Wine regions: The islands

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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Among the Ionian islands off the west coast, Cephalonia is best known for its wine, particularly the powerful dry white Robola. Vines here were individually trained on high, stony land, and mainly ungrafted, leading Venetians to call Robola a vino di sasso, or wine of stone. Some varietal dry, unfortified red table wines from Mavrodaphne are also made, possibly the finest examples of this genre. Mavrodaphne and Muscat dessert wines, similar to those of Pátras, are also produced on the island.

From the Cyclades come the wines of Páros, santorini, and, more recently, Tinos. PDO Páros red is a powerful, quite tannic wine made from a curious blend of grapes in which the deep colour of the Mandilaria is lightened by the addition of half as much of the white grape called Monemvassia (see malvasia). PDO Malvasia of Paros is a sweet white, from sun-dried Monemvassia and a small percentage of Assyrtiko. Rainfall is low but the maritime location helps raise humidity. Vines are trained along the ground as protection against the strong winds. Strong winds are also a characteristic of santorini.