Five years without Haridimos
By Yiannis Karakasis MW
Five years have gone by since Haridimos Hatzidakis passed on, and each of us has felt his loss differently. Albeit, his presence is even more perceptible in our small country's wine world – and not only. The wines he produced are often discussed within the wine circles, either because of the feelings they incur when tasted or because of the surprise, their prices cause due to their rarity. For example, Mylos 2016 from 29 euros in 2019 has shot to 200 euros, which has not in the least impeded the thirst of his wine disciples. The same holds for Louros and Cuvée 15 preceding the 2016 vintage, Haridimos' last vintage.
Much more important than the value of old vintages is the fact that Haridimos carved archetypal examples of the Santorini wines he envisioned. This is why we miss him.
Haridimos saw Santorini differently. He saw it through organic cultivation and production of organic wines during difficult times, like Aidani and Cuvée 15. He realised that everything begins in the vineyard. He believed in spontaneous fermentation and long ferments that took months to complete. Many of his wines fermented for over 60 days, whereas Mylos 2014 fermented for six months. He moreover allowed some residual sugar to hide behind the high acidity and the low pH, the latter often close to 2.8.
He rallied skin contact (Pyrgos 2008 was a radical example of 40 days on the skins) and experimented with low sulphur to generously express the excellent quality grapes in his wines. In this way, the free sulphur was often at 5mg/lt and total close to 70mg/lt, exceptionally low figures for the facts of the island.
Because of all of his experimentation Haridimos gave us a different expression of Santorini. Fat and ripe with fantastic complexity, oxidative notes, stunning explosiveness and freshness on the palate balancing everything. Even the tiny imperfections. Wines of emotions I call them.
The time elapsed allows the distance needed for one to appreciate his work and contribution. This is why I miss him most.
* Pictures by Nikos Koustenis from the photo shooting for my book The Wines of Santorini