T-OINOS and Tinos at the UK inews
Siobhan Norton describes her travel experience at T-OINOS and Tinos in her article at “theipaper” earlier this week:
“As I alighted from the ferry in the early afternoon, I got a feeling that I was going in the wrong direction. While a dozen or so people were disembarking on to the island of Tinos, a few hundred were boarding to leave.
In the south-east of the island, T-Oinos was founded by Alexandros Avatangelos and Gerard Margeon, who had a dream of replanting the land that had first been associated with wine 6,000 years ago, and again during the Venetian occupation of the island in the Middle Ages.
I could understand why no one tried again in the interim – on the outskirts of Volakes and Falatados, it was hard to believe anything at all could be cultivated. Yet the result is no typical taverna wine – it is being hailed as on a par with Burgundy.
A large part of the credit must go to Stéphane Derencourt, a renowned Bordeaux-based wine whisperer, who was brought in to consult with T-Oinos. It was a challenge, certainly, but “I suppose I’m a little bit crazy”, he admitted as we walked among the vines. He said it was the beauty of the location that lured him.
A vineyard can be a lovely sight to behold, with its regimented rows of greenery. But I’d never seen a vineyard quite like this. Rows of vines lurched this way and that, their paths rudely interrupted by whopping great boulders. Goats skipped around the rocky landscape, looking longingly at the fenced-off grapes and greenery.
The ground underfoot was thick with grey, coarse sand, despite the fact that we were on one of the highest peaks of the island; the type of soil that would make the most green-fingered despair. It was wild, chaotic and catch-your-breath beautiful.
This part of the island, according to Greek legend, was the site of a battle between the gods and giants, who hurled huge boulders at each other. Geologists say the granite rocks were formed 15-25 million years ago, and shaped by the wind and temperature changes. However they got here, the result is an other into their spherical shapes.wordly landscape, which has become a popular destination for bouldering enthusiasts.
Beauty is one thing, but who would plant a vineyard in the middle of a boulder-strewn mountain-top? Added to the poor soil quality is the challenge of the northerly meltemi blowing across the island – legend has it that Tinos is also home to Aeolus, god of the winds.
Perhaps the gods were smiling on T-Oinos – the vines, planted from seed, have been carefully nurtured, yielding the first vintage in 2008. Production is on a tiny scale – 20,000 bottles a year, with 60 per cent of production staying in Greece, yet it has made it on to the wine lists of some of Britain’s finest restaurants, including those of Alain Ducasse.
To read Siobhan’s full article, click here