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Kontoura white, the vines

Kontoura white, 53 years old bush vine, June 2014Kontoura white is an indigenous Greek grape variety and can be only found in 9 Muses Valley of the Ascre region. Ascre (ancient name was Ascra) is Hesiod's (oral poet of the antiquity) homeland with great history and tradition in wine making. The well-known historian and world traveler Pausanias testifies in one of his travel novels: "Muses Valley is a place where you find countless vineyards and olive groves". Ascre and the 9 Muses Valley is located at the slopes of Helicon mountain, 62 km South East of the Delphi oracle.

The vineyards are situated at the hillsides of Helicon mountain and have either a South East or a North West orientation. The vines planted per each hectare are 4440. The altitude of the vineyards is from 360m to 550m. The gradient of the slopes where the vineyards are situated is from 3% to 5%. This is the reason why the excess water from rains during winter flows towards the riverbed of Permissos and Olmios rivers, letting the vines absorb only the quantity of the water they really need. The dark red color soil of the vineyards is very rich in minerals and organic materials. Also the mechanical structure (gravel) of the soil helps the water to travel faster towards the roots of the vines at the needed quantities. The vineyards yield per acre is less than 900 kgr. The "terroir" shines through the wines produced from the vineyards of 9 Muses Valley. 

Kontoura white is a forgotten member of the Greek white grapes family. It is actually a clone of Savatiano, a well-known grape variety perfectly acclimatized in Central Greece. The research (DNA analysis, etc) that our agronomists did on our vineyards during the last 6 years concluded on that the vine clones we have, are unique compared to other Savatiano clones in the area as well as in other regions in Greece. Kontoura white is the Savatiano of 9 Muses Valley.

Kontoura white vineyards of Ascre

Episkopi vineyard with Kontoura white at the slopes of Helicon mountainIt is something new and forgotten that came to life after several years in the "dark". This clone is different and you find the differences in the character of the wines produced from these vineyards and these vines. This unique grape combined with the 9 Muses Valley “terroir”, our modern winery and the innovative vinification techniques we implement lead us to the birth of “Two Rivers” White Dry Wine.

The Kontoura white vineyards where planted in 9 Muses Valley from 1955 to 1963. The "mother" plants where taken by "wild" vines saved from pestilens (Philoxira). Philoxira destroyed all the vineyards of the valley in the early 1950s. The 9 Muses Valley region was replanted mainly with three grape varieties - Savatiano, Roditis and Kontoura white. The vineyards cover more than 150 hectares of the valley, in total. Around 30 hectares are planted with Kontoura white. 

Our grandfather Spyros Samartzis and his father Dimitrios Samartzis replanted their land on 1962. The selected grape variety was Kontoura white, which they regenerated from "wild" vines they found in the valley. They also planted 0.8 hectare with another indigenous grape variety named Mouhtaro.

The vineyards are dry cultivated. We irrigate them only when during the summer the weather is very hot and the temperatures are over 40-42℃ (degrees Celsius) during long periods of time. In that case the water provided to the plants is less than 70 liters per plant during all the cultivation period. Kontoura white is a grape variety with an enormous strength in lack of water. They are grown like short bushes and this helps them to beneficial from the humidity enclosed in the ground during the summer. The gradient of the hillsides helps them to get all the light that they need during the productive period of the vines. The pruning of the vines is done early in January.

We utilize a "nature friendly" cultivating program, avoiding the use of any chemical fertilizer or chemical additive for any interventions been done in the vineyards (if they are needed) during the cultivating period each year. All the interventions are recorded in the Cultivation log we keep according the ISO 22000 certificate we have for our winery.

The microclimate of the 9 Muses Valley, "terroir" shines

Kontoura white, harvest, September 2014The microclimate of the 9 Muses Valley helps the plants to grow under ideal conditions. During the summer the NW breeze coming from the sea freshens the grapes berries. The humidity in the 9 Muses Valley atmosphere is low and that makes the conditions very unfriendly for the growth of any bacteria or fungus on the leaves or the grape berries in our vineyards. Also the skin of Kontoura white grape berries is very thick, helping them to have multiple layers of defense against insects & fungus. This is the main reason for which we do not need to spray the vines with all the chemical agents that are used in other regions for keeping away all the diseases of the vines and the grape berries. The size of the grape is medium to big and the color of the grape berries is light yellow.

"two rivers" white, a single variety, single vineyard wine from our Kontoura white

two rivers white dry, Kontoura white, single vineyard

The wines produced from Kontoura white are fresh, full bodied with a characteristic aromatic profile. On the nose we find aromas like melon, citrus, passion fruit, pineapple. In the mouth we taste lemon & citrus, floral, pineapple & melon, rich, bold & silky with a refreshing acidity and a long aftertaste. They have a sappy core & gravel minerality. Layered with texture and creaminess. The acidity in matured grapes is medium to high (6 gr/lit) and the total amount of sugar is around 280-320 gr/lit.

Harvest takes place between the 10th of September and the 5th of October each year. The harvest is done by hand. Hand picking of the grapes is mandatory. By using this method and immediately transferring the grapes to the winery in less than 2 hours , from the moment that there where cropped from the vines, minimizes the oxidization of the aromas of the grape. This method also helps us on using less sulfites in the grape must and the wine. The total concentration of sulfites never exceeds the 90 mgr/lit. 

The harvest is done early in the morning so that the temperature of the grape berries is low. For the grape must extraction we use a pneumatic press and the vilification that follows is slow and under controlled low temperatures. By using this method we preserve the aromas of the grapes and reveal the "character" of our wine. For the proteins stabilization and the clarification of our wine we use natural agents that are casein free, egg protein free and milk protein free. The tartaric stabilization of our wine is done by using minus degree temperatures. We filter our wine to sterilize it before bottling it. 

We are an ISO22000 (Eurocert Certification No.244/T/2009) certified company for producing & bottling Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) wines.