When one thinks of traveling to Greece, they typically envision visiting Athens, the Greek Islands, the Peloponnese and Santorini. Rarely do they foresee traveling north along the coast into Macedonia and beyond where one finds a hidden gem of a resort called the Porto Carras Grand Resort.
Porto Carras lies along the Sithonia Peninsula. This peninsula is one of three that make up the Halkidiki Peninsula, which runs from the city of Thessaloniki south to the Aegean Sea and is shaped like a hand with three fingers. Sithonia is considered the middle finger.
This family styled resort is more than just a seaside getaway; it is also located in its own wine appellation known as Domaine Porto Carras and produces a plethora of marvelous Greek wines. The winery sits atop a hill on the slopes of Mount Meliton and affords magnificent views of the Greek coastline. The resort becomes the perfect escape for wine lovers because one not only enjoys the exquisite views, basks in the Grecian sun but also gets to sample the excellent wines from some very old and historic varietals while watching the sun set along the Sithonian coast.
The resort is composed of two hotels, the Meliton, which has the resort’s casino and the Sithonia, the Marina Village and Yacht Club and an 18-hole golf course. High above sits Villa Galini. The resort is like a town of it’s own. Once there one does not have to leave for anything.
The guest suites at Porto Carras are spaciously comfortable with a European flare. Each room has a balcony with most overlooking the beaches, ocean or the marina.
There is a pool, Thalassotherapy and Spa Center at each hotel and several beaches to choose from. Neos Marmaras is the local village and can be reached by car or boat shuttle from the Porto Carras Marina. Both the hotels and marina offer a wide selection of restaurants to choose from, each offering a different cuisine.
,For the best vantage point, a visit to the Villa Galini offers the most spectacular view of the coastline and Turtle Island. Originally a monastic property until the late 1960s when shipping magnate, Giannis Carras purchased the property after falling in love with the beauty of Sithonia coast during a cruise to Mt. Athos. Perhaps in keeping with the properties religious origins he built a Mediterranean styled villa that is reminiscent of a monastery. Today the Villa is used as a hotel or for weddings.
There are 1100 acres of terraced vineyards, which make it ideal to grow Bordeaux varietals in addition to the Greek varieties. The winery is planted with twenty-seven varietals of which thirteen are French and the other fourteen are those native to Greece. Some of those varietals are: Assyrtiko, Athiri Malagouzia, Limnio, Roditis, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Cinsault, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier and Syrah. The Malagouzia is one of the most ancient white varietals and was almost extinct until Domaine Porto Carras revived this grape. At the same time Limnio, one of the most ancient red varietals has made a comeback by through the winery’s efforts.
The vineyards were planted in 1965 and the first vinification was in 1971. In 1999 its current owners purchased the vineyards. Yliana Stengou runs the winery with its two female winemakers, Eyfrossyni Drossou and Dioni Samara.
The grapes used for the Domaine Porto Carras wines are organically grown and utilize dry farm irrigation. The profile of the region, the climate and terroir with its chalky and schistose soils is such that the vineyards are virtually free of many of the diseases you find in other areas. The climate is one with intense sunshine that is countered by cool ocean breezes from the Aegean Sea. With its location on the slopes, you find diurnal temperature variation from day to night. This difference tends to slow the ripening process and lead to more acidity and character in the grapes.
The winery’s tasting room is one of many stops the resort’s tram stops as it circles the various sites on the property.
One cannot go wrong choosing to vacation at the Porto Carras resort. The hospitality and service is impeccable and will make your visit your dream vacation.
For more information:
TEL: +30 23750 77000
FAX: +30 23750 71229
To visit the winery:
Domaine Porto Carras