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 Yianakohori Vineyard has an overall southeast exposure at an altitude of 280-330 m. The Estate is divided into a mosaic of 33 vineyard blocks of different microclimate with varying exposure, orientation, slope, soil type, rootstock, vine density and age. Almost all exposures and soil types are encountered within the Estate demanding tailor-made viticultural practices for each vineyard block. Rainfall is abundant during the winter months, but summers are so dry that regulated drip irrigation is applied to prevent water stress. Vine density ranges from 3.500 to 4.000 per hectare and the average crop yield is maintained below 2.5 kg per vine. About 5% of the estate is planted with various rare indigenous and international varieties for experimental purposes.
The grapes for Diaporos are sourced from the "heart" of Block #5 of the Yianakohori Vineyard, just over a small lake, a Kir-Yianni landmark. The slope of Block #5 has an inclination of 20%, the soil is loam clay with a very high pH, suitable for the production of full bodied Xinomavro. The average crop yield in this block does not exceed 650 kg/ha. Grape bunches are always loose, with very small berries and quite often, like in 2005, with a complete lack of seeds.
After a seven–day pre-fermentation cold soak at 8-10°C, the must undergoes a 10-15 day fermentation at controlled temperatures in open tanks with automatic pigeage devices. Fermentation and post-fermentation temperatures lie between 23-26°C. This process aims at stabilizing the color of Xinomavro and at softening its tannins. All of the wine finishes off its malolactic fermentation in new French barrels, which offer micro-oxygenation conditions, while frequent batonnage is applied. New French oak is used throughout the whole aging process.