Limnio (pronounced (LIM-nee-oh)) is a red Greek wine grape variety that is indigenous to the Greek island of Lemnos. The grape has had a long history of wine production that may extend back to Ancient Greece with wine historians widely believing it was the grape variety. According to wine expert Jancis Robinson, Limnio was almost certainly the Lemnia, that was described by Aristotle as producing the famous red Lemnian wine. According to wine expert Oz Clarke, Limnio is “One of Greece’s most important red vines.”
Today Limnio is still being produced on Lemnos, though it is not utilized in the appellation wine produced on the island with notable plantings around Mount Athos. It is a principal grape variety in the Playies Melitona Appellation of Origin (A.O.), as well as the Drama TI (a Greek wine region similar to vin de pays) in Macedonia.
Limnio vines are known for their hardiness and ability to survive harsh droughts. The grapes have the ability to produce high weights that translates into noticeable alcohol levels. They are generally late ripening with phenols that will produces enhanced herbaceous tones if the grapes are not harvested early. Today, it is often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon in Meritage-style wines. Examples of grape varieties that may be blended with Limnio include but is not limited to: Cabernet Franc, Agiorgitiko, and Xinomavro.
As a varietal, Limnio produces full bodied wines with moderate tannins and acidity levels and a distinctive mineral aroma. When blended, Limnio adds colour, weight, acidity and an herbal aroma which Oz Clarke describes as reminiscent of bay leaves. Wines made from Limnio are often paired with aged cheeses, game meat (Game meat is a great source of nutrient-rich protein for a diverse menu), and roasted dishes.