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Xinomavro Naoussa, Dalamára 2018

Red Wine from Greece
Simply sensational xinomavro from Dalamára. With all the power and grip of the 2017 but with a little extra flesh on the bones making this Greek red approachable when young but with the capacity to age. Fresh strawberries and tomato leaf on the nose with juicy cranberry and spices enveloping those structured xinomavro tannins.
is no longer available
Code: GR2011

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Xinomavro
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2031
  • 75cl
  • Cork, natural

Greece

The extremely ancient and proud history of winemaking in Greece goes back 6,500 years and the central part it has played, and does play, in Greek culture ought to have assured it of a place in the hearts and minds of modern wine drinkers. The fact that it has not yet done so is due to a complicated set of factors that involve history, language, geography and climate, not to mention economic woes, political upheaval and a lack of investment.

The prosperous years, in winemaking terms, of the Byzantine Empire was followed by the rapacious regulation of trading Venetians and then the dead hand of the Ottoman Turks who, though they did not prevent the making of wine, taxed the end product heavily. Communication difficulties exacerbated the problems and wine production became a very fragmented and localised business. An international reputation, or even a national one, based on produce from well organised, demarcated and business-like regions with a reputation for fine wines never got off...
The extremely ancient and proud history of winemaking in Greece goes back 6,500 years and the central part it has played, and does play, in Greek culture ought to have assured it of a place in the hearts and minds of modern wine drinkers. The fact that it has not yet done so is due to a complicated set of factors that involve history, language, geography and climate, not to mention economic woes, political upheaval and a lack of investment.

The prosperous years, in winemaking terms, of the Byzantine Empire was followed by the rapacious regulation of trading Venetians and then the dead hand of the Ottoman Turks who, though they did not prevent the making of wine, taxed the end product heavily. Communication difficulties exacerbated the problems and wine production became a very fragmented and localised business. An international reputation, or even a national one, based on produce from well organised, demarcated and business-like regions with a reputation for fine wines never got off the ground in Greece as they did in, for example, Bordeaux or the Douro. Even though independence was won from the Ottomans in the 1820s, the ripples of the occupation were still felt into the 20th century.

The Greek wine renaissance began in the 1970 by the Greek Shipowner Capt. John Carras, who set up his Estate in Chalkidiki, then the largest Estate in Europe. He employed Professor Emile Peynaud from Bordeaux University to advise and supervise the viticulture. The grapes originally planted were predominantly international grape varieties and his Chateau Carras (a Bordeaux blend) soon became famous and was listed at Harrods. The Hatzimichalis family followed swiftly with a very large Estate in Central Greece; again focusing on International grape varieties.

In their wake many smaller producers started making good quality wines. In the 1990's French trained George Skouras continued the renaissance and made 'Megas Oinos' a red wine that focused on the indigenous agiorgitiko variety; this became an iconic wine in Greece.

As the 'new breed' winemakers travelled and studied abroad they realised that Greece's 'treasure trove' of indigenous varieties are perfectly suited to the climate and terroir. By the beginning of the millenium there was a host of young, talented winemakers making wine from Greek grape varieties e.g. Leonidas Nasiakos with his moschofilero, Haridimos Hatzidakis with his Santorini assyrtiko and Apostolos Thymiopoulos with his 'New Age' xinomavro. More recently the second and third generation of Cretan winemakers such as Nikos Karavitakis and Maria Tamiolaki (Rhous Winery) have followed suit and are pioneering the Cretan indigenous grape varieties such as vidiano, vilana and kotsifali. The winemaking industry in Greece has become dynamic, adventurous and exciting and many smaller and niche winemakers have become very popular both in the domestic market and in the international scene.
The climate of Greece is categorised as Mediterranean, and is one of the hotter European areas for wine production. The mountainous interior provides many opportunities to plant at altitude and therefore to ameliorate the effects of heat, but the effects of drought are harder to overcome in an EU region where irrigation is forbidden without a Brussels derogation. Ripeness is therefore rarely a problem except in certain, exceptional circumstances and sites, and the problem is more likely to be a lack of acidity. Harvests in July are not unknown.

