The wines of Navitas winery
By Yiannis Karakasis MW
Recently I had a delicious first sip of the wines of Navitas winery, a well-presented project in the foothills of Mt Olympus with a production of 10.000 bottles. The mountain inspired the Terre de Zeus label.
Navitas is the Latin word for energy, birth, zeal, creation, and it is the personal bet of Maria Dimitriadis, daughter of Angelos Dimitriadis from Tsantali. Ι am quoting from their website, “Born and raised in Thessaloniki with both sides of my family in the wine business since forever; one could say that it was meant to be. Still, I started with studies in psychology that led to my two master’s degrees. Upon my return from London, I realized I needed to do more. An MA in Wine Business at the University of Adelaide was the next step. Navitas is my fortuity to unfold the way I both envision and understand my place in wine. I am extremely lucky to share this passion and journey with a fantastic team”.
So far, the line-up includes three wines: a Malagousia, an Assyrtiko and a rosé from Grenache Rouge (a Chardonnay and a Cab Sauvignon will be released later this month). Their crystal clear Assyrtiko immediately caught my attention with its lean and saline character. It is a wine from young vines planted in stony soil at an altitude of 100 m, fermented with 75% whole bunches and a 13% abv—a total of 3000 bottles filled with energy and focus.
In our e-mail exchanges with Maria, we discussed native yeasts fermentation, a new challenge in the pipeline. As of 2021, their red wines from Cabernet Sauvignon (partly fermented in amphora) and Xinomavro (partly fermented in tulip-shaped concrete) will be made this way, which I believe strengthens the notion of terroir. For the whites and rosés, there will be experimentation with pied de cuve (indigenous yeasts work in a more controlled environment with fewer risks as the results), something that already started with this year’s Chardonnay.
The wines also see no more than 90 mg/lt SO2, are vegan friendly and adopt eco-conscious packaging.
Maria has an apparent vision of what she would like to do, but being methodical, as she is, means taking small steps at a time to pace and manage outcomes. She has started on the right foot, and we will be keeping an eye on her.