The Diamantis winery sits in the rugged, mountainous northwestern hinterland of Macedonia. Thanks to its high, inland isolation, it’s a place of stark beauty and cool climate that, unlike most of Greece, has no softening maritime influences. In this landscape sits Siatista, a town whose history with vines runs back to at least 1670, although because records have been lost or destroyed by various revolutions, wars, and conflagrations, the complete viticultural history of this area is somewhat obscured. In this windswept, arid locale, anchored on an impressively rocky limestone terroir, Diamantis Winery’s story goes back to the beginning of 20th century, when Dimitrios Diamantis’s grandfather, one of Siatista‘s leading grape growers, hand-grafted the now-centennial vineyard of the domaine on the family land. Yet as time passed and grape growing became less profitable, most of the region’s vineyards faded into obscurity until, by the 1970s, only a few old vines survived. In the early 1990s, the winery focused on protecting and reviving the varieties and managed to save enough genetic material to replant 18 hectares on the slopes of the Magoutes area (750–890 meters in altitude). All of this has been made possible by Dimitri’s energetic drive and the equal energy, conviction, and support of George Papageorgiou, his business partner, whose family also hails from Siatista. The two families share a common vision for their homeland: to protect and revive the region’s viticultural heritage and its potential to produce unique wines.
The Magoutes Vineyard “Vieilles Vignes” white is made from 100% Xinomavro, grown on limestone and clay soils. While a still blanc de noir is hardly the norm in the wine world, on my trip to Greece I tasted a handful of examples. This one absolutely blew my mind. It was simply one of the best wines I tasted, white or red, in the entire two weeks that I was visiting. It reminds me in some ways of a young, extremely pure version of Chablis. There is plenty of citrus and even stone fruit notes, all brought together by a distinct mineral core. The wine is incredibly lean and taut now, and with extended bottle age this will continue to blossom. For now, have it with sashimi or oysters, and please stock up on more to drink over the next several years.
Truly a world-class wine!
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