THE retirement project to sample wines made from every main grape variety mentioned in Hugh Johnson’s Pocket Wine Book.
The Wine: Thymiopoulos 2013, Trilofos, Naoussa, Greece.
What HJ says: “Greece’s answer to Nebbiolo. “Sharp-black.” …Top quality can age for decades.”
What it says on the bottle: “This rich, smooth red is produced from the unique Xinomavro grape grown in north-west Greece. It is a challenging grape to grow, but maverick young wine maker Apostolos Thymiopoulos has masterfully tamed his Xinomavro to create a wine of finesse and intensity comparable to a fine Italian red. Careful bio-dynamic principles are followed to produce vines bursting with plump, healthy, ripe red fruit. M&S wine maker Jeneve Williams works with Apostolos to craft the M&S blend. Here they have produced a beautiful ruby-coloured wine, gorgeously scented with blackberries and damsons.” All this talk of maverick young tamers; who knew making wine could be so exciting? I’ll take their word on the bio principles, chemistry not being one of my strong suits (I came to an agreement with my chemistry teacher; I’d miss his lessons and practise my football; we agreed that neither of us would tell). As for the fruits; well, I’ll agree that the wine is fruity tasting.
With food? The bottle advises us to drink it on its own or with robust red meat dishes such as fillet of beef or venison steak. We drank some of it with moussaka (the Greek connection) and roasted Mediterranean vegetables; some more with a roast chicken dinner; and the last glass with bubble and squeak. Red with chicken? It worked for me.
So, did we like it? Not sure at first taste. Not as smooth as expected; HJ was right to mention sharpness. But a lovely colour and long-lasting tastes.
Are we buying more for our Wine Rack of Special Occasions? Probably not. But I’m glad we discovered it, so thank you M&S for your adventurous approach.
It’s not about the wine: The area around the city of Naoussa, according to Herodotus, was where the fertile gardens of King Midas were situated (Source: Wikipedia).