Ecosystem Barba Yannis Single Block Vegetarian
Xinomavro means `acid black`, and there`s no denying that this grape variety makes wines that can be hard to get to grips with when they are young. But they also age beautifully. Up in the mountainous far north of Greece, not far from the Macedonian border, Alpha Estate makes this Xinomavro from a single parcel (the `Barba Yannis`) of old vines that show the variety at its best. Powerful, complex, fine-grained, this is an extremely serious piece of work. (NT 05/10/18)
- Amyndeo, Macedonia, Greece, Eastern Mediterranean GREECE
- Wine Style
- Dominant Grape
- Closure Style
- drink or keep
- Bottle Size
- Case Quantity
- Wine Score
- 93 points, Mark Squires, robertparker.com, April 2019
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The 2015 Xinomavro Ecosystem Reserve Vielles Vignes Barba Yannis Single Block was aged for 24 months in new French barriques and comes in at 13.1% alcohol. By `old vines,` the winery means `ungrafted bush vines` from 1919. This, to be clear, is never a wine that seems deep and jammy. The mid-palate finesse is exceptional. It has a wonderfully refined and sophisticated feel—that old-school character. It doesn`t hit you over the head with richness. For one thing, it`s Xinomavro. For another, it`s Alpha in Amyndeon. That means you get pure silk for texture in a wine that has both grace and subtlety. This year isn`t the ripest ever, but I loved its freshness. It`s a fine performance in a year that had its share of challenges. Neither this nor the 2014 may go down in history as Alpha`s best-ever bottlings, but it`s a nice statement that the wines can seem this good in challenging years. Maybe time will tell a different story, but I`d bet on this drinking beautifully in 2035.
It isn`t too subtle in terms of power, though—there`s plenty. This, despite the late release, is not even close to ready. This year emphasizes the freshness and the structure. The alcohol seems low, the fruit is restrained and the power seems fairly high. You will need some patience. For the moment, I`d say this will be a step up on the overachieving 2014—which may not evolve as well over time—but not quite at the level of some other recent vintages, like the 2012. (The 2013 was sometimes fabulous and sometimes raised issues—we`ll see where it goes.) This will age well, perhaps better than expected. As always, the price remains reasonable for this rather special wine. 93 points
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