Wineries on Santorini Greece

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Wineries on Santorini Greece

Postby Michael K » Wed May 30, 2007 12:42 am

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.

2005 Mezzo(?):
A bit like a simple late harvest Riesling, only lacking in the nose and despite acidity, it is a bit flat.

2003 Vinsanto
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.

2006 Assyrtiko
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.

2003 Vinsanto
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.Image
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Last edited by Michael K on Wed May 30, 2007 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Wineries on Santorini Greece

Postby Kyrstyn Kralovec » Wed May 30, 2007 8:07 am

Thanks for the notes and the photos. The pics take me back to one of my favorite places on earth, one I hope to visit again within the next couple of years.

As for the wines, I always think retsina (blah) when I think of greek wine, although from what I understand Santorini does produce some of the better stuff coming from the islands.
I swear, by my life and my love of it, that I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine. ~John Galt
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Re: Wineries on Santorini Greece

Postby Otto » Wed May 30, 2007 9:20 am

Fascinating! I've been wanting to explore Greek wines more, but, alas, am never able to find any. :(

BTW, did you explore the wines of Turkey? Where in Turkey were you?

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Re: Wineries on Santorini Greece

Postby Jenise » Wed May 30, 2007 9:35 am

Michael, how fun to read your notes. I have only visited Greece once, back when wine-wise I was pre-epiphany and easy to please, especially if I was parked at some outdoor cafe in the sun with a plate of bread and olives, the smaller the town the better. And I remember the wines tasted better on Crete than anywhere else, though I was too inexperienced to wonder why.

I've tasted better Greek wines here of late. I'm surprised to not see any Xinomavro among the wines you tasted. Every time one reads about Greek wines, that seems to be the red grape to get excited about.
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Re: Wineries on Santorini Greece

Postby Michael K » Wed May 30, 2007 8:53 pm

Otto,

Thanks for that! Unfortunately I only had time to go to Istanbul for four days. I really actually wanted to go to Cappadocia as well but did not have enough time. I did try wines in turkey. It was a varietal called Öküzgözü, but the quality (at least the ones I tried which were by the glass sales) was not very good.

I had a great time though in Istanbul. Beautiful bustling city.
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Re: Wineries on Santorini Greece

Postby Michael K » Wed May 30, 2007 9:01 pm

"the smaller the town the better." :)

Jenise, that's my observation as well with St. Julien wines :)

Of the wineries that I visited, only one had Xinomavro and I did not ask for it (my oversight since still trying to pad the century club thing..) and the other one that many people talked a lot about was the Agiorgitiko which were all sold out at the wineries that I went to. Another varietal that people talked about was Mavrotragano which was produced in tiny amounts and definitely no supply whatsoever found anywhere to try.

In addition to the varietals that I had very heard of nor tried before, the people I spoke to were very serious about their wines. Hope to see the results of some of their efforts in the US in the future.[/quote]
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Re: Wineries on Santorini Greece

Postby Paulo in Philly » Thu May 31, 2007 2:07 am

Great post, Michael! I have had some Greek wines in the past but have not explored the area in depth. One of my very best friends says Santorini is amazing and your pictures are spectacular! Could there be anything else more amazing than a Mediterranean view, glasses of wine, bread, olives, and cheese?????? 8)
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Re: Wineries on Santorini Greece

Postby Otto » Thu May 31, 2007 3:34 pm

Michael K wrote:Unfortunately I only had time to go to Istanbul for four days. I really actually wanted to go to Cappadocia as well but did not have enough time. I did try wines in turkey. It was a varietal called Öküzgözü, but the quality (at least the ones I tried which were by the glass sales) was not very good.

I had a great time though in Istanbul. Beautiful bustling city.


There is so much to see in Istanbul that I understand you didn't want to go far away - even Istanbul will take weeks to get even a cursory glance. I've never tried Öküzgözü, or the other native varieties, but I did have a nice Turkish Merlot a couple years ago. Unfortunately it was a big social gathering so I didn't take notes (not even the name) - it seems that Turkey really has some potential if they manage to make a varietal Merlot that I like! ;)

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Re: Wineries on Santorini Greece

Postby Michael K » Fri Jun 01, 2007 4:16 pm

Otto,

Thanks for the pointer. I've never seen a Turkish Merlot but now will look for one just to try. Sitting in my office now, I really do wish I was back on the streets in Istanbul right now....or even one of those touristy restaurants in the Plaka in Athens.....
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