T-OINOS Winery in Tinos: A Greek Nugget
Florence Hernandez shares her experience at T-OINOS with the readers of the French Monsieur magazine:
“On the island of Tinos, in the north of the Cyclades, a small estate is established as one of the world’s references for the quality of its wines, in twenty years. Pilgrimage
Wine in Greece is everywhere. From Peloponnese to Crete, from Macedonia to Thrace, from Thessaly to the islands of the Aegean Sea. Its entire vineyard stretches over more than 61,500 hectares for a production mainly of white wines and under maritime influence. 33 appellations of origin in total, more than 300 grape varieties, some of which date from ancient Greece, this plurality is expressed with great intensity on often extreme terroirs, coastal, continental, volcanic and mountainous like Clos Stegasta in Tinos located at more than 460 meters above sea level. Separated by an arm of the sea from the festive Mykonos, if the island of Tinos, nicknamed the pious, is home to a handful of winegrowers, on its central-eastern part, it conceals one of the areas which are among the most qualitative in the world, the T-Oinos. To reach it, you must cross landscapes worthy of Homer and the wrath of the Gods. And when you see the cosmic chaosleft by the gigantic blocks of granite and schist that litter this inhospitable plateau, we say to ourselves that Eole must have been very angry! The address alone seems predestined. It’s hard not to lose your Latin, excuse me your Greek, the “unnamed road”, the “road without a name”, the aptly named as it seems to lead nowhere.
IN SEARCH OF THE ORIGINAL WINE
Perched on an arid promontory, the Clos Stegasta, which belongs to the T-Oinos estate, seems to be feeded only on the vehement spelling of trees with trunks broken by the winds, shades in shades of deep green, brown earth from which emerge ochres and mauves and the sea in the background. The sky hanging over the piles of stone and the meltem, this violent wind that blows over the Aegean Sea in summer and amplifies the bleating of the goats, contribute to making this landscape of vines a timeless place. Nothing seems more threatened today thanthese lands with paradoxical aridity and yet…However, a man from Corfu, Alexandre Avatangelos, philosopher, poet, winemaker, businessman and with a persevering astrological sign, wanted to pay homage to this land by planting a vine there in search of the original wine, not in terms of taste but of history. An archaeological wine, a nectar in search of its DNA in a way. A challenge worthy of the place. Because there is no doubt that the T-Oinos estate is the project of a visionary aesthete. Except that paradise according to its owner should be Spartan. A refuge house where beauty comes from the sea and the sacred site of Kionia as the only decoration. The sky. Books. And yourself. His wines resemble him. This theology and philosophy enthusiast also explains the Holy Trinity in his own way: “T-Oinos is the synergy between the soil, the environment and people”.
Helped on site by a remarkable team and by Stéphane Derenoncourt, the consultant with international reputation, which, nurturing a particular love for this area, admits to feeling a very special energy there at each of his visits.” It’s here. Everything is here. The four different vintages of the estate are the result of a titanic work on a place that is both austere and full of energy. The version of Assyrtiko, the star grape variety of the Aegean Sea and Santorini, which is generally found on volcanic sandy soils, gives on a granite soil like that of Tinos, a wine of purity of expression and an extremely rare tension. On the red wine side, the Mavrotragano excels in finesse and identity on terraced plots of decomposed schist »We therefore understand why the house’s premium cuvées have been called “Rare”. Planting vines where life is a challenge, where it must suffer and fight to produce grapes, make the soil soft like a quilt by working it with bare hands… Walking between the furrows of the Clos Stegasta, we feel the full force of this fertility, born of paradoxes of this ecosystem oscillating between desire and insubordination.Having the privilege of tasting the different cuvées of T-Oinos contributes to this emotion. Gérard Margeon, one of the greatest sommeliers in the world and wine buyer for the 21 restaurants of the Alain Ducasse group, comes to the same conclusions but with a more Cistercian approach. As for David Biraud, head sommelier at Le Mandarin Oriental in Paris, crowned best sommelier in France in 2002, and vice-world champion, his enthusiasm for describing this wine also calls on a spiritual lexicon: he speaks of “vibrations” and “richness in austerity”. Those who, on the nose, are reassured when they find names of fruits, flowers, woods, or spices to identify it, will be confused when tasting the white cuvée because the latter only reflects its biotope. The palate, neither subjective nor objective but almost inobjective, permeates the palate with diaphanous aromas brought by wind, water, and photosynthesis. The assyrtiko here carries the active flavor of granite and the salinity of the winds that it reveals an inner light, an iodized eloquence of a minerality never before tasted. This wine is like the unfolding of all thought, it finds its form in the space that suddenly brings it to life. T-Oinos is one of its extreme vineyards which are as “rare” as beautiful encounters are.
T-OINOS, CLOS STEGASTA ASYRTIKO RARE 2020
A MYSTICAL FLAVOR
Here is a very atypical white wine for a Mediterranean wine from the Cyclades. If we were to taste this wind that is the meltem, it would surely have a similar flavor. Ethereal, subtle, iodized, fresh, pure, and light, this wine born from a single grape variety, Assyrtiko, offers a remarkable and tense minerality on the palate, all supported by a beautiful acidity. Great pairings with fish tartare, scallops or a goat cheese platter.
T-OINOS, CLOS STEGASTA MAVROTRAGANO RARE 2018
THE TASTE OF PURITY
From terraces whose topography recalls those of the Hermitage, on a nose of tension and subtlety that we feel more than we can define. In the mouth, we like its velvety texture and the very fine grain of its tannins. A very classy red wine worthy of greatest vintages that will surprise eventhe palaces of the greatest connoisseurs. Ideal with grilled meat.