In the southwestern part of Karditsa district in central Greece there lies one of the most beautiful lakes of the country: artificial Lake Plastira, a very popular tourism destination. PDO Messenikola, one of the two more recently established zones (1994) and definitely the smallest PDO wine zone (measuring a mere 95 hectares), is situated around the lake’s northeastern part (Morfovouni; Messenikola; Muscat) at altitudes of up to 750m.
Most of the PDO Messenikola vineyards lie in a captivating landscape, in a valley which climbs from the Karditsa plain towards the lake. In springtime, the entire valley is lost amid the purple flowers of the area’s Judas trees. The name of the black Messenikola variety and the homonymous village possibly derives from a certain Monsieur Nicola who brought the variety to the area during Ottoman rule. The characteristics of the grape variety, which also yields rosés of note, have made it necessary to fortify it by blending in the carignan and syrah varieties which are also cultivated in the area. PDO Messenikola and PDO Slopes of Meliton are the two Greek PDO wines whose composition includes foreign varieties. As the zone is quite small and there were already wineries in the greater area when it was established, a provisional regulation allows the production of the wine outside the zone provided they are within the Karditsa district.