Greek wine. The image can either send you into a thousand yard stare of imagining white stone walls, blue chequered table cloths and poky house wine charmingly served in tumblers, or it can make you wince at the image of bad Brits insisting on extra Heinz ketchup with their Gyros. Either way it’s undervalued as a region.
Sclavos is based in Lixouri a small beach town on the west coast of Kefalonia, the largest of the Ionian islands. Admittedly it isn’t the first place you’d think to find a biodynamic vineyard. Lost in the deep blue sea of the Mediterranean, lapping fishing boats, and dusty mountainous roads. A lazy place perfect for not doing much. And perhaps that’s exactly how, Evriadias Sclavos, owner and winemaker of this 6hectare estate likes it. A quiet, contemplative type, who gives me the impression that he prefers the rigour of working amongst vines to showing hipster wine folk around his personal idyl.
Since 1986 this vineyard has been organic. And why wouldn’t it be, an island cut off from the encroachment of commercial agriculture. Not only that, Sclavos is considered one of the pioneers of biodynamic farming in Greece. Planting only local varieties; robola, vostilidi, muscat and mavrodaphne. These are the hallmarks of someone thinking individually. Protected from influence to test and conduct their practice on their terms and with conviction and passion. Something to be celebrated in a world of ever increasing homogeny. Although I’m certain that’s about as far from what Sclavos would want. What he probably wants is to be left to live, prune, vinifie and most likely think.