Posted by: tomciocco | December 10, 2013


Recently, Greece has been in the news for lots of crummy things, so here’s a nice little positive shot in the arm for the beleaguered cradle of western civilization…Though Georgia is the undisputed origin of the vine and wine too, the roots of winemaking in Greece are nearly as old. The vine springs up in nearly every mainland corner and tiny island of this beautiful collection of rocks spattered across the blue Aegean, and the northern region of Macedonia is certainly no exception, and that’s where this evening’s wine hails from.

To be specific, we’re taking about the Naoussa (nah-OO-sa) growing region and its principal grape Xinomavro (gzee-no-mav-RO). Xynomavro is a red grape whose name translates into the not so attractive English name “acid black”, but despite this somewhat difficult to swallow (and pronounce) name, the wines that it yields is anything but difficult to swallow. The wines from Naoussa and Xinomavro are often compared to Barolo and its grape Nebbiolo, and the comparisons are more than fair – both wines are elegant and sexy but while still retaining a deep, wiry power full of flavors of berries and earth.

And though Naoussa rarely reaches the heights that Barolo does, fortunately for all of us, the prices of Naoussa are set markedly below those of any Barolo, but for a host of reasons, not least of which is the abysmal economic situation in which Greece is mired, getting your hands on and corkscrew into a bottle is far harder than the ubiquitous (and pricey) produce from Piedmont’s Barolo. It’s a pity too, because there are few wines made anywhere that deliver so much elegance and nobility for so few Drachmas.

I matched this very well-made and seductive wine with home-made stuffed grape leaves (ground beef, rice, pine nuts, currants, spices) followed by a very traditional and simple but very tasty stew of pork shoulder with tomato and leeks, with fried potatoes to go along with it.











Thymiopoulos Naoussa “Young Vines” 2011

Just transparent, rosy purple color. Very pretty and aromatic nose of blackberry, raspberry, cranberry and red currant fruit with prominent secondary notes of juniper berries, woody spices, licorice and dried red flowers. In the mouth the wine shows a medium-weight body that is nonetheless quite powerful with firm but smooth and fine tannins and a big, fresh acidity with a quite elegant and velvety texture that provides an ample ground for flavors of black plums, pomegranate juice, strawberry preserves, Graham crackers and a slightly earthy, salty minerality. The finish is long, warm and refined. A very good value wine.



  1. Very good

    • Thanks

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