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T-Oinos: crafting ‘Aegean Sea wines’

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It’s impossible to fully appreciate the character and complexity of the wines of T-Oinos without delving into the history and stories of the island of Tinos. They are the product of a project of passion and commitment, founded in 1999 by Alexandros Avatangelos and Gerard Margeon, aimed at bringing the oenological heritage back to life and reviving a local community of passionate workers.

These wines are crafted by combining the innovative classicism of consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt with the knowledge of the local team, deeply attuned to, and connected with, the local terroir.  Together, a viticulture & winemaking dream team have produced a range of wines whose precision is matched by expressiveness; wines that evoke the dramatic landscape they hail from while conveying a sense of intemporal elegance.

The creation of these modern classics combines heroic viticulture, winemaking craftsmanship and a deep sense of the physical and social specificity of the Cyclades. As Margeon, executive wine director and head sommelier at Alain Ducasse as well as co-founder of T-Oinos, these should be understood as ‘Aegean Sea wines’ rather than as ‘Greek wines’. The project was meant to not simply create some of the best wines in the world but also bottles imbued with the magical, windswept, lunar landscape of Tinos. On the other hand, they should also clearly reflect the effort that goes into working the vineyards and the knowledge that, along with instinct and creativity, inform work in the cellar.

The wines’ complexity is rooted in the vineyards themselves, with their intricate patchwork of terraces and soils, imparting different textures and aromatic nuances to the two flagship grape varieties, Assyrtiko and Mavrotragano. T-Oinos own a total of 13 hectares, planted to vines picked through massal-selection, pruned in Goblet against wooden posts.

The region’s microclimate has naturally shaped the choice of grapes: those present on the island since antiquity, most expressive of the local terroir and history and, as Derenoncourt says, ‘capable of incorporating into their flavours, aromas and colours, the schizophrenic harmony of human existence on this Cycladic island.’

It’s this harmonic vibrancy that gives each of T-Oinos wines their inner energy, character, and potential to age. While enjoyable and appealing upon release, these are, above all, wines to enjoy at length and perhaps keep in the cellar for full enjoyment of their inner potential. Let each sip transport you to Tinos and prompt you to discover the passionate team behind T-Oinos.

T-Oinos wine collection

Tasted by the Decanter team at a privately-held event hosted by Stéphane Derenoncourt

Clos Stegasta Mavrotragano 2018

Aged for 10 to 12 months in 500l oak barrels (20% new), the 100% Mavrotragano from the Clos Stegasta has a lovely ruby colour with purple hues. Fresh dark cherry and plum, topped by black pepper, evolve into prunes, iodine minerals and a touch of dried tobacco leaves. Black tea-like tannins provide a solid backbone to a fulfilling palate of blackcurrant and dark cherry, with wood spices on the finish.

Clos Stegasta Mavrotragano Rare 2017

The ‘Rare’ version of the Mavrotragano is sourced from the terraces of the producer’s Rassonas vineyard. Fermented with whole bunches in big oak casks, it is pure and ripe, with dark cherry flavours and a savoury undertone on the nose. The mineral edge is there but well weaved with the ripe prune notes. On the palate, it displays opulent dark cherry and plum fruits, with dried herbs and cedarwood. The tannins are fine-grained but concentrated, hinting at a long future ahead. Aged in 500l oak barrels for 12 to 14 months.

Clos Stegasta Asyrtiko 2020

Nose with reductive elegance, showing pronounced flinty nectarine, lime, butter and elderflower. Aged on the lees for 4 months in stainless steel tanks, amphorae and barrels. The palate has a lovely oily texture and is rich in lemon and grapefruit flavours, with depths of elderflower and acacia honey. Subtle and saline, with mouth-watering acidity. Honeydew melon notes on the long finish.

Clos Stegasta Asyrtiko 2019

Spontaneous fermentation using indigenous yeasts gave the wine a fragrant, complex nose of elderflower, candied pear and fresh stone fruits. Equally pure and saline on the textured palate, with lemon, star anise and plenty of citrusy acidity to refresh. There are extra layers of creamy butterscotch, lemon curd and elderflower thanks to seven months of ageing on the lees. Long with bitter citrus peel on the finish.

Clos Stegasta Asyrtiko Rare 2018

The ‘Rare’ version of the estate’s Assyrtiko is made using fruit from a special parcel within the emblematic Clos Stegasta vineyard. Compared to the estate’s other interpretations of the grape, the 2018 Assyrtiko Rare has riper yellow pears and creamy vanilla sweetness on the nose. On the palate, it is rich in vanilla and lemon sherbet and great textural depth of buttery lemon curd, imparted by lees ageing for 6 months in stainless steel tanks, amphorae and oak. Warming lemon zest and ginger on the finish. Complex and delicious.

Discover more about T-Oinos here

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