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16,5
16,5 points. Jancis Robinson

Alpha Estate, Axia 2009 Regional Wine of Florina

27 Dec 2012 by JH

Date tasted 21 Dec 2012

Producer Alpha Estate 

Appellation Regional Wine of Florina

Vintage 2009 

Region Macedonia

Country Greece

Score 16.5

Colour Red

Alcohol 14%

When to drink 2012 to 2016 

Date tasted 21 Dec 2012

Reviewer JH

50/50 Xinomavro and Syrah grown on sandy and sandy-clay soil at 620-710 m. 12 months in French oak. pH 3.49, TA 6 g/l.

Inviting juicy-fruit aromas, both red and black, and a light, more savoury pepperiness. Packed with fruit without being overly sweet. Rich and dense with a slight chew to the tannin and a lovely harmony of ripeness and fresh acidity. Shows what a great site this is in the far north-west of Greece, not far from the border with the Republic of Macedonia. (JH)

90
90 points. Robert Parker. The Wine Advocate

eRobertParker.com #205
Feb 2013 Mark Squires90

Drink: 2014 - 2022 $19-$20 (20) 

The 2009 Xinomavro Hedgehog Vineyard is from a high-altitude site (690 meters), aged in French oak for 12 months and held back for another 12 months in bottle before release. If the Axia Syrah-Xinomavro is not the big bargain point in this lineup, this relatively new bottling surely is. I was not quite expecting the power – it actually seems more intense than the 2008. Earthy, bright and gripping, with both acidity and tannin on the finish, this has a charmingly rustic feel to it at a very fine price point. Like many of Alpha’s wines, it will need a food matchup. It isn’t a sweet, sip-on-its-own type of wine. But there is a lot of STUFF going on here for this rather modest price range. I loved its earthy complexity. Drink 2014-2022. 

Vintage 2009 was a shaky one for many wineries, but Alpha in Amyndeon seems to have done pretty well. Winemaker Angelos Iatridis said to me: “2009 was a very demanding growing season. Heavy rainfall just before flowering. Lower than average summer temperatures, combined with August rainfall, demanded yield control by green harvesting. However, an excellent dry and sunny September gave us high maturity levels in the grapes. The result was 35% lower yield than the average for Amyndeon region, and at the same time, excellent balance and concentration in the wines. Phenolic maturity reached high levels whereas the cool summer temperatures contributed to the achievement of aromatic complexity. Overall, the 2009 vintage was a real challenge because it required hard work in the vineyard and in the winery as well. If I had to describe the 2009 vintage just in a turn of phrase, it would be that 2009 could be described as the year of high precision and detailed work in the vineyard.” In nearby Naoussa, he said, the traditional heart of Xinomavro land, there were small differences – less rainfall than in Amyndeon, but higher heat at the end of August and in September.

17
17 points. Jancis Robinson

Alpha Estate, Hedgehog Vineyard Xinomavro 2009 Amindaio

27 Dec 2012 by JH

Date tasted 21 Dec 2012

Producer Alpha Estate

Appellation Amindaio

Vintage 2009

Region Macedonia

Country Greece

Score17

Colour Red

Alcohol 13.5%

When to drink 2012 to 2019

Date tasted 21 Dec 2012

ReviewerJH

Xinomavro grown on sandy and sandy-clay soil at 620-710 m. 12 months in French oak. pH 3.37, TA 6.6 g/l.

Bright palish crimson. Sweet yet subtle red-cherry aroma along with a hint of something more earthy and spiced. On the palate, incredibly fresh and lively, with the tannins evident but very polished. An excellent example of how good this variety can be when carefully grown and made with restraint and not overoaked. Long finish. Good ageing potential but delicious now. (JH)

93
93 points. Robert Parker. The Wine Advocate

eRobertParker.com #195
Jun 2011 Mark Squires93

Drink: 2014 - 2032 $35 (35)

The 2008 Xinomavro Reserve "Vielles Vines" is a very old vines Xinomavro (87 years old), aged in French oak for 24 months, an uptick over the 2007 Reserve, also reviewed this issue. I questioned whether it was such a good idea to increase the oak treatment, but the wine handles it well. Winemaker Angelos Iatridis has scored big here. A year younger, and with that longer time in oak, it is a wine that is a little harder to evaluate early on than the2007. I tended initially to give the edge to the 2007, but this should win the race over the long haul. After some hours open, this 2008 inched ahead. It should have a long enough lifespan to allow the longer oak treatment - which it handles exceptionally well even now - to integrate perfectly. Despite that oak treatment, it should with time show purity of fruit and sunny intensity. Not quite as expressive at the moment as its 2007 sibling, reviewed this issue, it seemed racier. The longer it was open, the more the natural acidity of Xinomavro showed. It does not feel quite as rich and concentrated on opening as the 2007, but that may also be a function of the way this interacts with its acidity. Plus, it fleshes out beautifully with long aeration. After watching this evolve with aeration, I believe this will eventually come into impeccable balance and there will not be a hair out of place, although that may not be until around 2015-2018 or so. It is shut down just now, but a couple of hours of aeration did wake it up. It seems sure to be a big success. Just be patient. At the price points, this and the 2007 (although that will be harder to track down) are simply steals. Drink 2014-2032. 

17,5+
17,5+ points. Jancis Robinson

27 Dec 2012 by JH

Date tasted 21 Dec 2012

Producer Alpha Estate

Appellation Amindaio

Vintage 2009

Region Macedonia

Country Greece 

Score 17.5+

Colour Red

Alcohol 13.5%

When to drink 2012 to 2022 

Date tasted 21 Dec 2012

Reviewer JH

Very smart packaging, just a shame the bottle is so unnecessarily heavy. When they say old vines, they mean it: 88-year-old bushvines. 24 months in French oak, 12 months in bottle before release. Unfiltered. And just look at the acidity: pH 3.32, TA 6.9 g/l.

Mid cherry red. Intensely aromatic with ripe sour cherry fruit, so inviting, with something almondy as well, like a vinous bakewell tart (but not that sweet). Maybe a slight volatility, like you get on some Amarone, but that just lifts the aroma further. Even after 24 months in oak, the fruit is the absolute star here in its purity and brightness and depth with the effortless intensity of old vines. So mouthwatering, the tannins firm and lithe. Great ageing potential too, if you can keep your hands off it now. This is strictly for those who like plenty of acidity in their wines. (JH)