Mantinia (Mantineia) is a Protected Designation of Origin appellation on the eastern side of the Peloponnese Peninsula in southern Greece. The cool climate, high altitude area surrounding the city of Tripoli is planted extensively to the Moschofilero grape variety, which produces floral, aromatic white wines with low alcohol and high acidity.
Mantinia PDO wines must be made of at least 85 percent Moschofilero, though in practice many are made entirely from this variety. Otherwise the blend may be completed by the little known Asproudes.
While Moschofilero makes up the majority of vineyard plantings, producers in the Tripoli region are experimenting with international grape varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Gewurztraminer and Chardonnay. These must be labeled under the more-generic PGI Tegea and Arcadia appellations.
The appellation was established in 1971, although winemaking here dates back thousands of years. Many of the older vines planted here today are more than 40 years old. The ancient city of Mantinia has given the appellation its name. In terms of government administration, the municipality was abolished in 2006 to be incorporated into Tripoli.
The vineyards of Mantinia sit within a 35 kilometer long (22 mile) valley, just south of the famous wine region of Nemea. Vineyards that cover much of the valley floor, which sits around 700 meter (2000ft) above sea level, and rise to even higher elevations in the foothills of the surrounding Parnon and Mainalo mountains.
As a result of these high elevations, the climate in Mantinia is more continental than Mediterranean, despite the close proximity of the Aegean Sea, less than 30km (20 miles) away. In fact, this is one of the coldest wine growing regions in Greece, despite its relatively low latitude.
Cool temperatures during summer slow ripening sufficiently for the grapes to retain their characteristic acidity, and harvest can sometimes come as late as October. However, this long ripening period can prove challenging to growers: rain in the fall often proves problematic, and in particularly cool years, grapes can struggle to ripen fully.
Mantinia vineyards are planted on a range of soils, from sandy loams to heavier clay loams. Carefully chosen vineyard sites are free draining and allow for deep root systems, although there are parts of the valley that can become waterlogged, particularly during winter snowfalls. These are not included in the official viticultural zones of the Mantinia appellation.
Photos source: Troupis Winery & Boutari winery