Ironically, the legend says that when Icarius attempted to share the gift with his countrymen, they thought he had poisoned them because they were not used to being drunk and he was stoned to death.
Athens is the only European capital where vineyards and wineries lie so close to the city. Attica has a hot, dry Mediterranean climate with very low rainfall, particularly in summer. High sunshine hours and high temperatures mean that grapes ripen quickly. Moreover, this region is the birthplace of the renowned retsina wine. Journey through 6,500 ha of routes in one of the world’s oldest grapevine plantations and sample various labels in the cellars of local wineries.
Native and selected foreign varieties grow in the vineyards of Attica. White grape varieties have clearly prevailed over red ones in the area. This happened mostly because viticulturists have selected Savvatiano and Roditis two Greek varieties that flourish in 80% of Attica’s fields. Other cultivated varieties are Athiri, Vilana, White Muscat, Assyrtiko, Robola, Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat of Hamburg, Fileri and Malagouzia. Some of today’s best Greek red wines are made from varieties such as mandilaria and agiorgitiko, which grow well in Attica’s fertile land. However, more-modern Greek producers are beginning to experiment with different grape varieties such as Roditis and Assyrtico and lower levels of resin. Some international grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay are also grown in Attica, particularly in the mountainous north of the region where higher altitudes provide a cooler terrain for grape-growing.
Attica's most famous wine is arguably Greece's as well: the strongly flavored resinous wine known as Retsina is made in the region. The resin-enriched wine boasts an unbroken history spanning 4,000 years. It was the trademark of Athens from the Interwar Period until the ‘60s. The ancient Greeks invented the use of pine resin in order to seal up the mouth of the vessel. Over time its special aroma would enrich the wine. It is produced from Savvatiano with added pine resins of the species Pinus Halepensis, whereas kokkineli – its rosé ‘counterpart’ is made from Roditis.