Marios Nikolaidis, along with his brother Sakis, is the driving force of Anatolikos Vineyard. The vision of the Nicolaidis brothers, for reviving indigenous local varieties and vinification of natural wines in amphorae, that once was considered as madness, has surpassed us all. They revived Mavroudi of Thrace with great success and within a few years, they managed methodically and with hard work to set an example for their Fine wines and a reference point for natural wines in Greece.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
I remember myself very young playing with some empty wine bottles and filling them with wine, soaking them and then dipping them in the bee I got from my uncle. Also at the same age, I wanted to put a vineyard in my father's "diamond" plot inside the town of Xanthi, but I never made it.
When did you realize winemaking was an actual thing you could do as a job?
Fate. Although I was involved in other jobs, viticulture and winemaking were always in the back of my head. Twenty years later, when I decided to make my dream a reality, I just couldn't not do it as a normal job.
If you were to choose music for your vines, what would you play?
I would choose the most Dionysian music in the world, the Thracian music.
Which was the wine you tasted and said "This is it! That's what I want to do!"
My involvement with gastronomy has given me the opportunity to meet, taste and offer my clients many good wines. So it is not a specific one, but a combination of many that reminded me of my passion and made me professionally deal with viticulture and winemaking.
If we get into your own cellar, how many wines will we find? (don't count yours!)
There are quite a few, over two hundred labels and some of them in many bottles.
What is the most expensive wine you have tasted & the most economic one that has surprised you?
The most expensive wine I've tasted is a Chateau D' Yquem. The term “economic” has a lot of room for debate.
What is the variety you would "die" to have but can't? (either because of legislation or terroir)
I can not decide. I'm like a kid! Definitely a Greek one though.
The wine trip that changed your worldview & a trip you would go without a return ticket...
If you could freeze time, work for another producer, and return back to your winery better, who would you choose?
With someone who, unfortunately, is impossible to do so. With Haridimos Hatzidakis.
Next Big Thing variety;
With which Greek producer would you like to co-create a wine?
There are several, excellent and remarkable winemakers as units but that doesn't mean we would do wonders together.
What is the chore at the winery that you want nothing to do?
Pumping over the cap. It is so boring…
What is your greatest success and your biggest failure as far as wine is concerned?
At Anatolikos Vineyards we count two great successes. The revival of the indigenous local variety Mavroudi of Thrace and the first natural vinification in a traditional amphora with the first Natural Orange Wine in Greece. The word failure does not exist in our vocabulary.
Your favorite wine and vintage? Do you still have bottles of this?
Fine Mavroudi 2013! There are some bottles left.
What's the worst food and wine pairing combination you've ever tasted, just because you were curious?
Looking for what I can pair with Natural Orange Wine I tried fish on the grill. I can tell you it's a pretty bad combination because it falls short.
Which part of Greece do you think is of great interest to see in the future?
Thrace and Avdera above all have much to show. Great terroir.
What is it that you would like to see change in the wine industry in the following years?
More quality bottled wine. It’s inappropriate for the same wine to be both in a bag-in-a-box and a bottle.
Relaxing on a Friday night after a hard day’s work, what do you choose to drink?
Something complex. The Natural Orange!
Want to see how a producer's character reflects in his wines?
Check out Anatolikos Vineyards wine collection here!