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This windswept Greek isle is a favourite of ours for its slow-lane pace, peaceful beaches and foodie experiences. But don’t forget about Tinos’ wine scene too – with organic vineyards scattered between vast boulders where vines grow in the seemingly inhospitable land by dedicated winemakers. Long favoured by oenophiles, you should definitely seek out these wines when on the island.
Working with a rocky terroir and the waterless and unyielding Tinos soil was the first challenge for Gerard Margeon, 20 years ago when he discovered this craggy outcrop. Bringing his experience to the role – Gerard was a sommelier for Alain Ducasse – he saw beyond the arid earth to the potential in the ground’s minerals.
Joined by a hot team of winemakers, master vignerons and vine growers, T-oinos grew in conjunction with the hard toil, repetitive tasks and diligence to the ecosystem that it took to produce a white wine from Assyrtiko grapes and Mayrotragno grapes which create a powerful red. Want to see for yourself how this moon-like landscape yields great wine? Book in for a tour and soak up the energy (and some wine) of its captivating location.
Wild and windswept, Domaine de Kalathas seems an unlikely location for the plethora of grapes grown here by vigneron Jérôme Binda. Little known varieties such as Rozaki, Aspro Potamis, Mavro Potamisi, Koumariano and Kondoura yield Domaine de Kalathas’ handmade, natural wine.
Biodynamic and certified organic, the vineyard captured Jérôme Binda and he moved here from France with his family over 10 years ago – like many, he too was spellbound by the energy of the Tinos, although the challenge of the arid land was something to be overcome. With patient care, he nurtured the indigenous bush vines and respected the grapes – by hand and foot – to produce wine rich in warmth and minerality which follow a soft colour palette of white, rosé, orange, light red and deep red.
A vineyard whose landscape is characterised by large, round boulders, the novelty at Volacus Wine is discovering the vines growing unfeasibly between these granite monoliths. Even more impressive is the wine these bush yields – their first ever harvest in 2016 drew national acclaim and the bottles were widely requested throughout the restaurants and wine shops of Greece; the following years saw international interest and the Volacus was put on the map.
Despite this, the vineyard is down-to-earth, low-key and welcoming, with a shady table always set with treats and wine should a visitor drop by, which they frequently do. The crisp, refined white wine from Malagouzia grapes seems the ideal accompaniment to life on Tinos, and the rare Mavrotragano grapes produce an elegant red.