Domaine Nerantzi started as many Greek wineries do, for personal consumption. However, Nerantzis Mitropoulos had a vision. So, in 1998, the family set aside 1.3 hectares of their vineyards for commercial production. They were the first to produce bottled wine in the area of Eptamili, in the region of Serres, North Western Greece, and technically within the area of Central Macedonia. The city of Serres is the region’s capital. This is the land of the river Strymon which originates at Vitosha Mountain in Bulgaria, winding its way through eastern Macedonia, bulging at Lake Kerkini, across Serres, and into the Aegean Sea at the Strymonian Gulf.
The Domaine is in a valley, surrounded by 5 mountains, and with only two points of access; south and northwest. To the east is Paggaion mountain, where Orpheus would climb to the top to meet his father, Apollo. The vineyards are in foothills, climbing to around 500 feet above sea level, and amount to some 10.8 hectaires of vines, as well as olive trees, fig trees, and other fruit orchards. The soils are loamy sand, with a good amount of chalky calcareous mixed within.
As a part of the development of their own commercial wine operations, Nerantzi began the rescue and cultivation of two rare, indigenous varieties; Asprouda Serron and Koniaros. Additionally, they were solely responsible for the creation of the Serres wine appellation.
In 2003, daughter Evanthia took over as the winemaker, and begins upgrading the winery. She had studied chemistry at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki. Also during this period, Nerantzi begins renovating the famous, ancient, vineyards of Pentapolis. This project break groun din 2005. The first harvest of the Pentapolis vineyards is in 2007. In 2009, exportation of Nerantzi wines commences, with a slew of accolades ensuing.
Organic practices are employed, cultivating without the use of fertilisers, pesticides, and other harmful substances with an aim to increase biodiversity and balance. This is relatively hard to achieve as this is a windy area. Homer referred to this as “the Wind of Strymon River.” During the daytime, sea currents gust from the south. However, during the evening winds from the NE bring cooler air, which helps maintain balance and acidity.
In addition to the indigenous varieties Asprouda (white) and Koniaros (red), Nerantzi produces Malgouzia (white) and Assyrtiko (white) as well as international varieties Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, both red.
The winery at Nerantzi is on a hill top at the base of Mount Menoikion, facing Mount Paggaion to the east, Mount Kerdyllion to the north, and Mounts Dyssoron and Belles to the West. This area has been inhabited for some 5000 years, as the climate is extremely aggregable. The winery is modern and contains a laboratory, as well as a cellar.
Winemaking is a minimalist endeavor, designed to express the purest expression of both grape variety and place, as well as the year of production. Careful monitoring of grape and site performance, as well as chemical analysis is practiced. Nerantzi uses regionally sourced oak from Thrace (Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey) to further express the characteristics of the region.
Imagine everything you do like in a Gewurtztraminer and none of the overbearing, flabby, perfuminess; peaches, apricots, white flowers, and lemony honeysuckle, all on a column of crispy, minerally, Greek-white-wine-perfection!
Imagine the opposite of the above Malgousia description, and you are pointed in the right direction. This is one of the most unique wines I have ever had. Ever. It has all of the intensity, weight, oozing richness of ancient-vine Shiraz from Australia, and almost Port-like texture. It is heavy. It is leathery, and masculine, and yet there is a banana-like aroma and mid-palate that is contextually from another planet altogether.
Here is the indigenous variety left to it’s own devices, aged in Balkan oak, and brooding with depth. It is fuller-bodied, with inky notes of balsamic vinegar and figs, reduced cola, prunes, and a slight hint of black currant.