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Sparkling Red Wine, a curious brew, a wonderful view and big melons – a picture special

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 7 August 2012

If that headline does not a) generate a retweet from Frazer Thompson, CEO of the excellent Chapel Down vineyard and b) attract some new first time visitors from google searches (scroll down to the bottom gents), I shall be disappointed.

I have finally made it to Zitsa. Here Byron penned verse while sheltering from a thunderstorm on the plain below. His friend Hobhouse commented on the excellent local white wine. But this place is famous not for its white but for its sparkling red, pictured below

It is not fizzy like champagne but it sparkles and has a bite. It is a curious brew. I cannot quite describe it. It is dry and slightly acidic. But I have just ordered a second glass. I think it is probably an acquired taste and so I shall do my best to acquire it. Having walked 25 kilometres today in 42 degree heat I feel that I deserve it.

I did cheat and hitched a lift for the last 12 kilometres of the journey. It was getting dark and given that the proceeding five kilometres had all been uphill I just could not go on. Oddly enough a raft of cars found reason not to stop for a bulky six foot man dressed in rugby clothes, sweating profusely and who – they must have guessed – stank to high heaven. My clothes were wringing wet. In the end a workman in his truck took pity on me. After a hard day in the fields he stank to high heaven too. So we just sat in his can unable to communicate wondering which of us smelled worst. I was truly grateful to have met him.

The view from my hotel room which is on the edge of Zitsa is spectacular. I attach a short video.

It looks out at the whole town perches on the side of a steep slope. It is bigger than in Byron’s day but not by a lot – it is hard to find ground to expand onto. Looking at the houses built on such an acute slope I can never figure out why they do not just fall down the hill. I have wandered into the centre to, ahem buy cigarettes. Old houses and new are just crammed together. In the town square men sit drinking in the open air. The only difference to Byron’s day is that they are watching the damned Olympics. No doubt, according to the EU tweet (see here.) praying for another German gold medal.

And so to the melons, for the new visitors to this website. I love water melons and Greece produces great big ones which ( if you can see the price tag) cost less than half a Euro. Bargain.

Not the photo you were hoping for? Sorry to disappoint. More on Zitsa and Ioannina tomorrow and then I head back to Athens where I shall hope to bring you lots of free porn. That is poverty porn, in case you are a google searcher again brought here by error.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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