Brett happens

All wine, most of the time

oenopole’s Greek spring workshop (6/6)

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Italians claim vin santo (aka vino santo) as their own invention. After all, they say, the name means holy wine. That no one can offer a convincing explanation of the wine’s holy connection is conveniently overlooked. Greeks tell a different story. They claim the name is a contraction of vino di Santorini and that the style is basically copied from the Greek island’s legendary sweet wine that was first brought to the Italian peninsula by seafaring traders.

Despite the similarities – both wines are made from partially dried grapes, usually white – there are plenty of differences: different grape varieties, drying methods, maturation methods, aging requirements and sweetness levels, with the Greek version almost always being quite sweet. The spelling of the name is also different: Italian vin santo, Greek vinsanto.

Vinsanto, 20 years, Domaine Argyros (NLA. When last sold at the SAQ, the price was north of $100 for a 500 ml bottle.)
A blend of Assyrtico (80%), Aidani (10%) and Athiri (10%) from very old vines, some in excess of 150 years. The grapes are dried in the sun for 12 to 14 days, pressed, fermented with ambient yeasts and aged 17 years in French oak barrels and another three years in the bottle. 14% ABV.
Clear brown with orange glints. Complex, fresh and lifting nose of raisin, fig, caramel and orange peel. Rich and dense in the mouth, sweet but, due to the huge acidity, not saccharine or heavy. The mouth-filling flavours echo the nose and have a savoury edge. Astoundingly long. Big yet a sipper, not exactly subtle yet a vin de contemplation. Impressive in so many ways. (Buy again? If the budget permitted…)

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Written by carswell

May 24, 2013 at 20:37

Posted in Tasting notes

Tagged with , ,

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