After two consecutive years of extremely hot and dry conditions, the 2009 season came to replenish the water shortage. Atmospheric humidity during the growing season was the highest observed over the last thirty years and summer temperatures did not rise sufficiently to check the outbreak of downy mildew. Nonetheless, disease did not reduce crop load, as timely disease control ensured proper vine health. On the contrary, water excess raised crop loads relative to the last two years. Xinomavro was picked mid-October. For the most part, the very slow and late ripening allowed continuous berry enlargement with subsequently lower maturity and acidity levels, yet satisfactory phenolic profile. The new blocks planted solely with the preferred Xinomavro clones demonstrated once again their superiority. Meticulous selection process proved to be even more useful during this difficult year. Sorting out grapes not bunch by bunch, but berry by berry, we managed to retain our highest quality standard constant, albeit at an extra cost. So despite the challenges of the year we expect wines with intense and fine aromas, medium color intensities, full-body, and a surprisingly charming harmony. Rating: ****
The vineyards have an overall southeast exposure at an altitude of 280-330 m. The estate is divided in thirty distinct parcels of different microclimate, which is a function of varying orientation, inclination, and soil type. Silt, loam, and clay are found in equal proportion. Rainfall is abundant during the winter months, but summers are so dry that minimal drip irrigation is applied to prevent heat damage. The density of the vines ranges from 3.500 to 4.000 per hectare and the average crop yield is maintained below 2.5 kg per vine. A parcel of 1 ha is planted with various local Greek varieties for experimental reasons.
The grapes are handpicked and placed on a sorting table before crush. After a 3-4 day period of cold soaking at 10-12 °C, the must of each variety undergoes fermentation at controlled temperatures of 26-27 oC. Malolactic fermentation takes place in inox tanks. Because the aim is to highlight the aromatic profile of the three varieties of the blend, the berries are destemmed and then transferred into the tanks unbroken. In early January, the new wine is put for further aging into oak barrels. The final blend is composed after the wines have aged for six months. The final wine is minimally fined and unfiltered.