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feed Papaioannou

Athanassios Papaïoannou is so highly regarded in the wine industry in Greece, other winemakers we have met actually invoke the word "God" to describe him. He is adored for his deep understanding of the gifts of nature, his own natural poetic and philosophical gifts and, most importantly, his lifetime contributions to the development and respectability of the new Greek wine. The estate was founded by his grandfather in 1876. The 45 hectares of vineyards that now comprise the property qualify it as one of the few truly legitimate estates in the country: all production comes from its own vineyards.
Papaïoannou is a self-taught winemaker. His production of world-class wines in Nemea has been slow and steady, achieved over decades. Nothing was gained without experimentation and observation. An entire vineyard of Moschofílero was once uprooted immediately upon the realization that the variety was hopelessly unsuitable. In contrast, his legacy as a producer of Agiorgitiko is unsurpassed, making him one of a handful of producers in Greece capable of dividing a portfolio (his red Nemea) into old vine and new vine. These decades of observing the reaction of vine to the fecund but dry Archaia Nemea soil and micro climate have led to ever easier introductions of new cultivars. In addition to Agiorgitiko, plantings consist of Roditis, Asyrtiko, Malagousiá, Lagorthi, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet and Pinot Noir. Experimental plots contain some 35 additional varieties, mostly Greek. Annual production now exceeds 350,000 bottles, a quantity that would probably have been unmanageable were not for the participation of Athanassios' son, George.
George Papaïoannou is a man who is easily contrasted with his father. A trained eonologist and first-rate mind, he is at once introverted and an evangelist, the serious priest to his father's smiling deity. He is a fount of information about his area of expertise and an outspoken advocate for rational appellation laws. He is, indeed, a preacher, and the point of every sermon is to instill one value: quality. As long as the subject is wine, and as varied as the subject of wine actually is, there is no argument he makes that does not invoke the notion of quality as the standard against which all possible evidence and all options are weighed.
George feels Greece has its own contributions to make to the world of wine. "We can produce high-quality wines with unique flavors different from French and other wines, but we can also make Cabernet and Chardonnay. We've never copied the French style, however. We have always striven to create our own versions, guided by techniques that were developed during experimentation with the varieties over 20 years." Papaïoannou senior had worked for Katogi, the first Greek winery to plant Cabernet in 1970. The dual goal for Cabernet, as with all the imported varieties, has been to meet international expectations while allowing the wines to find their own way within the regional terroir.
Indigenous cultivars require even greater effort. Standards must be established without the benefit of a frame of reference in international markets. Some indigenous varieties are more expensive to produce. "Agiorgitiko is more difficult and expensive to vinify than Cabernet. But we have faith that quality will eventually compensate us for these costs. Certainly quality vinifications of indigenous varieties are the only ones that will bring success for us and for Greece in foreign markets. The estimations of these varieties here and abroad is not a momentary matter. Sometimes time decides when a variety will receive a higher calling. Our role, in a way, is to qualify them for consideration. If their time comes, we will be rewarded. Perhaps to the detriment of our sales, we are currently much more concerned with achieving quality than with marketing."
Achieving quality has meant a steady decrease in yields. Because Papaïoannou is in a good position to carry the costs, this has not been a problem. Father and son, however are both sympathetic with other growers who need to overproduce to survive. It is better to grow grapes than not, but George warns, "you can grow grapes for God or for the devil." Chemical-free farming and pruning, especially of the prodigious Roditis, are essential elements of the Papaïoannou philosophy. Carbonic maceration is frequently employed to insure that drinkability accompanies the intense extraction of red varietals


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Aristocracy

750 ml
$19.99
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ESTATE PAPAIOANNOU AGIORGITIKO

750ml
$19.99
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Ktima Papaioannou Microclima Agiorgitiko

750ml
$64.99
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Ktima Papaioannou Old Vines 2006

750 ml
$37.99
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Ktima Papaioannou Terroir 2004

750 ml
$76.99
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Papaioannou Chardonny

750 ml
$17.99
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Papaioannou Pinot Noir

750 ml
$24.99
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