10 Jul Wine Tour in Athens
On our first wine tour around Athens, the one called GODESS ΑRTEMIS AND WINE, we come across certain hidden gems in the vineyards of Attica.
In the plain that lies north of Markopoulo, near the Athens airport, we find the little church of Holy Virgin Mary of Barabas. It stands alone in the middle of the vineyards, waiting to be discovered by pilgrims and winelovers. We always enter the old church and light a candle or two, in the memory of our beloved ones. It belongs to the category of churches built in the single-aisled, free Cross type with a dome. It is a byzantine church of the 12th century, dedicated to the Birth of Virgin Mary (celebrated on the 8th of September).
The murals have suffered destruction and fire but still retain the beauty of the holy mysticism. The construction materials are probably from the ancient sites nearby. The little church is surrounded by Savatiano vineyards, the ancient grape variety of Attica. It is one of my favorite stops of the Goddess Artemis Wine Tour. The serenity of the place, interrupted only by the eternal cicada’s song, the view of the small vineyards with the golden grapes tempt you for a glass of wine. Here we taste our first glass of Savatiano wine.
The next stop of our Wine Tour in Athens is the Tower of Vravrona. It is one of the few fortifications of a Frankish family that conquered this part of Attica. It is a lonely tall building, that was used for transmitting messages by fire. There was a whole network of message sending towers since the very ancient times. They covered vast expansions and so the message could be sent from Asia Minor to Athens only in a few hours. Archaeological research, attributes its construction to the noble family of de La Roche (1204-1311) from Burgundy. Othon de la Roche joined the 4th Crusade and became the first Frankish Lord of Athens. In my next trip to Burgundy, I intend to visit Clos de la Roche winery to find out if there is a family tie to the Lord of Athens. The Tower of Vravrona is surrounded by Savatiano vines, century old fig trees with huge trunks like sculptures, pistachio nut trees and vegetable gardens. These are two quick but beautiful stops of our first Wine Tour in Athens called Goddess Artemis and wine.