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.
Alpha Estate, Hedgehog Vineyard Xinomavro 2009 Amindaio
27 Dec 2012 by JH
Date tasted 21 Dec 2012
Producer Alpha Estate
When to drink 2012 to 2019
Date tasted 21 Dec 2012
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)