Over a hundred years ago, the Tsantali family began making wines and distilling ouzo and tsipouro in eastern Thrace.
View of the Rapsani Vineyards at the foothills of Mount Olympos
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.
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.
View of the Rapsani Vineyards at the foothills of Mount Olympos
In Rapsani, where the gods of ancient Greek mythology used to survey the world, Tsantali sett new standards for the development of the region. The soil - rich in iron schist - the close proximity to the sea and the ideal adaptation of the vineyards to the environment have created superior conditions for the production of the outstanding AOC Rapsani wine.
Rapsani is a small town at the foothills of Mount Olympos, symbol of the Hellenic spirit and freedom, and cultural landmark of Hellenism. Through ancient art, literature and education, Mount Olympos has achieved historical fame extending to our time and has become a symbol of global culture.
Beside this inimitable monument of nature, Rapsani began its history in the Byzantine era, almost a millennium ago, to which the village’s watermills and church testify. By the 18th century, viticulture and wine production constitute the main agricultural occupation of the people of Rapsani, giving birth to the famous Rapsani wine. Ammi Boué, a French traveller back in 1840, mentions that there are some excellent vineyards in the area of the Tempi valley, and Edward Clarke, an English tourist, writes in 1816 about the wine of Rapsani: "it has the best taste of all the wines of Greece".
The peaks of Mount Olympos and the neighbouring Aegean Sea form a unique microclimate that is imprinted in the individual character of the Rapsani wine. The influence of the sea and the many hours of sunshine facilitate the ripening of the grapes. Mount Olympos supplies valuable melted ice water and moderates the heat during the summers, permitting a slow development of the grapes, which enriches them with all the elements that constitute the basis for the creation of an exceptional wine.
The soil consists mainly of iron-rich schist. The iron in the soil is an important quality factor, since it regulates the water capacity of the soil. The soil is poor in organic substances. Its structure enables the penetration of the roots into the sub-soil, so that the vine does not suffer from lack of moisture during the summer. The sub-soil is sandy-clayey. The recesses in the sub-soil date back 40-70 million years. The structure and gradient of the soil guarantee natural drainage of the waters during the rainy periods.
The Tsantali wine cellar
The vineyards of Rapsani cover the surrounding hills and count for 100 hectares. They have an eastern-southeastern orientation. Most of the vineyards are located at an altitude of 250 up to 800 metres. This leads to a longer harvest period that begins end of September and lasts for nearly a month.
In 1971, Rapsani was one of the first vine-growing districts of Greece whose wine was acknowledged with the mark of "Appellation of Origin of High Quality". The vineyards are cultivated by 80 vineyardists and managed according to the guidelines of integrated viticulture.
The Rapsani wine very quickly became a synonym of the qualitative renaissance of Greek wine and has won many distinctions and medals at international tastings and competitions.
In Rapsani three indigenous grape varieties are found: Xinomavro, Stavroto, Krassato. In the vineyards, the three grape varieties have traditionally been planted together 1/3 each; only in the last years were the vineyards planted with each grape variety separately.
Xinomavro is the prevailing grape variety in Northern Greece. Its name means sour (xino) and black (mavro) because it gives wines with an austere structure and dark colour. The wine of Xinomavro has a particularly great ageing potential.
Krassato is, as opposed to Xinomavro, cultivated only in Rapsani. It gives alcohol-rich wines of mild acidity and many fast-ripening tannins.
Stavroto is also only cultivated in the Rapsani area. The wine from Stavroto is of average alcohol content, with mild acidity and medium colour. It is quite tannic with fast-maturing tannins.
The blending of the three grape varieties results in a carefully balanced wine. Xinomavro offers its deep red colour and tannin, to help the wine withstand long-term ageing; Krassato balances the acidity and adds to the flavour, while Stavroto contributes towards the character and body of the wine.
Location: The vineyards of Rapsani lie on the southern slopes of Mount Olympos, the Mountain of the Gods. Specific vineyard sites because of the soil, microclimate conditions and cultivation techniques, have the ability to create superior grapes. If the growing season is perfect, only the finest parcels are selected. These grapes, under the guidance of our expert winemakers, will give an outstanding wine.
Soil: Ferruginous slate.
Sub-soil: Sand and clayey loam.
Varietal Composition: The Greek (indigenous) Xinomavro (34%), Krassato (33%) and Stavroto (33%).
Viticultural Techniques: Old vine vineyards (30 years old); bush trained.
Vinification Techniques: Co-vinification of all three varieties. Fermentation at 28-30°C for 8-10 days, followed by malolactic fermentation.
Ageing: In small French (Allier) 300 L. new oak barrels for at least 12 months and at least another 12 in bottle (minimum ageing period 3 years). A wine with great ageing potential, it will continue to evolve and achieve extra depth of character.
Classification: Rapsani Appellation Epilegmenos (Reserve)
Winemaker’s notes: An elegant wine, deep purple-red in colour, with a juicy blackcurrant flavour and hints of liquorice richness. Velvety, lush, echoing nicely on the graceful finish.
Serving suggestions: A fine accompaniment to game and other dark red meats with rich and spicy sauces. An impressive glassful on its own, it tastes delicious with roasts, poultry and full-flavoured cheeses.
- 2004 Gold for Rapsani Epilegmenos (Reserve) 1999 at the Selections Mondiales
- 2004 Gold for Rapsani Epilegmenos (Reserve) 1999 at the Concours Mondiales De Bruxelles
- 2004 Gold for Rapsani Epilegmenos (Reserve) 1997 at the Thessaloniki International Wine Competition
- 2003 Gold for Rapsani Reserve 1998 at the Vinalies Internationales
- 2002 Gold for Rapsani Reserve 1997 at the Selections Mondiales
- 2001 Gold for Rapsani Reserve 1996 at the Olympiades Du Vin
- 2001 Gold for Rapsani Reserve 1996 at the Vinalies Internationales