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Xynomavro grapes

by May 16, 20170 comments

Xynomavro is a predominant native red grape type in Macedonia. This grape variety is greatly deemed in its indigenous Greece as the perfect red wine offered by the country.


The wines produced from Xynomavro are famous for their excellent aging capability and their abundant tannic feature.

Wine grape varieties

Regions Where Xynomavro Grape is Grown

Xynomavro is a dark-skinned variety of grape which is extensively cultivated in northern Greece and to a small extent in the Macedonian Republic.

It is mostly cultivated in the Macedonian subregion- Imathia and near Amyntaio in the northern Greece.

The Naoussa town is situated within Imathia where the best Xynomavro wines are produced. This grape is basically grown in Nausa, Rapsani, Amyntaio, Trikomo, Goumenissa, Velventos, Siatista and on a lesser extent, on Mount Athos at loannina, Ossa, Magnesia, Trikala and Kastoria.

The whole cultivated region is nearly 18 km2. In Goumenissa, Xynomavro is usually blended with Negoska to create fruity wines which are rich in alcohol content.

In Rapsani, Xynomavro is blended with Krassato and Stavroto to produce a full-bodied and dense red wine.

In other places, the grape variety is blended with international forms such as Syrah and Merlot in order to alleviate its austere character and attract a large audience.

Origin and History of Xynomavro Grape

Naousa is the most essential appellation related to this variety, as its wines are needed to be 100% Xynomavro.

These are highly regarded and together with Nemea on the peninsula of Peloponnese, these are believed to be the greatest red wines of Greece.

Many contrasts have been made to the popular Barolo wines from Italy, Piedmont and there has been a past implication also stating that there is a possible relation between Nebbiolo and Xynomavro, although the DNA testing has disproved of it.

Synonyms of Xynomavro Grape

The synonyms of Xynomavro include Xinomavro, Xynomavro of Naousa, Black Naousa, Niaoussa, Pipolka, Mavro Naoustino, Xynomavro Naousis, Xyno Mavro and Mavro Naoussis.


The grape does not favor dry climatic conditions and is vulnerable to many fungal diseases, and is very susceptible to soil types, canopy management and planting densities.

There are several variable clones of the grape which have markedly different characteristics. They ripen and flower at different times and have different berry and bunch sizes, have contrasting vinous features (acidity, tannin and fruit) and attain their maximum ripeness in dissimilar microclimates.

Characteristics of Grape

The grape is one of the largest red wines structurally in the Mediterranean region and especially in Europe.

The term Xynomavro itself is a combination of the Greek words for black and acid, although this is mostly translated as sour and black.

This indicates to the structure and flavor of the wines produced from Xynomavro, which remains according to their name in the youth, however, Xynomavro wines can age elegantly for several years.

The grapes are blue-black in color and grow in fixed structures. The berry size varies according to the different Xynomavro clones, but all vines are of fickle nature and late ripening.

Vintage variation is an important aspect to determine the purchasing decisions, as the weather plays an essential role in the quality of Xynomavro.

Oak maturation is done to tame Xynomavro, but it should be taken care of. This is because too much oak maturation can crush the wine.

The use of oak is avoided in some circles and instead locally-cultivated walnut is used as no discernible taste is imparted.

Characteristics of Grape Wine

The xynomavro wine has abundant tannin content and can age perfectly. It exhibits complex aromas and scents of fruits like dried tomatoes, gooseberry, olives, licorice and spices.

Depending on the ageing process and vinification, the wine may also have a woody aroma with notes of redcurrant. In addition to this, the Xynomavro wine has high acidity with a thin texture.

The color is mostly pale and comparatively unstable and can quickly evolve into an ocher color when poured out in a glass.

The vegetal character of the wine enhances with time and the harsh tannic level exhibited by the young Xynomavro is softened considerably, converting the wine into a silky pleasure.

Food Pairings with Wine

Xynomavro can be paired with pizza, rich cheese, mushroom risotto with Parmesan flakes and aged Gouda.

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Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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