A (delicious) Mouthful: Naoussa Xinomavro

As we approach National Wine Day, we’re featuring one of our (really cool) Greek wines each week.  This week, Naoussa Xinomavro.

Chrisohoou Estate's Naoussa xinomavro, 2013

Chrisohoou Estate's Naoussa xinomavro, 2013


Greek wines are a mouthful - in the best of ways!  Naoussa xinomavro is no exception.  Say it with us! “Now-sa KSeeno-mah-vro”

Naoussa is the appellation, or specific region that produces this wine.  Xinomavro is the grape - you may already be familiar with it, if you’ve tried our lovely rosé.  Naoussa lies across the mountainous slopes of Northern Greece and has a cooler climate than much of the rest of Greece.  This means that the grapes don’t get quite as ripe as fast (xinomavro in particular takes its time), and so the wine is comparatively lighter and more acidic.  

But what does this mean for you?  Lighter, acidic wines are perfect table wines - they cleanse and balance your palate as you eat.  They’re lively! 

Xinomavro is balanced by its strong tannins, which give the wine a “grip” - for a light, easy drinking red, it can still stand up to heavier, meatier food.  (We adore it with our lamb chops.)

The grapes are also prolific - the vines can overflow with fruit - but, counterintuitively, this is not necessarily conducive to making the best wines.  Think about the last really hot, dry summer, and the tomato that came from your backyard or the farmer’s market.  You didn’t get as many tomatoes, and they might have been smaller, but each one packed a punch, right?  The same amount of nutrients, from the sun and the soil, were dispersed into fewer tomatoes.  And that’s one of the challenges of growing xinomavro.  How do you grow healthy vines that can last decades, but convince the plant that it doesn’t need as many grapes?

Competition: in making Naoussa xinomavro, like everything else, balance is key.  When native grasses and herbs grow in between the vines, the plants work a little harder, and each tiny grape is that much more special.  It takes more time and effort to maintain and to harvest, but the land, the vines, and the wine are that much better off because of it.

This could be, of course, a metaphor about Greek food for you to mull over.  We’ll just be over here, sipping Naoussa xinomavro in the sunshine - join us!

 - Natalie Singer