A Gift from Dionysus: 2007 Goumenissa from Domaine Tatsis

A Gift from Dionysus: 2007 Goumenissa from Domaine Tatsis

You can't get much further off the beaten path than Goumenissa without leaving Europe.

But Goumenissa's where you need to go to find wine this delicious — and this good at defying all expectations.

This wine is fully mature and yet shockingly affordable; super-hip and yet completely traditional; with family history as ancient as the mountains themselves and yet only a few generations old. Best of all, the wine tastes even better than its story promises.

First, the basics. Goumenissa is a small appellation in Greece's Northern Macedonia devoted to Xinomavro and the even less well-known Negoska grape. It isn't far from the Aegean sea, so the cool northern winds are moderated by a Mediterranean influence — just the kind of climate you might think would give a wine a ton of tension.

In fact, the only thing that could make it better would be rolling limestone-rich hills...which is exactly the lay of the land out there.

No wonder the wine balances bright, fresh fruit with riper, figgy notes — all in a package that combines fine tannins and acidity for a structure that has allowed it to evolve beautifully for 14 years. 

When we tasted a bottle at the store it was an obvious winner but hard to pin down: mature and decadent fig-like notes on the nose, with some fresh fruit and a hint of floral notes that were quite Piedmontese, maybe evocative of Barolo on the palate.
Comparisons have even been made to a well-aged Médoc.

Of course, no wine this good, no matter how natural (and Tatsis could certainly be called a natural producer) springs directly from the soil. It takes human intervention: winemaking.

Periklis and Stergios Tatsis are great winemakers. The family had lived since time immemorial in a "Greek" village in Upper Vodena Eastern Rumelia (a "leftover from Byzantium," they say) until they were forcibly resettled in Goumenissa.
But the Tatsises had always been winemakers, so when they arrived, Perkilis and Stergios' grandparents set up shop in the new land.

This terrible family history allowed the Tatsis brothers to straddle the traditional and avant-garde wine worlds.
When they took over the domaine in the 1990s, Greece (like much of the wine world) was focused on internationally viable commercial winemaking: international grapes, new French oak (and lots of it), and commercial yeasts.

But they bucked those trends and stuck to family traditions: organic and biodynamic farming, handmade wines with natural yeasts. And as relative newcomers to the land, they were also free to experiment. In doing so they have become darlings of the natural wine scene.

This kind of "fame" is still exceptionally niche-y, of course, and their prices are still almost unbelievably fair. We're thrilled to be able to share this with you at very special introductory single-bottle discount, good this week only (and until our bottles run out). So please don't wait to email us your request!

Tatsis, Goumenissa Estate, 2007