Boutari Naoussa 2006
Boutari Naoussa was the first bottled wine available in Greece (1879) and is the benchmark among Greece's premium red wines. It has won many awards over the last 50 years both in Greece and internationally. It is also the #1 selling premium red wine from Greece worldwide.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2006 Naoussa, all Xinomavro, hasn't been seen in over a decade. It's a fairly typical regular Naoussa with a reputation for aging well. Let's see if that's true this time, as we near the end of my original drinking window. As I saw in a long vertical at Boutari some years ago, they can go much longer, but I like to spotlight their prime time and allow for various differences, so I am always conservative. Then, we take the rest in stages. Frankly, this seems better today than when I first saw it, noting that it was perfectly stored. This rustic red needed some time to tame some tannins and become more drinkable. Still very firm and vibrant on the finish, it is pure and earthy with mature but not overly decayed fruit.
The Boutari family has been crafting wines from Greek varietals since 1879, when Yiannis Boutari first started producing red wines in the small northern village of Naoussa. Since that first vintage the family has become a pioneer of Greek wines. From exporting the first bottled red wine from Greece to reviving lost varietals, Boutari now crafts wines from six different regions using varietals that are grown nowhere else in the world. In a constant quest for improvement Boutari maintains "demonstration" vineyards around Greece where local farmers are invited to learn new methods and techniques for improving their grapes. The results have been astounding: Boutari has been named an International Winery of the Year by Wine and Spirits 19 times – only 5 wineries in the world have received the award more times. Achievements such as developing the modern style of Santorini to reviving lost varietals have garnered lavish praise from the wine press and spawned a generation of high-quality Greek wines made by vintners who cut their teeth under the tutelage of the Boutari family.
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.
Beyond the usual suspects, there are hundreds of red grape varieties grown throughout the world. Some are indigenous specialties capable of producing excellent single varietal wines, while others are better suited for use as blending grapes. Each has its own distinct viticultural characteristics, as well as aroma and flavor profiles, offering much to be discovered by the curious wine lover. In particular, Portugal and Italy are known for having a multitude of unique varieties but they can really be found in any region.