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Alpha Estate Xinomavro Reserve Vieilles Vignes Single Block 2016 (750ML)

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Critic Scores, Reviews & Descriptions

97 VP / 94+ WA / 17.5+ JR

#1 Vinepair 50 Best Wines of 2020 

This wine is awesome. Do what you have to do to find this wine. Seriously, whatever you have to do. It is so balanced that if you don’t understand balance, sip this and you’ll know. The acidity is perfect, letting the calm tart fruit of the wine sing while not being overwhelming. If you have ever had a Barolo, then this wine will be very familiar on the palate but it won't cause you to empty your bank account the way Barolo's of this wine's caliber do. It’s at a great price and is drinking very well right now. Go get it.

Located in Macedonia in northwestern Greece, Alpha Estate has been creating delicious, sustainably made wines since 1997. This wine practically defines balance: The acidity is nearly perfect, letting the tart fruit flavors sing without overwhelming the palate; the texture is rich yet refreshing and not overly tannic; and it hugs the palate with notes of fruit and pepper. With flavors similar to Barolo, but at a much better value, this wine can be enjoyed now or aged in your cellar for a few more years. Either way, it is sure to be a memorable one. - Vinepair

The 2016 Xinomavro Ecosystem Reserve Vielles Vignes Barba Yannis Single Block was aged for 24 months in new French barriques and comes in at 13.7% alcohol. Unfiltered, it was held back a year after bottling. By "old vines," the winery means "ungrafted bush vines" from 1919. This looks brilliant. Silky, powerful and intense, it is all about the acidity and tannins on opening. It grips the palate, lifts the fruit and won't let go. Its earthy complexity is starting to become evident even now. It's never going to be a rich and fruity wine—if that's what you want, look away. This is not very fleshy, but its purity and focus are impressive. It easily manages to coat the palate. In fact, when retasted the next day, it seemed to have fleshed out and expanded. It was far more gorgeous on that second day. That only hints at its potential, I suspect. It should age very well. Try it again in the mid-2020s to see if it is developing as well as I think it will. It is definitely not ready to drink today. It is, by the way, a super value. That is always true. It adds weight, power and expressive fruit to its lower-priced sibling, the Hedgehog, for just another $13 (comparing list prices). While that may not be insignificant in some circumstances, it's not much in the grand scheme of things. As good as the Hedgehog is, it's a small increment for a notable uptick in quality. They both drank well out of the gate. This was far superior when retasted the next day. - Mark Squires, Wine Advocate

From a single block called Barba Yannis at 647 m planted in 1919. Sandy clay and loam over limestone. Cold soak, fermented with yeasts isolated from the vineyard. 24 months on lees in untoasted French oak. Unfined and unfiltered. TA 6.8 g/l, pH 3.34, RS 2 g/l. Mid ruby. Inviting aroma that still has plenty of red fruits and even a hint of cassis as well as the beginning of tertiary aromas such as a more savoury, dried-tomato note. Plenty of spice but the oak is not at all intrusive. Really fragrant as it opens in the glass. Excellent depth here so that the grippy but fine tannins are well matched by the fruit. There's a little bit of heat on the back palate but that is counteracted by the freshness. A long way to go. Doesn't seem to have quite the concentration of some vintages but its all in balance. Compact texture that needs time to unfurl and reveal the distinctive character of mature Xinomavro. Julia Harding MW, Jancis Robinson .com

Variety Composition: Xinomavro 100%.

Region / Location / Vineyard:
Amyndeon plateau. Amyndeon viticulture zone. North-western Macedonia. Planted in 1919. Gobelet 100%. Single Block "Barba Yannis", 3,71 ha, Amyndeon plateau, 40°40'45.88"N, 21°41'35.93"E, at 647 m / 2.128 ft., with north-western exposure, facing mount Voras.

Vinification Method & Ageing:
Destemming, light crushing, cold soak - skin contact, alcoholic fermentation by indigenous flora isolated from the specific block, at gradually increasing temperatures, maintenance of wine “sur lies” for 24 months with regular stirring. 24 months in new Allie - Jupilles French oak casks, medium grain, white toasted and 12 months in bottle before release. No treatment or filtration before bottling.

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