Naoussa, located in the heart of Macedonia
on the eastern slopes of Mount Vermion, 92km west of Thessaloniki was one of
the first AOC (aka OPAP) regions in Greece and produces well-structured,
full-bodied, long-lived red wines made from the native grape
The vineyards of Naoussa are situated at an altitude of 330m and are exposed
to a Mediterranean climate with strong continental influences. Quality estates
reduce the vine yields by green-harvesting, to allow the grapes to mature in
this cool climate.
Xynomavro, the sole variety permitted under the Naousa
appellation and is the mainstay grape of west Macedonia (appellations of
Giannitsa). It is regarded as one of two potential-laden red varieties (the
other being Agiorgitiko) on which Greece's international status as a
wine-producing nation can rest.
The name Xynomavro refers to the inherent high acidity (xyno=bitter). It is
a versatile grape, producing a variety of styles, from fruity roses and
early-drinking red wines (from vineyards in the commune of Trilofos)
to long-lived, complex examples from the cru communes of
Yanakohori, Marina, Naoussa and Polla Nera.
The typical Xynomavro wines of Naoussa are full-bodied, noted for their
savoury character (spices, ripe tomatoes, black olives, violets, wild
strawberries, overlaid by notes of dark chocolate and leather) as well as the
high acidity and tannic structure that allows them to age
gracefully. These wines are not for the faint-hearted and wont be a first
choice for those graduating from fruity, easy-drinking New World reds. Yet,
they are immensely rewarding with their complexity, individuality and age
development, for which they bear many similarities with the great
Nebbiolos of Piedmont.
Naousan winemakers are also looking beyond Xynomavro: many now cultivate
international varieties, especially the innovative and experimental
Kir-Yianni estate of Yiannis and Stelios Boutaris, which showcases
single-varietal wines from Merlot and Syrah (as regional Vin de
Pays d Imathia).
Recommended Producers: Domaine Kir-Yanni