In the southeastern tip of the Aegean Sea, Rhodes is the largest of the Dodecanese islands in terms of land area and a blessed corner of the Mediterranean for viticulture and wine production, due to the ideal climatic conditions and the unique terroir of the island.
There are several grape varieties grown in the island of Rhodes like Athiri, Amorgiano (Mandilaria), Malagousia, Assyrtiko, Mavrathiriko, Muscat White, Muscat di Trani etc. To date there are two PDO wine zones in Rhodes: the PDO Rhodes and the PDO Muscat of Rhodes.
The PDO Rhodes wine zone, dedicated to the cultivation of the indigenous grape variety Athiri, includes the areas of the local communities of Apollona and Salakos, in the Municipal Unity of Kamiros, the Municipal Community of Embonas and the local communities of Agios Isidoros, Kritinia, Monolithos, Sianna, in the Municipal community of Atavyros.
Assyrtiko, Malagousia, Amorgiano (Mandilaria) and Mavrathiriko are only cultivated in the area of the municipal community of Embonas and local communities of Agios Isidoros, Kritinia, Monolithos, Sianna, of the municipal community of Atavyros, the municipal community of Soroni and the local communities of Apollona, Kalavarda, Salakos and Fanes of the municipal community of Kameiros, as well as the municipal community of Maritsa and the local communities of Damatria and Theologos, of the municipal unity of Petaloudes.
PDO Rhodes wines may be either white, rosé, red dry, semi-dry and semi-sweet wines, or white and rosé sparkling wines (with the indications: brut nature, extra brut, brut, extra sec, sec, demi sec, doux).
PDO Rhodes white wines are made by blending Athiri (at least 70%) with Malagousia and Assyrtiko grapes, whereas for the PDO Rhodes rosé and red wines, the principal grape variety should be Amorgiano (Mandilaria) alone or in a blend with Mavrathiriko, as long as the percentage of Amorgiano in the blend is 70% minimum.
Sparkling wines can be produced either by the second fermentation taking place in a wine bottle (“méthode traditionelle”) or in a closed, pressurized tank.
The PDO Muscat of Rhodes wine zone (1971), includes the areas of the former Municipality of Rhodes and former Communities of Apollona, Monolithos, Archangelos, Fanes, Embonas, Afandou and Psinthos.
The PDO Muscat of Rhodes wine, made by the blend of Muscat White and Muscat di Trani, may be sweet white, either “vin naturellement doux” or “vin doux naturel” (“vin de liqueur”), made by Muscat White and Muscat di Trani grapes. If the origin of the grapes used comes from privately-owned vineyards and the yields per hectare are low, wines are entitled to hold the additional “Grand Cru” indication.
Muscat White is a well-known, noble variety, widely cultivated in the Mediterranean areas. Muscat di Trani is a clone of the “Muscat a petit grain” variety that the Venetians brought from the town of Trani (or else Apulia), close to Bari, at the time that they had control of the Dodecanese.