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logo graperoverPlease see HERE the Attica Wineries.

Attica (Attiki) is a district of great historical significance in Central Greece. Located just north of the Peloponnese peninsula on the edge of the Aegean Sea, the district is home to some four million Greeks, mostly located in the city of Athens. Attica’s most famous wine is arguably Greece’s as well: the strongly flavored resinous wine known as Retsina is made in the region.

The administrative area of Attica covers nearly 1500 square miles (4000 sq km) of land in the south-east of mainland Greece. Topography in the region is varied, stretching from the flatter, semi-arid land south of Athens to the mountains in the north. Attica features strongly in Greek mythology surrounding wine, as it is where Dionysus, the god of wine, introduced winemaking to the Attican mortal Icarius in exchange for his hospitality. Unfortunately, the legend goes that when Icarius tried to share the gift with his countrymen, they thought he had poisoned them as they were not used to being drunk and he was stoned to death.

Attica has a hot, dry Mediterranean climate with very low rainfall, particularly in summer. High sunshine hours and high temperatures mean that grapes ripen quickly, and the retention of acidity can sometimes be a problem for producers. Sandy and gravelly soils with low natural fertility provide a well-drained base for the vineyards. The challenging terroir in Attica has given rise to the style of wines made here: the drought-resistant variety of Savatianodominates vineyard plantings in Attica and contributes to the famed Retsina wines.

Retsina has been made in Greece for centuries. The resinated wine is made by adding pine resin to the grape must prior to fermentation, resulting in a dry white wine with a strong taste of resin. The process of making Retsina began from necessity – the clay amphorae traditionally used to make wine often had a coating of resin on the inside to make it airtight. When airtight barrels came into common use, locals had developed a taste for the resinated wines and continued to create wines in this way.

While there are no geographical appellations in Attica, Retsina wines are designated as ‘Appellation by Tradition’ in Greek wine law. Retsina is often described as an acquired taste, and more traditional examples with more resinous influence are not often enjoyed outside of the tavernas of Attica. However, more-modern Greek producers are beginning to experiment with different grape varieties such as Roditis and Assyrtico and lower levels of resin.

Some international grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnayare also grown in Attica, particularly in the mountainous north of the region where higher altitudes provide a cooler terroir for grape-growing.