The wines of Markovitis winery in Naoussa
By Olga Antoniadou
I first met Markos Markovitis in 2014 when I was touring Naoussa with some friends, and right from the beginning, I was taken by this young man. Very organised, pragmatic, focused, confident, and very dignified. I had the opportunity of meeting him again at a tasting of his wines a few weeks ago organised by the specialist wine retailer Mr Vertigo, and I confirmed my first impression. Slightly greyer than I had left him, collected, welcoming, with a clear vision and happy to share information about his work. I was impressed with his use of English and his accent since I knew that he was a German speaker.
The winery was founded by grandfather Markos in 1979, who planted his vineyard in 1972, and is situated in the area of Polla Nera of Naoussa. Father Dimitris studied oenology in Weinsberg to take over the winery, and Markos junior took over in 2012. Markos also studied in Weinsberg, spent 3-4 years working in different wineries in Germany and then headed back to Naoussa. One of the first things he did was slowly start replanting vines, reposition stakes and trellises to modernise the vineyard, a project he completed just last year.
The vineyard covers 14 ha of owned land and produces about 80,000 bottles of a single label of Xinomavro. It is east facing on a gentle slope at an altitude of 230-250 m. Heavy clay soils with multiple fractions of different types of stone that range from granitic to limestone, sitting on a solid rock further underground.
The area's climate is characterised by cold and humid winters, prolonged spring and dry summers. There is the possibility of irrigation in extreme conditions. Organic cultivation (not certified), pruned in a one-sided cordon.
He blends the grapes from the different parcels for his wine. Winemaking in a tank, wild fermentation, with pumping over for about two to three weeks. He has reduced barrel use, and he intends to do away with them entirely in the future. The wines are not fined or filtered.
Markovitis 2012 100% Xinomavro aged in old 500 lts Hungarian oak for 12 months: I was taken by this wine. Its beautiful balance, the lush and softened tannins, the mellowed acidity albeit very present, fresh and dried wild berry fruit, together with earthy, herbal, floral, sweet tomato paste, leather, tea leaf and spice aromas with a long, slightly peppery aftertaste. Typical, but definitely not rustic in style.
Markovitis 2017 100% Xinomavro aged in old 500 lts Hungarian oak for 9 months: This will be stunning in a few years, probably better than 2012, which I loved. Beautiful fresh wild berries, spice, sun-dried tomato, some floral, tea leaf and earthy notes, intriguing on the nose, follows suit on the palate. The fruit was balanced with acidity, medium-bodied with tamed tannins, and the 12,8% abv alcohol was well integrated. Elegant and promising.
By the way, his wines come at jaw-dropping prices for their quality.