Alpha is the first letter in the Greek alphabet (= a) and when it comes to the quality, attention to detail and care in making wines, it”s no coincidence that Alpha Estate chose this letter to name their operations. Alpha also represents a “new beginning’, a new era for Greek wines. Readers of this blog have read my recommendations and pairings of food with Greek wines and I would be remiss if I didn’t dedicate a blog post to Alpha Estate and give you a closer look at their wines.
Despite Alpha’s reputation for having world class wines, I’m twice-proud for Alpha as this winery is also located in the Amynteon appellation in northern Greece. Both my parents come from this part of Greece, located just a 90 minute drive from Thessaloniki. The traditional grape varietal in this region is the wild Xinomavro and I use the adjective “wild” as many winemakers will tell you that only truly experienced people can make a good Xinomavro wine.
Alpha has the talent to produce a fine Xinomavro red and the other tickets in their line of wines are all made with extreme attention to the vines, weather and timing. Alpha’s “terroir” is at the heart of its success with the mission being to make wines that reflect the characteristics of the region: the soil, the climate and the grape varietals they are made from.
Both my parents’ families used to have property (and vineyards) in the “Ampelia” area that’s situtated between the towns of Amynteo and Agios Panteleimon. The Ampelia area has a shallow lake to one side and another deep lake located at the town of Agios Panteleimon. This flat stretch of land is a plateau with mountains to the north and sits at an altitude of 620-710 metres above sea level. The area experiences cold (yes snow) winters, albeit short ones combined with a hot and dry summer. The soil is ideal for wine making with its sandy-clay texture. Another winemaker in the area once told me that the ONLY thing that should be grown in this area is wine!
Alpha Estate is owned by Makis Mavridis and the fellow responsible for turning out the great wines is Angelos Iatridis. My friend Yianni and I were priveleged to have Angelos himself give us an extensive tour of the winery and in the end, conduct a tasting of Alpha’s wines. Alpha offers a Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Malagouzia (all whites) and the reds are made of Pinot Noir, Negro Amaro, Montepulciano, Barbera, Tannat, Mavrodaphne, Merlot, Syrah and Xinomavro.
I could go on & on about the numerous awards Alpha has won (and continues to win) in wine competitions but why don’t you try the wines yourself? Alpha wines are available here in the Ontario and Quebec markets and you can certainly find Alpha Estate in the US (the cities with large Greek populations), widely distributed across Europe and even found in Asia and Australia. Try some Greek wines and in particular, the wines of Alpha Estate or some of the wines from other producers in the Amynteon region. I’m proud to come from this part of Greece, with it’s tradition in making quality wines, the delicious local cuisine and it’s natural beauty. Open a bottle of Alpha Estate and let a glass of wine tell you a story about Amynteo, about wine and about Greece.
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