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Arcadia in the Peloponnese of Greece is one of the country’s best-regarded wine regions. It is especially well-known for its Moschofilero wines, but many other grape varieties are also produced there. One of the best wineries in Arcadia is Ktima Tselepos Winery, which is run by Yiannis Tselepos, who is referred to as the Master of Moschofilero.
History of Ktima Tselepos Winery
Ktima Tselepos Winery was established in 1991 by Yiannis Tselepos. Of Cypriot origin, he moved to France following the Turkish invasion of the island. He took enology classes in Burgundy before starting his winemaking career in Greece.
Yiannis Tselepos is regarded as the Master of Moschofilero, having spent over 30 years working with the pink-skinned white grape. While the Tselepos Winery also works with other varieties, Yiannis especially loves to work with Greek varieties in their original location, where they grow best. Their specialty wines are Mantinia PDO wines. These wines from the zone of Mantinia must be at least 85 percent Moschofilero, but are often 100%.
In addition to their Arcadia winery, Tselepos Wines operates two other estates: Ktima Driopi in Nemea and Canava Chrissou – Tselepos in Santorini. Neither has a public wine tasting room at the moment. Check out my suggestions for wine tasting in Santorini.
While Yiannis is the first generation winemaker, the wine is in good hands for future generations, as his son went to UC Davis near the wineries of Napa Valley to study viniculture and enology, & his daughter works in marketing for the winery.Book your hotel in Peloponnese now!
Ktima Tselepos Winery Tour & Tasting
I had the opportunity to visit Ktima Tselepos Winery (website) for a tour and tasting as part of a press trip following TBEX Kalamata.
Hospitality Supervisor Eleni Kostaki welcomed us to the winery with a glass of sparkling Moschofilero called Amalia, named after Yiannis’ wife. Later, we would learn more about how the Brut is made. It’s like champagne, but of course, it can’t be called that. The Ktima Tselepos sparkling Moschofilero is served in Aegean Airlines First & Business Class.
Next, we headed into the winery for a tour of the cellar. This bright & well-maintained cellar was built about ten years ago. It’s kept clean to avoid Brett bacteria.
The cellar is packed with barrels, tanks, and amphoras.
French oak barrels are used three times by the winery. In the first year, they are used for premium vintages, and then in the second and third years, they are used for fresh reds.
The terra cotta amphoras are used for aging white wines. They allow the wines to breathe while also adding some minerality. The white eggs are used for a rose, while the other amphoras are used for reds.
We then headed further into the cellar where the bottles of sparkling wine are produced and fermented. The room smelled of yeast due to the yeast and sugar added during secondary fermentation before each bottle is capped like a beer.
After at least nine months of bottle conditioning, the yeast sediment must be removed. First, the bottles undergo a process called riddling. In the riddling process, the bottles are placed at a downward angle on racks. They are then hand-turned in the traditional French method, with quarter rotations every seven days in a left, right, left, right manner.
Once the sediment has all settled into the neck, the necks of the bottles are then put into a pot filled with -25 degrees Celcius liquid glycol for 3 minutes. This freezes the neck while the rest of the wine stays liquid. A machine then removes the bottle cap while the pressure inside pops out an ice cube (or, more accurately, an ice cylinder) with the sediment. A bit of the same variety of sparkling wine is added to the bottle to ensure it’s filled. Then, the bottle gets a cork from Portugal along with the label and foil.
After learning about the winemaking process at Ktima Tselepos, it was time for a wine tasting & lunch.
At each of our places at the communal table, there was a placemat that included a map of the local vineyards, including where each grape is grown. The winery contracts with local producers.
We were served a feast that included cheeses, meatballs, and three different types of “-pitas” (casseroles) – cheese, greens, and pepper.
For the wine tasting, we had four different wines.
First, we had the 2022 Mantinia, a fresh, citrusy wine made from 100% Moschofilero.
Next, we tasted their 2022 Blanc De Gris, a single vineyard white wine from Perpatiara that was also entirely Moschofilero.
Our third tasting was a 2022 Rosé from their Nemea winery made from 100% Agiorgitiko.
Finally, we tasted a red, a PDO Nemea wine also made from 100% Agiorgitiko.
I enjoyed all the wines, particularly the Blanc De Gris, which was great because we had another opportunity to drink it later that night.
Following our afternoon of wine tasting at Ktima Tselepos Winery, we had an outstanding dinner, including local Greek pasta, at Villa Incognito in nearby Tripoli. If you’re ever anywhere in the Peloponnese, I recommend checking it out, as their food and wine are fantastic.
Here are some great Arcadia tours & activities.
Watch a video of my visit to Arcadia here:
Note: My visit to Ktima Tselepos Winery was part of a TBEX press trip. All opinions are 100% my own.