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Thessalia (Thessaly) is an administrative region in mainland Greece, bordered by Greek MacedoniaCentral Greece and the Aegean Sea. While it is not the best known of Greece’s wine regions, either viticulturally or historically, it has a thriving wine industry that is mostly located in the mountains that surround the region. A wide variety of wines are produced here, from dense red wines made from Xynomavro and Messenikola Black to light, aromatic white wines made from Roditis.

The administrative district of Thessalia covers around 5500 square miles (14,000 square km) of coastal land, a similar size to the state of Connecticut in the United States. The coastal plain that stretches inland from the Pagasitic Gulf is ringed by mountain ranges, including the Pindus mountains to the west and Mount Olympus, the mythical home of the gods, in the north-east.

Three Protected Designation of Origin appellations exist within the boundaries of Thessalia: Rapsani, Anhialos and Messenikola. The wine region of Rapsani is the most widely known of the three, and its vineyards sit on the south-facing slopes of Mount Olympus at altitudes ranging from 600ft to 2500ft (250-750m) above sea level, producing wines that are an equal blend of Xynomavro, Krasato and Stavroto. Messenikola, on the shores of Lake Plastira in the north-west of the region, sits at similarly high altitudes, and wines bearing the appellation are blended from Messenikola Black with smaller proportions of Syrah and Carignan. The vineyards of Anhialos, on the other hand, are located at some of the lowest altitudes in Greece on the shores of the Pagasitic Gulf, and produce white wines from Roditis and Savatiano.

Thessalia is also home to a handful of PGI-level appellation titles that allow for more freedom in the styles of wine produced. These include Krannonas, Elassona and Tyrnaos, as well as the regional appellation of Thessalia itself.

As in much of Greece, Thessalia enjoys a Mediterranean climate with dry, warm summers and mild, rainy winters. However, many of the more inland parts of the region have definite continental influences, particularly high in the mountains. Here, cold mountain winds and snowmelt water help to keep the vineyards cool during the growing season, contributing to the development of acidity in the grapes.