At the north-west of Athens, in the region of Viotia, lies the Valley of the Muses, formed on the slopes of Mount Helicon by the short course of the river Permissos on its way to the sea. In ancient times, the idyllic scenery of the valley was home of the 9 Muses, daughters of Zeus, and of Hesiod, one of the greatest poets of ancient Greece, who was born and wrote his works in ancient Askra, a city “rich in grapes” as it was called at that time, the modern Askri. This is the place where the vineyards of the Muses Estate lie.
On the slopes of Mount Helicon, grapevines find the perfect soil to grow, while the cold currents of air coming down from the mountain create the right mesoclimate for the production of wines with character and typicity .
The Winery established in 1946 by Nikolaos Zaharias , his son Mr Athanasios Zaharias entered the business and implemented innovations, currently run by its third generation Nikos, Stelios and Panayiotis . Nowadays it is a modern and updated one which stands to the expectations of the 21st century .
All their vineyards located in the Valley of the Muses, an area ideal for vine growing . Nowadays the vineyards that are cultivated are more than 50 hectares. The climate is characterized by mild, wet winters and dry summers, with long periods of sunshine. The vineyards are located at an altitude between 450 and 520 m and have a slope between 5 and 10% . Under those factors that affect the mircro-climate of the vineyard and in combination with the management of the wine makers the varities they cultivate find their best expressions .Among them are the white varieties, Assyrtiko, Savatiano, Malagousia, Roditis, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Robola and Trebbiano , and the red, Mouhtaro , Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Grenache Rouge.
There is one though that it is extremely special for them ; the Greek variety Mouhtaro ,one of the rarest Greek red grape varieties, which is found exclusively in the Valley of the Muses . This is because this varietal still exists thanks to the efforts of Nicolaos and Athanasios Zaharias, who insisted on cultivating Mouhtaro vines when all the other growers were replacing it with better yielding varieties. In Muses Estate they have great trust in the potential of Mouhtaro and of the other indigenous grapes. Their focus will always be on these varieties because they believe that only they can reflect the climate and the soil of the Greek vineyard and the passion of the people producing quality Greek wine.
The interesting fact behind the variety of Mouhtaro is its relation to the epic of Homer Odyssey, it is said that the wine that Ulysses gave to the Polyphemus , one of the Cyclopes , must come from Mouhtaro .
I will leave you links at the end of the article to learn more about the winery ,its heritage and winemaking .It’s Christmas time so let’s celebrate and enjoy their exceptional wines . Although I am a certified sommelier I avoided to write descriptions that include terms hard to understand for you . I used my other property as a photo-model and art director and set a festive photoshooting for Muses Estate wines .
The wines of the Muses Estate can easily find their way to your festive table , but nevertheless they are appropriate for all year round .
In case that you were looking for Christmas presents there are plenty of options the winery can offer . Their beautifully designed and crafted bottles in combination with the unique flavours and aromas of the wines it is the epitome for a festive gift .
This year the Holidays may be different from the previous ones , but my wish for you is to be safe , healthy and spend them with those who truly matters for you ! And don’t forget to drink wines !
A list I made for you with links to buy the wines online
- Muses Estate A-muse 2019 ,(Dry, Still, Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Mouchtaro, Drink it now, 13% alc.) here
- Muses Estate Mouchtaro 2018 (Dry, Still, Red, Mouchtaro, Keep for 2-3 years, 13% alc.) here
- Muses Estate A-Muse Blanc 2019 (Dry White Wine Malagouzia ) here
- Muses Estate Chrisolithos, white 2019 (White Dry 50% Chardonnay, 50% Malagousia ) here
- Muses Estate 9 Red Blend (Red dry ,40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 20% Syrah) here
- Muses Estate 9 White Blend (White Dry ,50% Assyrtiko, 30% Trebbiano, 20% Sauvignon Blanc ) here
- Muses Estate 9 Rose Blend (Rose Dry ,80% Syrah, 20% Mouhtaro ) here
Merry Christmas ! Cheers to brighter days !
Photographer : Panagiotis Kadigkos
Eleni Kadigkou XX