by Markus Stolz

Xinomavro
vintage report #1

byMarkus Stolz
March 10, 2011, 0 Comments

1994 *****
1994 was a particularly hot and dry year. High temperatures during August were followed by a heavy drought in September, which led to a great deal of stress on the vines and finally to the over-ripening of the grapes. The wines are considered to be typical of the variety, with intense, distinct aromas of tomato, dried fig, tobacco and leather on the nose, a full mouth-feel and a long aftertaste.

1995 ****
1995 saw increased rainfall until the time of the harvest. The grapes became infected by diseases, such as botrytis and rot. The harvest was also delayed in comparison to the previous years. The average temperatures during June and July were high. In contrast, during August and September, the most crucial period for the ripening of the grapes, average temperatures were low. The 1995 harvest varied in quality and revealed those vineyards with the best quality potential. The quantity of the harvest was low.

1996 ***
1996 saw low rainfalls at the beginning of the growing season. These became more intense by the end of summer. During August and September there were large fluctuations in mean temperature and sunshine. The heavy rainfalls also affected the quality of the grapes. The ripening of the raw material did not follow its normal course, giving uneven results in terms of quality.

1997 ****
1997 saw high temperatures, increased hours of sunshine and intense rainfall during the growing season. September was a relatively dry period, resulting in a harvest of healthy and ripe grapes. Alcohol levels were high, a feature that opened a whole new page in the chapter of selective harvesting and viticultural methods used. The wines have rich, mainly secondary aromas, a good body weight, a long aftertaste and flavors that are typical of the variety.

1998 **
1998 is considered to be a moderate year, marked by difficulties in the ripening of the grapes throughout the whole Naoussa area. The growing season started with an increase in rainfall during February and May. During mid-July until the end of August, temperatures were high during day and night. Water reserves in the soil were already low because of reduced winter rainfalls. The high temperatures during the ripening period of the grapes shocked the vines. Their photosynthetic activity was reduced and led to a 10-day delay in the ripening of the grapes. Towards the end of August heavy rain returned, which led to the occurrence of scattered botrytis problems. Rainfalls continued in September, making this a challenging year. Growers that implemented plant protection measures and cut yields (as low as 1.5 kg per vine) were able to harvest healthy grapes with a high sugar index and good concentration of phenolic compounds. This led in turn to the production of typical and good Xinomavro wines.

1999 ***
1999 was an overall good year. Due to favourable weather conditions during March and April, germination occurred rather early. The flowering of the vines in May took place under normal conditions and favorable temperatures. But during summer, high temperatures were registered, rising up to 40C/104F in August. Even at night-time there was no noticeable cooling effect, and the vines went into shock. The harvest was delayed by 15 days despite the fact that this was the rainiest August in 8 years. The health and ripeness of the grapes was satisfactory, the yields quite low, often not exceeding 1.7 kg/vine.

2000 *****
2000 was the year of all years! There were generally dry weather conditions during the whole cultivation period. In spring temperatures were slightly lower in comparison to 1999 and the germination occurred a little later. The flowering of the vines during the month of May took place under normal conditions and favorable temperatures. The summer period started with high temperatures up to 38C/100F. There was no cooling effect during night-time, causing a shock to the vines. As a result, the shoots stopped growing at a very early stage and the plants started to “work” on the ripening of the grapes. The ongoing draught conditions led to less threat from the various enemies and diseases of the vine. In order to prevent further shock to the plants due to the high temperatures, many winemakers applied one or two careful irrigations in July. August was a hot month, but without any extreme temperatures. A dry September led to a continuation of the normal ripening of the Xinomavro grapes. This gave healthy, small berry sized grapes that were rich in phenolic compounds, with high sugar levels.

2001 ***
2001 was a relatively hot and wet year until the start of August. July rains prevented the stress of the plants, while hot temperatures and lack of rainfalls during August and September led to the good ripening of the Xinomavro grapes. The resulting wines are high in alcohol, with good acidity and a fair quantity of phenolic compounds.

2002
2002 was a particularly rainy year, characterized by high levels of humidity, which led to the development of botrytis and rot. Increased rainfall during the ripening period, in combination with the relatively low temperatures during the same time, led to only moderately ripe Xinomavro grapes. Some estates decided not to produce Naoussa wines at all, because of the poor quality.

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