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JUN. 2019

The best Assyrtiko in the world by Wolfgang Fassbender

“THE BEST ASSYRTIKO IN THE WORLD

A Greek philosopher produces world-class wines on a small island in the Mediterranean. A Swiss wine merchant has now made the story known. What happens on Tinos sounds like a novel. And it tastes great.” says Wolfgang Fassbender in his article on T-OINOS vineyards and wines in the famous Swiss wine magazine Schweizerische Weinzeitung, and the article continues:

T-oinos “I always wanted to produce wines of such precision. Created from low yield, firm, salty, matured in wood, but never dominated by it » Alexandre Avatangelos, T-Oinos Founder

Michalis Tzanoulinos, a Greek born in Tinos, takes care of the densely planted vineyards (big picture). In the granite landscape of the winery: Gérard Margeon (on the far left), number one French sommelier and wine expert at the world-famous chef Alain Ducasse restaurants (a major customer of T-Oinos wines), along with T-Oinos founder Alexandre Avatangelos and wine consultant Stéphane Derenoncourt. 

When someone sees Tinos he is instantly enchanted. That’s how Alexandre Avatangelos felt when he reached the Greek Cycladic island nearly two decades ago. This is what happened to the Swiss Jacques Perrin when he discovered the island and its viticulture in 2016. The vines, however, had grown to a considerable size by that time and had created a serious wine-growing project. The partner, Gerard Margeon, number one French sommelier and wine expert of the chef and catering entrepreneur Alain Ducasse had long been aware of the project of the man whom not even a novelist could have imagined.

Alexandre Avatangelos is a Greek from the picture book. He studied philosophy, as all Greeks should do, he worked as a busy businessman and as a diplomat. You have the feeling that he knows almost everyone in Greek politics and at least half in French. Now days, he takes care of his vines, the top of which are those from Clos Stegasta, a vineyard with sandy soil on a granite bedrock, drenched by cool winds, at 400 to 450 meters. When Avatangelos started planting on Tinos in 2002, no one on the small island thought of viticulture any more. At the same time, the countless terraces, which reach up to the heights, give an idea of ​​the long history of the local vine culture. Tinos grape juice was already fermented in antiquity and viticulture was popular in the period from the 15th to the early 18th century. But at some point things developed differently than elsewhere. While Santorini became a hotspot for tourists and Mykonos is also known to those holidaymakers who have nothing in mind like Greek philosophy, Tinos remained a tip for the insider. The last vineyards were abandoned in the middle of the last century. Too steep, too slow, few sales. To invest here, you have to be pretty crazy and have a clear idea of ​​what you want to do. “I always wanted to make a wine like this one,” says Avatangelos, who lives with his French-born wife on Tinos, unless he is still in his Athens office dealing with diplomatic affairs. He wanted to make a wine like the Assyrtiko from Clos Stegasta, produced from low yield, taut, salty, aged in wood, but never dominated by it: 2017 and 2018 are better than ever. The other wine to mention is the concentrated “Rare”, a rarity, which is created from top selected grapes. Tiny amounts, a high price for Greek wines – and a style that is very different from other assyrtikos in the country. Alexandre Avatangelos compares two wines of Santorin on the table, two of the most prestigious. They do not stand a chance against his, produced under the project name T-Oinos. 

The finesse has also convinced Jacques Perrin, the head of the Swiss wine club Cave SA. He had heard, in France, of this adventurer who had set a start, says Perrin. From Switzerland to Athens, then from the airport to the port of Rafina, the ferry “Theologos P” takes four hours to reach Tinos and even in the high season relatively few tourists disembark at the port of Chora, the capital of the island. The island is a haven for individual travelers, as those gourmets serve fresh fish in the restaurant “Itan Ena Mikro Karavi”, lots of vegetables, olive oil of the island, and the best tomatoes, who have nothing to do with that boring, pseudo-Mediterranean cuisine, which one gets in Switzerland, in the so-called Greek restaurants. It’s not only the Assyrtikos, however, that are made as an expressive companion to food but even the rosé is. Jacques Perrin had the idea for this fresh, fragrant, racy wine, the entry into the world of T-Oinos. Perrin, who now also has a residence on Tinos, will soon go even deeper; a cooperation is planned, the new winery is soon to emerge high on Tinos and it’s breathtaking. 

The boss already has the best team. Michalis Tzanoulinos, a silent Greek who was born in Tinos and cares for the extremely densely planted vineyards – between 10000 and 11500 hectares per hectare – like  his own children. Thanos Géorgilas, the meticulous manager of the winery. And, of course, the person who plays a key role in the finesse of T-Oinos wines, the winemaker. He has changed the head winemaker twice, says Avatangelos. Stéphane Derenoncourt the well-known French oenologist who regularly visits Tinos, has been responsible for T-Oinos since 2016. In fact, the 2017 and 2018 are even more exciting, even more finesse than real wines. They are not only the whites, but also the reds from the Clos Stegasta, the varietal Mavrotraganos full of Mediterranean roots. Too intense for fish dishes, but just right to accompany the local Malathouni cheese. Reality and fantasy are blurred as we depart on “Theologos P” in the sunset and they already were during the tasting of the red 2017 and 2018 “Rare” wines.  Is it real, the project of the businessman philosopher on that island mentioned by Aristotle? If you want to find out, you have to start the journey yourself. Jacques Perrin, wine merchant and head of the Swiss wine club Cave SA, is enchanted by Tinos and lives partly on the island. Stéphane Derenoncourt can only dream of it as a world traveler oenologist. 

