The church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) Megalochari is not only the patron saint of Tinos, but it is also considered as the saint protector of Greece, and as such, is one of the holiest sites for the Greek Orthodox Church.
The name Megalochari means “with all graces” and is one of the names to describe the Virgin Mary. Like an omen of good fortune, we were about to taste some of the most graceful wines produced in Greece, and Tinos, certainly since Byzantium times.
Our morning destination was the 450 metre altitude vineyards on the top of Tinos… dry grown 15 year old vines planted on sandy granitic soils. The sparse Stegasta vineyards are almost marooned in a barren moon scape of granite boulders, a geographical phenomenon only found in two or three other sites around the world.
Together, owner Alexandros Avataggelos, with consultant enologist Thanos Fakorelis, enologist Eleni Alevra and latterly, winery enologist Spyros Zoumboulis, undertook the task of selecting suitable varieties to plant and cultivate.
For the whites, this was Assyrtiko and Malagouzia, and Mavrotragano and Avgoustiatis for the reds. But the Clos Stegasta site lies in two locations. The mountain top, granite boulder festooned moonscape for the Assyrtiko, and the nearby ancient terraced vineyards of the red Mavrotragano vines.
This unique, marginal terroir has now, 15 years after planting in 2001, become the home to some of Greece’s most notable quality red and white wines.
Planted densely at 11,500 vines per hectare, the vineyards are cultivated organically and wines are produced on a very minimalist basis with high acidities, low alcohols, low pHs and low total sulphites… around 60ppm total and 30ppm free.
As a visiting wine buyer, this is just the stuff that gets your ears pricked up and captures your attention immediately. Fine wine these days is all about marginal terroirs, conquering the extremes of nature, to produce memorable wines. Clos Stegasta whites and reds from T-Oinos really achieve this.
After our vineyard walk, we tasted a fantastic selection of Clos Stegasta reds at the winery, follow by a most expertly presented lunch selection, were we got to taste all the wines again with food.
Malagouzia 2014 white (92/100)
Malagouzia 2015 white (91/100)
Mavro 2011 red (91+/100)
Mavro 2012 red (92+/100)
Mavro 2014 red (92/100)
Clos Stegasta 2010 red (91+/100)
Clos Stegasta 2013 red (93+/100)
Clos Stegasta 2014 red (93/100)
Clos Stegasta 2013 Reserva red (94/100)
Undoubtedly, these fine wines, both red and white, are an ongoing work of art in progress as the consultant enologist Thanos labours with enologists Eleni and Spyros to explore and discover the true essence, style, and innate quality potential of their impressive marginal vineyards.
Clos Stegasta 2011 white (93/100)
Clos Stegasta 2012 white (89/100)
Clos Stegasta 2013 white (94+/100)
Clos Stegasta 2014 white (92/100)
Clos Stegasta 2015 white (94/100)
The Clos Stegasta white flight was undoubtedly the most interesting tasting of the trip and generated the most diverse discussions, analysis and opinions.
Finally, all that remained was for the left over wines to be consumed with our final supper… an impressive spread that would have impressed even the Virgin Mary!