Muscat of Lemnos

Its wine is said to date as far back as the times when it was used to quench the thirst of the Achaeans during the Trojan War. Yet even now Lemnos—its wines bearing the “ PDO Muscat of Limnos” (ΠΟΠ Μοσχάτος Λήμνου) indication—and the fame its wines have acquired remain the way they were then: unchanged. The arid climate and the volcanic soil assist in maturing to perfection the large berries of the Muscat of Alexandrias grape variety which today occupies the largest percentage of Lemnos vineyards, making the island one of the predominant Greek locations producing sweet wines.

The island’s winemaking cooperative, together with the visionary  private winemakers, add wine-derived alcohol during or not long after the high-alcohol must fermentation. They also avoid the use of barrels when vinifying the sweet PDO Muscat of Limnos wines. All of these steps lead to the tranquilly aromatic and flavorful character of the sweet Muscat of Limnos wines that exude hints of apricot, mint, and spearmint. The mild-mannered way in which these wines express themselves allows for interesting forays into exotic cuisines, making a perfect match, for instance, with foie gras or a myriad of light desserts. Yet, even when served on its own, a well-chilled Muscat of Limnos wine promises spirited fun, a chance to journey through thousands of years of historied winemaking embodied in the vibrant new wines of Greece. This is a wine addressed to a great range of wine lovers with newcomers and connoisseurs alike sure to be won over at the first sip!

Mavrodaphne of Cephalonia

Though Patras may have the lion’s share of overall Mavrodaphne plantings, Cephalonia is an equally important albeit smaller hub of the variety’s cultivation. Despite the fact that on this island of the Ionian Sea the greatest part of the Mavrodaphne production finds its way to dry vinifications that manifest some interesting results, a small portion of the grapes harvested goes toward the sweet and rarest-of-the-rare Mavrodaphne of Cephalonia wine.

The wines PDO Mavrodaphne of Kefalonia (ΠΟΠ Μαυροδάφνη Κεφαλληνίας) are fortified during alcoholic fermentation and display aromas of dried red fruits when young and aromas of coffee and spices when aged.

Mavrodaphne of Patras

It has been almost two centuries since Gustav Clauss, a German noble, settled outside Patras and vinified his first Mavrodaphne using his own, now famous, “recipe.” Yet even today, PDO Mavrodaphni of Patras (ΠΟΠ Μαυροδάφνη Πατρών) continues to hold the title of the most popular, sweet red wine ever produced in Greece.

Certain elements—such as the rich body and the balance of acidity and sweetness—may well be the common denominator of wines bearing the “Mavrodaphne of Patras” name (PDO Mavrodaphne of Patras). However, the most important influences on determining their color, aroma, and taste are the maturation and ageing process in barrels or bottles.

Consequently, all of the Mavrodaphne of Patras wines which have been allowed to age for over a year signal, with their dark color and fruity, quaffable character reminiscent of a Ruby Port, the advent of a new style. By the time a distinguished Mavrodaphne of Patras has been oaked for a five-year period, it will have acquired a unique, bittersweet complexity and will have reined in its hefty tannins. But the explosive bouquet of dried fruit, flowers, and dried nuts along with the velvety mouth of a Mavrodaphne of Patras aged 20 years or more creates a singular and rare wine experience for wine lovers fortunate enough to try it, leaving no doubt that they have tasted a truly grand wine.

The potential of Mavrodaphne of Patras at the table is as inexhaustibly broad as are the different styles in which it produced. The wine’s fresh versions make excellent apéritifs and are also the ultimate in wine when used for cooking or patisserie purposes. Its more mature versions are unforgettable when served next to dried nuts, Stilton cheese, or robust cigars. And as far as the lengthily-aged Mavrodaphne of Patras wines are concerned, they are ideal accompaniments to any gastronomic creation made with a favorite—and notoriously difficult to match—chocolate.


Santorini’s sweet white wine or “ambrosia of the gods”? Although the first answer is a certainty (Vino di Santorini), the second is equally appropriate since Santorini’s grand Vinsanto (PDO Santorini) is indeed fit for the gods! Although Vinsanto has been renowned since the 12th century, it did not acquire true fame until after 1783 when it journeyed to Russia’s large markets. Today, more than two centuries later, this rare, sweet diamond of the land of Thera still performs so spectacularly that it is not exaggeration to claim that its place among the top dessert wines worldwide has been rightfully earned. It all begins with the unique terroir of the world-famous island of Santorini. The volcanic soil striated with pumice stone, age-old vines, incredibly low yields, the presence of morning dew which ensures that the vines receive the water necessary, a weather-beaten, sun-scorched terrain, vines pruned into basket-shaped “kouloures,” and age-old tradition all conspire to mold an unsurpassed environment that has generously bestowed unique traits and features on Assyrtiko, Aidani, and on small quantities of other native white cultivars that, with Athiri in the lead, yield Santorini’s unparalleled wines.

Vinsanto is among the best dessert wines in the world. It displays an amber-brown color and although overtly sweet there is a perfect balance due to its high acidity levels. Its flavors and aromas are very complex reminiscent of dried fruits, honey, caramel, coffee, nuts and spices, leading towards a lingering, never-ending, finish. A Vinsanto is in proud possession of the key features that testify to its distinguished breed and the outstanding terroir of its origin: astonishing concentration; mineral character; and a tenacious acidity that easily balances out over 40 oz/gal of unfermented sugars!

Desserts based on caramel, fig, dried nuts, coffee, or quinces are the best companions Vinsanto wines. However, the class and strength of a Vinsanto allow for even bolder serving combinations such as with sharply salty cheeses like kopanisti or Roquefort as well as for the companionship offered by an epicurean, premium cigar.

Whatever the pairing choice may be when deciding to enjoy these rare and highly acclaimed wines, one thing is for certain: an exciting, novel wine experience beckons. Vinsanto does not merely usher one to an appreciation of fine wine; it also excites the senses with its taste, its legend, and the singularity of its birthplace, the inimitable Santorini.


In the past century, Samos has been able to showcase its sweet white wines throughout the world, and they have duly found fame and renown on their merits. The small-berried clone of the white Muscat White variety has found in every nook and cranny of the island—especially on the “pezoules,” the narrow stone terraces perched on the island’s mountainous northern extremity—the perfect ecosystem that has lead it to stunning feats of vinification as evidenced by the PDO Samos (ΠΟΠ Σάμος) sweet wines.

Most of island’s approximately 3,000 producers are members of the Union of Viticultural Cooperatives of Samos which, until recently was exclusively responsible for the wide range of the island’s dessert wines. Private wineries on the island are now also allowed to produce PDO wines.

Light and fruity wines from the tank; honeyed and concentrated “liasta,” or straw wines (“vin liastos”); and spicy, uniquely-aged, oaked wines, all bear the “Samos” indication, offering sufficient breadth of style to fulfill every kind of demand, in every price category, always offering excellent value for money and always perfectly worthy of accompanying countless dishes and desserts.

Beyond the inexhaustible palette of aromas and tastes offered by the highly acclaimed, sweet wines of Samos, there lies also the indelible stamp of a unique terroir revealed in every sip: the grape’s nearly creamy taste and subtle Muscat aroma make their presence known even when nearly engulfed by the aromas of coffee, spices, and oak.

Samos is a place apart when speaking of the production of sweet wines. It is not just the incredible aesthetics of its vineyards’ setting, a veritable image of wine’s world heritage; nor is it the countless distinctions its wines receive in every international wine contest they enter. Above all, it is the ability of its wines to sweep the senses away on an unforgettable wine journey bursting with exoticism and surprises!