By the 1970’s, after years of wars, strife, and economic hardships, the vineyards of Siatista, western Macedonia, had all but dried up. There was little to no market for Greek wine. The grandfather of Dimitrios Diamantis had planted vineyards in the early 1900’s, hand grafting the then rare, local varieties Xinomavro, Moschomavro, and Nigrikiotiko. This story can be told as these were the vines that survived. By the 1990’s, Dimitrios was focused on preserving these vines, and reviving interest in their protection, production, and subsequent consumption. There were 18 hectares, in a rocky, limestone and clay, windswept domaine called Magoutes sitting at an impressive altitude between 750 and 890 meters (2460 to 2919 feet)
Their first bottling was in 2002. It was a blend of Xinomavro and Moschomavro. At this same time, Dimitrios began the arduous effort of petitioning to have the region of some 200 hectares elevated to PDO status. This would make it the fifth Xinomavro-focused appellation in Greece. It would be the smallest of the five. Dimitrios eventually was joined by local, George Papageorgiou, in the pursuit of reviving the region’s grape growing and winemaking history, and helping to shape its future. Dimitris is credited with the continued survival of Moschomavro. Initially Moschomavro was a supporting actor to the celebrity that is Xinomavro. The latter being a very late ripening variety, and therefore prone to be underripe in cooler vintages. However, over time, it came into its own. Donstantinos, Dimitrios’ father, selected, cut, and transferred specific plant clippings to a nursery. After propagation and legal registration, a 3 hectare vineyard was planted at very high altitude, in Clay/Limestone soils. The cool nights, excellent sun exposure, and cold winters infuse the wine with an unlikely freshness.
The vineyards are all tended organically and on a small scale. The area’s climate is such, that a minimalist approach is not only possible, but preferable. In the winery, the same non-interventionist principles are employed; proscribed enzymes and clarifiers, and fermentation is spontaneous.
Magoutes is remote and uniquely unaffected by its maritime proximities. Moreover, its location has left it unspoiled by the ravages of cultural upheavals, wars, and revolutions.