Red grapeI get very excited about this grape. Sad I know. But for me it really proves that a grape adventure is worthwhile. It isn’t just the well known ones that can offer a magical experience.  And it is a journey that takes you back in time since Greece was one of the original producers of wine.

To pronounce this grape say “Zino-mavro”; that will get you near to how it is said in its native Greece. I always point a Barolo lover to this grape as a very well priced alternative. That is because it shares similarities with those wines. A beautiful rich berry aroma with perfumed fragrance, then a bold tannic structure to the palate that can taste complex and smoky. The grapes are naturally very tannic but certain producers have now mastered how to extract these gently. They also benefit from a bit of gentle oak age to soften out this structure.  I can testify that the best versions are well worth a comparison to the classic Italian masters.

And when you think of  Greece I bet you’re thinking of those magical holiday islands. Well take yourself to somewhere very different for this wine. It is made up in the mountainous Northern region of Naoussa. When I visited it was -10 degrees celsius. Of course it does get warm in the summer which is needed to get these naturally tannic grapes ripe.

The Facts

A thin skinned grape which gets its powerful tannins from having double the seeds of normal grapes. A late ripening grape which means it benefits from being kept at low yields to get fully mature.


Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Carignan, Baja

Classic Regions

Greece: Naoussa, Amydeon

Food Matches

Rack of lamb, meatballs, moussaka, mushroom risotto