Apostolos Thymiopoulos has been described as Greece’s rising star and, having tasted his Earth and Sky Xinomavro, I can understand why. His father used to sell his grape production to other winemakers until Apostolos finished his winemaking studies at Athens University and began to experiment with making wine from the family’s vineyards. 2003 was his first vintage and his only label was Earth and Sky. 95% of it was exported abroad. Today the estate, situated in Trilofos (close to the school of Aristotle) at the southern tip of the Naoussa region, practises biodynamic viticulture on a variety of soils ranging from schist to red marble and granite. Naoussa is warm, but not hot, in summer and often extremely cold in winter. In fact, it shares the same mean annual temperature as Bordeaux. Unlike many of their neighbours, Thymiopoulos do not irrigate their vines. This approach is adopted to avoid increasing tannins in a variety that is already abundantly possessed of phenolic compounds. In this endeavour they singularly succeed. Their super organic approach extends to pest control. Turkeys and guinea fowl keep locusts and other unwelcome insects at bay. Harvesting is by hand towards the end of September/early October, and the grapes are carefully selected and taken by conveyor belts to stainless steel tanks for a natural fermentation followed by a spontaneous malolactic conversion in 500 litre barrels (30% in second fill barrels; the rest in up to 5 year old barrels) for 18 months. The wines are hand-bottled unfined and unfiltered. Their method is careful and unhurried; an artisanal approach. Demetri Walters MW, Hellenic Wines Specialist
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