by Markus Stolz

vintage report #2

byMarkus Stolz
March 17, 2011, 0 Comments

Xinomavro vintages vary and lead to wines with different characteristics. Use this guide for those vintages that are currently available in the market, or have yet to be released.

2003 ***

2003 was relatively dry and cool until mid-summer. The application of correct plant protection methods contributed to the production of healthy grapes and permitted a late harvest. The grapes were healthy and ripe, and gave particularly aromatic wines.

2004 ****

2004 saw a delay of the flowering period, due to a high precipitation rate, fairly low temperatures, and unstable sunshine levels. August and September were marked by modest temperatures, low rainfall levels and increased levels of sunshine. The harvested grapes had an unusually high concentration of phenolic compounds and a good aromatic intensity.

2005 ****

2005 was a very good year, marked by overall cool weather conditions. The weather remained fairly dry until June. This was followed by a period of below average temperatures coupled with significant rainfalls. September was a hot and dry month, perfect for the ripening of the grapes.

2006 ***

2006 was a difficult and unusual year in the Naoussa region. Cold and wet conditions in spring delayed the bud break and blooming. Heavy rainfalls in the beginning of summer caused the overgrowth of shoots. July and August saw other extremes, as a prolonged heat wave led to temperatures staying above 32C/90F for 50 out of 60 days, with highs of 40oC/104oF. These conditions restrained the vine growth, and a prolonged ripening process of the grapes took place. Heavy rains in September did not have a negative impact. The intense colored grapes showed a good aromatic potential.

2007 *****

2007 started out with particular hot months. Reduced rainfall caused early bud break. Hot temperatures and rain in April led to a rapid growth rate. In July, temperatures climbed to more than 40C/104F, causing early stress on the vines. The prolonged hot weather conditions until the end of August resulted in the dehydration of the grapes. The ripening conditions in September were perfect. The grapes showed a healthy balance between sugar and acidity levels, good phenolic ripeness, and also ripe pips. The resulting wines are deep colored, with intense and complex aromatic character, well structured tannins, and potential for long-term ageing. Overall this was a great vintage for Xinomavro.

2008 ****

2008 was a difficult and unpredictable vintage. The year began with relatively low water reserves due to the exceptionally dry season in 2007. A normal growing cycle took place until July. August was a particular dry month, without any rain at all, which is uncommon for the area of Naoussa. The ripening of the grapes took place in record time and veraison was completed in 36 days. One of the problems encountered was that the sugar content in the grapes was raised at a much faster pace than the phenolic ripeness. The harvest started on September 10th, about 2 weeks earlier than usual, making this one of the earliest in recent history. The 2008 vintage seems to be similar to 2005, certainly much better than 2006, likely not quite as good as 2007.

2009 ****

2009 gave respite to the water shortages encountered in the two consecutive prior years of extremely hot and dry conditions. The atmospheric humidity during the growing season was the highest in the last thirty years. Disease controls had to be implemented because the lower summer temperatures resulted in the outbreak of downy mildew. The ripening period was slow and late, allowing for a continuous berry enlargement. The grapes had low acidity levels, but a satisfactory phenolic profile. The harvest took place in mid-October. In this rather difficult year a meticulous selection process, grape by grape, was very important. Despite the challenges, the wines show intense and fine aromas and a charming harmony.

2010 ***

2010 started out with the best of omens. Beneficial rains in spring were followed by hot summer days. Unfortunately, abrupt changes in temperature became one of the major challenges from this point onwards. The defense mechanisms of the vines were activated. This caused the increased production of phenolic compounds in the skins of the grapes. At the same time, the sugar production process was delayed. The bitterness in the skins of the grapes only started to fade away towards the end of September. Part of the harvest in October took place under rainy conditions. Although the difficult conditions would indicate a moderate vintage in terms of quality, at this stage the wines show surprisingly promising. They exhibit a lively color, are fairly low in alcohol with an intense fruit character and soft tannins.


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