A milestone for premium Greek Wines: Boutari Legacy 1879 Xinomavro

I’m very happy to announce that a good friend of me, Yannis Papadakis, will be posting as guest blogger in WineOctopus. His first post, is about a unique wine from northern Greece at it’s maiden vintage of 2007, that made a deep impression during the last Oenorama14 wine exhibition, and probably sets a new milestone for our hi end wines. Wellcome Yanni!

Xinomavro is Northern Greece’s (Macedonia) signature red variety and the second most planted indigenous red variety next to Peloponnissos’ Agiorgitiko. Unlike Agiorgitiko which usually produces darker, soft, easy to like reds that can be consumed even at a young age, Xinomavro (meaning acid-black in Greek) produces lighter-colored, tannic wines that usually require prolonged bottle aging to reach their drinking plateau. Some compare it to Pinot Noir but the non-Greek variety that is closer to its character (if there has to be one) is Northern Italy’s Nebbiolo. Much like Nebbiolo, Xinomavro wines can be austere, tart and hard to appeal to the international consumer, unless the grape is grown at the best sites, yields have to be low and the grapes should reach perfect maturity at harvest time.
Naoussa is the grape’s homeland and xinomavro is the only permitted grape for a wine to be granted the Naoussa Protected Designation of Origin.
Naoussa Xinomavros from a small number of top producers have recently gained international critical acclaim becoming the second category of Greek wines (next to Santorini’s Assyrtikos) to start building a name in the international wine market. What was missing to boost the reputation of the region and the grape further, was a high-end iconic single-vineyard Naoussa Xinomavro , and who was more suitable to produce it but this historical estate that is linked to this region’s wine history since its establishment in 1879, hence the indication on the label.

Tasting notes: The color is garnet and quite dark for a Xinomavro. Nose is of medium+ intensity, quite complex, with violets, spices, leather and cherries alongside the signature tomato and olive varietal aromas. The body is medium+, fuller than usual for a xin, tannins are still firm but juicy and fine-grained and acidity is quite high but perfectly integrated. Alcohol is medium and very well integrated. Aftertaste is long, and the wine is already enjoyable for a young xinomavro, with great aging potential.

The price is high by the region’s standards, but only a fraction of the top single vineyard Barolos and Barbarescos price levels. Overall an excellent effort and potentially Greece’s answer to the high end, single vineyard Barolos and Barbarescos.

Grape: Xinomavro 100%

Vintage: 2007

Alcohol: 13%

Retail price in Greece: About 33 euros / 45$

Score: 92

Value for money: Good

Winery website: Boutari.gr

Tasted by Yannis Papadakis

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