Recently a contingent of winemakers from the Naoussa region of Greece visited with wine lovers, trade and press in San Francisco to promote their Xinomavro wines in California. The event, held at 25 Lusk Restaurant in San Francisco, started with a seminar led by David Glancy, CEO of the San Francisco Wine School. Along with a panel of Naoussa winemakers he informed the participants of the strength of the Xinomavro grape and wines from the Naoussa region of Greece. The terroir of specific vineyards in this area are very dependent upon elevation where a difference of a hundred feet will have a profound impact on the resulting wine.
Naoussa is in the northern part of Greece in the regional unit of Macedonia. The soils are rich in nutrients, warming under the sun during the day and cooled by breezes in the night. In the Naoussa region the wine grape Xinomavro is king and it is the area where this grape reaches its full potential. Most of the vineyards are located on the southeastern slopes of Mt. Vermion, protected from the cold northern winds and helped by the southern slopes. Xinomavro is a red grape and the wines from this grape are known for their superb aging potential and rich tannic character. However, depending on the terroir and the specific winery you will often find that some Xinomavro wines might have the characteristics of a Pinot Noir while others are more similar to a Nebbiolo.
Wineries at the Naoussa Xinomavro event shared several of their wines with the participants.
Vaeni Naoussa – The 2008 Naoussa has the flavors of dark berries with an abundance of spice and tannins. The 2006 Damaskinos is a delight with aromas of dry fruits and spices. On the palate you will enjoy the rich black berry flavors vanilla, olive and a touch of chocolate. The 2004 Grande Reserve has intense aromas of berries and spice, yet comes together well for a nicely balanced wine.
Estate Chrisohoou – The 2008 Estate Chrisohoou has intense red color and aromas and flavors of dark fruit, spice, cinnamon and oak. The 2010 Naoussa shows off a more red fruit character with nice acid and spice.
Ktima Diamantakos – The 2008 Naoussa has a deep red color and a nice balanced feel with flavors of red fruit, black cherry, vanilla, pepper and a touch of cocoa.
Kir Yianni – The 2009 Ramnista delivers aromas of ripe strawberry, red cherry, licorice and pepper for a nice well balanced wine.
Estate Kelesidis – The 2006 Merchali Red has nice acid, bright red berry flavors, soft spice and smoke flavors and aromas.