Has been a while since I have explored different wines in the blog. So I thought its week to reveal yet another wine obsession (I have a lot of them) – Greek Assyrtiko. And what makes this white grape indigenous to Santorini such a delight? Well I think it combines some of my favorite characteristics of a white wine: high acidity, fresh lemon, lime and grapefruit notes and powerful minerality. And its pretty awesome value for money, as Greek wines are not that widely known in the international market. Awoke you curiosity? Read more below..
Quoting Decanter, Assyrtiko is to Greece what Albariño is to Spain or Grüner Veltliner is to Austria. The grape is indigenous to volcanic-ash-rich-soil of Santorini, but its also planted elsewhere. On the island, some of the vines are over 70 years old as Assyrtiko is surprisingly resistant to Phylloxera and other wine plagues. It is thought to be due to the volcanic soils. Pylloxera also does not survive on a sandy bottom.
A typical Assyrtiko from Santorini is fresh and very powerful. The grape is sometimes blended with other grapes, such as Athiri, Aidani, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillion and Malagousia to make the wine softer. However, I like it just as it is – fresh, powerful, minerally and un-oaked! Assyrtikos high acidity makes it a good candidate for fermenting in oak, but there are wineries that like it natural, like me. Assyrtiko wines outside the island are also powerful, although they tend to be fruitier and less mineral compared to those of Santorini.
For you who haven’t tasted Assyrtiko before, here are a few tips for getting started. A bit of a warning, number three is umm…very special.
- Hatzidakis, Assyrtiko de Mylos Vielles Vignes 2015 (not available in Sweden, but around 30 £ in the UK)
- Gai’a, Wild Ferment Assyrtiko Santorini 2016 (199 sek in Systembolaget)
- Kamara Pure Nimbus Ritinitis 2017 (219 sek in Systambolaget)