Ktima Voyatzi of Western Macedonia

The Voyatzi Estate is a premier boutique winery located in Western Macedonia in the picturesque town of Velvento.  It is owned and operated by winemaker Yannis Voyatzi, the renowned chief enologist of Boutari, and his brother Nikos.  The Voyatzi family has deep roots in the region, both as wine merchants and growers.  In 1991-94 they planted a 3-hectare vineyard on their land with local and international varieties, and in 1997, following Yannis’  return from oenology studies at the University of Bordeaux, they launched plans for a modern winery which was completed in 2004.  That winery already produces some of Greece’s finest wines, and it has a brilliant future.

Today, the Voyatzi Estate Vineyard covers approximately 40 hectares and is situated at 340 meters, northeast to south,  on the lush slope of the Pieria Mountains by Lake Polyfytos.  Velvento’s continental climate is influenced by its proximity to lake Polyfytos, which exposes it to constant winds that contribute to different expressions of the wines and help bring the estate’s grapes to balanced ripeness.  Assyrtiko, Chardonnay, Malvasia Aromatica, Xinomavro, Moschomavro and Tsapournakos (Cabernet Franc) are the main varietals of the estate, which coexist with several other local varieties grown experimentally.  The vineyard’s soils are composed of diverse sandy-loam and clay components and are worked organically to maintain the natural terroir.

The wines are made by Yannis Voyatzi with the assistance of the estate’s 25-year-old winemaker, Eirini Zande. Few winemakers in Greece have the breath of technical knowledge and experience of Yannis Voyatzi.  Acccording to Konstantinos Lazarakis MW, “Working at Boutari and its six wineries has given Voyatzi good experience in most of the key Greek wine-producing regions.” From our tasting of the wines during our visit to northern Greece, we found the Voyatzi reds to exhibit bold flavors, excellent concentration and balance and attractive earthiness. Readers interested in wine tours and tastings at the winery are offered several options on the winery’s website.

The Wines

Voyatzi 2021 White PGI Velventos ($13) 90 The 2021 Voyatzi White is a delicious blend of 60% Assyrtiko and 40% Chardonnay.nIt has a lovely floral nose with citrus notes. While Chardonnay provides the backbone, the Assyrtiko dominates the nose. Very pleasant and easy drinking.

Voyatzi 2020 Lefkotsiknias PGI Velventos ($15) 90  Orange-pink color with a light red cherry aroma.  Lefkotsiknias (named after a bird) is made from Assyrtiko.  It’s lovely, fresh and nicely concentrated with mineral notes nice concentration. orange pink color, fresh and nicely concentrated.

Voyatzi 2018 Red PGI Velventos ($31) 91 The Voyatzi Red is a blend of 50% Xinomavro and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon. It is aged for one year in 225L French and American barriques and spends 6 months in the bottle before release. It displays a deep ruby color and has earthy red berry notes  with hints of cassis on a full bodied and very flavorful palate.

Voyatzi 2021 Rosé PGI Velventos  90  The 2018 Rosé is a blend of 80% Xinomavro and 20% Tsapournakos (Cabernet Franc). It displays a medium salmon copper color and has a nose of fresh red berries. It is full in the mouth with a fresh chalk-like texture and is soft on the palate with red fruited flavors and a medium-long finish.

Voyatzi 2018 Tsapournakos PGI Velventos ($31) 90 The Tsapournakos is 100% Cabernet Franc. It displays a medium dark red color and offers aromas of earthy and leafy red fruit. Aged in oak for 12 months and bottle aged 6 months, it is soft on the attack and reveals dark fruit with lingering sweetness and spice on a soft, round palate. There’s an herbal influence, moderately firm tannins, and a persistent finish.

Voyatzi 2019 Xinomavro PGI Velventos ($27) 91 This is another delicious wine from the Voyatzi portfolio. Crafted from the Valento clone, a unique Xinomavro clone developed by the winery, the wine experiences a long maceration on the skins and is aged 12 months in French barriques and 6 months in bottle before release. A rather earthy and astringent wine at this stage of development, it reveals lovely purity of flavor and shows great aging potential.

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