A Visit to Domaine Karanika Winery, Naoussa, Greece

A cold and windy February morning might not always be the best choice for a winery visit. However, the southern sun was inviting and compelling to take such a trip this time to Naoussa wine region in the northern part of Greece and the Domaine and Khtima Karanika Winery.
 
Domaine Karanika is located in the north west of Greece, in the area of Amyntaio, a picturesque though somewhat desolated surrounding overlooking the Lake Vergoritis. The climate here is continental as the Aegean sea influence, so notable in all the other parts across Greece, is fairly blocked by the Mount Vermio.   
 
Surrounding the winery are three hectares of Limniona, Assyrtiko and Cabernet, planted where only until half a century stretched the Lake Vergoritis. In addition to these vineyards, there is an additional quarter of a hectare planted with 100 year old Xinomavro vines, a plot called Sotirisko, another plot of 0,25 ha of 40 year old Xinomavro vines and another two vineyards of 0,70 ha (age 25 & 40 years) at a location known as Rasto also planted with Xinomavro. Most notable are their vineyards that provide fruit for their famous Karanika Brut sparklers, two plots of 0.5 ha and 0.1 respectively. The first one is situated at Dromos Lakkias and the second one at Nivigratsko.
 

Laurens Hartman is a winemaker & owner of Kthima and Domaine Karanika, along with his wife Annette. The winery & its vineyards are situated on hills at almost 700 m above sea level. Laurens is fully dedicated to pursuing biodynamical approach in the vineyards which he carefully explained in the pleasant, almost four hours visit to his winery. Having spent a considerable time observing the nature, the grapes, the changes of the different needs of the plants, it was a true pleasure to listen to his stories in pursuit of satisfying the needs of the vines in order to obtain the best fruit possible.In addition to making reds from Assyrtiko, Xynomavro, Cabernet Sauvignon, Limniona, Domaine Karanika is most famous for its sparkling wines, Karanika Rose Brut and Karanika Cuvée Spéciale Brut.

 

Karanika Rose Sparkling 2014 (degorged Nov 2015) PDI Florina
Made from 100%  Xinomavro grapes. Vivid dark pink colour, red berry fruit and forest strawberry on the nose, yummy passion fruit on the palate with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Good serious structure.
Karanika Cabernet Sauvignon & Xynomavro 2013 PDI Florina
A blend of equal parts of Cabernet Sauvignon & Xynomavro. Sour cherries on the nose, rich cassis creme and cocoa taste on the palate.
Karanika Xinomavro & Limniona 2012 PDI Florina
Rosehip fruit on the nose. Lots of ripe dark berry fruits on the palate refreshed by pleasant acidity and smooth tannins. A wine that is ageing very well.
Karanika Xinomavro 2012 PDI Florina
Abundance of cherry & sour cherry on the nose, dark ripe berry fruit on the palate but still very young untamed tannins. I would start drinking this after three to five years.
Karanika Limniona 2013 PDI Florina (tank sample)
Now, this one is not bottled yet but in my opinion it was the most intriguing in the red flight. Made from Limniona grapes from 100 year old vines it gave abundance of rosehip fruit on the nose and the taste, and some additional iron hints, red berry fruit, good structure and acidity. Delicious and lovely wine. To find itself on the market very soon.
Karanika Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 PDI Florina
Plums, meaty sour cherries, lots of dry herbs and slight hints of undergrowth. Rich and exctracted. 
Karanika Cuvée Spéciale Brut 2014 PDI Florina( 6gr. Dosage/ Degorged Nov 2015)
Made from 100% Xinomavro grapes. Sweetness on the nose, followed slightly in the taste as well. Stone candy fruit and lime on the palate, accompanied with a fresh acidity.  
Karanika Cuvée Spéciale Brut 2014 PDI Florina (Zero Dosage)
Fruity, lime and apple notes with additional snowdrop hints. Fresh and mineral. Made from Xinomavro grapes. 
Karanika Cuvée Spéciale Brut 2009 PDI Florina
A true treat of the day. Made from 100% Xinomavro grapes using the méthode traditionnelle, this sparkler is a serious one. Showed luscious mix of baked sweet biscuits and poached apples, yet fruit driven. Lovely rich mousse on the palate.