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Xinomavro Naoussea, Ktima Foundi 2016

Red Wine from Greece
Ultra traditional Naoussa xinomavro from the Ramnista sub-region, an area famed for wines with high acidity and plenty of tannins that take time to open up. This Greek red is just starting to show its stripes, with sour-cherry, sun-dried tomato and black-olive notes on the structured and mineral palate.
Price: £14.95 Bottle
Price: £89.50 Case of 6
In Stock
Code: GR1951

Wine characteristics

  • Red Wine
  • Medium-bodied
  • Xinomavro
  • 13% Alcohol
  • Oak used but not v. noticeable
  • Now to 2028
  • 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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2016 vintage reviews

The Daily Telegraph

Xinomavro is a glorious Greek grape that tastes like a cross betweenpinot noir and nebbiolo … [This] is gruffer [than others], more grainilytannic, with flavours of sun-dried tomato.

- Victoria Moore

JancisRobinson.com

Very mature-looking aged brick red. Beautiful mature fragrance – something of tarmacadam plus balsam plus tamarind. Then on the palate it might strike some as quite tannic ...  The same...
Very mature-looking aged brick red. Beautiful mature fragrance – something of tarmacadam plus balsam plus tamarind. Then on the palate it might strike some as quite tannic ...  The same sort of structure as a fairly youthful Barolo – as has often been noted before. And on the finish there is the (by no means unpleasant) sensation of brick dust. You could certainly drink this now (and enjoy that gorgeous aroma) but it does need food. Sheep's milk cheese popped into my head. Very good value.
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17/20 

decanter.com

Greece is the fastest-growing region at The Wine Society, with sales more than tripling over the last year. This success is largely down to the success of the Greek red variety, xinomavro....
Greece is the fastest-growing region at The Wine Society, with sales more than tripling over the last year. This success is largely down to the success of the Greek red variety, xinomavro. Thymiopoulos' Jeunes Vignes is a Decanter favourite, but I'd urge you to seek out this new listing too. From the 2016 vintage, it's been aged for a year in French oak and then given a further 30 months of bottle age. It really is gorgeous, with some chewy nebbiolo character, bright red fruit and sundried tomato flavours. There's structure, minerality, good acidity and ripe tannins, making it a perfect match for roast lamb or aged sheep's cheese. The Jeunes Vignes is fresher and more youthful, but the extra age on this wine make it equally delicious, in a different style.
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93/100 Amy Wislocki

wineanorak.com

From Ramnista, this is a very traditional style. 25 days maceration then 12 months in French oak (40% new), then aged 30 months in bottle before release. Savoury, spicy, slightly earthy nose with...
From Ramnista, this is a very traditional style. 25 days maceration then 12 months in French oak (40% new), then aged 30 months in bottle before release. Savoury, spicy, slightly earthy nose with some red fruit and dried herbs, as well as a touch of pot pourri. Really tannic and grippy on the palate with a drying finish, but also some nice cherry and berry fruit. It’s a serious wine with hints of strawberry and dried tomato, finishing savoury, with a spicy flourish. This is really lovely: not an easy wine, but a brilliant one, with lots of personality. Should age well.
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- Jamie Goode

Sunday Telegraph

30 of the best wines to drink this summer: A glorious and very Barolo-like red made from xinomavro, the increasingly fashionable Greek grape that’s often said to taste like a cross between...
30 of the best wines to drink this summer: A glorious and very Barolo-like red made from xinomavro, the increasingly fashionable Greek grape that’s often said to taste like a cross between pinot noir and nebbiolo. This is beautifully structured, reminiscent of dried flowers and under-priced, in my opinion.
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- Victoria Moore

The Daily Telegraph

Wines of the week: Of the six Naoussa xinomavros that I tasted from the Wine Society, this was the one to which I was most drawn, and I wasn’t the only professional taster to query the price, which ...
Wines of the week: Of the six Naoussa xinomavros that I tasted from the Wine Society, this was the one to which I was most drawn, and I wasn’t the only professional taster to query the price, which feels too low. Compact and concentrated, this is a wonderful wine, with power and grace and an elegant perfume.
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- Victoria Moore

Decanter

This wine spent a year in oak and 30 months in bottle before its release. It has a gorgeous, chewy, nebbiolo-like character, bright red fruit and sundried tomato flavours. There's structure,...
This wine spent a year in oak and 30 months in bottle before its release. It has a gorgeous, chewy, nebbiolo-like character, bright red fruit and sundried tomato flavours. There's structure, minerality, acidity and ripe tannins too. Enjoy it with lamb or aged sheep's cheese. -
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Amy Wislocki

The Scotsman

Good value. Small Ktima Foundi winery is the bastian of Naoussa’s traditional style with pale colour, savoury, less oak influence and pronounced tannins needing lamb or pork roast to enjoy.  Dried...
Good value. Small Ktima Foundi winery is the bastian of Naoussa’s traditional style with pale colour, savoury, less oak influence and pronounced tannins needing lamb or pork roast to enjoy.  Dried tomato and spice flavours, tertiary savoury flavours with richness and vibrant high acid, an intriguing wine at this price – needs more time in bottle. -
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Rose Murray Brown MW

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