Wine tourism in the region of Naousa, Northern Greece
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Naousa is a wine region in northern Greece, best known for the Xinomavro red grape variety. Its most characteristic aromas are strawberry, raspberry, tomato, morello but depending on the style of vinification, you can also find many other aromas such as chocolate, truffle, earthy notes.
I have long been planning a wine tour in the area and especially with a mandatory visit to the Kir Yianni winery. Where to stay, which other wineries to visit and where to eat, you can read further down in the post.
What wine is produced in the Naousa region?
There are about 20 wineries in the Naousa area, but in older times, before the phylloxera destroyed the vines, there were about 400. There is evidence that wines have been made in the area since the 16th century. The main variety is Xinomavro, but currently experiments are also being made with the red variety Negoshka, with the white Preknadis, Malaguzia, Malvasia. Among the known varieties are Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc.
Xinomavro ages well due to its high tannins and acidity, but younger versions are increasingly sought after.
In one of the cellars we were told that it is actually with a lighter color, like Pinot Noir and Nebbiolo, but because of the demand for a darker color in red wine, they deliberately bring it darker.
When we visited the area, the cellar doors were open and free tastings were held on the weekend.
I can recommend the following wineries for a visit:
- A visit to the winery Kir Yianni is a must. The name means Mr. Yanni, and this is actually the man who founded the winery. At first, he only traded wine, later they planted vineyards and started their own production, the emphasis being the Xinomavro variety with the main goal to promote it. The name should be pronounced Giyani, but since the “g” is a guttural sound, it remains just “ya”.
Kir Yianni is the largest winery in the region.
The place is very beautiful, picturesque – mountain hills, rows of vineyards at different heights, a lake with swans. You can have a picnic there, ride an electric bike around the vineyards, have lunch in their fine dining restaurant.
- Another good winery is Dalamaras and it is even within walking distance from the center of Naousa. There are quite steep streets on the way, but it is not impossible to make the hike. If it’s very hot, I don’t recommend hiking.
The winery exports a lot abroad, USA, Australia, Japan, Europe.
- Founti is another family owned winery that also has a restaurant, but they were not in season yet and not open.
The wines are quite interesting. They export to USA, Japan, Canada.
- A little further north than the other wineries is Argatia Winery – it is small, but they make quite interesting wines, experimenting not only with Xinomavro, but also with Njegoška.
We fell in love with their innovative solutions. We also really liked the labels on the bottles. They depict the leaves of the vines from which the wine was made.
Of course, there are more wineries that can be visited, but in 2 days we only managed that much.
When tasting wine, try their brandies, because almost every winery makes wine brandy. They are wonderful! Some call it grappa, others brandy, third raki or tsiporo. It’s still wine brandy but aged less than 3 years in most of the cases.
Where to stay in Naousa?
I researched the possibilities of staying in the region for a long time and came to the conclusion that there is not much abundance. There are several hotels and more guest houses. Naousa, in addition to being a wine region, because of Mount Vermino, also has 2 ski resorts with slopes.
Some of the options are in the mountains, others are in the surrounding towns.
Naousa is called a heroic city, because at the beginning of the 19th century, during the Greek civil war for independence, the last battle with the Ottoman enslavers took place there, in which the local inhabitants, 4,000 in number, fought with 16,000 Ottoman troops. The battles were fought for almost a month, in the end the Pasha of Thessaloniki, Abdul Abud, was victorious only after 3,000 reinforcements were sent to him.
I personally liked a small neat family hotel Palea Poli Deluxe Hotel, based very close to the ideal center of the town.
There are other options in Veria, which is an old town with historical significance. In some periods it was under Bulgarian rule. It was the second most important after the capital Pella during the time of Alexander the Great.
Where to have a delicious meal and drink good cocktails?
Since we were staying in Naousa, we visited local establishments accordingly.
For dinner and lunch I can recommend Oinomageiremata. The name means cooking with wine. They offer traditional regional cuisine, cooked, fried and grilled products. There is no fish and seafood, after all, there is no sea here, or as one magazine said “Sorry, no beaches!”
A restaurant with a modern interpretation of Greek cuisine is 1902, which is the restaurant of the Palea Poli hotel.
When visiting the Kir Yianni winery, I recommend trying their restaurant. They offer both a tasting menu with pairings of their wines and an a la carte option with a large selection of wine by the glass, and they have quite a large selection.
In Naousa City Park there are many terraced restaurants with great views of the Naousa Valley, with its sprawling vineyards and cherry orchards.
The area is also protected for cherry and peaches orchards.
We tried the cocktails at Kioski – quite good negroni, but there are also other very good cocktails. With each cocktail they give you nuts, chips or some other appetizer, and with the coffee soft cookies with filling, all as compliments. The water is free and from the tap it’s great – coming from the mountain, as I’ve already explained in other posts, even better than bottled. No one is trying to push mineral bottled on your bill, when there is another better option.
Movie watching time: 2:13 min.
What else can you do in the Naousa area?
I recommend very much to walk along the street with the restaurants and bars and more specifically the City Park along it. There is a wonderful pond, many ducks, a beautiful view towards the vineyards and orchards with peaches and cherries.
Go for a walk or a picnic in Agios Nikolaos Park.
Visit the school where Aristotle taught Alexander the Great.
How to get to all these places?
Just use the Google map here by clicking on the red pins of each location and then select directions:
How to book your stay?
You can book your stay right here. For your convenience, I have added a booking.com box, which refers directly to their site. I guarantee you’re going to use all your genius discounts and privileges they would offer to you and I will get a modest commission. Just enter the dates of your trip, the place, then hit the Search button and voila.
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