The wine was so good we forgot about the Guinness!
APRIL 2017 | Another day, another Greek Island… How spoilt we are! We stayed in the north of the island in the resort town of Acharavi with a view of Albania that most days looked swimming distance. (We didn’t and don’t advocate trying to swim there though, it’s further than it looks…) So stranded, we decided to explore the coast of the island.
Corfu is a beautiful island with mostly well marked and paved roads. A road stretch not to be missed is the drive from Acharavi down into Corfu Old Town. This road winds along a steep cliff face at times approx 50 metres above the ocean below. Not only does this stretch of road reward with breathtaking views it also provides plenty of family owned terraced tavernas and cute towns to stop in for a while to take refreshments, as this is not a route to be rushed.
The warm sunlight that bathes Corfu seems perfectly paired with wine, and plenty of it, and especially of the dry white varietals of which Corfu produces plenty. The best known white varietal is Kakotrygis, and other white varietals include Petrokoritho, Moschato Aspro and Robola. We also encountered a lot of the red varietal Mavrodafni. The dry white blends we tried (heavy in Kakotrygis) were reminiscent of sauvignon blanc blends and it was very hard to stop at one bottle. The greek custom of “Filoxenia” (welcoming strangers) that we had experienced in Crete we had been told was unique to Crete (although a practise noted in ancient Greek mythology for the whole of Greece). Whilst it was perhaps not as extravagant or obvious in Corfu this tradition we still found to be alive and well in most bars and restaurants we visited. This tradition also seemed to have its own Corfiot flavours: in bars in Corfu Old Town this translated to little plates of antipasto (cheese, breads, cured meats and fruit) gratis with drink orders. In some of the family tavernas we were also offered homemade liqueurs and granitas this time akin to Limoncello; we saw many lemon trees along the coast of the island.
Wine production in Corfu dates back to Minoan times and is much referred to in popular culture throughout the ages. Homer mentions Corfiot wines in his work “The Odyssey” from 8th Century BC. Despite many vines being removed in favour of olive tree plantations during this islands period of Venetian history the wine production tradition remained strong enough to even tempt James Bond (in 1981 film “For Your Eyes Only as filmed on the island) to forget to order his usual “shaken not stirred” in favour of a glass of Corfiot white wine. Well if it can happen to Bond it could happen to anyone… we also forgot to try a Guinness so taken were we with the Corfiot wines. If you’d like some pointers on the best settings in which to enjoy a glass or three, read on for our top picks along Corfu’s Eastern coast. If you’ve fallen in love with Corfu’s wines and breathtaking views before then please let us know your top picks too in the comments section below.
Until next time let us a raise a glass of white wine please – ena portiri levko krassi parakalo (ένα ποτήρι λευκό κρασί παρακαλώ) to good times and good wines! Erin and Ryan
Our Top Picks for Corfu Included:
A charming village centered around a small harbour about 20 minutes drive from Acharavi/ and hour from Corfu Old Town. This little village is perfect for a short stroll down cobbled streets to find a family owned taverna with harbour views in which to savour some wine and perhaps a little greek food and/ or freshly caught seafood. In the high season you can hire your own motorboat or book tours/ charters departing to all parts of the island for sightseeing/ fishing and more.
Corfu Old Town
Corfu Old Town and the two forts that overlook it are UNESCO World Heritage listed sites that give very impressive and authentic insight into what life in a Venetian city of the 1500s would have been like. The streets of the old town are of cobbled narrow alleys and large marble tiled avenues.
The terraced buildings stand to around 5 floors high often with picturesque balconies hanging off their facades. At street level there are many shops, bars and restaurants. Our favourite places to stop for refreshments here included the marble avenue “Kapodistriou” alongside the British cricket ground of the town’s 1800s occupation across from the Corfu Old Fort. Here there were myriad al fresco bars side by side, full even on a mid-Wednesday afternoon. At sunset it’s worth changing locations to the small harbour just down from the museum of Asian Art on the Northwest of the old fort for quieter views away from the bustle of the town and fresh seafood. The Old Fortress of Corfu (1545) itself is also worth a visit for panoramic views of the city, and Greece across the water. Last but not least Corfu Old Town is home to the tomb of the island’s patron saint inside the eponymous St Spyridon church where all are welcome to pay homage.
We thought we’d better do a least one non-wine related activity and so headed north of Acharavi to the resort town of Sidari home to a naturally formed beach canal the “Canal d’Amour” (Channel of Love). This channel is so named as according to popular traditions anyone who swims through the canal successfully will find true love and marry. When we arrived at the Canal d’Amour we quickly realised why the word successfully was mentioned: this beach is not recommended on windy days where one can very nearly be lifted from the sandstone cliff tops by the strong wind gusts which also stir up the currents in the channel below to a challenge that not even the most confident Australian would be willing to tackle. Still it was breathtakingly beautiful and well worthwhile even on a day not fated for true love’s awakening!
If you’d like to read more about any of the places we have stayed, ate, drank or partied, check out the Reviews link in the main menu at the top of the screen.
Have you been to Corfu? Got any cool tips for us we might have missed? We’d love to read them, please add them in the comments below!
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