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07 December 2018

Naoussa Report 2018: The wines

Cover photo: Foundi Family

Following my visit to Naoussa (you can read my report here) I had the chance to taste extensively numerous wines, Xinomavro and beyond.

My overall conclusion is on par with my last paragraph ‘’ Nonetheless the major issue for me is the evolution of style, the refinement of tannins and the experimentation both in the vineyard and the winery. I strongly believe that if this is achieved with the wine retaining its sense of place and authenticity things can only get both better and brighter’’. There is so much room for improvement and solid dynamics for the area to further evolve that I feel producers should be working on that day and night. 

My tasting notes follow. Detailed scores will be posted in the tasting notes section of karakasis.mw very soon. 

Foundi white 2017

A blend of Malvasia with Xinomavro as blanc de noirs. Aromatic on the nose with a waxy and oily palate. Light and honest aperitif wine. ***

Foundi Trygias 2016

Xinomavro blanc de noirs. This has seen 7 months in new oak (would much prefer to see it in neutral oak). Apricot, honey and toast. Full flavored and rewarding with sound aging potential. ***

Foundi Naoussaia Naoussa 2013

A blend of three terroirs. The definition of a classic traditional Naoussa. Textbook, refined and very savoury with spicy complexity and dusty tannins. Will age well. Produced in 13.000 b. ****

Foundi Estate Naoussa 2012

Single vineyard Karaoutsa. Exotic, Perfumed with lovely oak use this is very umami on the palate with subtle tannins and long lingering finish. A top Naoussa for now and for the next decades. ****+

Taralas Naoussa 2015

Produced in 10.000 bottles from Secco vineyard in Polla Nera region to the north of the appellation. Pale brick-red. Fresh and textural. Crunchy red fruit and red apple flavours. Light tannins and overall a very enjoyable wine. ***

Taralas Blanc de Noirs 2016

Flirting with 'natural approach' white wine with oxidative nutty nose yet there is much freshness on palate. Renewed barrels have been used. ***

Taralas Mavro Naoussa 2015

This is the fruity and more modern Naoussa of Taralas from whole berries selection. Matured for 5 m in oak it shows a spicy character with moderate concentration and finish. ***

Taralas Naoussa 2013

Classic old school Naoussa needing time to integrate oak. Rustic and savory with monstrous tannins and moderately long finish. ***

Taralas Naoussa 2017

Pre - release sample. Reductive and firm with a dense core of red fruit, sour cherries and raspberries. Crunchy cherries on the palate. Purity of fruit. Needs bottle aging but very promising. ****

Karydas Naoussa 2015

Light peppery and textural reflective of a challenging lighter vintage. Already approachable and satisfying. ***

Karydas Naoussa 2016

Riper and fuller compared to 2015 with red and black fruit intermingled with black tea and savory notes. Layered and structured with fleshy tannins. Solid aging potential. ****

Dalamara Naoussa 2016

Dusty and mineral on the nose followed by ripe tannins and lots of flesh on the palate. Lovely spiciness. Can age. ***+

Dalamara Naoussa 2017

Herbs and oregano along cherries and strawberries on the nose. Impressive juiciness of tannins.Very rewarding yet needs patience for the tannins to come along. 13.9% abv ****

Dalamara Vieilles Vignes 2016

Partly own rooted vines from Paliokalias. Spices and violets in what synthesizes an intoxicating nose. Firm, very young and full bodied will improve but is already dazzling. Only 343 bottles. Exotic and singular. ****+

Vaeni Damaskinos Naoussa 2015

Ripe, seductive nose with intense black cherries and plums along herbal scents. Firm and powerful demanding aging. ***+

Vaeni Grande Reserve Naoussa 2013

Pale ruby with a nice fruity core of strawberries and minerals. Elegant and balanced with fine oak integration this is a nice effort from Vaeni cooperative. ***+

Kokkinos Naoussa 2013

Deep spicy, savory and earthy. Very classic but perhaps too much extraction. Needs more time to find its balance. ***

Boutari Xinomavro NAS 2017

Herbal, tannic and lean. Lovely fruit though beneath this austerity. No added sulphur effort. ***

Boutari Naoussa 2016

Brick red. Quite herbal, lean, charming for everyday consumption. A lovely introduction to Naoussa. ***

Boutari Grande Rererve Naoussa 2011

Quintessential traditional Naoussa. Garnet coloured looks pretty old yet there is a lot of grip on the palate. Oaky finish with abundant tomato paste notes. ****

Argatia Haroula 2016

50% Xinomavro with a 30% of Negoska and a further 20% Mavrodaphne. Perfumed wine with strawberries and violets along herbal nuances. Sound wine despite being more tannic for the style. ***

Argatia Naoussa 2014

Quite evolved aromatically yet structure is very unresolved for the moment. Shows the difficulties of the vintage. Nice spicy elements but overall quite rustic and tough. ***

Argatia Naoussa 2015

Another vintage, another wine. Medium ruby youthful colour. Ethereal and complex with smoky elements, tar and crunchy red fruit. Firm and taut this ticks all the boxes. 13.5% abv ****

Kelesidis Merhali 2012

Earthy and fully developed nose with excellent oak integration, truffles and ripe strawberries. There is a lot of fruitiness on the palate and tannins are very well handled. Nice effort. ***+

Kir Yianni Ramnista Naoussa 2015

Deep ruby colour. Quite oaky at this stage with sweet spice and coffee nuances on top. Full throttled and polished needs time to integrate the oak factor. ***

Kir Yianni Diaporos 2016

Pre - release sample. Luxurious oak along black cherries and plums. Herbal nuances. Ripe and fleshy, stylish wine in a sleek approach. ****

Thymiopoulos Young Vines Naoussa 2017

The entry level Naoussa of Apostolis Thymiopoulos. Fruity and elegant with light tannins. Lots of fruit and flesh. Produced in 270.000 bottles. Should be used as a guide and an introduction to the entire region.***+

Thymiopoulos Earth and Sky 2016

From old vines of approximately 40 years of age. Trilofos and Fitia subregions. New release. Medium ruby. Aromatic with cherries, roses and lovely spice. Velvety, refined, fat and fresh with long lingering finish. Great effort. ****

Thymiopoulos Nature 16

From an old Naoussa clone and vines of 54 years of age. Natural approach and minimal SO2. More like a Pinot Noir with ultra high acid. Touch of sugar on the mid palate makes it taste slightly sweeter. ***

Thymiopoulos Kayafas Single Vineyard Naoussa 2016.

From 0.9 hectares in Fitia. Partly own - rooted Xinomavro vines. Single vineyard, released only in international markets. Another single vineyard will be released in Greece. Fascinating nose with pomegranate, blood orange and strawberries. Earthy and mineral also. Layered, ripe and savoury with flesh and substance. Lovely. ****+

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