Vasilis Vaimakis is a negociant producing exclusively zero sulfite wines and an elder figure in Greek wine. With a truly distinct perspective and a staggering depth of experience and knowledge, Vaimakis is the kind of sharp eyed mystic one dreams of meeting.
Vasilis Vaimakis first came to the lake region of Amyndeo (Greek Macedonia) in the 1970’s without formal education or mentorship. “I had to invent ways to work,” he says. Although his passion and curiosity eventually earned him a PhD, his early lessons were experiential. Like many negociants, Vaimakis believes in a technical approach but his values are distinct. He aims to preserve turbidity in the wines as he believes the suspended proteins enrich the flavor. He vinifies wholly without the addition of sulfites, emphasizing oxidation and temperature as his principle points of control. “We can’t do it as my father did it,” he says, “we must use the scientific knowledge to develop a new sector.”
Using only the free run juice of Xinomavro grapes from 34 year old vines, Vaimakis produces a mystifying, delicious Blanc de Noirs. The wine is quintessentially Vaimaki in that it defies simple categorization. One thinks Blanc de Noirs and imagines something ethereal and crystal clear but Vaimakis’ wine is a richer experience with a surprisingly golden hue to the juice.
Pure, classic Xinomavro with a shorter maceration and a long period of aging in steel and neutral wood before bottling without fining, filtration or added sulfite.
‘Kokkineli’ is a Greek term denoting a lighter, pinker wine that’s more in line with the Abruzzese Cerasuolo or other light reds than it is with rosé. The fruit is surprisingly concentrated, despite the light color. This is Xinomavro again, this time with 3 days of skin maceration and 5 months aging in barrel.
This is a sparkling wine made from Debina, a traditional variety associated with the area of Zitsa, Epirus where Vaimaki got his start as a young oenologist heading the coop. ‘Apeiros Gaea,’ meaning ‘infinite earth,’ is what the region was called before it was compacted to ‘Epirus.’ Vaimakis macerates the juice with the skins for more structure. Bottled early as pet nat.