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Santorini siblings

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Santorini 2015, Assyrtiko, Argyros ($25.25, 11639344)
100% Assytriko from 60- to 70-year-old ungrafted vines trained into low-lying nests and rooted in the island’s rocky, sandy pumice soil. Fermented and matured in stainless steel tanks. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole. Also available at the LCBO ($22.95, 387365).
Somewhat reticent nose that, with coaxing, reveals stones, lemon, brine and, according to one taster, “olive.” Very dry. True to the Assyrtiko grape, which is to say as much about minerals as fruit. The acidity would be trenchant were it not blunted by the slightly viscous texture. Finishes long on an appealing briny/sulphurous note. Bracing, savoury and ready to roll, though the winemaker says it can age for up to eight years. (Buy again? Yes and yes again.)

Santorini 2015, Assyrtiko, French Oak Fermented, Argyros ($32.00, 12338800)
100% Assyrtiko from ungrafted vines more than 150 years old and located in Episkopi. Spent six months in second- and third-fill 500-litre French oak barrels. Reducing sugar: 3.8 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Softer nose that smells a little sweeter than its sibling’s, with the oak relegated to the background. On the palate, too, the oak is discreet, evident more as gras than, say, vanilla, caramel or toast. It, along with the richer extract, explain the rounder texture; even so, the wine is tighter and more closed than its flightmate. The brilliant acidity, complex minerals and fruity heft are in ideal balance. The finish is long and saline. Already complete, this will only improve with age. If any wine can convince me that oak isn’t beside the point with Assyrtiko, this is it. (Buy again? Yes.)

Technical info is minimal because the estate’s website is offline, probably so it can be overhauled in conjunction with the launch of the estate’s impressive new winery and visitors centre, which opened just in time for the 2016 harvest.

MWG January 12, 2017, tasting: flight 3 of 7

Written by carswell

January 29, 2017 at 11:08

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