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La Vie en Vin: Nemean Greek Wine and Snow In kalavrita, Greece

Greek wine
Greek wine

Our good friend Robert, from England, visits us every year, usually in February.

As February is not exactly the time to be lounging about on a beach, we use the excuse of cold weather, to check out the inviting bars, tavernas and restaurants that the area has to offer.

We eat, dink and become merry!

After visiting us for over thirty years, Robert has his favourite places, but this year we introduced him to a new one, The Cayo Nero, a friendly, lively little bar, that opened at the end of last summer in Loutraki.


Cayo Nero Loutraki
Cayo Nero Loutraki

MGG (My Greek God) and I love this place, be it for the superb coffee it serves in the mornings, or for drinks in the evening.


Cayo Nero Loutraki
Cayo Nero Loutraki


It didn't take long for Robert to fall in love with it too, especially after he discovered an amazing local, red wine, on being told that it was” Red on Black” from the Mitravelas winery in Nemea, I was not at all surprised.


Red On Black Mitravelas Nemea
Red On Black Mitravelas Nemea


I’m no wine buff, but, in the summer I had been given a six bottle- case of Lefkes white wine, made at the same winery, it was delicious, so delicious that it didn't last long at all!


Lefkes Mitravelas Nemea
Lefkes Mitravelas Nemea




Nemea, in the Peloponnese, produces some of the best wines in southern Greece.
The white,” Lefkes” is a Moschofilero and the “Red on Black”, an Agiorgitiko, made from a grape named Saint George.



Nemea
Nemea


If you want to try these wines, without travelling all the way to Greece, you can, they are both sold in Marks & Spencer!

You won’t be disappointed; they can both hold their own against fancy, expensive French wines.

You can buy the wine from Marks & Spencer:


I hadn't noticed quite how much Robert loved this wine, or how much of it he had drunk, until the next day.

While walking past a souvlaki shop, I commented, that it was where we had eaten on the way home, the night before.



Gyro
Gyro


Robert had no recall of this midnight feast at all.

He was mortified, not because he had drunk too much, but, because he didn't remember eating a gyro, one of the things he comes to Greece for.

We bought him another, as he felt he had not yet tried one on this trip!

We were all feeling a tad fragile after yesterday’s over indulgence and succumbed to the “siesta”, after which, more splendid wine was quaffed along with English goodies; pork pies and pork scratchings, both made by Robert’s local butcher back home in Guiseley, Leeds.



Wine & nibbles
Wine & nibbles


We made plans for the next day, Sunday, MGG suggested Kalavryta, we got out travel books, maps were checked, and websites were scrutinized, so as to be sure of not missing a thing.

The plan was for MGG to drive us to Diakofto, where Robert and I would take the little train, which winds its way through woods, mountains and gorges, to the ski resort of Kalavryta.

MGG was to drive down and meet us off the train.



Cog train Kalavryta
Cog train Kalavryta

Cog train Kalavryta
Cog train Kalavryta


We would go up to see the ski resort visit the mysterious cave of lakes and on to marvel at an amazing tiny church, actually situated inside a tree!



Cave of lakes
Cave of lakes


The finale was back to Kalavryta for something to eat, accompanied by wine, of course.

Sunday dawned a beautiful day, very cold but sunny, at ten o clock we were on our way.

Robert and I caught the 11 o clock train, wound our way through some astounding scenery and were met at twelve o clock by MGG.


Robert on the train to Kalavryta
Robert on the train to Kalavryta


 
Arrived in Kalavryta
Arrived in Kalavryta

So far, so good.


Snaking up the very winding, steep road to the ski resort, we didn't see much snow, the snow we did see, was declared not to be “proper” snow by Robert, who was very skeptical that there was actually snow in Greece.


Ski resort, Kalavryta
Ski resort, Kalavryta



Robert & MGG
Robert & MGG

Robert was very surprised, when we reached the top, to see that it really was a proper ski resort. The weather was still good, just a few snow flakes in the air.

We had not been very long in the ski chalet type coffee shop before the weather took a very sudden turn for the worse, within minutes it was a blizzard, the cars in the car park became nearly invisible, and it was a veritable white out.


Blizzard in Kalavryta
Blizzard in Kalavryta


People began to leave, we followed suite, MGG reached the car first, by the time Robert and I got to the car park, we couldn't see a thing.
If MMG hadn’t got out of the car to clear the windscreen, I really believe we wouldn't have found him, and have had to return to the chalet.

We crawled down the mountain, along with numerous coaches full of tourists, stopping frequently for cars that were putting on snow chains. Needless to say, we didn't have any.




Coach in trouble
Coach in trouble



Once we slipped off the road, and were kindly pushed back on by the people from the car in front.

It was treacherous, the car was slipping and sliding all over the place, on one side, was a sheer drop down the mountain and the road was very narrow!



Slipping & sliding
Slipping & sliding


Thanks to MGG’s excellent driving skills, we reached the bottom; I honestly did have visions of us all being stranded on the mountain, being found in a snow drift the next morning!

All hope of seeing the cave of lakes and the church in a tree were abandoned, as were the plans of eating in Kalavryta, we just wanted to get home!

We did see, what must be one of the most heartbreaking cemeteries in Greece.
During the German occupation in WWII, nearly seven hundred locals, all the men and boys over the age of fourteen, had been massacred by the German soldiers, who later burned down the surrounding villages.
This was The Massacre of Kalavryta.



The Massacre of Kalavryta memorial
The Massacre of Kalavryta memorial


They are buried in the field ,where they were rounded up and shot, this is the memorial to this tragic event.


Once home, it was straight off to the Cayo Nero and more wine, followed by souvlaki, as we had not eaten all day!


Cayo Nero ...again!
Cayo Nero ...again!


The next day, to recover from this terrible snow ordeal, after buying a stash of wine for the following evening at home, we spent a wonderful four hours in the Efeteo bar and restaurant in Korinth….eating and becoming very merry!


Efeteo Korinthos
Efeteo Korinthos


Robert is home now, most likely scouring Marks & Spencer for the magnificent Greek, Nemea wine!

He will be back in September, sailing the Aegean, he tells me that there is a spare berth…….very tempting!

Until September Robert:

Eat, Drink and be Merry!


“When men drink, then they are rich and successful and win lawsuits and are happy and help their friends. Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever. “
Aristophanes, Greek playwright, (c. 448-380 BC) in The Knights


See more Greek snow here


2 comments:

  1. Brilliant Susan, loved it !! I used to always go to Kalavrita with my dad he loved to go on the little train, have to go there again one day....thanks for reminding me about it !! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Christine, even though though it was rather scary coming back down the mountain in all that snow, we did have a wonderful day.
      Susan.x

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