The winery at the Taralas Estate was completed in 2007. But the history of winemaking in the family goes back to before the exchange in the 1920’s, when Greeks living on Turkish soil and Turks living on Greek soil returned to their respective homelands. Great grandfather, Nikolaos Taralas, and his brother successfully regrafted their vines in Eastern Romilia against phylloxera, which was making its way across Europe, destroying entire wine regions. Members of the Taralas family continued migrating to Macedonia with their miracle vines. IN 1935 when phylloxera made its way to Greece, the only vines to survive were these same vines from Eastern Romilia. These same vines survived wars and upheaval. Christos Taralas, the son of Nikolaos prematurely died amongst these vines at the age of 37. His son, Dimitris a banker, continued the cultivation of the vines, as well as the production of wine in a small way. Upon his retirement in 2006, he decided to modernize the winery, and officially make a go of being a winemaking family. Along with his wife, Aspasia and their twin children, Christos and Nikoleta the Taralas Estate was born.
There are just over 10 hectares of vineyards belonging to the estate, all of which are farmed organically and biodynamically. Yields are kept very low to maximise the concentration of the fruit. The vines are over 40 years old, and sit in the eastern foothills of Vermio, around 300m in altitude, about 980 feet.
Vinification is whole cluster. Cryo-extraction is for no more than 5 days at a lower temperature. Fermentation occurs with native yeasts between 14 and 18 days. It is then de-stemmed and the juice and lees are transferred to second use oak barrels for 2 to 4 years. The grapes are from a single vineyard, plot number 4.
Xinomavro can go a number of ways depending on many factors. This wine is at one extreme of these possibilities. Mavro 2013 is intense, leathery, gripping, dark purple to black hues, both in the nose and on the tongue. The anise notes go to full black licorice, the sticky German or Danish kind. This wine sits on the shelf beside Amarone, Ancient Vine Australian Shiraz, California Petit Shiraz, et cetera. Braised meats, game, even chocolate are appropriate bedfellows here.
If the Mavro is a big, bulging, muscle ( and it is) the 2007 Xinomavro is that muscle after hours of deep tissue massage. Here the power of the Mavro, becomes the elegance of antiquity, the charm of ancient ruins, yet fully functional. As the fruit softens, the earth, oak, and non-fruit notes are perfectly choreographed with just the right amount of acid. This feels special. It deserves something exceptional; morel or porcini mushrooms, truffled pate, ribeye.