‘A man is sitting in a cafe. He’s sipping his coffee while slowly studying his cards. He is 96 years old and has never lost a game. A younger man walks in, he brings bad news: “Vasilis died, he was 87 years old”.
The old man sits there in silence, taking in the news, impassively.
Two weeks later a similar scene takes places in the same bar: a friend steps in and tells everyone that Panos, the 83-year-old man who lived by the port, just died.
The 96 years old man throws the cards on the table, visibly upset and shouts: “what’s going on nowadays with these kids who die so young?’
Georgios pauses and looks at us intently enjoying the effect the joke has had on our small crowd. We are still recovering from the ecstatic waves of laughter.
Our attention now moves back to our wine glasses and their precious content as well as the food on the table prepared for us by Eleni, with fresh ingredients from their organic farm.
Georgios and Eleni live in Ikaria with their 4 children and they run a winery and an agro-tourism business hosting people in their beautiful stone houses in Pigi.
I’ve come across their website while reading about the island and its wine tradition and immediately decided to book a wine tasting for the 2 of us plus our Dutch neighbours.
We all meet at the farm around 6 pm after exploring the Southern part of the island and stopping at Therma for a dip into Ikaria’s famous mineral water springs.
After a small introduction of himself and the farm, Georgios gives us a tour of the vineyard spread over a terraced hill. We then have a chance to peep inside Eleni’s kitchen while she’s preparing canapé food for the wine tasting. Finally, we sit at a long table on their covered terrace. One of their guests, a French man, joins us for a glass.
It is a gorgeous evening and we enjoy the sunset while tasting Georgios’ wines.
He let us try 3 different ones, a white and two reds. We sip the wine while tasting Eleni’s starters. Everything is just perfect and I take a mental picture of the place, the lovely hosts, the sunset, feeling inebriated by the wine and the company.
Of the three wines we try, the last one, The Philosopher, is my favourite. Aged for 10 years in barrique, this wine is full-bodied and as rich on the nose as it is on the palate: a mixed bouquet of red berries, tobacco, vanilla, liquorice, inebriates the nostrils while its velvety texture cares the palate.
Eleni and Georgios are already quite famous as they have been interviewed many times by different magazines and TVs, all trying to get to the bottom of Ikaria’s fame as the island of longevity.
When asked about the secret of the island, Georgios says it’s all about living life at the right pace, and enjoying it: healthy food, grown organically, fresh water, great Ikarian wine, strong family ties and plenty of sex, even when you are not a spring chicken anymore!
Watch our video on “Ikaria – Sailing Gladan”