The Thymiopoulos family has owned vineyards in Naoussa for several generations. Until recently, the family grew grapes and supplied wineries with their fruit. Upon matriculation from The University of Athens oenology program, Apostolos Thimiopoulos returned to his family’s vineyards and began producing wine for his own label, Thimiopoulos Vineyards and the wine was called Ghi kai Uranos (Earth & Sky). The winery’s first release was with the 2004 vintage, which was a hit across Greece and in Europe. Ghi kai Uranos also caught the attention of influential wine writers such as Nico Manessis and the UK’s Tom Stevenson. As the winery’s capacity grows, the amount of wine available to us will increase as well. Uranos (the US name), is similar in style to a modern Barolo-powerful and concentrated ripe fruit aromas with balanced acidity and tannins. The beauty of this wine comes from the fact that Apostolos was able to coax out Xinomavro’s better qualities without high levels of acidity and tannin, making it a wine that can be drunk now as well as cellared for at least 10-15 years. Thymiopoulos Vineyards will be a winery to watch as its production grows.
At the age of 34 he is one of the most talked-about new producers of Naoussa region in Northern Greece. Despite his studies in winemaking, Apostolos Thymiopoulos seems to be more interested in understanding the qualities of his terroir, than investing in cutting-edge technology in the winery. Probably this way he pays tribute to his family’s long vine-growing tradition in the region.
Apostolos’ winemaking philosophy is as transparent as his resulting wines; Interfering as little as possible in order to let the vineyard express itself from year to year is the basis for his techniques. It is fascinating that his wines, much praised modern Naoussa Earth and Sky included, display vintage variation in a pure and sincere way. According to his view, everything can be expressed in the wine, provided you let it pass through.
That is why he doesn’t believe in fertilizers, cultivated yeasts, fine-tuning of the grape must or heavy filtering of his wines. Such practices would suck-out much of the wines’ character. He is a firm believer of organics, practising some elements of biodynamism as well, fermenting only with natural yeasts and adding tiny quantities of SO2. The logic behind minimal intervention in the cellar is to produce a terroir driven wine with all the ecosystem’s components present.
But there is one thing to worry about. The fruit for Rose de Xinomavro is sourced from the new 3-4 years old plantings that in some years will provide the raw material for the estate’s top red label, Earth and Sky. So the future for the Rose label seems to be uncertain, although this is something that shouldn’t concern us at the moment. We are in the middle of the summer and we can enjoy this delicious rose with stuffed red peppers, shrimps in tomato, mint and feta sauce, Greek salad, fried red-mullet or even a barbeque with family and friends. After the summer we can think about it…
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