Greece, Peloponnese: Domaine Dereskos

Greece, Peloponnese: Domaine Dereskos

Winetasting and vineyard tour in Messenia

We like to spend our summers in southern European countries and just like the last two years we went to Greece this summer. It was our second visit to the Peloponnese region, the beautiful southern peninsula of the mainland. Although on family holiday, we can never resist to visit at least one local winery!

Vineyards of Domaine Dereskos

Wines from Messenia

The Peloponnese peninsula is a region where winemaking and viticulture have been present since antiquity. Most wineries are concentrated around the Nemea region in the north-east. Wines produced in Nemea are predominantly red and the Agiorgitiko grape variety is almost synonymous with this large winemaking area. But that was not our destination on this trip.

We flew to Kalamata airport in the south, hired a car and headed for the western coast of Messenia where olive groves grow in abundance. But no worries, there are also plenty wineries in the area for all you wine enthusiasts. We chose to visit a smaller, limited-production winery, that produces quality wines in the rolling hills of Messenia. 

Vineyard tour at Domaine Dereskos

Domaine Dereskos, winery in Gargaliani

We were invited for a tour and wine tasting at Domaine Dereskos, a family business that is located right outside the small town of Gargaliani. After a pleasant drive through the narrow streets of the town we ended up on a dirt road that led us to this Greek winery.

The vineyards are beautifully sited on the slopes of a hill, about 350 meters above sea level. Winemaker Theodoros accompanied us on a tour through his vineyards and wine cellar and told us all about his passion for winemaking.

Winemaker Theodoros Dereskos

Wine cellar at Domaine Dereskos

He started Domaine Dereskos in 1994 and now sells his wine all over Greece and also exports to other European countries and even to other parts of the world. We enjoyed tasting his wines with some matching finger foods in an outdoor setting, while overlooking the vineyard at sunset. What more can you wish for?

Wine tasting at Domaine Dereskos

Wine tasting ahead at Domaine Dereskos

Wine tasting at Domaine Dereskos

Greek wines from French grape varieties

Because there seems to be so little knowledge about indigenous Greek grape varieties among wine enthusiasts worldwide, quite a few wine makers here choose to produce Greek wines from international varieties. While we prefer to discover indigenous grape varieties wherever our travels bring us, there is absolutely nothing wrong with well made, authentic wines from, for example, classic French varieties.

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes at Domaine Dereskos

That is exactly what Theodoros does with varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache for the production of red wines and Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc for white wines. It sure is a good move to attract more wine enthusiasts to Greek wines who otherwise would not buy a wine made with a grape variety of which they can not pronounce the name…

Sauvignon Blanc grapes at Domaine Dereskos

But Theodoros would not be a passionate Greek winemaker if he hadn’t recently planted some indigenous varieties like Assyrtiko, Agiorgitiko and Roditis as well. Curious how these will turn out!

Accommodation in Messenia

The western coast of Messenia is the place to go if you want to stay away of mass tourism and discover a different side of Greece. We discovered a beautiful family friendly and quiet location around 20 kilometers north of the town of Pylos.

Agrikies Country Retreat

Agrikies Country Retreat is hidden away in an olive grove. It has four stone apartments with a balcony on the first floor that offers a breathtaking panoramic view over the Ionian Sea. If you like to surround yourself with nature but don’t want to give up comfort, there are also five luxury safari tents set up among the olive trees.

Agrikies Country Retreat

Numerous beaches, a wealth of archaeological sites like Olympia and Ancient Messene within reach, an abundance of local produce like olives, figs, peppers, raisins, sweets with honey and sesame… did we mention the local wines already? Messenia is definitely a region to consider as your next holiday destination.

Vegetable garden at Agrikies Country Retreat

Author: Johan de Ligt | Picture credits: Tasty Tales

Updated: 16-06-2024