Building on the success of its Moschofilero wines, Tselepos has expanded in recent years to include collaborations with the Driopi Winery in the region of Nemea, home of the Agiorgitiko grape, and the Chryssou family vineyards on the island of Santorini, home of the Assyrtiko grape. In addition, Tselepos has diversified its Arcadia vineyards to include plantings of Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.
The timing of our July visit to the winery was such that we arrived only a few days after a hail storm had ravaged the vineyards. This was in addition to heavy rains that had flooded the property a few weeks earlier. One can only imagine the daunting task of recovering from these climactic outbursts, particularly so late in the growing season. Nonetheless, we were warmly greeted by Eleni Kostakis who graciously led our tour of the winery.
Steel fermentation tanks, a bottling line, oak vats, and barrels, much of the winery's operations resembled a typical winery. That is, until we reached the space dedicated to Tselepos' sparkling wine. Down a long hallway, stood special racks holding hundreds of bottles undergoing a process known as riddling, which is performed in accordance with the traditional methods of champagne production. Wine laws don't allow producers outside the French region of Champagne to name their sparkling wines as such, yet those following the "méthodes traditionelles" or traditional method are making just that. A notable difference, however, is that French Champagne is typically made from Chardonnay or Pinot Noir grapes, whereas Tselepos produces its sparkling wines from Moschofilero and Agiorgitiko.
After a full and lovely day at the winery, we left certain that the future of Greek wines and their indigenous varietals is bright. Just as Santorini's Assyrtiko has taken the wine world by storm, Mantinia's Moschofilero is sure to follow. Without a doubt, Saint Tryphon is smiling.