I feel really special, unique, rare, I feel justified in bearing the title of the “prima donna” of the Greek vineyard.
Xinomavro! This is the name I was born with and with this name I get on all these years in the markets of the world. I don’t know where I would be now if I were called Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Pinot Noir. But I do know that some don’t consider it a privilege to have their name come from the words sour and black. There are still people abroad who complain that they are having a hard time pronouncing me. In a few words, as you understand, I am the focus of many discussions. But I like people concerning themselves with me.
I feel really special, unique, rare, I feel justified in bearing the title of the “prima donna” of the Greek vineyard. I am not a spoiled grape, but it is not usually my style to indulge everyone. I know that most of you would be impressed by a variety which could give wines deep purple color. However, you should know that this would make me like any other Syrah or Malbec wine, of the so many you have tasted. On the contrary, I am a totally different grape. Observe how I express myself in a Naoussa by Boutaris, Foundis or Melitzanis. My color is relatively pale and soft. And to provoke you even more, I tend to brown much faster than your other favorite varieties. I traditionally like this color and I believe it suits me. However, I occasionally put on a more modern suit to get more into the spirit. That is when I will come from low yields and I will have gone through cold soak and extensive extractions among other methods which help me gain a bit in color intensity. So, I am dressed by Diamantakos, Dalamaras and Kir Yianni in Ramnista and to be honest, I look at myself in the mirror and I conclude that this modern twist really works for me. I will never go overboard, however. Now, if by appearance you have already started comparing me to Pinot Noir, I think you are quite hasty. Not that I am not flattered by the comparison but I believe that in the nose we are quite different. Even if some of my parents, Charoula Spinthiropoulou from Argatia and Apostolos Thimiopoulos in Earth and Sky are set on proving that I am lying to you, unexpectedly unfolding the red fruit that I didn’t think I had in me. I might be able to see your point if you put me up for contemplation next to a Burgundy of Dujac or Domaine d’ Eugenie.
Now, if by appearance you have already started comparing me to Pinot Noir, I think you are quite hasty. Not that I am not flattered by the comparison but I believe that in the nose we are quite different.
And if you would prefer me with more fruit, you should know that of my clones called Velvento X3 has plenty of fruit, while the X6 Yiannakohori clone may be aromatic but it is less fruity. In any case, all my friends (they call them Xinomavristas) are looking for the olive, the tomato and the dried plum that I hide inside me no matter where I am from. I forgot to mention that you will find my roots in the four most important Greek Appellations of Origin. I feel lonely in Naoussa and Amynteo as I have no one else to play with, dominating 100%, while in Goumenissa and Rapsani I enjoy the company of Negoska and Stavroto and Krassato, respectively. However, no matter where I come from, those special aromas are revealed more intensely after I rest for a few years in the bottle.
So you see I am a temperamental grape and I stand out among so many varieties that are out there globally. I need to take my time. But now I reveal to you the one and only variety that I would accept any kind of comparison with. Those of you who bet on Nebbiolo, the Northern Italian grape, you have figured me out better than all the others. Especially on the palate, when youthful, I, too, have tannins that are unforgiving to the uninitiated, along with acidity and “edges” that don’t grant me attractive characteristics. But as I mature I transform even if there are those who say that for some vintages I will stay forever young and I am never going to soften up. And the more my parents keep understanding my needs, the better wines I shall give.
I like my name and I am proud of my origins. They call me Xinomavro.
Wines which deserve to be aged for years in the bottle just as you would do with your beloved Barolifrom Altare, Conterno, Mascarello, Sandrone, Scavino and so on, gain complexity, balance and harmony. This is how I would try to describe myself to those who don’t know me. I know my flaws well but I do know my strong points also. I will never be an Agiorgitiko, to be liked by everyone, but excuse me for thinking that this is a little lame. I don’t want to be a Barolo, either, because my price will reach unattainable levels for our times. I like my name and I am proud of my origins. They call me Xinomavro.
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