The Greeks are the source of many modern wine varietals, and while Xinomavro may be a relatively new grape, it’s already become a minor hit in the wine world. Xinomavro is a notoriously difficult grape to grow, and if you’ve never had it, you may not have tasted it. This tasting challenge is a chance to experience the grape—and the new Greek wine region—for yourself.

Excited to give Xinomvro a try, I looked forward to comparing it to Vinsanto, the sweet wine from Santorini made from Assyrtiko grapes. Though many wine experts find Xinomavro to be pleasantly acidic and crisp, I imagined that the two wines would be similar enough to serve as a comparison. So, when our tasting began, my friend and I were surprised to find that Xinomavro was nothing like Vinsanto, at all.

There is one wine that represents the truly refined and collectible reds of Greece: Xinomavro.

Tasting Xinomavro creates a real sensation – one of the reasons it is often compared to the much more expensive Barolo and Nebbiolo in general. But what makes it unique?

In this week’s tasting, we discover what Xinomavro has to offer beyond just an expensive version of one of Italy’s most famous wines.

What is a trial match? With 34 wines from 12 countries, you can improve your taste buds every week – the Wine Tasting Challenge.

Xinomavro is a wine that ages very well.

If you’re looking for Xinomavro, it’s best to start in Naoussa, one of Greece’s most popular wine regions, where this wine thrives.

With snowy winters and dry summers, the Xinomavro grapes have to work very hard to grow. Fortunately, stress on the vines is exactly what produces good fruit.

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Add to that the fact that Xinomavro is a highly productive grape variety, and you have all the ingredients needed to create a complex and memorable wine.

To make the most of our first experience with Xinomavro, we chose a wine from the Naoussa region of Greece.

Although Naoussa actually means Greater Xinomavro, it is important to note that the region is geographically diverse, with individual wineries and vineyards producing wines unique to their terroir. So it will be very interesting to see what effect this has.

Plus, it’s a 2013 vintage wine! It had to wait 8 years, which is very interesting since this wine has a reputation for aging well.

2013 Kir Janni Ramnista Xinomavro

Look at this: Medium ruby red.

Perfumes: Cherry compote, coffee, plums, licorice, cedar, baking spices and new leather notes.

It’s all right, it’s all right: Wow! A huge punch of tannins and acidity. Tobacco, coffee, raspberry and a little old leather at the end.

Combination with food : It’s big and stewed, so it goes well with a roast. Maybe a Salisbury steak with mushroom sauce and (of course) a lamb gyro.

What we have learned about Greek xinomavro

Xinomavro literally means acid black, and it only takes one glass of this drink to understand where the name comes from.

Xinomavro is one of those wines that have both high acidity and heavy tannins. He won’t get in the way.

Even after 8 years of aging and an hour of decanting, it still needs some time to relax. And since tannin and acidity are two of the most important factors in aging wine, it’s not surprising that Xinomavro is known for its aging ability.

Because of these factors, Xinomavro is often compared to Nebbiolo, and more specifically to Barolo.

And while the Xinomavro also has the fruity and floral characteristics that Barolo is known for, in our experience it was a little spicier and dustier in its flavors: as if Rioja and Barolo had had a baby.

It is this unique quality that Nausa adds to its wine list: In fact, you can usually find Xinomavro in places other than Greece!

His versatility is also fascinating: From this grape, both non-sparkling and sparkling rosé wines are made. We definitely need to see what it is.

Last Impressions

When we think of Greek wine, we too often think of light white wines with a certain saltiness – those bottles that are perfect for lounging with a plate of mussels in a café on Santorini.

And there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

But Xinomavro is such a powerful wine, reminding you that the potential for complexity and boldness is definitely part of the Greek wine tradition.

Which Xinomavro did you choose? How was this wine compared to the other strong reds you tried? Tell us about it in the comments!

This source has been very much helpful in doing our research. Read more about xinomavro grape characteristics and let us know what you think.

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