Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Xinomavro

It has been a week of Greek wine, Greek food and Greek people without having to leave the country. I spent the week organizing educational events about xinomavro, the grape of Naoussa, Greece but on one of the nights, I took off my event hat and was invited as a writer to enjoy the wines at a dinner. Finally I got to sit down and taste the wines and hence, xinomavro is the Please The Palate pick of the week.

Xinomavro comes from Naoussa, located in the northern part of Greece. It is the single grape variety permitted under the PDO Naoussa which was established in 1971. As a mono-varietal region, when you see Naoussa on a bottle of wine, it means that the wine inside it is made from the grape xinomavro (ksee-NOH-mah-vroh). [If you practice saying it a few times, it will start to just roll off the tongue.]

Xinomavro produces a wine that is high in acid and high in tannin, with aromas of tomato, olive, spice and earthiness. This is a wine that really speaks of terroir and tradition. Xinomavro has its own style but it is known to resemble other wines you may be more familiar with. Lighter, younger styles of xinomavro may remind you of a Beaujolais or pinot noir and older xinomavro will remind you of nebbiolo.

Xinomavro is a wine that demands and deserves food. It pairs beautifully with lamb, roasted chicken and stews but surprisingly also can work with spicy foods.

There are a total of 18 producers of xinomavro in Naoussa and I tasted all of them this week. I enjoyed the range of styles that this one grape can express and that is why xinomavro is the Please The Palate pick of the week.