Saturday, 16 March 2013


It is no secret to the wine enthusiasts that Greece is one of the oldest wine making countries in the World and according to its legislation there are quite a few Appellation regions in the mainland as well as the Greek islands.
Naoussa is one of the most important Appellation Regions and the cradle of the king of indigenous red grape varieties of the Greek North, Xinomavro!
In a captivating landscape at the heart of Western Macedonia, on the eastern foothills of Mount Vermion, lies the town of Naoussa. The slopes of the mountain, covered with verdant forests with conifers and beech trees, are kept cool by the abundant running water, and orchards are grown on the plains bearing delicious fruits: apples, cherries and peaches.
The region’s relation with vine and wine also has its roots on the lush green slopes of Mount Vermion. According to mythology, this was the home of Semele – the mother of Dionysus, god of vine and wine – and the area where Silenus, Dionysus’s inseparable companion and friend, roamed.
The town’s lengthy history is evident from the important archaeological findings which surround it. Among the most important ones are the School of Mieza, in the centre of the vine-growing area, where the philosopher Aristotle taught, and the famous Macedonian Tombs excavated in Lefkadia.
After the second half of the 19th century, the town of Naoussa prospered, with particularly great growth of industry, mainly in textiles, and trade. The wealth the city accrued is evident in the mansions, which are its pride and joy.
These well-preserved mansions, the characteristic tiled roofs of the houses, the people dancing through the narrow alleyways during Carnival bearing traditional masks and reviving the “Genitsari and Boules” tradition, all add to the town’s picturesque image, which coexists harmoniously with its more modern parts.
The vineyard developed in the surrounding plains and on the south-eastern slopes of Mount Vermion. This is an area dominated by Xinomavro, or “Naoussa black grape”, the noble  red grape variety from Northern Greece which produces robust wines, with a full body...
The love of the Naoussa producers for their wine has not dwindled, even after the complete destruction of the vineyard from phylloxera in the 1930s. Therefore, at the end of the 1960s, the region's vineyards were replanted the with more resilient plants. In the early 1970s, a new life-giving wind blew over the Naoussa vineyard: new vines were planted in lines, cultivation was improved, and modern facilities were built to house wine-making equipment in keeping with modern technology.
In 1971, the VQPRD Naoussa region was recognised by legislation as the first Greek Protected Designation of Origin of Higher Quality, with the indication V.Q.P.R.D. Naoussa and the indicated variety to be Xinomavro.
This means that the indication “Naoussa wine” is given exclusively to wines produced from select Xinomavro grapes, which have been grown in a specific way and with a specific yield in the legally-determined vine-growing Naoussa zone, which covers a total area of 700 hectares, and produced according to the traditional method of Naoussa.
The vineyards are situated in an excellent location, with altitudes between 150 and 350 metres. On the south-eastern slopes of Mount Vermion, they are protected from the cold northern winds, and they benefit from the mid-afternoon sun. The Naoussa vineyards have linear canopy, with a density of up to 4,000 plants/hectare. In accordance with legislation, the yield must be under 10,000 kilograms/hectare.

The soil is rich in trace elements, with heavy clay or light clay and sand depending on the sub region. The climate is continental, with cold winters with snow, rain in the autumn and spring, and hot, dry summers.
Xinomavro, one of the finest Greek red grape varieties, is grown in many parts of the country. However, in Naoussa it reaches its perfect maturation at ease.
It is an active variety, high yielding, robust and resistant to disease, but very sensitive to a lack of water. The grapes are of medium-size, spherical with a thick skin, white flesh and a characteristic colour of the skins ranging from dark red to nearly black. The variety has proven to have considerable potential in terms of aromas from fermentation and aging, but also to have well-balanced sugar, acid and tannin levels.
The red wines with the indication VQPRD Naoussa have a multidimensional and distinct character. They can be distinguished by their deep red colour and characteristic aroma of red fruits which, during the 12 month aging in oak barrels as determined by the relevant legislation, develops into a rich bouquet of spices, with notes of tomato. This also softens its tannins that give the wine its good structure and richness. They are wines with great aging potential.
The modern methods of wine-making used by the current generation of oenologists and wine-makers showcase the multiple virtues of Xinomavro. A new generation of Naoussa wine is available on the market with a dynamic modern profile which meets the preferences of the contemporaryconsumer. It has a rich aromatic profile a balanced palate and is easily combined with many dishes.
At present, there are two types of wine bearing the VQPRD Naoussa indication: a dry red and a semi-sweet red. Also available are VQPRD Naoussa Reserve, which ages for 24 months, and VQPRD Naoussa Grande Reserve, which ages for 48 months.

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