Xinomavro Duo Offer July 2020

.. Xinomavro, the red jewel of the North that I generally compare to Nebbiolo (and older, more traditional Nebbiolo at that), because of its earthier nuances, acidity and tendency to show some astringency. The wine itself is rarely heavy – but its structure typically demands a food pairing. These are not simple sippers. MARK SQUIRES, The Wine Advocate

Xinomavro is arguably Greece’s noblest wine grape. It is often cited as the country’s answer to “Nebbiolo” with the mountainside village of Naoussa the Greek equivalent of Italy’s famed Barolo. There are many similarities in the glass, but the two should not be confused. Naoussa is much smaller in terms of land under vine, but the regions vineyards and top cru’s are spread out a little further apart.

On the palate Xinomavro is built on a persistent spine of acid, framed by rich tannins and lifted by fragrant and deep aromatics.  In terms of ageing, even a mediocre Xinomavro from Naoussa has a decade long potential.   But we are not here to talk about ok renditions instead take the time to highlight a couple of producers that stake out this regions quality, nuance and ultimately wine nerd credentials.

Foundi represent the ‘traditional’ Naoussa. Presenting Xinomavro’s savoury side, earth, spices and dried flowers are laced between tomato leaf and black olives.  It’s a style that deserves some bottle age and accordingly their current release is from the excellent 2013 vintage. The Foundi family farm 5 hectares in the Ramnista sub-region.

Apostolos Thymiopoulos on the other hand is considered the wunderkind of the region, showing Xinomavro’s more modern face;  fruit forward, bright and finely structured tannins. Apostolos will however take issue with anyone calling his practices modern. He will be quick to point out he doesn’t use pumps before the wine is fermented, only uses wild yeasts and old oak. A touch of sulphur but no other additions.  None the less his wines are lively and compelling.

The vineyards for his Alta cuvee come from Fytia, the coldest and highest subregion Naoussa.  Apostolos’ father first began purchasing vines up here, an astute farmer he saw the potential of these sites, but realised the only way to achieve great quality in these cooler parts would sensitive faming and reduced yields. All Thymiopoulos vineyards are farmed organically.