About Me

My photo
Vice President Athenee Importers

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Release - Thimiopoulos Young Vines

Since the 2006 vintage, Athenee has been working with Apostolos Thimiopoulos to bring a new, modern version of Xinomavro to market.  This happened with the release of the Uranos 2006 (Ghi kai Uranos in Greek).  This wine - fresh, fruity, meaty, complex, great structure and body quickly captured the attention of the wine trade around the world. 

For those not familiar with Apostolos' story, his family have owned vineyards in Naoussa for over 50 years.  In the past, they sold their grapes to the local Cooperative or to other wineries.  However, Apostolos realized the potential in his family's lands to produce high quality wines.  The vines were on average 35-50 years old with established root systems and excellent drainage.  He convinced his family to stop selling the grapes to others and to give him the opportunity to make wine on his own.  His modern approach to Xinomavro makes wines like none currently in the market.  With the success of Uranos, we began exploring options for a second label.

About 5 years ago Apostolos began replanting plots of the family vineyards to increase vine density with the aim of increasing overall quality.   Now that the newly planted vines are coming on line, he needed to find something to do with the juice.  As it stands, the youngest vines he'll consider for use in Uranos is 15 years old.  As a result, he decided to release a light, fruit forward, fresh style of Xinomavro never seen before.  This is how Young Vines was born.

Young Vines is made from the juice of the vines that are between 5-15 years old.  It is meant to be more Pinot Noir - like in style.  It is fermented in stainless steel and then sees about 6-8 months in oak originally used for Uranos.  It's a refreshing wine to drink that has instantly won fans around the US.  We sold out of the 2009 in less than 2 months - that was an Athenee record.  We are now working with the 2010 and expect to remain in this vintage for the next 6-8 months. 

Like Uranos, Young Vines is made Biodynamically.  It is meant to be enjoyed in its younger years and is a great wine for heartier pasta and lighter meat dishes.  This wine is making its way into broader distribution channels - for now it's in select markets like Denver, Northern California, Seattle, Portland OR, Portland ME, New York & NJ.  More distributors are starting to come on board and we hope to have broader distribution as the year progresses.  Retail pricing ranges from $18 - $22 depending on which coast you are on.  You can buy it online through several retailers on both coasts.

This wine will be available for tasting to the trade during our Road Show 2012 events this March.  If you are trade or press in or near Seattle, Portland OR, Chicago or NY, be sure to register to attend.  Over 75 Greek wines from today's top producers will be open for you to taste.  Each winery table will be staffed by its owner, winemaker or very knowledgeable export staff.

Argyros Atlantis White 2011 - 1st tasting notes

2011 was a mixed harvest. For some, it was excellent. For others, hail and mildew (something unseen before this year) destroyed close to 50% of their crops. For Santorini, the harvest was overall quite good. Over last winter, the island received a fair amount of rain - something that is not always expected. Add in a consistent growing period, not too many extremes in temperatures, and you've got the recipe for good wines.

Argyros Atlantis White 2011 arrived in the US just last week. The label has changed slightly to accomodate the new EU laws and is classified as a PGI Cylcades.

It is a blend of 90% Assyrtiko and 5% each Athiri & Aidani for aromatics. The grapes are hand picked and then vinifed in the traditional white wine making method. The wines were fermented in stainless steel and then blended just before bottling. The resulting wine is pale yello in color. The aromatics arenmore prevalent this year as opposed to 2010-there are more ripe fruit and citrus notes than before. On the palate, the wine is medium bodied with a fuller mouth feel than 2010. The acidity is balanced and crisp. It is a pleasure to drink. Like 2010, the entire Atlantis line is in screw cap. The approximate retail price ranges from $15-$18 depending on where you are in the US.

It should make its way into general distribution within the next few months as distributors move out of 2010 and into 2011.

Thimiopoulos Uranos 2008 - a new look for the new vintage

The new look for 2008

In a departure from the original label from it's inception, Apostolos Thimiopoulos has decided to change the Uranos label to a more modern and eye-catching one.  According to Apostolos, the 2008 vintage reflects changes/improvements in the vineyard that have been taking place over the last few years.  With more of the replanted vines producing the quality of fruit that he desires, 2008 has seen an increase in production and in overall quality.