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.