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Wine of the Week: 2010 Estate Chrisohoou Naoussa Xinomavro
Mugshot of Michele Parente By Michele Parente | 6 a.m. June 22, 2016

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Like love or the perfect job, sometimes a great wine can come into your life when you’re not looking for it. And as someone who is painstakingly, some would say farcically, methodical about wine, a serendipitous discovery is all the more pleasurable.

I did not go out seeking a Greek wine made from xinomavro, a grape I was only vaguely familiar with before I tasted it. Now this sophisticated red will forever be in my wine repertoire.

I found it on the excellent tasting menu at Village Vino, in Kensington, where I had popped in as a way to kill an hour between a hair appointment and a dinner reservation. I mistakenly thought they were having a rosé tasting (it was the following week).

Somewhat out of sorts by my sudden need to be spontaneous, I went for something I’d never had before and assumed most readers hadn’t either.

Xinomavro is Greek for “acid black” and that’s pretty apt, in a good way. The wine has a deceptively soft, earthy cherry aroma but is super sturdy, thanks to pronounced acid and tannins. This 2010 Estate Chrisohoou is still somewhat tight, though it should age nicely and soften. I don’t think I would have liked it any younger.

Hailing from the Naoussa region, in northern Greece, xinomavro is considered one of the country’s noble reds. This is not the bright white wine you’d be drinking with seafood on some sun-splashed patio in Mykonos. It’s not a plush, fruit bomb either. It’s a forward red that demands to be savored with rich food.

While I was first sipping it and talking to the Village Vino folks about how beautifully its acid would contrast with a hearty lamb dish (or a marbled ribeye, a creamy moussaka or pasticio, or any fatty, gamey meat), I checked out the wine shop’s notes on the wine.

“WOW. When we tasted this wine without knowing the grape, we thought we had a beautifully aged Barolo on our hands. Imagine our pleasant surprise when we found it hailed from Greece and wasn’t even close to the price Barolos fetch.”

And there it was again, serendipity.

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