Vassilis Papagiannakos is the third generation of winemaker in his family and produces fine wines from grape varieties that have been grown in the Attica region for thousands of years. His modern winery is located in the countryside not far from Athens. In fact, it is easy to visit when you pass through the Athens airport.
In this interview, Vassilis tells us about the Savatiano grape, which has been the workhorse grape variety for winemakers in the Attica region, and the other indigenous grape varieties he grows. He describes how, at the age of 16, he developed the belief that Savatiano could be the basis for high quality wine and how he convinced his father to experiment – in other words, to produce a wine that was not “retsina”. From that initial barrel of non-resinated wine, the Papagiannakos winery has gone on to become one of the most important producers and exporters of fine Greek wine.
Vassilis believes strongly in both traditional agricultural methods and making single varietal wines to produce wines that are specific to the terroir of his vineyards – in other words wines that really capture exactly what those grapes in that place will express. By harnessing cooling technology for controlling fermentations in this very hot region and by careful use of techniques such as extended skin contact, Vassilis allows the grapes to express the soul of this very historic winemaking region.
With introductory music recorded live in Skopelos with the famed Rembetica guitar player and singer, Kostas Kalafatis.
Papagiannakos produces bright, expressive and delicious wines from local and international varieties. Perhaps the most compelling thing about Vassilis Papagiannakos philosophy is his dedication to single-varietal wines. Vassilis wants his wines to express precisely what the land of Attica will reflect in these grape varieties when carefully grown and vinified. Fascinating stuff with wonderful, world-class results.