The genius behind today’s wine has transfixed the world with his fascinating takes on Xinomavro, and we were thrilled to learn that the oldest wine club in existence was of the same mindset: The Wine Society recently labeled Apostolos Thymiopoulos “The Greek Godfather of Xin,” a powerful statement from this respected 150-year-old organization. Today’s brilliant rosé wine sets that distinguished title in stone. This is a wine built for show, from a region and producer both emerging as Hall of Famers.
Thymiopoulos’ Certified Organic and Biodynamic vines produce an unadulterated Xinomavro of perfection and a small portion of these grapes are shuttled into his limited rosé production. A staggering six-month natural fermentation followed by a four-month dip in neutral oak results in a profoundly layered wine: With its deeply chiseled minerality, dark-fruited savor, mouth-watering grip, and an eye-popping copper hue, it reads far above the quaffable rosé level. It’s not a wine for those looking for the simplest of pleasures—it’s for the bargain-hunting thrillseekers whose comfort zone knows no bounds. While there’s a limitless number of rosé for the masses out there, that’s simply not the case for today’s rarefied Xinomavro. Enjoy while it lasts!
Codified as Greece’s very first appellation, or PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), in 1971, Naoussa is Greece’s premier red wine region and the traditional home of Xinomavro. For the uninitiated, this flagship grape is pronounced ksee-NOH-mah-vro, accent on the second syllable, and the best bottlings taste like a fusion of Burgundy and Barolo. But when it comes to a rosé of Xinomavro—one that briefly macerated on skins, fermented for six months, and then saw further aging in barrel—it becomes a wine of wholly unique proportions.
Naoussa is in Macedonia, one of the northernmost regions of Greece—not to be confused with the neighboring country of North Macedonia—and is therefore a cooler region by Greek standards. Vineyards are nestled in the southeastern foothills of the Vermio Mountains, far enough from the Aegean Sea to be considered a “continental” climate. Among the requirements of the Naoussa PDO is that the wine must be comprised of 100% Xinomavro, arguably the most important red grape in Greece. If making a rosé from this grape, it technically must be sparkling, which is why you’ll see the broader Macedonia wine appellation on today’s bottle rather than the Naoussa PDO.
There is a lot of excitement around Thymiopoulos, who has assembled an enviable collection of vineyards in the Naoussa villages of Trilofos and Fyteia, which neighbor one another but are nevertheless quite diverse. Trilofos is said to be one of the warmest subzones of Naoussa while high-altitude Fyteia, where today’s biodynamic vines are situated, is one of the coolest. Many of these vineyards were originally farmed by his grandfather (also named Apostolos), but the family had long sold the grapes to others, retaining some for family consumption. It wasn’t until grandson Apostolos graduated the University of Athens’ enology program in 2000 and began making wines with the family name on them. The first commercial releases were in 2003, and the charismatic personality of both the wines and their maker have attracted international attention.
Apostolos’ naturally farmed Xinomavro was hand-picked on October 10th of 2017 and the entire crop was de-stemmed before a brief 12-hour maceration (skin contact). Following a half-year-long native yeast fermentation in stainless steel, the wine aged for several months in once-used 500-liter barrels. The end result is a wine that defies what one thinks they may know about a rosé: It sports a deep vermillion with copper tones, releases powerfully seductive and exotic aromatics, and reveals a broad palate full of red-fruited savor and fascinating minerality. Persimmon, redcurrant, damp red flowers and herbs, fleshy white peach, wild strawberries, red apple, orange peel, citrus blossoms, and crushed earth flood the vinous, richly layered palate before finishing resoundingly dry. Because of the short maceration, there’s a slight crunchiness to the wine that adds structure not often seen in rosé. It’s a wholly unique experience that must be tried by everyone because it offers myriad flavors found in every shade of wine. Simply serve in all-purpose stems around 55 degrees and enjoy. Be sure and hold back a bottle or two over the coming years—it will certainly age with grace. Cheers!
Naoussa / Village of Fyteia
Partial Neutral Barrel
Schist & Granite
Certified Organic & Biodynamic