Markos Markovitis is a singularly unique winemaker. He is the viticulturist and winemaker for Markovitis Winery and he is third generation at doing so. For those in the know, this is the famed Chateau Pegasus which changed its name recently to reflect the family that has been tending these vineyards in Polla Nera in Northern Greece. This is a small property of mere 16 acres and crop load is severely reduced by careful pruning in August. This estate only makes one wine – the Naoussa Xinomavro. And they have been doing so since 1972.
Chateau Pegasus was the first organically farmed vineyard in Greece. However, it was not merely the name that had changed. Since Markos been at the helm, the wines are all hand picked and laboriously de-stemmed. The winery continues to practice organic cultivation. Even the weeds are allowed to thrive in between the rows of vineyards. Also, the winery was modified to allow for a gravity fed system which leads minimal manipulation of the grapes. Markos believes that all intervention should be done in the vineyard and allow the fruit to express itself in the wine.
Xinomavro is a aromatic, tannic grape with incredible longevity. Tasting a flight of Xinomavro from the Markovitis/Chateau Pegasus which included a 30 year old wine. It was a revelation! Depending on one’s reference point Xinomavro has been compared to fine Pinot Noir from Burgundy or to a Barolo from Piemonte. Markos believes that the fruit has to speak for itself and aging is therefore done in large chestnut barrels. The result has been a wine that is probably one of the most elegant in Greece!