"A fine wine is born in the island of Tinos!" article by Laure Gasparotto at Le Monde
The famous wine journalist of Le Monde, Laure Gasparotto, presents T-Oinos and our wines with impressive comments in her recent article on the French newspaper! Enjoy the read!
“On the island of Tinos, a great wine is born
In the Cyclades, Alexandre Avatangelos has replanted vines that give a white worthy of the world’s greatest vintages.
A new great wine is born. And it’s not usual. Its cradle, in Greece, is unexpected: a small granitic island of the Cyclades named Tinos, twenty minutes by boat from Mykonos. In France, we rather know the wines of Santorini, which are largely imported. Tinos, therefore, is the new wine land discovered by the Greek Alexander Avatangelos, originated from Corfu. He is a man a little crazy, it must be admitted, but a madness necessary to telluric and colossal creation.
In Tinos, wine was produced in ancient times. And then, in the Middle Ages, during the Venetian occupation of the island. And then the memory of the wine, especially its culture, was a little lost. To recover the terroir of Tinos, it is a little as if one rediscovered a Burgundy which would have been abandoned. Not less. Because the wine challenges the palate so much that we believe it is among the best in the world. Or rather a specific wine of Tinos. A white.
Others think so too. Sommeliers like Gérard Margeon, the buyer of wines for the restaurants of the multi-star Alain Ducasse. But also distributors of wines, tasters … All distinguish the Clos Stegasta, domain T-Oinos, as a play on the word with the origin of the word “wine” in Greek: oeno. Either a dozen hectares of vines planted on veins of blue or white marble, in the middle of enormous granite blocks swept by the winds. Words are one thing, but you have to see this amazing landscape to believe it, so much the granite blocks are awesome.
“The beautiful Greek totality”
After a first wine-growing experience on the island of Santorini, Alexandre Avatangelos discovered the potential of Tinos, where there wereno more vines when he arrived. He had to find the old parcels on the cadastre to try to acquire gradually, one by one. This is how he manages to recompose a vineyard at 460 meters of altitude, where the sand is so present that it allows two central things: planting vines from seed, that is to say without rootstock, which allows the taste of the wine to be purer, and make a massal selection, either choose a branch of a beautiful vine plant existing when he wants to plant, rather than go to buy a clone at the nursery, as is the case in the majority of the vineyard. It therefore invests in the healthiest viticultural heritage possible so that it can best cope with complicated climatic conditions.
Always agitated, in a permanent intranquility that makes him progress, Alexandre Avatangelos expresses himself very quickly in impeccable French: “In Santorini, I felt suffocated. I find that the wines are too powerful, in heaviness. They express more the ego of their producers than their terroir. This is not a social representation that must be accounted for by the wine, but that of the freedom of the winemaker at the service of his terroir. Tinos – christened the island of the Virgin, because, very wild, it attracts few tourists – it then appeared obvious, in the philosophical sense: “It is the beautiful Greek totality,” said Goethe. A totality that includes a significant financial aspect: Alexandre Avatangelos had to invest nearly 7 million euros in this winery construction ex nihilo: he began to plant in 2002 for a first vintage in 2008 …
But do not be fooled: the cellar is modest. The unique quality of the vineyard has been the priority of the investment. T-Oinos, it’s more being than having it. One can only be dazzled by the vines beautifully kept and erected, in exceptional health condition. Cultivated according to the principles of biodynamics, the heritage is there. It takes not only will, but also a foolproof faith to plant and grow a vine here, where water is lacking. The returns are sometimes miserable. For example, the red mavrotagano grape was endangered. Without the determination of Alexander Avatangelos, he would no longer exist. Without Michalis Tzanoulinos, the head of culture, who was born here, either. He sleeps almost in the vineyards, including Sunday. But the results are there, with wines of crazy originality.”One of the greatest wines in the world”
One of the most important European distributors, Jacques Perrin, creator of the Cellar (Club of lovers of exquisite wines) in Geneva, Switzerland, buys more than a thousand bottles each year at the T-Oinos domain. Although he appreciates the red, which according to him still needs freshness, it is the “Cuvée Rare” in white that inspires him the most: “With this wine, we are beyond the grape assyrtiko, which is just a mediator to convey the sensations of the extraordinary place where he is born. We are at the crossroads of the elements, with a remarkable verticality, which leaves the palate clean. The 2017 is one of the greatest wines in the world: there is no doubt. “
Near the vineyard, the sisters of the Orthodox Monastery of Sainte-Pélagie are there: one of them is assigned every night to burn a candle for T-Oinos. The example of this new vineyard has already inspired the creation of two other wine estates on the island. After the wine of Santorini, here is that of Tinos!”