Le Rose, Ktima Ligas

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Le Rose, 2019, Ktima Ligas

Rich and funky rosé that is fruity, herbal and umami

Region: Macedonia, Greece
Grape(s): Xinomavro
Genre: Organic (in mentality, not stamp)
Low Sulphur: Yes
Tasting Notes: Tomato (fruit and stalks), red berries, dried herbs, funky

In the Pella region of Macedonia, 30 miles northwest of Thessaloniki, Euripides tragedy Bacchae was first performed in the early 400s BC. This was a play in honour of the god Bacchus, the god wine and joy, and this is fantastic symbolism for Ktima (‘Domaine’) Ligas ethos of creating wine and joy using ancient techniques. After starting an education in biochemistry in France in the early 1980s, Thomas Ligas shifted his focus to Oenology and graduated in that subject in 1984. He returned to his native Pella, and started learning about the local ecosystems, local grape cultivation and vinification. In 1988 Ktima Ligas was founded, with organic farming at the core. A year later, his twins were born and their life has run parallel to that of the Domaine and, after some years learning their trade studying and working in France, they have both returned to Pella and are working alongside their father today. Thomas, Peli and Jason have 15 hectares now, having gradually grown from the 1.5 that Thomas started with over 30 years ago. Jason is the real face of the winery now, and his time spent with true legend Jacques Selosse in Champagne for two years taught him many things – with one notable lesson being the use of clay vessels for ageing, particularly egg-shaped clay, which has a natural convection current that reducing the need for punching down during maceration. They are both forward thinking and historically inclined, but always with respect for nature at the forefront of their thinking – and a desire for perfect fruit to create fantastic wines.

Xinomavro, the ‘Nebbiolo of Greece’, is a thick skinned grape with high acidity and tannins that has a savoury, tomatoey, umami quality to it together with bright red berries. Here we see 25 year old vines planted on clay and chalk, and the hand harvested grapes are macerated for only two hours to extract a good bit of these flavours without much of the tannin. Fermented in stainless steel and then aged in old oak for a few months, this is a dark and intense rosé with real character. It is red fruited, tomatoey, salty, herbal, savoury – with a lick of acidity and funk for good measure.