Body: Medium to full
Dry / Sweet: Dry
Age: Can be drunk young, but also ages very well.
Assyrtiko (a-SEER-tee-ko) is a very high quality grape indigenous to the island of Santorini in Greece where it is well suited to the ash-rich volcanic soil. It makes perhaps the finest white wine in Greece and has a growing international reputation.
One of its most valued characteristics is that it retains its acidity even when the grapes have fully ripened – this is unusual because most grapes lose acidity as their sugar content increases through the ripening process. Yields are low and the vines, coiled in basket-like fashion close to the ground, are difficult to tend.
The wines are crisp and refreshing with aromas of lime, lemon, clementine, marzipan, honey and a peppery spiciness, followed by succulent citrus fruit flavors and a marked minerality. There is a tendency for some producers to use oak, but contact should be light as Assyrtiko does not take well to new oak, and is generally at its best unoaked. It ages well both in cask and bottle, thanks to its natural high acidity.
Assyrtiko’s ability to reflect its terroir has led many to compare its expression of mineral characteristics to that of Riesling. The best wines have great originality, complexity and character and are well worth seeking out.
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