Vlahiko is a grape coming from the coldest parts of northernwestern Greece and a variety that profoundly displays in the glass its cool climate origin. It is a red grape variety, used to produce dry reds, usually aged in oak. Although traditionally blended with other varieties, wine producers and wine lovers begin to appreciate the qualities of pure Vlahiko.
Vlahiko gives wines that have a bright but never deep ruby red colour, with intense and focused aromas and flavours suggesting fresh red berry fruit, green leaves and sweet spices. On the palate, alcohol is moderately low, rarely above 12.5%, tannins are discreet and fine grained, while acidity is elevated. These characteristics are accentuated by the fact that Vlahiko is cultivated in Epirus, very close to the border with Albania, in high altitude areas with cool temperatures, reduced sunlight hours and regular rains. For these reasons, Vlahiko is frequently blended with another local grape, Bekari, which is deeper in colour, higher in alcohol and tannins. However, some producers are going into cutting edge viticulture to produce stunning wines from this grape.
Vlahiko is a grape for all those wine drinkers that are bored with thick, blank, heavy, overly rich red wines. It is refreshing, charming yet packed with flavours, so it is en excellent choice for a slightly chilled red on a warm summer evening. It beautifully matches cold cuts and charcuterie. Despite the lightness of structure, Vlahiko can develop and improve over time, so bottles of these wines can be confidently cellared for four to seven years.