Vaeni Naoussa Grande Reserve 2006
This must be one of the world’s great wine co-operatives, on a par with La Chablisienne, the Wachau’s Freie Weinga¨rtner and the Produttori di Barbaresco. The vast majority of Naoussa’s growers have tiny holdings. Only 20 or so grow enough grapes to contemplate making a living from them. Most of the rest sell them to this exemplary organization, which offers a degree of technical and marketing expertise that is quite remarkable.
Naoussa is home to one of Greece’s most age-worthy reds: Xinomavro. Flourishing on the sun-exposed, southeastern-facing slopes of Mount Vermio between 700 to 1,700 feet in elevation, some say Xinomavro is Greece's red counterpart to its famous white, Assyrtiko. Others liken it to Italy's well-respected, highly perfumed and powerful, Nebbiolo.
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.