry red wines that are made from Xinomavro, Stavroto and Krasato variety grapes and are left to age in oak barrels for at least one year.
The wine-growing area of Rapsani covers approximately 310 hectares and includes the vineyards of the communities of Rapsani, Krania, Pyrgetos and Ambelakia in the Larissa prefecture, the yield of which does not exceed 10.000kg per hectare.
The region`s natural environment (microclimate, soil, soil morphology, natural vegetation, exposure, etc.) and the cultivated varieties make the Rapsani vineyard one of the most beautiful vineyards in Greece.
The red PDO Rapsani` is deep-coloured with a complex bouquet of red fruit, plums, vanilla and cinnamon and a full-bodied palate that has soft tannins and a long finish.