Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

Santorini in a glass

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Blasted by the sun and wind, the spectacularly beautiful island of Santorini is a remnant of the caldera of a volcano whose catastrophic collapse 35 centuries ago may have brought down the Minoan civilization in distant Crete. The island may also be the Atlantis of legend. The volcanic soil is young and nearly devoid of organic matter. Water in the form of rain is virtually non-existent during the growing season. The wind strips leaves and desiccates everything in its path. As Hugh Johnson has said, this is Europe’s most punishing vineyard. How surprising then that it is also the source of one of Europe’s great white wines.

The traditional vine-growing method, still much in use today, is to train the vines into nests kept low to the ground, which affords a degree of protection from the wind and sun.

Santorini 2010, Assyrtiko, Estate Argyros ($21.15, 11639344)
100% Assyrtiko from 50- to 60-year-old vines. Fermented and aged on the lees in stainless steel.
Quartz dust and lemon with notes of dried herbs and green grape. Medium-bodied and very dry. A tight coil of minerals and tingling acidity rounded by a density of, well, fruit except the wine’s not fruity (matière, the French would say; perhaps “extract” is the best translation). Virtually endless preserved-lemon finish, the alcohol (13.2% ABV) providing lift, not heat. Clean, pure and penetrating. In short, a lip-smacking wine not to be missed, especially at the price. Food pairing? Grilled fish served with lemon wedges and a pitcher of olive oil. Or, one of the best matches ever (better even than Muscadet or Chablis), oysters on the half shell.

Written by carswell

June 19, 2012 at 11:29

Posted in Tasting notes

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  1. […] Lemon bright and fluid though, next to the Hatzidakis wines, it seems less taut and tense than the bottle tasted in June. Long crystalline and briny finish. The best Assyrtiko available at the SAQ. (Buy again? […]

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