Dimitrios Kioutsoukis is a very passionate man-a Chemical engineer who quit his durable medical equipment company
to start a winery (Kamara Estate) in a dramatic land north of Thessaloniki. We were lucky to meet him after a long day
for what ended up being a late late lunch. We had spent a day in Vergina (a must see if you are a Greek history buff)
and arrived a little travel weary to be greeted by Dimitri, his wife Eleftheria and daughter Dimitra. We have to say,
meeting this family and being on his piece of heaven made us forget how tired we were.
The wines came quickly while we were having lunch and my OCD self did not get an opportunity to jot down detailed notes.
So, this serves as a broad overview. Kamara Estate is all about co-existence, something our world needs very dearly.
The vines co-exist with the weeds (which are mostly medicinal herbs). The winery coexists with the owls
that reside in the beams.
The household co-exists with the birds that have built nests under the eaves. There is minimal intervention.
In fact, for the Nimbus series of wines, there is absolutely zero intervention. The white wines see no fertilizers
or artificial pesticides in the vineyards. Dimitri uses a tea of chamomile and other herbs as natural protectant.
No sulfur- the Nimbus Russus saw minimal sulfur for the current bottling, but zero/nada for the current vintage.
No new oak. No yeast other than what is indigenous in the vineyard.
This is by all definition “Natural Wine”. OK, I admit that my usual rational self wants to scream out and say
that this is going to be a disaster. But what Dimitri has achieved really made me pause. When I had the Nimbus Russus
(the red wine, a blend of Xinomavro, Syrah and Merlot)), I was taken aback by the purity of the fruit. In fact,
I kept the half opened bottled for 2 more days on a kitchen counter in Sithonia and re-tasted it and to find the wine
undiminished.Yes, this defies logic. At least the logic we are all used to.
I thought how this paradox could exist and my only explanation was what Dimitri and his family treat their land.
With incredible respect. His vineyard is part of his family. His land exudes health like a person who lives healthy
without overuse of antibiotics and needless medication. As a Pediatrician that struck a chord with me.
I was very humbled by the passion that Dimitri displays. In the past few days we met several winemakers (farmers really)
who are in their way altering how you think about Greek wine. In the days to follow we will meet many more of our friends
who are pioneers in what they do. Dimitri and his family follow that script by navigating the uncharted waters of “Natural Wine”.
You really need to visit Kamara Estate and get a sense of his place. The future is very bright here.
Although Dimitri is very young by virtue of his inner spirit and the lifestyle he chose,
his daughter Stavroula is already a budding enologist.
Before we parted, Dimitri remarked that he wants to go as extreme in his natural winemaking as possible,
even incorporating biodynamic methods. I told him that he is crazy. But, I dig his kind of crazy.
We need more people like him in the world, not just as winemakers but as human beings.
Ultimately, the wines are only an expression of the person who tends his/her land.