Santorini Wines

wine santorini

After the cataclysmic volcanic eruption, 1645 BC, the entire island of Santorini was covered by lava, ash and pumice stone. But the disaster helped the soil to be perfect for creating the distinctive Santorini wines.

Grapes grow on the eastern slopes of the caldera’s edge and produce great wines even if there isn’t any water during the growing season. Mysteriously, the vines “drink” the water from moisture absorbed by the soil during the night, offering the minimum amount of water the vines need to survive and grow fruit. Because of the winds, the vines are trained to grow in a crown (a basket that insures perfect conditions).

The major wineries in Santorini are: Santo Wines (cultivated near Pyrgos), Antoniou Wines and Boutaris Wines (cultivated near Megalochori), Canava Roussos (cultivated near Mesa Gonia) and Volcan Wines (cultivated near Messaria).

The predominant grape in Santorini is Asyrtiko. It produces dry and dessert Appellation wines. Asyrtiko is considered Greece’s best white wine grape. It is traditionally blended with Aidani Aspro and Athiri. The white wines are bone-dry carrying some aroma of citrus combined with minerals and smoke from the volcanic soil. One of the dessert wines is Visanto. It is naturally sweet or can be fortified but it’s mandatory to be barrel-aged for at least two years. It carries a distinct aroma of chocolate, crème brulee and dried apricots and is usually low in alcohol. Mezzo is a less sweet version of Visanto. Though Santorin is not known particularly for its red wines, the red cultivars Mandilariá and Mavrotrágano are becoming more and more important in the premium wine production.

Several wine genres originate in Santorini. Brousko dates back to 13th-16th century (Venetian occupation of the island) and are traditionally dry red, white or rose. They are pressed by foot and barrel –aged. Asyrtiko is a varietal basis of Nykteri (who name mean “night work).

Currently, Santorini’s high reputation in Greece is based on dry wines produced from Asyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani Aspro. The traditional wines remain White Roussos, Santo and Koutsogiannopoulos.

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