NWC – 6th March – Apolstolos Thymiopoulos

Apolstolos Thymiopoulos has become a big name, not just literally, in the world of wine. His range has been getting plaudits far and wine and was named ‘Decanter Rising Star’ in 2022. Many of these wines are selling out rapidly when released.

Atma White, 2022. The Atma range, of which we tried a red and white, seems to be an attempt at entry level wines from the estate. Interestingly they are not listed on the winery’s own website which might tell you something in itself. Pale straw this is a blend of Xinomavro and Malagouzia. The nose is an aromatic mix of white blossom and pear with notes of citrus. The palate has more peach and grapefruit. A little short. £13 (87 pts)

Blanc des Coteaux, Cuvee Amphore, 2020. A wine I was interested to try having bought into the hype and asking for an allocation from The Wine Society (TWS) recently. Initially it was very honeyed with some bruised apple and I was wondering if it was deliberately made in an oxidised style. One of our group who has had several said other bottles were a lot more fresh and clean. Tricky as several other notes appear to reference oxidisation and it seems the nature of the wine is prone to that. Regardless it was still enjoyable just not in the place it should have been. £25 (88 pts)

Rose de Xinomavro, 2022. Between a rose and an orange wine in colour. Bright wild strawberry and tinned peach nose. The palate more restrained than expected, bitter & blood orange with a quinine finish. Not your typical rose, and for me all the better for that though not everyone agreed. At £13.50 a lot of interest and bang for buck. (89 pts)

Rose de Xinomavro, 2013. This was a generous gift to me from a friend that was added to the tasting. I believe it was only released in the last year or so having been held back by the winemaker. On immediate opening before the tasting it had a more natural, cider nose but by the time it was being drunk that had blown off. There was some sweetness here, although from the intensity of the fruit rather than any residual sugar (I think). Alongside the blood orange of the young wine it had a more complex sweet and sour note with hints of herb and sundried tomato. Blindfolded you would could it was a light red on the palate with some cranberry and bitter cherry. (92 pts)

Atma Red, 2021. Before the 100% Xinomavro wines we had the Atma red, a blend of Xino and Mandilaria. Simple cherry nose, bit of a fruit bomb palate with juicy blackcurrant. Lots of rustic tannins in an elderberry sort of way. Some notes of liquorice show maybe it’s not so simple? A bit too much of a rough quaffer for me but some people like it, described as a BBQ wine. £14 (88 pts)

Jeunes Vignes, 2021. No oak on this wine and a little muted nose but hints of smoke complemented a plummy nose. The palate was a touch lighter than the nose suggested, pomegranate and cranberry completed the elegant structure. Great drinking and interest wine lovers and dinner party guests alike. At £13.50 from TWS it’s fantastic value. (90 pts)

Xinomavro Nature, 2021. Flawed. There was some fruit peeking out from the cardboard and stagnant water on both palate and nose but it wasn’t worth persevering to find it. When low intervention wine goes bad it goes really bad. £18 (NR, flawed)

Naoussa ‘Alta’, 2020. A very light nose, some sweet cherry with a touch of herbal. On the palate more sweet and sour cherry with balsamic flecks and a savoury finish. Very Italian in profile and reminded me of Etna Rosso which I have been drinking a lot recently. Very attractive if not ground breaking. £22 (90 pts)

Rapsani, Terra Perta, 2019. I grow increasingly weary of lazy comparisons with other wines and most of these reds get described as ‘Burgundian’ by various critics. Whilst that doesn’t simple mean they are like a typical Burgundy I saw very little to suggest there was any more than a passing resemblance. Other than with this wine. It had a perfumed nose of high notes, sweet fruits and baking spices. Quite juicy, ripe red fruits dominate the front of the palate with balance and length with a grippy dry finish. With age I think it would develop some real complexity to add to the already appealing package. Currently available at £22 from TWS it’s the only wine of the evening I considered buying. (92 pts)

Earth and Sky, 2021. A very interesting vertical of the estate’s flagship wine that has been produced since 2005. A wine of deep purple, black and blue fruits, some dried and a little vanilla. Much more intensity and concentration than wines that went before, currently a very polished wine and quite a sweetly fruited palate marked by oak. Compared by someone astutely as a bit like a Ribera del Duero. Obviously young but was more an example of impressive winemaking than an expression of Xinomavro. £24 from TWS (92 pts)

Earth and Sky, 2020. A more fragrant nose here, some tomato leaf and violet alongside the fruit. A little closer to Nebbiolo territory. That carried to the palate, more savoury and nice red fruits but without the sweetness of the 2021. (91 pts)

Earth and Sky, 2019. Nose was reticent, when you really get in there a smoky and meaty profile but lacking high notes. Cherry was the predominant fruit on the palate but this bottle wasn’t singing, it had lost the energy of the 2020 and 2021 but not yet developed any proper complexity. What was interesting was there didn’t seem to be a particular style running through these 3 wines. Yes each will be different with vintage but if I was following an up and coming wine maker I personally like to see more of a signature character. (89 pts)

Kayafas, 2018. At the top end of the range are 3 single vineyard offerings, roughly from £60-100 of which we tried one. Beguiling nose of fig and raisin with the suggestion of a little bitter chocolate and menthol. What stuck me most on the palate was the step up in balance, silky and elegant like none of the other wines in this flight. Palate was slightly fresher fruit than the nose, cherry, some interesting black tea and sweet spice on the finish. £59 at TWS (93 pts)

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