Greek wine is all the buzz in a recent article in Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate. On this best of 2017 overview, the Wine Advocate reviewer, Mark Squires, highlights old vine Assyrtiko.
A wine grape indigenous to the island of Santorini, Assyrtiko thrives in the island’s arid climate and rich volcanic soil. Assyrtiko grapes have been made into wine for centuries on Santorini, but if you’re used to seeing the usual rows of neat vines as in Napa, you’ll miss them in Santorini. The vines have to be trained to grow in a circular basket to protect them from strong winds blowing off the Aegean Sea and the strong summer sun. The baskets both protect the grapes and retain moisture. Assyrtiko wines are known for their distinctive crisp flavor that is made for seafood with lots of lemon. In fact, you’ll love Assyrtiko with any dish asking for lemon.
In his review, Squires comments on the deep layered, mineral flavors of this white wine and highlights the diversity of the grape in his selections. He starts with a pick from a Santorini benchmark wine producer. He then chooses a ripened bold version, and his last choice even includes an Assyrtiko that is oaked. Most Assyrtiko wines are fermented in stainless steel tanks and then bottled.
The review finishes its Greek wine selections with three more whites, which include a 90-point blend of Monemvasia and Aidani, two other grapes native to Greece. Squires mentions a Moschofilero, a lighter styled, more aromatic wine than Assyrtiko. The review includes a positive review of wine made from the Moschofilero grape, noting that the grape does well after spending time in oak. Finally, a Malvasia from Crete is called “a perennial favorite – and overachiever.”
The specifics are found in the article and I would grab one for drinking fresh and one for decanting. Yes, Squires details an urge to decant these mineral-rich whites. A side-by-side tasking of bottle fresh and decanted would be a great weekend or afternoon project. Either way, it’s safe to say this and other Greek white wines are generating the most buzz from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.