Diamantis Winery Siatista 2017 ‘ Magoutes’
Haute couture Xinomavro
The Egnatia highway runs over 600 kms linking northern Greece with the Turkish and Bulgarian border. There are dozen’s of wineries to visit along this scenic road which is vital to transporting goods to the port of Igoumenitsa, a gateway to Europe’s markets. It has been a terrific tool in my more recent travels and I appreciate it on every trip. Perhaps adventures on the wine routes are not as eventful but a lot safer and better in scheduling. My first visit to Siatista dates prior the Egnatia. It was winter and fog had set in. The road was free of traffic as I was creeping along with my fog lights on doing a great job when I saw an unusual object to the right hand of the road. As I approached closer it morphed into a bus stop. The only worrying issue was the Cyrillic alphabet. I knew from the odometer that I had not ended up in Bulgaria. So what was going on? With no fall back of a GPS I managed to guess read from a map that Siatista was left and up the road. Reading Greek does not grant you a ticket to understand Cyrillic, on the contrary. Eventually I found a hotel and settled in for the evening. The concierge could not be more enlightening. ‘Kastoria and Siatista are fur artisans and the clientele is mostly Russian, hence the advertisement on the bus station.’
During the Byzantine period furriers wore hats made of fur as a social distinction of their craft. My first visit following the bus story was exploring a series of stone mansions discovering sweet wines with high volatile acidity. It was not the most enjoyable of my discoveries though such was the reputation of these wines made in mist and snow that intrigued me to press on in finding something worth to be included in my first books. There was nothing back then to write about. What unfolded was a series of faded past glories. It was ampelographer turned winemaker Haroula Spinthiropoulou, of Argatia in Naoussa, that had brought to my attention the Siatista terroir. She had scouted the old Xinomavro vines and was convinced of the unrealized potential in dry wine. Enter Dimitris Diamantis whose father was a furrier who continued to believe in this then sleeper region. Dimitri became a full time farmer- winemaker and quickly replanted abandoned slopes with more Xinomavro. He also secured the near abandoned old vine plots in the continental climate sliver of the PGI Siatista that has the Egnatia running through it’s lower vineyards. This is cooler climate mountain Greece with no lakes or Ionian or Aegean sea softening maritime influences. It suits like a glove Xinomavro and other local red skinned specialties like Moschomavro and Nigrikiotiko. Diamantis commitment has been relentless. His latest, the reviewed in a maiden vintage wine is a back to the future hand crafted single vineyard. One has to be patient as this profound wine of the 2017 vintage(4,500 bottles)will be released in 2022. This address has stepped into a new era with partner Giorgos Papageorgiou who shares Diamantis vision. As the vineyard investment has completed a cycle, next is the all new winery scheduled to break ground coming summer. In short the story from these hills is that fur production has moved to China and dry Siatista Xinomavro is the suprise of the early 21st century.
Magoutes is the Magenta plant. Altitude of 845-860m. Limestone soil. Hand hoed ungrafted 70-90 yo bush vines. Yield of 05.-1kg per vine. Unfined & unfiltered. 13% Alc. Diam 10 cork closure. Elegant youthful limpid colour. Perfumed, haunting smell of cherries with toasty mocha whiffs, juicy silky texture lifted by variety acidity. Graceful, nothing excessive. Elegance from fully ripened tannins. Suppleness, persistence, harmony. Restrained and celebral as they come. A new departure for this jewel of stamp sized vineyard and stellar variety. Xinomavro has the ability to transmit terroir and in this instance it does it brilliantly. Haute couture. 2022-2034