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93 points. Robert Parker. The Wine Advocate #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. 

92 points. Robert Parker. The Wine Advocate

Source    Reviewer    Rating    Maturity    Current (Release) Cost #195
Jun 2011    Mark Squires    92    Drink: 2012 - 2023    $33 (33)
The 2008 Estate is a blend of Syrah (60%), Xinomavro (20%) and Merlot (20%) from several vineyards beginning at 620 meters above sea level, aged in French oak for a minimum of 12 months. With a one year difference in vintage dates, this 2008 is a little more disjointed than the 2007 revisited this issue. A bit tighter and more astringent on the finish at this point, its oak also shows a bit more at the outset as well and it is not yet quite as expressive as the Syrah component on the 2007. With air, it seems to wind up in much the same place as the 2007, and I suspect it will edge out the 2007 in time, although it is certainly not quite as appealing now. Be a little patient, as it will show better in 2-4 years. This is going to be a beauty. Drink 2012-2023. 

Note that the 2007 reds are released and currently in the marketplace. The 2008s were all bottled at the time reviewed, but are largely still being held back for bottle aging. They will be released sometime in mid to late 2011. Alpha is one of those hot estates that should draw consumer attention. Here's a chance to get in at the ground floor, more or less, with two fine vintages in 2007 and 2008. This winery has been considered to be a "comer" for awhile. It's fair to end that talk. They have arrived and are making terrific wines. They have their own style and the Amyndeon terroir is somewhat different than Naoussa, they say, which is the signature appellation for Xinomavro in Greece. Taking that all together, Alpha's wines are more refined and accessible than some of the more rustic versions of Xinomavro. Compare them to Xinomavro from Foundi in Naoussa, also reviewed this issue, and it seems not even to be the same grape. I've often compared Xinomavro to Nebbiolo, but with Alpha, Pinot Noir comparisons seem more apt. There is still attention to structure here and few compromises. The quality steadily improves and considering the small production levels on many of the wines, the output seems to be quite reasonably priced, too. Greek reds are justly acquiring more cachet and this Northern Greek estate is one very fine example of where the region is going.

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)

90 points. Wine Spectator. Kim Marcus

Score: 90

Release Price: $38

Country: Greece

Region: Greece

Issue: Jun 30, 2011


Offers an aroma of dark fruits, with a firm backbone of acidity to the ripe currant, damson plum and dark cherry flavors, accented by intense notes of black olive and tobacco leaf. The focused finish features mineral and Asian spice. Best from 2012 through 2020. 950 cases made. –KM

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

Date tasted    14 May 2011
Producer    Alpha Estate
Appellation    Regional Wine of Florina
Vintage    2008
Region    Macedonia
Country    Greece
Score    17.5+
Colour    Red
Alcohol    14.5%
When to drink    2011 to 2018
Date tasted    14 May 2011
Reviewer    JH60% Syrah, 20% Xinomavro, 20% Merlot. 13 months in French oak. 
Overly heavy bottle. Deep black cherry colour and a bright dark-cherry freshness on the nose. Sweet spice, just a little earthy, in a good way. Smooth, voluptuous and yet still fresh on the palate. Lovely balance and integrity. Harmonious but still has a way to go. Tannins are marked but supple and yield to the fruit on the mid palate. Alpha’s trademark freshness on the finish, even though this is a big, full-bodied wine. Real finesse as well as power. (JH)
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