This estate was launched by the Kokotos family in 1980, beginning with 7 hectares of vineyards in Attiki, outside Athens. Initially they planted just international varieties – namely cabernet sauvignon, merlot and chardonnay – but nearly 20 years later the family also invested in vineyards in Nemea, planting more indigenous varieties like moschofilero and roditis on well-drained slopes, 450 metres above sea level. The vineyards are now certified organic.
The family also had ambitious plans for hilltop winery in Nemea, which were realised with investment from an old family friend and fellow Cretan, the chairman of the Bank of Piraeus. A new company was formed, alongside the family’s original venture, which took the name Semeli. The company has also acquired the Nassiakos winery in Mantinia.
The result is an impressive, well-equipped facility, run by the talented winemaker Leonidas Nassiakos, with wines ageing in French and American oak in the underground cellars.
Semeli now makes about 70,000 dozens a year, of which 70% is white. The red is 95% aghioghitiko, and the top wines come from the 15-hectare estate in Nemea.