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The Mavroudia Mystery

Their name first appears in print in 1836, in a country full of multi-varietal vineyards, many of them still unknown. It was common for producers to name dark red grapes ‘mavroudia’ and white grapes ‘asproudia’ (from the words black and white respectively).

Mavroudia were a genetically and morphologically diverse group of red grapevine varieties, which could be found all over Greece with their berry skin colour being the only connecting factor. Decades went by, the group continued growing and so did the questions. Was this one variety with many names or different varieties grouped under one name? Who knew what Mavroudia were?

In 2015, the Agricultural University of Athens began studying 28 different types of Mavroudia in order to finally give them the distinct identity they deserve.

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Name & Origin

Most Greek Mavroudia have no identifiable origin so they were named according to characteristics like the size of the berries of the grapes, their flavour or the area in which they were grown. You can feel Mavroudi Chondrorago (fat berry) or Mavroudi Psilorago (thin berry), you can taste mavrostifo (sour) or moschomavro (fragrant) and you can find Mavroudi Arachovis, Mavroudi Thrakis, Mavroudi Nemeas etc., in different parts of Greece.

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    Origin & Naming
    Origin
    Naming

    It was all a misunderstanding

    Mavroudia had a humble beginning, with producers not realising their worth. As time went on, they confused them with more recognisable varieties.

    They were mainly mistaken for Agiorgitiko, which up until the 1970s was known as Mavroudi Nemeas, a name that is today allowed to be used only in the viticultural region of Nemea.

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    High Praise

    Greek Mavroudia are rare and valuable despite not being widely known. Their fruit harbour the same unique properties a French variety would. With high anthocyanins, tannins and resveratrol, they can hold their own when compared to Merlot or Cabernet.

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    The value of resveratrol

    Resveratrol’s chemical compound means that it is a true beauty & anti-aging elixir. It might be hard to spell but it’s definitely a bonus to have it in your wine glass.

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    Red wine has strong antioxidant and anti-aging properties. Red wine is considered an elixir of youth. It is rich in polyphenols and especially resveratrol, which stimulates the synthesis of SIRT-1 proteins and prolongs the life cycle of skin cells. It fights free radicals, detoxifies, purifies and softens the skin through its strong antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

    “ I have taken more good from alcohol than alcohol has taken from me. ” Winston Churchill

    Their promise

    Mavroudia can make great, unforgettable even, wines as vintners and producers decipher their mystery and give them their due.

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    Epilogue

    In amongst 300 Greek varieties, the Mavroudia group is slowly developping its true identity. As we begin to understand it, we can look forward to better and better Greek red wine.