The wines of Greece have come a long way from the tourist spots’ retsina or the reds of the whitewashed tavernas in western Europe. Enter Apostolos Thymiopoulos, presenting this week’s wine Xinomavro Young Vines!
His contribution here is a red from the grape xinomavro (pronounced ks-) raised in the Naoussa appellation of Macedonia.
Nils-Are Økland, my colleague in Vinforum, put it this way in an article from 2019: “The rich ancient literature in Greece testifies to the importance of wine in early European culture. (…) Both Plato, Aristophanes and Hippocrates discuss the joys and challenges of wine in their writings. (…) Vines were also important in Greek cultural export and the colonization of Sicily and the coastal areas of southern Italy. In light of this proud history, it is striking how petty Greek wine industry has been in modern times. (…) But there are many indications now that Greek wine will have its well-deserved renaissance.”
Winemaker Apostolos Thymiopoulos is based in Trilofos, in the Naoussa region, one and a half hours south of Thessaloniki in northern Greece. Overlooking both the Aegean Sea and the Olymp he works organically and biodynamically in both own and contracted vineyards. He is maybe at his best with high-altitude xynomavro grapes. This week’s wine comes from vineyards at 400 and 600 meters above sea level, maybe not impressive, but higher than normal in Naoussa. This, together with a poor soil with schist, granite and limestone also contributes to a fresh fruit. Wild yeasts are used, and it’s aged 8 months in concrete.
Xinomavro Jeunes Vignes 2020 (Thymiopoulos)
Ruby red. Red fruits (raspberry), herbs and a stony minerality. Textured, yet juicy, with nice acidity and a mineral finish.