A recent gathering of folks who share an interest in the wines of Santorini was held at the wonderful Los Angeles restaurant Republique. Along with a smattering of publicists in attendance was Andreas Spyrou of the Greek consulate in L.A. He made it clear that he stands firmly in favor of Greek wine and food, particularly the esteemed Assyrtiko grape and the tomatoes, fava and capers which grow in the volcanic soil of Santorini. It is a Protected Destination of Origin, Santorini is, and the representatives of the PDO say that the agricultural products which grow there have very special qualities. Santorini tomatoes, known as tomataki, are tiny, corrugated, thick skinned fruit with a sweet taste and more vitamin C than ordinary tomatoes.
The Santo Sparkling Assyrtiko 2015 is almost clear, with a slightly greenish tint. It's nose displays peach, citrus, minerals, yeast, green apple and a hint of lemon. It has a nice acidity, but quickly dissipating bubbles.
The 2018 Santorini Assyrtiko, 100% Assyrtiko grapes, has a subdued nose of ocean spray and the palate displaying minerals and citrus with a nice acidity.
The 2017 Santorini Assyrtiko Grand Reserve was made from only Assyrtiko grapes, fermented in oak and aged 12 months in oak and 12 in the bottle. There is huge depth on the nose, not at all over-oaked. The wine has a nutty, savory, quite lovely oak effect. The palate is gorgeous - salinity with tangerine peel, a very good acidity and a lengthy finish. This wine shows that Assyrtiko rivals Roussanne as my favorite grape.
For dessert, Santorini Vinsanto is 85% Assyrtiko and 15% Aidani. The grapes were spread out under the sun for a week or so before pressing, which brings the sweetness out. Vinsanto was vinified in stainless steel tanks and aged for three years in oak. It's a simply gorgeous wine, with a nose of raisins, brown sugar and caramel. The palate is sweet, sweet and more sweet, with spicy dried fruit in the lead role.
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