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Xinomavro: 12 award-winning Greek wines to try

Get to know one of Greece's most popular red grape varieties and celebrate International Xinomavro Day with award-winning red, rosé and sparkling wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards.

Over the last decade Xinomavro has become one of Greece’s leading red grapes and is often considered the greatest of native varieties.

Planted in northern and central Greece, the variety can be found in four of Greece’s Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) including Naoussa, Amynteo, Goumenissa, and Rapsani.

In the vineyard Xinomavro is inconsistent and requires careful management, and in the winery close attention and time is required to tame its tough tannins and high acid. But when produced well, Xinomavro can resemble the structure of Nebbiolo with balanced firm tannins and bright acidity, and distinct aromas of fresh and dried red fruits, flowers, tomatoes, tobacco, black olives and spice.


Scroll down to see the top 12 Xinomavro wines of DWWA 2023


Typically released after at least two years of ageing, Xinomavro’s notable acidity and tannins give the wines good cellaring potential, and also make the wine an ideal accompaniment to foods. Unoaked versions akin to Pinot Noir pair well with foods like mushroom risotto, pork and lamb, and oak-influenced styles with game or even dry-aged steak.

Xinomavro grapes

Xinomavro is best known for its production as a red wine, but can also be used to make good rosés, aromatic sparkling wines and sweet wines.

It is produced as a varietal wine or can be blended with both indigenous and international varieties ⁠— a higher percentage Xinomavro often adding more structure to the wine.

Celebrated on 1 November, International Xinomavro Day was established by Winemakers of North Greece to grow awareness of and highlight one of Greece’s most prised indigenous varieties. Regarded as a ‘Greek Ambassador’ variety alongside Assyrtiko, Moschofilero and Agiorgitiko, get to know Xinomavro with a selection of award-winning sparkling, rosé and red wines from the 2023 Decanter World Wine Awards.

Xinomavro: 12 award-winning Greek wines to try

Sparkling

Domaine Karanika, Extra Cuvée De Reserve Brut Nature 2017

Silver, 94 points
White plum, green olive, mint, lemon rind and fresh tomato nose. Fabulous! Dry palate with a vivid mousse, tart acidity and a herbal finish. Lovely. Alc 12%

Rosé

Nico Lazaridi, Evil Eye Rosé Xinomavro, Macedonia 2022

Silver, 92 points
Raspberry jam, herbal and floral perfume. The palate of strawberry compote is lifted by fine acidity and a long finish. Compelling wine. Alcohol 12%

Kir-Yianni, L’Esprit Du Lac, Amyndeon, Macedonia 2022

Silver, 91 points
White rose, raspberry, strawberry and gravel aromas. Crisp palate with sappy nectarines enhanced by a long, complex, citrusy finish. Alc 13.5%

Oenops Wines, Apla Rose 2022

Silver, 90 points
Intense nose of tomato paste, raspberry compote and iron wort tea. Refreshing palate with succulent strawberries enhanced by a long finish. Alc 13%

Red

Nikos Karatzas, Olakala Xinomavro-Limniona 2021

Gold, 95 points
Charming red berry fruit and dried herb notes are lifted by a surge of cleansing methol, liquorice root and an ethereal acidity. Superbly long and unforgettable. Alc 13%

Alpha Estate, Single Block Bara Yannis Vieilles Vignes Reserve Ecosystem Xinomavro, Amyndeon, Macedonia 2019

Silver, 92 points
Orange peel and cherry aromatics. The palate offers a tannic grip enhanced by sappy fruits and juicy acidity. Long finish. Alc 14%

Boutari, Grande Reserve, Naoussa, Macedonia 2011

Silver, 92 points
Leather and antique shop aromas with hints of dried fruits. The palate has a lovely chalky texture, powdery tannins, vibrant acidity and a long finish. Alc 13%

Mikro Ktima Titos, Xinomavro-Negoska, Goumenissa, Macedonia 2020

Silver, 92 points
Perfumed red fruit, roasted tomato and herbal nose. Structured, round and juicy palate with powdery tannins and attractive herbal, spicy characters. Alc 13%

Noema Winery, Invicta, Amyndeon, Macedonia 2019

Silver, 92 points
Red fruit, sweet spice and herbal aromas. The palate has notes of bacon, liquorice and forest floor. Long finish. Alc 12%

Arvanitidis Estate, Xinomavro, Thessaloniki, Macedonia 2019

Silver, 91 points
Very fine aromas of cherries, strawberries, green olives and tomato paste. Well-textured, velvety palate with crunchy plums. Long, fresh finish. Alc 13%

Kir-Yianni, Ramnista Xinomavro, Naoussa, Macedonia 2018

Silver, 91 points
Cherry and sweet spice nose. The dense palate has a graphite texture with plenty of savoury, meaty and herbal notes on the long finish. Alc 14.5%

Spanoudis, Ventum Xinomavro-Merlot, Slopes of Paiko, Macedonia 2020

Bronze, 88 points
A savoury, meaty wine with firm tannins, wild red berry fruit, pencil shavings and pepper spice. Alc 14%


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