27 Dec 2012 by JH
Date tasted 21 Dec 2012
Producer Alpha Estate
Appellation Regional Wine of Florina
When to drink 2013 to 2022
Date tasted 21 Dec 2012
18 months in Frenh oak and 18 months in bottle. No filtration. pH 3.44, TA 6.3 g/l.
Deep black cherry colour. Fragrant, restrained dark-fruit aromas and a delicate peppery spice plus something darker and almost tarry. A complex aroma. Powerful and concentrated and yet does not lose its freshness so that the finish is mouthwatering and moreish. Dense, smooth, chocolatey tannins (flavour and texture). One for the long haul although it is already balanced and harmonious.
Feb 2013 Mark Squires91
Drink: 2013 - 2022 $38 (38)
The 2009 Tannat Utopia, in fact, also has 5% Xinomavro added in. I haven’t always been convinced by this bottling, which seeks to express the grape from Madiran fame, but I am this year. Earthy, crisp and tight, this is, like all of Alpha Estate’s wines, elegant in the mid-palate while displaying power and acidity on the finish. Not particularly fleshy, it is flavorful, a complex medley, and lingering. Rather on the rustic side – of course, some might say that’s what they want and expect from Tannat – it has a bit of tartness, too. It is a wine that I suspect won’t be everyone’s first choice. In tasting this over a couple of hours, there were times when I thought I was underrating it and others when I doubted it would ever come into the right balance. Of course, that also means that it kept evolving and changing – a really good sign and one of the aspects of a fine wine that can make it so interesting. Give it some time to soften and pull itself together. It will also benefit from a nice, high-acid food matchup. Overall, I liked it a lot. Drink now-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.