Wine talks: Alexandre Avatangelos has already changed the head winemaker twice. The world-famous star oenologist Stéphane Derenoncourt, who has been advising at Bordeaux’s wineries such as Carmes Haut-Brion, Poujeaux or Smith Haut Lafitte, is T-Oinos’ key winemaker since 2016.  

“I have never tasted a better Assyrtiko than Alexandre Avatangelos”JACQUES PERRIN, WEINHANDLER 

Location above the sea. Even for a well-connected person like Alexandre Avatangelos, getting all the permits was not easy, but now the start of construction is within reach. 

 

WHITE WINES

2018 CLOS STEGASTA ASYRTIKO

T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece

100 % Assyrtiko

Fresh, prime fruity aromas, pear, yeast, citrus. Juicy, spicy wine, slightly more powerful than the 2017, was allowed to develop well. 17/20 2020-2026

2017 CLOS STEGASTA ASYRTIKO

T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece

100 % Assyrtiko

Fr. 49.50

Clear, bold fruit, citrus, dried herbs, wood is more to divine than to smell, later a hint of pineapple. gripping in the mouth, firm, stimulating acidity, salty, gentle tannins, long, developing excellently in the glass. 18/20 drink -2027 

2016 CLOS STEGASTA ASYRTIKO

T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece

100 % Assyrtiko

Fr. 45.-

Rather restrained aromas, notes of dry herbs, noticeably floral. Witty in the mouth, compact, noticeably salty, wood not quite as well integrated as on the 2017, nice acidity, good finish.17/20 drink -2024 

2015 CLOS STEGASTA ASYRTIKO

T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece

100 % Assyrtiko

Magnum Fr, 110.-

Bold fruit, slightly floral, dried herbs, dried pineapple, also citrus. Witty in the mouth, gripping, rather mild acidity, not too long to drink. 16/20 drink -2024 

2011 CLOS STEGASTA ASYRTIKO

T-Oinos, Falatados {Tinos}, Greece

100 % Assyrtiko

Rather restrained fruit, almost ethereal-like note, herbs, herbal ointment. Worn in the mouth, taut, surprisingly present, wood does not seem as well integrated as in the more recent vintages, in the finish a little softer than the 2017er. 16/20 drink -2022

2018 CLOS STEGASTA ASYRTIKO RARE

T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece

100 % Assyrtiko 

Sweet, primary fruit, pear, yeast, melon. Compact in the mouth, youthful, firm, with noticeable, but already well integrated wood, noticeable tannins, overall more compact compared to the 2017, long, potential for a higher rate.18/20 2022-2030

2017 CLOS STEGASTA ASYRTIKO RARE

T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece

100 % Assyrtiko

Notes of grated stone, citrus, dried herbs, later also pear, very well connected. Firm in the mouth, spicy, ripe acidity, Burgundian character, long and expressive, quite fascinating.19/20 2021-2030

 

RED WINES

2018 CLOS STEGASTA MAVROTRAGANO

T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece

100 % Mavrotragano 

Bold, fragrant fruit, notes of cherries, elder and violet, later also fresh liquorice, chocolate and tobacco. Juicy, fresh-looking wine, attractive acidity, slightly cooler than the 2017, long, lots of potential.18/20 2022-2030

2017 CLOS STEGASTA MAVROTRAGANO

T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece

100% Mavrotragano

Clear, bold, medium-warm fruit, notes of blackberries and black cherries, a touch of crushed fruits, chocolate and tobacco, later also coffee. Gripping in the mouth, full of strength, noticeable alcohol, but also beautiful sour, fresh, lasting. 17/20 2021-2029

2018 CLOS STEGASTA RARE MAVROTRAGANO  T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece 100% Mavrotragano barrel sample Clear, cool, fairly prominent fruit, hint of blackberries, black cherries, cocoa, later also floral, stony notes. Compact wine with fine tannins, firm, seems tighter than the 2017th, precise in finish, potential.18/20 2022-2032  

2017 CLOS STEGASTA RARE MAVROTRAGANO  T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece 100% Mavrotragano Rather restrained, calm aromas, black cherries, tobacco, some mulberries. Very straightforward in the mouth, firm, firm structure, nevertheless very fine, long finish, dense, finesse, of very own character.18/20 2021-2032 

ROSE  WINES

2018 MAVROSE T-Oinos, Falatados (Tinos), Greece 80% Avgoustiatis,20% Mavrotragano Open, fragrant nose, refreshing notes of redcurrants and very fresh cassis berries, later a touch of rusty apricots. Juicy rose, firm, spicy, fresh with surprising fruit.16/20 drink -2021 

 

Erhaltlich bei: Cave SA

Rue de Malagny 28, 1196 Gland Fon 022 354 20 20

Cours des Bastions, 1205 Genf Fon 022 354 20 20

www.cavesa.ch

The T-Oinos range is produced by local varieties(the Greek oinos means wine): Assyrtiko and Malagousia for the white wines, Mavrotragano and Avgoustiatis for the red wines.