We were overjoyed to reunite with Stellios Boutaris, a cornerstone of our first foray into Greek wines several years ago. His father Yiannis left the family firm in 1997 to found Kir-Yianni and enjoyed a meteoric success. Today, he has become established as one of the old guard, serving as a reference point for Northern Greek wines, especially those based on Xinomavro, universally acknowledged as Greece’s noblest black grape. The Boutaris family, owners of the largest winery in Greece, planted Xinomavro here in the late 60’s and only now with these wines can we see the wisdom of their experiment.
Ramnista is the wine that made Kir-Yianni’s reputation. Retrospective tastings have borne out the belief that this is a bottle capable of serious aging and improvement. Stellios makes a couple of prestige cuvées these days, but nothing has shaken our preference for this benchmark example of the great Xinomavro. It is a received truth now that this grape both evokes and rivals Nebbiolo, never more so than in this wonderfully scented vintage. Given the discreetest imaginable aging in mostly old oak (French and American, barrique and demi-muid), it takes you into an elevated world of vinous expression, where the price of admission is usually much higher.
Kir-Yianni was established in 1997 by Yiannis Boutaris, one of the leading figures in the Greek wine industry. Kir-Yianni, “Sir John” in Greek, is best known for producing premium Xinomavro from the slopes of Mt. Vermio in Northwestern Greece. The winery is focused on producing premium wines with authentic character which also appeal to the modern wine consumer.
Today, Stellios Boutaris, son of Yiannis, actively manages the winery and their two 30+ year-old estate vineyards located in Naoussa and Amyndeon. Combined, the vineyards stretch over 160 acres and range in elevation from 1,000 to 2,200 feet.
The Naoussa vineyard is located in Yiannakohori, the highest point in the viticultural zone, and is home to all the Kir-Yianni red varietals (Xinomavro, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon). The vines are planted in 40 different blocks based on their different soil properties. The Amyndeon vineyard is located in one of the most promising Greek winemaking regions. This smaller of the two vineyards is home to the winery’s white varietals – Sauvignon Blanc, Assyrtiko, Roditis, Malagouzia, etc.