Alpha Estate Axia Red 2011
Blend: Xinomavro 50%, Syrah 50%
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2011 Axia Syrah-Xinomavro, the typical 50-50 blend, was aged for 12 months in second use French oak, medium to light toast. It comes in at 14.5% alcohol. I haven't seen this in about five years. It is always a pleasure when wines from emerging regions without a lot of track record age well. I was convinced it would, and so it has. Still a bit tight with aeration, this still has some astringency. It coats the palate beautifully too, though. It is never all about the power, but it seems precise and focused. The relatively mature Syrah gives this some gamey nuances. It has plenty of life left; however, it is showing some maturity, the fruit just a bit behind the power, but this is still doing well. It is complex, nuanced and carefully crafted. I've extended the drinking window again, although I'm still being conservative, as it will likely do better. The price merely references the original price at release.
Alpha Estate is a winery located in the depths of Amyndeon's finest pastures. Alpha represents the "new beginning", the "birth" of a new era in the world of Greek wine. Makis Mavridis, a third generation skilled grapegrower, and Angelos Iatridis, the winemaker, educated in Bordeaux, trained in France, Italy and Greece and ''good father'' to many international well known Greek wines, planted a 65ha vineyard in the Amyndeon region in the late 1990's.
The creation of a privately owned estate vineyard was an enormous and pioneering investment at the time, which signalled the birth of pilot-structured vinicultural exploitation. Our on-going mission is to make wines that bring out the true characteristics of the region they originate from, wines that can reveal the characteristics of the soil, the climate and the typicity of the grape varieties they are made from.
Contribution of the human factor is indispensable to achieve our final goal, which is the production of grapes of the highest quality potential. The wines produced from such grapes are powerful and complex, displaying an intense fruity flavour and excellent balance. The company devotes a tremendous effort in improving the quality of its wines, through carefully planed investments and research programs, in collaboration with many research institutes. The success of these programs allows the company to evaluate permanently the quality and the character of its wine from one "vintage" to the next.
A picturesque Mediterranean nation with a rich wine culture dating back to ancient times, Greece has so much more to offer than just retsina. Between the mainland and the country’s many islands, a wealth of wine styles exists, made mostly from Greece’s plentiful indigenous varieties. After centuries of adversity after Ottoman rule, the modern Greek wine industry took off in the late 20th century with an influx of newly trained winemakers and investments in winemaking technology.
The climate—generally hot Mediterranean—can vary a bit with latitude and elevation, and is mostly moderated by cool maritime breezes. Drought can be an issue for Greek wine during the long, dry summers, sometimes necessitating irrigation.
Over 300 indigenous grapes have been identified throughout Greece, and though not all of them are suitable for wine production, future decades will likely see a significant revival and refinement of many of these native Greek wine varieties. Assyrtiko, the crisp, saline variety of the island of Santorini, is one of the most important and popular white varieties, alongside Roditis, Robola, Moschofilero, and Malagousia. Muscat is also widely grown for both sweet and dry wines. Prominent red varieties include full-bodied and fruity Agiorghitiko, native to Nemea; Macedonia’s savory, tannic Xinomavro; and Mavrodaphne, used commonly to produce a Port-like fortified wine in the Peloponnese.
With hundreds of red grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World, experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to enhance balance or create complexity, lending different layers of flavors and aromas. For example, a variety that creates a fruity and full-bodied wine would do well combined with one that is naturally high in acidity and tannins. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.