🇬🇷 Cavino, Ionos Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot
7/10 – Backpacker’s Choice
This wine is from the slopes of Egialia in the northern part of the Peloponnese, not far from where I was drinking it, in fact, on the island of Spetses. This was the first stop on my journey around the the Argo Saronics, the trail of islands that ripple south of Athens like the wake of a ferry.
About three hours from the Athens port of Piraeus by Flying Cat, Spetses is more exclusive than most of the islands served by the large Greek ferries, though as it is close to the mainland it is a popular weekend destination for Greeks who live on the Peloponnese.
The main town is dotted with luxury shops and classical old mansions, some in need of repair, making this a lovely, elegant island with a knowing nod to its wealthy past in the eighteenth century.
The mainly pebble beaches are lapped by water in glorious shades from turquoise to blue, like a summer fashion range. Spetses is not a barren island and the hills are dotted with cypress, palms and olive groves.
Vrelos beach is less than an hour’s walk from the town or 15 minutes by bus (€2 each way). The beach is reportedly packed and noisy during summer weekends but it was a quiet and pleasant spot for lunch during my stay in September.
Zogeria Bay is another hour’s walk and is not served by a bus. It is a much larger stretch of coast popular with those whose only problem in life is where to moor their super yacht. The snorkling is good here with dozens of small coves and pebble beaches that you will have mostly to yourself. If you continue over the headland and you will find a sandy beach with a bar and restaurant and loungers, still mostly deserted midweek in mid September.
I wasn’t expecting much from this Cabernet/Merlot blend that I had found for less than €5 in a corner shop on Spetses. These are not classic Greek varieties and Spetses is not known for giving you a bargain. But the nose was not offensive so despite the low ABV and the diluted red in the glass I sipped it with higher expectations. It was a little sharp on the tongue at first but it was more than drinkable with a pleasant raspberry tang. After an hour or two it had softened to become a wine I would happily buy again, even if I were visiting on a super yacht rather than a budget.