The car screeches to a halt by an isolated, dusty roundabout to pick us up and we race off to the vineyards. But what vineyards! A hillside in the shadow of snowcapped Mount Olympus, in full sun, with a fresh breeze and a breathtaking view of the Aegean sea sparkling in the distance. There’s a glorious sensation of good health, appropriate for a producer who follows organic and biodynamic practices, and whose main problems in the vineyard are wild boars, greedy birds and, very occasionally, locusts. Our host is vivid in a pink polo shirt, blue shorts and shades. He definitely doesn’t look like the typical winemaker. I definitely have the sensation of being in a film.
We are in the tiny PDO of Rapsani, about a 90-minute drive south of Thessaloniki, towards Athens. I am visiting Apostolos Thymiopoulos. He’s one of a new generation of wine people in Greece who are driving a step change in the country’s wines – and in their international reputation. He’s a native of Naoussa, located about half an hour away (hence the hectic driving to and fro). His family home in Trilofos is close to Aristotle’s school in Mieza, where the philosopher is said to have taught Alexander the Great.
Thymiopoulos at a glance
Production 460,000 bottles
Vineyards 38ha owned, certified organic
Other vineyards Works 60ha in collaboration, all farmed organically, with 80% certified