It’s time to start thinking about summer vacations and I’m once again urging you to visit Greece. Price-wise there has never been a better time and secondly, it’s still such a wonderful place for a vacation…ignore what you see happening in Athens. There’s so much more to Greece and I promise you – once you return from Greece you will never be the same!
I will be heading back this summer, mostly staying at my family’s summer home in Halkidiki. Nearby is Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city with a reputation for having some of Greece’s best food in their estiatoria and more informal tavernas. Thessaloniki boasts of a 3000 year old history and many nearby attractions like the beaches of Halkidiki and a must-visit to the nearby Gerovassiliou winery in Epanomi.
About three years ago I attended a wine tasting where several Greek winemakers banded together to showcase their products to consumers, media and prospective representatives to distribute their wines. One of the wines I sampled was from Epanomi, Greece…a town just south of Thessaloniki (on the way to Halkidiki). That winery was Domaine Gerovassiliou and in the summer of 2009 I paid them a visit after being urged by the two reps who were manning the booth here in Toronto.
Evangelos Gerovassliou created this winery in 1981 armed with his education in Oenology and Vinicultre in Bordeaux and experience as chief oenologist at Domaine Carras (Porto Carras, Halkidiki). The wines at Domaine Gerovassiliou are a combination of Greek varietala like Assyrtiko, Malagouzia and there’s also Syrah, Viognier (one of my faves) and more!
This winery is in clear view of the Thermaic Gulf with Mount Olympus often in view from across the gulf. The Epanomi area has a unique micro climate and all of the grapes are cultivated on the Gerovassaliou estate.
Upon arriving at the winery, you’ll see a stately stone-walled edifice with soft, rolling hills lined with grape vines and the blue sea as a back-drop. The winery has an aromatic herb garden complete with labels and there’s plenty of space in the well-groomed yard for an afternoon lunch or a glass of wine under the gazebo or in the outdoor reception space for larger gatherings.
Evangelos Gerovassliou loves to travel, explore a city’s nightlife and in particular restaurants. He’s aware of the food and wine trends (and tastes) and he feels that the current roster of wines are sympatico with what wine afficionados are looking for. When he’s out at a restaurant for dinner he can’t help but think which of his wines would pair well with that particular dish.
A visit to the Gerovassilliou winery will take you through the nearby vineyards, a tour of the winery and then down to the basement. Yes, the basement…where Gerovassiliou’s pride & joy lays – the wine museum. Evangelos began collecting cork screws in 1976 and this hobby grew to include collecting wine-growing tools, old wine presses, pruning shears and a walking, visual exhibit that takes you through the ages of wine making from BC up to present. Each tour ends with a wine tasting in a grand dining area beside the cellar but on the day I first toured the Gerovassililou winery we were cut short as the winery was about to close and I was heading back to Canada the next day.
I promised myself to go back and re-do the tour without being rushed and take my time in the wine museum and enjoy some of the excellent wines produced by Domaine Gerovassliou. Please view and enjoy the accompanying slide show.
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