Origin: Macedonia (region in Greece). Name is Greek for sour black

Grown: Over big parts of norther Greece, most noted for Naoussa and Goumenissa wines

Climate: Overall Mediterranean, but generally grown within many unique mesoclimate

Soil: Preferably a not to nutritional soil, to help control vine vigour

Viticulture: A demanding grape, needs the right terroir, the right weather conditions and very low yields to show its best side. Sensitive to both humidity and heat

Vinification: Gives a juice remarkably low in pigmentation, therefore commonly used for everything between white sparkling wine, rosé to heavy reads

Regional names to look for on label:

  • Goumenissa OPAP
  • Naoussa OPAP
  • Amynteo OPAP

General Personality:

  • Colour: Generally light in colour due to thin skin, similar to Nebbiolo
  • Aromas: Plum, rhubarb, tomato, anise, black olives, leather, herbal (oregano, tarragon, tobacco)
  • Taste and Texture: High acidity and high tannins (sometimes to high when young), tight structure
  • Conclusion: Elegant, is a term often used to describe Xinomavro when the wine is done well. Pale in colour, but rich in flavour. Interesting herbal notes together with some secondary spice aromas from oak ageing generally gives a wine that can take an entire evening to analyse. Cen be a bit rough on its own, especially when young, but an amazing wine for pairing
  • Future: Bring it down to the cellar and forget about it until it is time to sell the house. If it has the right structure, it will be as age worthy as a good Barolo, which equals 10-20 years depending on structure, some even longer

Food pairings:

  • General: With the unique flavour profile of Xinomavro, it is an interesting pairing wine. Acidic red fruit (tomato and rhubarb) together with its famous black olive aroma, makes for a funky wine. The tannins demand something to even them out with, while the flavours of the wine are easily lost in too rich pairings
  • Obvious pairing: Moussaka with lentils
    The green species in the Xinomavro makes it an amazing pairing to roasted vegetables, be they barbequed or made into a moussaka, it is hard to go wrong. Here with the rich, but delicate flavour of the lentils and the potato and bechamel sauce, it is a perfect match
  • On the wild side: Gyros with Jackfruit
    Who does not love jackfruit! Best invention ever and here with traditional gyros flavouring. It is a fun twist on the Greek classis. This is the sort of dish that can convert even the most stubborn meat eater. A nice match, the spices in the Gyros balances with the fresh vegetables and keeps the dish from overpowering the wine. Good balance between rich and fresh, which matches the wine to a T