Know The Grapes: Xinomavro

 

Xinomavro is a red grape variety indigenous to Greece. Its name is a conjecture of two Greek words: Xino that means sour and Mavro that means black and even though the grapes don’t have any particularly rich tint it does have quite high acidity. It is planted in every nook and cranny of central and northern Greece and is the only grape variety used in the PDO Naoussa and PDO Amynteo reds.

Vineyards in Naousa

It is described as “finicky” “capricious” and demanding both in the vineyard and in the winery. It needs the right weather conditions to ripen its fierce tannins, increased care, and strict adherence to low yields in order to reveal itself in all its glory. But when everything goes according to plan Xinomavro can produce some of the most “complex, highly refined and breathtaking wines”. It’s signature aromas are those of sun dried tomatoes, olive tapenade and thyme along with red cherries and strawberries.

It is often compared to Nebbiolo, the grape from which the famous Piedmontese wines of Barolo and Barbaresco are made. It is also a very versatile variety. Winemakers can still make rose wines, dry and sweet sparkling whites and roses, and even white wines from it. And of course, some of the most age worthy reds in the country.

Xinomavro wines are usually released on the market when they are at least two years of age, having spent a significant proportion of that time in oak and in bottle ageing. The bottle ageing potential of these wines is long and nothing less than remarkable. Xinomavro is Ideal accompaniment to foods with intense and rich flavours like veal stew with onions (Stifado), meatloaf, game, lamb, rich meat, duck confit, casseroles and hard, mature cheese.

 

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