Xinomavro and virtual wine tastings

Celebrating Xinomavro - and other Greek grape varieties

Dear all, 

November 1 marks International Xinomavro Day, a celebration of all that is good about one of Greece's main "ambassador" grape varieties, along with Assyrtiko, Moschofilero and Agiorgitiko. 

The name Xinomavro means "sour" and "black" and hints at the rich acidity that helps the grapes make elegant wines that can last. It is mainly cultivated in northern Greece at longitudes just a little further south than Bordeaux. 

If you compare by value, however, there is really no comparison: I would choose a good red from Naoussa over most red Bordeaux any day. 

Apostolos Thymiopoulos has been heralded as the master of Xinomavro and indeed devotes his entire Naoussa vineyard to the variety. He produces 10 different expressions of the grape from a wild yeast-fermented rosé to an aged rosé and eight different shades of red. All are produced according to the principles of biodynamic agriculture. 

The amazing versatility of Xinomavro can be seen in three examples:

  • Karanika's Brut Cuvée méthode traditionnelle sparkling white wine is dry, floral and fruity, with a long, zingy finish. It's made from ungrafted vines and isn't filtered, leaving it with the full flavour of the grapes and yeast used to produce it. It's aged for 12 months on the lie. 
  • Thymiopoulos's Rosé de Xinomavro is an unusual rosé fermented with wild yeasts and intended to be drunk at room temperature and savoured like a red wine. It was a big hit when I served it at a recent wine tasting. 
  • Thymiopoulos's classic Naoussa, is made from grapes grown on 25-year-old vines and aged for 12 months in large, second-use French oak barrels to give them a hint of smoky notes mixed with raspberry that FT wine critic Jancis Robinson compares to an Italian Nebbiolo.
The first and third wines are available individually in my web shop at reasonable prices (I can also supply the rosé upon request).

My wine tasting are back! ... On Zoom 

To celebrate Xinomavro and a couple of other good Greek grape varieties together in style and safety amid the coronavirus pandemic I'll do a series of virtual wine tastings based on the wines in my Greek Islands and Highlands Discovery Box on a series of Saturdays in November and December: Nov. 14, Nov. 28 and Dec. 12.

The tasting will include two of the Xinomavros mentioned above, as well as two of my favorite wines from Crete and two more delights from Santorini.

It works like this: You order the case in advance, and either pick it up for free or I ship it to you via DPD or DHL. We will all connect to Zoom at 8 p.m. on the designated Saturday nights and taste two wines per evening (rather than the usual 8-10 bottles at my in-person tastings). I'll show and tell you just a bit about each and then invite people to take the floor and socialise in small groups. I'll happily answer any questions people have but it shouldn't turn into a lecture!  

I have organised similar tastings for The American Club of Brussels and a local Rotary Club and everyone has always had a good time. And unlike my face to face wine tastings, which usually sold out well in advance, there is virtually no limit to the number of participants on Zoom. In fact, the more the merrier. If this round of virtual tastings is successful, I'll organise some more for as long as the lockdown lasts...I'm already thinking about the topics: Nemea, Douro vs. Duero, Battle of the Bubbles... I'm also open to suggestions! ;-) 

To participate in the virtual tastings, just order a Greek Islands and Highlands Discovery Box via my web shop (Click on Discovery Boxes in the menu or scroll down to the bottom of the page) and use the discount code XINOMAVRO at the Checkout. That will give you 5% off the normal price of the wines and I'll automatically send you the Zoom invitations for the wine tastings. Feel free to tell your friends! 

I hope to see you soon - on Zoom or otherwise! 

Be safe, 

Check out my web shop!

Four Top Belgian Wines

In case you missed it, I have added four great organic wines from Domaine Viticole du Chenoy to my web shop. There are two sparkling wines (white and rosé) and two reds - one for every budget. 

Check them out! »

Eight Discovery Boxes

For virtual wine tastings or for people who just like things easy, I've taken some of the guesswork out of choosing by creating eight Discovery Boxes for people who'd like to try a selection of six great wines with just one click. 

Check them out! »

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