The youth these days!
Thymiopoulos Young Vines Xinomavro Unfiltered 2015
I first heard about this wine last year - there was a quick and dirty release at the Greek-destination LCBO store that sold out before I could get my hands on any. But it was all over my Instagram feed and I was so intrigued: unfiltered new-vine wine from Greece? What does that even mean? So when I heard the latest vintage was being released at the end of September, I knew I couldn’t make the same mistake twice.
I made sure to grab a couples bottles early (hot tip: the new releases usually hit shelves on the Thursday before their official release date), and enjoyed one over dinner with my husband. And by enjoyed it, I mean I loved it. (I took at least three tasting notes throughout the evening and then life happened, and I’m only now writing about. I’m sorry!) It is an evolving, delightful treat of a wine that complements food beautifully but you can sip all night and it has complex flavours you wouldn’t ordinarily imagine could come from such young vines.
Because here’s the thing: it’s typically old vines that get the most attention. As vines age, their roots go deeper into the soil and they produce fewer grapes. The fewer the grapes, the higher the quality wine. Winemakers usually don’t even touch their vines until they’re at least 3 years old earliest — and they’d never call out their youth right on the label.
But Thymiopoulos celebrates these young vines. I mean, in Greece, young vines is sort of relative but at under 10 years these are mere babes. They’re growing to maturity, sure, but they’re far from their full potential. But if the delicious wine I drank is any indication, when these vines hit primetime their wine is going to be absolutely mind blowing.
And that’s not terribly surprising. Thymiopoulos is a family-run winery that had decades of grape-growing experience in the bag before they even thought about making their own wines. They farm entirely organically and biodynamically, which leads to healthier grapes which leads to better wines which leads to a better planet. True story.
This wine is made from the almost-unpronounceable grape Xinomavro, which grows primarily in the Naoussa region of Greece and has often been likened to Barolo and Burgundy. Like these heavy hitters, it’s light in colour, high acid, not shy with the tannins, and full of flavour. And if you’re not yet convinced by these high-praise comparisons, how about this: you can get the quality and structure of those wines at a fraction of the cost.
Seriously. I would challenge you to find a Burgundy or Barolo that actually tastes good and costs less than 20 bucks. Then try to find one that’s organic and/or biodynamic. Yeah, it’s impossible.
And this wine does more than taste good: it’s evocative, thought-provoking deliciousness that speaks of place. It’s a terroir-driven natural wine that is just further evidence that the more care and thought you put into the vines, the more you respect the earth, the more rewarded you will be in the glass.
And all for under $18.
Nose: Oh this is so pretty. It opens with super strawberry, red cherry notes that evolve into a more tomato-y aroma. It’s really floral, with some mineral herbaceousness. It definitely had that Pinot/Gamay/Nebbiolo thing happening and I liked it.
Palate: That tomato thing again. It’s a savoury herbal fruit salad, like when you throw cherries into your summer salads. With a salty minerality and black olive twist, because this is Greece. There’s also some fennel alongside those red fruits, maybe a touch of beet root, all mixed together in a delightful bath of pleasant acidity and plush tannins. It’s so good. I’m so glad I have another bottle in the basement.