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Traditional Macedonian Varieties


Limnio is universally believed to be the ancient variety Limnia, mentioned by both Polydeuctes and Hesiodos. The name denotes its origin on Limnos in the Aegean Islands. On Limnos itself, the grape diminished in importance with the rise in dominance of moschato Alexandreias, the only cultivar on the island to achieve appellation status. Limnio vines are are hardy and late-ripening, producing herbaceous wines of considerable body (alcohol) and extraction. Modern vinifications include its blending with Cabernet at Porto Carras in Halkidiki and in the Meritage wines of N.Lazaridis and K.Lazaridis. Limnio also ameliorates Cabernet in Tsantalis ‘s Metoxi Chromitsa from the their Mt Athos vineyards


Negoska (or Negotska), an important variety in Macedonia, derives its name from the Slavic word for Naoussa, Negush, and is believed to be a close relative of Xynomavro. Negoska is nevertheless associated at present more with Gomenissa, where its higher sugar content and riper, berry-like fruit are ideal for rounding out the more austere Xynomavro in Goumenissa OPAP reds. The appellation stipulate an admixture of Xynomavro with a minimum of 20% Negoska. Aidarinis, a pedigreed Goumenissa winemaker of considerable vision, employs 30% Negoska to his OPAP red, in which conscientious modern farming and vinification are employed to capture the best features of the variety with no sacrifice of traditional feel.


Xynomavro is one of the two most highly regarded of the Greek red cultivars (Agiorgitiko being the other). It is ubiquitous in Macedonia, but is best known for the role it plays in the wines of Naoussa. It is the sole variety permitted under the Naoussa and Amyntaio (OPAP) appellations and one of two (with Negoska) under the Goumenissa appellation.

Xynomavro is regarded as the most unwieldy of the major Greek cultivars. Tempermental and unforgiving, its wines are greatly affected by weather, so that vintage often means more in regard to quality of Xynomavro than to most other Greek wines.