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.
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.
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.
3. The French origin red varieties Merlot, Syrah, Mourvedre and Grenache rouge and the Italian Negroamaro.
5. The French white variety Viognier, the Italian varieties Ribolla Gialla and Malvazia Aromatica and the Spanish Albarino.
Please see HERE the official Mercouri Estate website.
Please click HERE for prices and retailers of Mercouri Estate wines.
2011 Mercouri Estate Foloi, PGI Peloponnese. 86 points.
90% roditis, 10% viognier.
Regional: Artichoke salad with fried calamari. World: crustaceans, shellfish, sushi, grilled fat fish, rillettes, grilled pork, cream cheeses.
2011 Mercouri Estate Coma Berenices, PGI Ilias. 90 points.
Regional: Marinated, grilled Barbounia World: Roast turkey, pheasant, grilled fat fish, cured pork, veal, rich cheeeses.
2008 Mercouri Estate Cava, PGI Letrini. 90 points.
Regional: 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.
Regional: 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.
Deep 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.
Bright 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….