Santo Winery Assyrtiko 2014
Wine: Santo Winery
I found this Grecian beauty at Pearl Wine Co. in Mid-City, New Orleans. Diamond Wines imports this one from Santorini, the same importer responsible for bringing in the Douloufakis vidiano I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. Guess I got Greece on the brain. First, let's talk about the ethereal Santorini landscape, a mountainous island left covered in ash after a volcano erupted approximately 3,500 years ago that has since rebuilt in terraces that sit atop the earth's natural surface. I took the liberty of Googling some images of Santorini for you. Ready to jump on a plane now, aren't you?
The island sees very little rain in summer and relies on moisture from evening fog that rolls over the land. Strong winds and long sunny days pose another challenge - that of protecting the grapes from wind and sun damage. I rarely discuss vine training because it's maybe a little boring for most drinkers. But if you like to garden, especially if you grow things like long stem roses, which demand ardent and specific pruning, you might find this interesting. Most vines are trained on wires - and there are several ways of doing this - some are bush trained, like in the Rhône Valley, where the Mistral wind is also a potential threat. In Santorini, the bush trained vines are actually woven in on themselves, like a basket, allowing the fruit to hang inside, protected. The "crown" on the label here represents Santorini's specific technique. There are only a few wineries on Santorini, and Santos is a cooperative that represents most of the grape growers, though there are a handful or so of independent grower-makers. Santo has been around since 1947 and has employed modern techniques to insure stable wines. Not what I usually go for, per se, but this wine is DAMN delicious. I watched the fill line drop quickly at a gathering earlier this week. At least this time I was clever enough to pour myself a full glass before turning my back to to the bottle, like I did with the Pierre Chermette Beaujolais.
The ancient volcanic ash in the soil creates wines with unique mineral qualities. The native grape assyrtiko is the single variety in this wine and is characteristically floral with citrus and subtle smoky notes. Balanced on the palate with great acidity and medium weight on the tongue. Smooth with a long finish, it seemed there may be the slightest bit of oxidation beginning to happen, which I found enticing. Drunk it with some awesome, smart, creative ladies I just met while we waited for Pizza Delicious.