Assyrtiko is the most iconic Greek grape variety. It makes textural white wines with crisp minerality and tremendous freshness – wines which magically transport you to the seaside, as they say.
Assyrtiko is the flagship white grape of Greece. In fact, this indigenous variety is responsible for the international fame of modern Greek wines, as Assyrtiko was the first Greek wine to appear in top restaurants across the world. Assyrtiko originates from Santorini – the famous island with stunning blue and white churches and soils made up of volcanic ash.
The growing conditions on Santorini are almost impossible: burning heat, scarcity of water and ferocious winds, which sometimes exceed 80 kilometres per hour. To protect the plantings, the vines are cultivated using a unique training system called ‘basket’ (‘kouloura’). Needless to say, that yields are extremely low. As a result, the best examples of Santorini Assyrtiko are incredibly complex wines which are ranked among the world’s top whites.
Aromas And Styles
Assyrtiko is a kind of wine which magically transports you to its place of origin. It smells of the sea, the wet pebbles, the salty air. In a word, it smells like Santorini. Assyrtiko wine is bone-dry with a distinctive mineral profile and crisp freshness, while at the same time maintaining high alcohol levels. Stone and tropical fruit aromas are followed by a taste of rocks and salt on the palate. It is a wine of character, a wine that stands out.
On Santorini, Assyrtiko is also used to produce Vinsanto – the famous sweet wine. Over the last decades this variety has been widely planted in other parts of Greece. Mainland Assyrtiko wines are more aromatic, rounder and with more discreet minerality. Assyrtiko wines, especially the ones from Santorini, are known for their ageing potential. They need at least 2-3 years in the bottle to reveal their true beauty. In outstanding vintages, Assyrtiko can age for at least a decade.