I had some time off coming to me so decided to go to Santorini as part of my trip to Athens and Turkey. I could not resist going out to a few of the island’s wineries. While there were quite a few, I settled on three to visit. I was looking forward seeing a brand new wine area, one with a very unique vine management approach which wrap their vines into shapes of baskets to keep the fruits inside and low to the ground.
The first one I visited as Sigalas which is located just outside of Oia where I was staying. It was a steep decent into the lowlands from the cliffs. I was looking forward to seeing the vines but I was shocked to see that they had used the trellis systems. The person in the winery told us that this was experimental only and that the rest of the winery was more traditional. I went out into the vineyard and did find the traditional system but the vines were growing at a large rate and made the vines look almost like bushes. Still it was interesting to see.
2006 Santorini AOC/OPAP
Pretty pale gold color. Nose was like a unoaked chardonnay, but some citrus notes but not overtly strong. Very dry, crisp, and round mouth feel (13% alcohol for this guy). Good density of flavours and medium finish but it was the acidity that made this appealing. I would have this wine as a daily quaffer.
2005 Oia Barrel AOC Bit darker in colour as this one has seen oak. On the nose, very different, with honey, still good fruitiness but I can’t pull out the fruit and definitely not overtly oaked, just a hint of vanilla. I agreed with the presenter that this tasted a bit like a dry Riesling in mouthfeel especially.
2003 Santorini AOC
This wine is starting to tire, the wine is flatter, the acidity is toned way down, still a bit of smokiness and nice minerality that is a bit more evident. Needs drinking quick…
2005 Niabelo Red: umm…tannic, acidic, lean, discombobulated….
2004 Niabelo Red: umm…tannic, acidic, lean, discombobulated….no improvement with age.
2005 Mezzo: Drinks a bit like a late harvest Riesling, nice, crisp and still all the inherent flavours of the Assyrtiko, but only more dense. Pretty.
2003 Vinsanto: This was the best wine I had on the island. Nose of preserved prunes (chinese "Wah Mui”), honey, molasses, musty, etc,….complex enough to stand up to a good LBV port. Very thick, very dark in colour, good mouth feel and a long length. However, the assyrtiko acidity kept things very fresh still.
The next winery was Santos Winery. What a beautiful site. It is at the very top of the cliff with about a 300m/1000ft down to a Mediterranean bay, located just South of Fira. They have probably the largest winery facility on the island and would not look out of place on I-29 in Napa…only it is bigger than most of those. Impressive.
2006 Santorini Assyrtico. Light hay in colour, very dry with okay aromatic nose, very light, High on the acidity but little fruit.
2006 Santorini Nykteri. A blend of Assyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani. Brought the wine a bit more fruitiness but the body suffered as it was no longer a crisp. A bit more fruit on the nose but only a bit.
2006 Vedema Rose.
This is a combination of Assyrtiko and Mandilaria, slightly sweeter on palate, good acidity but very little to go back for.
2005 Vedema Red
From the red Mandilaria variety, Medium garnet in colour, Nose was muted, and on palate, thin, tannic, and a hint of strawberries. No exactly crowd pleaser.
A bit like a simple late harvest Riesling, only lacking in the nose and despite acidity, it is a bit flat.
Blended from Assyrtico and Aidani with several months in oak barrels. Again, very dark and nose of Chinese preserved prunes spices, raisins and molasses. Good mouthfeel but lacked the presense and structure of the Sigalas version
The wines were okay, sound but not very much beyond that. But the winery is definitely worth a visit if for nothing but the view. Their tomato paste though was very very nice.
The last winery was Boutari Winery located in the south part of the island. They are the largest winery but the customer center was nothing like Santos. Perhaps they put the money into the wine….. We only tried three wines.
Pale gold hay in colour, citric nose, high acidity and very crisp, dry, though a decently rounded mouthfeel.
2006 Santorini Assyrtiko
Pale gold hay in colour, muted but more elegant nose with some citric elements, Nice vervy acidity to give a good structure, still round mouthfeel and a lingering lemon peel scent. Medium- body, okay drinker.
Dark amber in colour, Typical nose now of Chinese “Wah Mui” but not as raw or powerful, bit more elegant, brown sugar, mollasses. Nice mouthfeel and good balance with the acidity. Long finish
All in all, confirmed a few things about Greek wines that we learn and there were a few surprises too. Part of a great trip and would go back any day.