Over a hundred years ago, the Tsantali family began making wines and distilling ouzo and tsipouro in eastern Thrace.
The vineyards in Mount Athos
Evangelos Tsantalis founded the company out of deep respect for the beauty of the land and a strong commitment to quality. The spirit and tradition of nurturing the vines to yield the most precious grapes and of a proud winemaking heritage continued to evolve through the passage of time.
In 1971, in the middle of a storm, Evangelos Tsantalis sought refuge among the monks at the domain of Chromitsa. There he saw a vineyard that the monks did not tend any more. Tsantalis offered his help in tending the unique vineyard, if he was also allowed to make wine for himself. The monks agreed to this historical step and the Mount Athos wine thus came to the ‘outside world’.
Today, the third generation of the Tsantali family shows the same dedication to the values of the founder, continuing to create exceptional wines and spirits and taking pride in their constant commitment to only the finest vineyards and winemaking skills.
Notable achievements at the most prestigious international wine and spirit competitions serve as proof of excellence to people all over the world that Tsantali has perfected the art of winemaking with noble Greek and international varieties.
The vineyards of the Metohi at Chromitsa, property of the St. Panteleimon Monastery and under cultivation by Tsantali, extend across an area of 80 hectares on the terraced slopes of Mount Athos. These vineyards, isolated from other agricultural areas, provide ideal conditions for the practice of organic farming. In this unique ecosystem, world-class wines are produced from a careful selection of indigenous and international grapes.
The vineyards of the Metohi Chromitsa in Mount Athos
Mount Athos is a unique place of great natural beauty, a monastic community dedicated to prayer, obedience and meditation. Here lie in steep, impervious rocks and hills 20 monasteries, 12 monastic villages and 700 small communities of Christian Orthodox monks.
Wine has always been an integral part of life on Mount Athos and vine cultivation one of the most important occupations of the monks. For more than 1,000 years, the harvest has been a ceremony with no songs and dances but only the discreet sound of the scissors, an inner entreaty and heartfelt thanks to the Creator for the crop. It was the beginning of a notable winemaking tradition that has lasted throughout the centuries and made the Mount Athos wine renowned.
The Tsantali wine cellar
The climate at Mount Athos is typical Mediterranean. The winter is mild with little snow and temperatures that very seldom reach under -2°C. The spring and summer are warm, with many hours of sunshine (>2,000 hours) due to the ideal southeast orientation. Although there is little rainfall in summer, the deep-rooted plants are soothed by the melted ice waters, without the need for irrigation.
The vineyards are surrounded by mountains and pine forests on the one side and by the sea on the other. This contributes to an outstanding microclimate. The sea abates the high summer temperatures and at the same time offers the necessary evening moisture to the vineyard soil. The evening temperature is kept low by the mountain freshness; this hinders the onset of the sugar breakdown cycle and facilitates a better maturation process.
The vineyards are laid out in terrace form up to a height of 250 m. 90% of the vineyards are situated in deep sandy-clay soils, poor in organic substances, of quite high acidity and average limestone concentration.
The light, nearly transparent soil, reflects the sunrays away from the ground during the day and towards the vineyard in the evening, also keeping the temperature low during the summer.
The sparseness of the soil obliges the roots, in their search for nutrients, to penetrate down to the sub-soil, which is very rich in trace elements.
From the sub-soil rise granular rocks of crystalloid form (granite, biotite), which contribute to the fruity character, the body and the elegance of the wines, also allowing the oxygenation of the roots.
Dr. George Tsantalis with father Filaretos at Mount Athos
In the red varieties of Mount Athos - Limnio, Cabernet Sauvignon - we experience enticing aromas, vivid colour, high alcoholic degree and body. Cabernet Sauvignon achieves a deep colour and good sugar concentration. The long ripening time and low yields produce tremendous flavours in the fruit, balanced with vibrant acidity.
Limnio, one of the oldest Greek grape varieties, gives individual and distinctive wines. The particular characteristics of the variety are expressed in the taste with a characteristic toothsomeness, with the mineral elements strongly emphasised.
The white varieties Assyrtiko, Athiri, Chardonnay have vibrant acidity and crisp balance. The grapes achieve excellent sugar concentration and phenolic background.