The red grape variety originates from Greece. Synonyms are Black Naousa, Csinomavro, Mavro, Mavro Goumenissas, Mavro Naoussis, Mavro Naoustino, Mavro Xyno, Naouses Mavro, Naoussis Mavro, Naoustiano, Naoystiro Mavro, Negroska Popolka, Niaousa, Niasoustino, Pipoliko, Pipolka, Popoliko, Popolka, Xinogaltso, Xynomavro Bolgar, Xynomavron, Xynomavro Naoussis, Xynomavro of Náoussa, Zinomavro and Zynomavro. The synonym Naoussis Mavro and similar ones (meaning "blacks from Naoussa") indicate its probable place of origin in Macedonia.
It is distinguished into at least three varieties (clones), which differ somewhat ampelographically. According to DNA analyses carried out in 2013, it originated from a presumably natural cross between Gouais Blanc x unknown partner. However, this is based on only 20 DNA markers (see molecular genetics for details). The close relationship to the Nebbiolo or Pinot Noir varieties suspected by Pierre Galet (1921-2019) has therefore not been confirmed. The late-ripening vine is susceptible to downy mildew and botrytis, and to a lesser extent to powdery mildew. It yields dark-colored, acid-emphasized red wines with aging potential, which is also indicated by the name "Saure Schwarze" (sour black).