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Over ten years ago, I had my first Greek wine, an Alpha Estate, ‘Hedgehog’ Xinomavro. It captivated my palate back then and started my Greek wine journey.
Greece has a long history of production, dating back to at least 2000 BC. In the 20th century, the wines weren’t well regarded. That has changed in modern times. I am too new in the wine industry to remember the age of underperforming Greek wine. Modern Greek producers are crafting wines of outstanding quality and Alpha Estate is one of the ringleaders. They are also wines that are readily available around the world.
Alpha Estate – A Greek Wine Star
This 180-hectare estate is located on a plateau in Macedonia, in the wine region Amyndaio. While Naoussa is the appellation in Greece that is most popular with Xinomavro, the high elevation of Amyndaio also produces fragrant, elegant examples. While Alpha Estate shines with Xinomavro, they do everything well. I’ve tasted their wines for years and have never come across a bad bottle.
Alpha Estate is the brainchild of vintner Makis Mavridis and winemaker Angelos Iatridis. I have noticed a slight change in their labels over the last few years, with a shift towards highlighting single-vineyard wines. Angelos prefers to use the term “Ecosystem” for the top range of wines. He feels it’s more all-encompassing than the word “terroir” – and it’s a Greek word. It’s a move that I applaud.
Whatever line you choose from Alpha Estate, you can buy with confidence. These wines are clean, well-made, express the varieties well, and are affordable. If you see a bottle of Alpha Estate on the shelf, don’t hesitate. Being able to recommend every wine in a producer’s portfolio is a rarity, which is the ultimate compliment to Alpha Estate.
- Alpha Estate, ‘Turtle Vineyard’ Malagouzia 2019
The Alpha Estate, ‘Turtle Vineyard’ Malagouzia is a single-vineyard white that saw only stainless steel. Straw color with an explosive nose. Hints of lychee, white flower, baked apple, white pepper, and a touch of flintiness. Almost like a subdued Gewürtz with some Riesling-like notes. Very complex for a fresh white wine. The palate matches the nose with intense, mouth-coating flavors. The acidity isn’t especially high but the wine is lovely. A very good example of the grape. Score: 90/100
- Alpha Estate, ‘Aghia Kiriaki’ Assyrtiko 2018
The Alpha Estate, ‘Ahia Kiriaki’ Assyrtiko is a gorgeous Assyrtiko grown at high elevation in Macedonia, Greece. The wine saw a few hours of skin contact. It’s got an intense and focused nose of lemon, white flower, white pear, and flint flavors. Intense on the palate with laser sharp focus and acidity. Persistent length for a fresh white with a limey finish. This goes exceptionally well with shellfish. Score: 91+/100
- Alpha Estate, ‘Hedgehog’ Rosé 2019
The Alpha Estate, ‘Hedgehog’ Rosé is a saignée rosé made from 100% Xinomavro. Notes of strawberry, watermelon, and Greek yogurt, with intense salinity. At first glance (or taste), this acts like another good to very good rosé styled after those from Southern France. The real beauty of this wine lies in the subtle tannins and mineral finish. The wine also has impressive length, making it more than a simple poolside sipper. This is the best rosé I tasted in 2020. Score: 91/100
- Alpha Estate, ‘Hedgehog’ Xinomavro 2017
The Alpha Estate, ‘Hedgehog’ Xinomavro is 100% Xinomavro aged in oak for 12 months. The nose has notes of cranberry, sour cherry, tomato leaf, tar, and a touch of clove. It really smells like a modern Nebbiolo. Silky mouthfeel upfront with some big tannins on the back end. This wine always delivers fantastic value for money and this vintage is no different. Thanks to the acidity and tannin, it should age beautifully but is accessible now, just make sure to have some spare meat. Score: 91/100
- Alpha Estate, S.M.X. 2017
This is 60% Syrah with the remainder being equal parts Merlot and Xinomavro aged in new oak for 18 months. The wood jumps out here but in a good, toasty way. Fruit flavors include blackberry, pepper, rare steak, violets, and dried cranberry. The Syrah really stands out on the nose. The palate is a lot less woody as the fruit jumps out. The nose is all Syrah while the Xinomavro stands out on the palate thanks to plenty of red fruit and tart acidity. Fine-grained tannins. Delicious now and with the ability to age well, this punches above its price point. Score: 92/100
- Alpha Estate, ‘Barba Yiannis Vielles Vignes’ Xinomavro Reserve 2016
The Alpha Estate, ‘Barba Yiannis Vielles Vignes’ Xinomavro Reserve is made from a patch of old-vine Xinomavro and aged for 24 months in wood. Very pretty smell with notes of cherry, cranberry, rose petal, and a touch of tobacco. The palate is layered and super complex. The red fruit comes bursting out of the gate but it followed up with earthy complexity and cedar on the backend. High acidity and small Nebbiolo-like tannins. Serious wine. Score: 93+/100
You can find out more about our scoring system on the WINE RATING page.
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Alpha Estate provided tasting samples. The opinions expressed in this article are unsolicited and have not been paid for in any way by governmental bodies, enterprises, or individuals. We do not sell editorial content as that would destroy the legitimacy of our reviews and the trust between Exotic Wine Travel and its readers. On occasion, we extend the option of purchasing the wines we review or/and the products we spotlight. Some of these product links are set up through affiliate programs, which means Exotic Wine Travel gets referral credits if you choose to purchase these items via the links we provide.