Soils are generally limestone based and impoverished except in areas close to the coast or certain valleys where more lucrative crops are planted on the fertile soils. On the islands, in particular the Cyclades, the soils are often volcanic. Santorini is a prime example, and these volcanic soils play a significant role in the character of the wines there. There is, of course, a mosaic of soils types in the entirety of Greece, from schist to sand, but limestone and volcanic soils tend to proliferate.

As with most EU countries, Greece has developed an appellation system, based on the French model, to the extent of borrowing the terminology of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée on the label. Quality wines, as defined by the EU, are designated either OPE (Controlled Appellation of Origin) if sweet, or if dry as OPAP (Appellation of Superior Quality. If the words Réserve or Grand Réserve are used on a label they have the legal meaning of being aged for an extended period. The equivalent of a Vine de Pays system also operates under which a wider range of grape varieties may be used to make wine.

Wine is made all over Greece, from the high country of Macedonia on the border with what was once Yugoslavia, to the arid island of Crete in the Mediterranean, a location that is closer to Libya and Egypt than to Macedonia. Native varieties are being planted and replanted despite the encroachment of several international varieties.

Sweet wines like the famous muscats of Samos and Mavrodaphne of Patras have a long heritage and when made well are wonderful. And we must mention the famous, and sadly misunderstood, Retsina. Though it has a somewhat debased reputation there is a modern breed of winemakers like Tetramythos determined to make a more refined and delicate version that may yet convert any doubters.
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Dalamára

Kostis Dalamára's family have been making growing grapes, making wine and distilling the spirit tsipouro in Naoussa, in the far north of Greece, since 1840, helping the region to become the first Greek appellation recognised in law, in 1971. Kostis is the sixth generation here, working alongside his wife Maria. Having studied at Beaune he went on to work in Burgundy, Alsace and Catalonia and now farms his 6 hectares close to the town of Naoussa itself, working organically since 1996 and biodynamically (although not certified) since 2008, growing mostly native red xinomavro grapes grown on south facing slopes of the eastern foothills of Mount Vermio. Among his holdings he oversees a Greek ‘grand cru’, his Paliokalias vineyard, planted at around 300 metres above sea level, where some of the vines are over 85 years old. It provides very fine raw materials for his excellent, ageworthy red wine of the same name fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and aged in 300-litre oak barrels for a year. Having said that, and although Paliokalias is the prize stud in the stable, his straight Naoussa is one of the finest examples available. His commitment to eco-friendly practices means that their winery runs 100% off of solar energy, and their working farm on the estate provides fertiliser for the vines. Kostis is dedicated to running an entirely self-sufficient winery and is one of the young stars of Greek wine.
2018 vintage reviews
2017 vintage reviews

wineanorak.com

... it’s expressive and quite elegant with strawberry, dried tomato, some sweet fruit, and a balance between the sweet fruit and the dried herb and spice savoury notes.

- Jamie Goode

The Daily Telegraph

Wines of the week: For The Wine Society buyer Matthew Horsley this is “the best xinomavro in Greece”. A big claim, but it is a superb wine and very accessible. I was surprised by the suggestions...
Wines of the week: For The Wine Society buyer Matthew Horsley this is “the best xinomavro in Greece”. A big claim, but it is a superb wine and very accessible. I was surprised by the suggestions of maturity – garnet tinges and the smell of fading tobacco – but it is also quite rich. Less nebbiolo-like than some. There’s a lot to enjoy.
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- Victoria Moore

The Scotsman

From the opulent ripe 2018 vintage, this example is produced by one of Naoussa’s oldest growers founded 1840.  High toned bouquet, cranberry spicy undertones, lot of sweet ripe fruit with firm...
From the opulent ripe 2018 vintage, this example is produced by one of Naoussa’s oldest growers founded 1840.  High toned bouquet, cranberry spicy undertones, lot of sweet ripe fruit with firm tannic grip (matured in French and Hungarian oak).  It would benefit from further maturing.  -
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Rose Murray Brown MW

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