2018 Thymiopoulos Vineyards Atma White
Region: Naossa < Macedonia < Greece
Grapes: 70% Xinomavro (vinified white), 30% Malagouzia
Vineyard/Cellar Stats: Certified biodynamic farming; Malagouzia sees 10 hours of skin contact before fermentation in stainless steel tanks, then blended with the pressed-off Xinomavro and left to settle for two months before bottling; 12% ABV
Winemaker: Apostolos Thymiopoulos
The Thymiopoulos family has owned its Naoussa vineyards for several generations, but only started making their own wine in the early 2000s. Fourth generation Apostolos Thymiopoulos graduated from the University of Athens oenology program and took over in 2004, when he replanted vines of old, native varieties and led the charge to become the region's FIRST certified biodynamic winery. A very big deal -- and effort -- in these parts.
The Atma White is truly unique, using the highly acidic red grape, Xinomavro, to produce white wine — rarely done in Greece. The Xinomarvo comes from young vines in Apostolos' vineyards. In the winery, the grapes are de-stemmed and only the free-run juice is fermented in stainless steel tanks. Malagouzia, an intensely aromatic white grape, was nearly extinct until a Greek oenology professor re-discovered it in the 1970s. Thank god he did, because the perfumed honeysuckle and ripe white peach notes of Malagouzia are intoxicating. And while it might smell sweet and floral, this wine is bone-dry and beyond fresh, with ripe stone fruit, salt spray and vibrant acidity that makes us think of the warm days ahead. We want to drink this on a beach, while sunning ourselves on a dreamy Greek Island. But (sigh) that's not happening anytime soon, so we'll pounce on the first sunny Spring day to enjoy Atma chilled, on the porch or patio or a socially-distanced park bench, while sheltering in place.