more on Ilia, Peloponnese.

The Mercouri Estate is located in the Western Peloponnese on the plateau of the Ichthis peninsula near the village of Korakochori (“the place of the crow”), 2 km from Katakalo, 12 km from Pyrgos and 32 km from Ancient Olympia.

The estate is extensive with over 150 years of history in the production of wine, olive oil and in the olden days, Corinthian grapes (or currants). It belongs to the Mercouri family who have roots in the Peloponnese and all over the continent; a family with a variety of interests, but a particular love of the earth.

The estate was founded in 1864 when Theodoros Mercouri, a cosmopolitan and successful businessman with interests in Northern Italy but mainly in Alexandria (Egypt), bought land that would eventually became the Mercouri Estate. There followed a few years later the planting of the first vineyard with Refosco grapes that were imported from Northern Italy. In the late 19th century, wine from the estate was exported to other parts of Europe.

mercouri winery

Charming ambience.

Traditional ships of the day landed in the small private bay beside the estate to collect red wine in oak barrels, with the port of Trieste as their destination. At the same time, the estate, quickly become renowned in Ilia, supplying the surrounding region for many decades with the Refosco grape, or the “Mercouri” as it became locally known. In 1930, Leonidas Mercouri developed a modern wine production facility for the day, with underground cellars for approximately 300 tonnes of wine that remained in use up until 1960

Since 1985, the 3rd and 4th generation of the family began a new, more systematic effort to revitalise the winemaking activities with the production of more standardised wines. Work was undertaken to reconstruct properties, wine production premises were modernised and extended and the vineyards were replanted, while in 1992 the Mercouri Estate became a private family limited company. Today the company, Mercouri Estate AE is operated by brothers Vassilis and Christos Kanellakopoulos, the 4th generation of the family.

The Vineyards.Today the estate vineyards are located beside the family residence and in two nearby locations, with a total area of approximately 45 acres. The land and the climate are particularly well-suited for the production of high-quality wines and the vineyards are certified for Best Farming Practice.

mercouri vineyard

The estate grows more than 15 varieties of grape of both Greek and international origin, from which the wines are produced. These are:

1. The traditional estate red Refosco in two styles: Refosco Mercouri and Refosco dal Penducolo Rosso. This variety is Italian in origin, but it is also found in France under the name Mondeuse Noir, and in Dalmatia and elsewhere.

2. The essential Greek red varieties Mavrodaphne, Agiorgitiko and Avgoustiatis.

3. The French origin red varieties Merlot, Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache rouge and the Italian Negroamaro.

4. The important Greek white varieties Assyrtiko and Robola.

5. The French white variety Viognier, the Italian varieties Ribolla Gialla and Malvazia Aromatica and the Spanish Albarino.

winery iconPlease see HERE the official Mercouri Estate website.

shopPlease click HERE for prices and retailers of Mercouri Estate wines.

logo graperoverThe Mercouri Estate wines tasted by GrapeRover:

2011 Mercouri Estate Foloi, PGI Peloponnese. 86 points.

mercouwhite-131x198white grapeclip90% roditis, 10% viognier.

vmlRegional: Artichoke salad with fried calamari. World: crustaceans, shellfish, sushi, grilled fat fish, rillettes, grilled pork, cream cheeses.

logo graperoverPale yellow. Light density. Upfront characteristic of citrus and  herbal aromas. Crisp acidity goes well with rich tropical flavours. Playful and invigorating. Medium finish.

 

2011 Mercouri Estate Coma Berenices, PGI Ilias. 90 points.

Coma-Berenices-front-label-2010-132x198white grapeclip100% viognier.

wine barrel3 months new French oak.

vmlRegional: Marinated, grilled Barbounia World: Roast turkey, pheasant, grilled fat fish, cured pork, veal, rich cheeeses.

logo graperoverMedium yellow. Medium viscosity. Complex, intense and fragrant lemon/spice aromas, a little smoky. Excellent palate,  intense, rich and fruity.  Clean, balanced, satisfying finish. Excellent value.

2008 Mercouri Estate Cava, PGI Letrini. 90 points.

mercouricava-123x198red grape clip80% Refosco, 20% Mavrodaphne.

wine barrel18 months new French oak: 1/3 Allier, 1/3 Never, 1/3 Vosges.

vmlRegional: Kelaidi World: prime red meat, meat casseroles, leg of lamb, osso buco, hard cheeses.

Deep red. Medium viscosity. Intriguing bouquet of dark forest fruit with notes of chocolate, caramel, tobacco, cinnamon and vanilla. Intense fruity flavors accompanied with fine minerality. Expressive and well structured. This wine is medium to full bodied with medium tannins, medium acidity and a long and pleasant finish. Great quality!

2008 Mercouri Estate Antares, PGI Ilia. 91 points.

mercouriAntares-132x198red grape clipAvgoustiastis, Mourvedre.

wine barrel12 months French oak (Allier/Never/Vosges)

vmlRegional: Arni stou fournou. World: prime red meat, lamb or kid chops, roasted vegetables, spicy pasta dishes, matured cheeses.

Brilliant deep ruby. Dense viscosity. Wonderful leathery, earthy aromas, dark berries, bitter chocolate/mocha, wet leaves, slight sweet spice. Medium-light body, acidity lively, stealthy tannins yet still firm, fruitier palate than nose would imply, plums on midpalate. Nice length, velvety smooth. Still has years to improve! Impressive.

2007 Mercouri Estate Refosco, PGI Lentrini. 87 points.

refoscored grape clip100% refosco (Mercouri clone, historical 1870 vineyard).

wine barrel12 months French oak.

vmlRegional: Roast pheasant World: rabbit stew, bistecca Fiorentina, rich pastas, grilled vegetables, matured hard cheeses.

logo graperoverDeep dark red/brownish rim. Generous ripe plums on the nose intensified by sweet spice, cinnamon  and some coffee notes. Elegantly grapey palate, fresh, zippy cherries, garrigue herbs.  Well matured tannins witha (still) refreshing acidity. Despite the oak invugorating with a very pleasant finish. (limited production).

 

 

2004 Mercouri Estate Chortais, table wine. 88 points.

chortaisred grape clip55% mavrodaphne, 45% korinthiaki. (semi sun-dried)

wine barrel60 months on French oak.

vmlAll dried fruits, tropical fruits, blue vein cheeses, foie gras, veal liver + crispy bacon.

logo graperoverBright dark red. Coffee, tobacco, orange peel and lemon aromas start this sweet wine from Mercouri. Big flavors of leather, bitter orange, molasses and spice box give it a masculine edge. Not unlike a good Banyuls, a bit pricy though….