Assyrtiko is today Greece’s top white grape variety and due to its quality and popularity it is rapidly spreading not only in Greece but to other parts of the world such as Australia and recently in Italy.
It originally comes from the island of Santorini but it has been planted in other Aegean islands, at the north and central regions of Greece , at the Peloponesse, Crete and other parts of the country. While Assyrtiko Santorini POD has a very unique mineral taste with sophisticated crispness and perfect concentration due to the volcanic nature of the soils, Assyrtiko coming from other parts of mainland Greece can be more aromatic with less concentrated texture. It is always a dry wine usually associated with passion fruit, flint, and fresh citrus flavors, with slight bitterness and saltiness that makes it perfect to be enjoyed with seafood.
Assyrtiko is one of these unique grape varieties that will grow without a problem in hot and dry climates without losing its high alcohol nature and its special mineral character. To avoid wind damage and grape sunburn vines are always planted to form interesting basket-weaved formations seen all over Santorini. Roots go deep into the black soil that originates from the volcanic ashes that covered the island during the explosion that changed the face of the Aegean thousands of years ago. Different altitudes and soil types produce different expressions of Assyrtiko with the Cycladic islands retaining the original feel of the Santorini wines.
For Assyrtiko that comes under the name of Nychteri, grapes are picked during the night in order to avoid high temperatures and the extract is always oaked. It offers citrus, cream, pineapple and fennel notes. Sweet Assyrtiko known as Vinsanto or PDO Monemvassia-Malvasia comes with rich texture and a fantastic nose. Blends of Assyrtilo usually produce Athiri which is milder than Assyrtiko 100% and Aidani which is of a more aromatic nature. Assyrtiko seems to have all the great characteristics that will eventually open the door, in the years to come, to becoming a truly international variety.