#newwinethisweek Week 24 – Assyrtiko, Greece


Greek wine has suffered over the years and is often described as a holiday wine that doesn’t travel tastes dreadful at home. If you’ve been stung by the harsh pine-resin of Retsina (although I did taste a very good modern version recently!) or you think all Greece has to offer is Ouzo or Metaxa, then think again.

In recent times the quality of Greek wine has improved in giant steps. Although the country is starting to plant many of the international grape varieties (check out the Chardonnay and Viognier from Domaine Gerovassiliou), there are a few homegrown superstars worth checking out. One of them is Assyrtiko, this week’s #newwinethisweek.

Assyrtiko is a white grape that is indigenous to the island of Santorini but is also planted in many other Greek wine-growing regions. It is usually planted on arid volcanic-ash-rich soil and some of the vines are over 70 years of age. In the past Assyrtiko was often used as a blending grape (it is often found in Retsina) but it takes centre stage far more often these days.

Assyrtiko wines are usually bone dry with good citrus fruit, high acidity and a mineral edge; some wine writers have likened the flavour to Riesling. I’ve had a couple of thee wines in the past 12 months and have been pleasantly surprised but I’m looking forward to paying a lot more attention this week.

These Greek wines are becoming much more widely available in the UK these days so get yourself a bottle and explore what Greece has to offer the wine world:

Hatzidakis Assyrtiko 2012, Santorini (Waitrose £11.99)

Hatzidakis Assyrtiko 2012, Santorini (The Wine Society £10.50)

Atlantis Assyrtiko 2012, Santorini (M&S £10.49)

Gaia Wild Ferment Assyrtiko 2012, Santorini (Wine and the Vine £17.85)


And don’t forget to tell us what you think!

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Posted on June 16, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. Great choice. The best in really hot weather. Spent a few weeks in the Cyclades and had many glasses of this crisp, minerally, wine. Great wine for all to try – either anew or, as in my case, revisiting a past experience.

  2. Another great choice boys! May well grab me one of these for the weekend! I’ve had some great Greek wine in tastings recently (plus some average ones too…)

  3. Reblogged this on Please Bring Me My Wine and commented:
    Thanks once again to Ant for kicking us off!

  4. I’m really struggling with this one-neither Waitrose nor M & S had any on the shelves! I found a Moschofilero??? but we’d better leave that for another week!
    I’ll give it another go tomorrow…

  5. Greek wine was the perfect excuse to order a donner kebab on Friday night and I went for the full monty! Earlier in the week I nipped into M&S to pick up a bottle of their Atlantis Assyrtiko 2012 for £10.49… and very impressed I was too.

    Delightful aromas of citrus and apple and there is a distinct hint of leesyness that is very pleasant as well as a whiff of the sea and a touch of smoke. Bright as a button on the palate with lemon, grapefruit, even a hint of gooseberry, supported by a smoky, toasty note… A touch of oak perhaps? This is a most agreeable wine with lots of freshness and plenty of complexity; it will definitely be bought again. 8/10

    It was such a wonderful day today that I simply had to open a bottle of something to enjoy in the garden and in front of the cricket! There were lots of possibilities but I decided to stick with the Greek theme and open a bottle of 2011 Chardonnay from Domaine Gerovassiliou from Epanomi on mainland Greece. His is a very fruity Chard with lots of citrus and a hint of tropical fruit, but nicely balanced by oak. A very creamy character, in quite a New World style – some California wines come to mind. But very good indeed.

    Greek wine is on the up and needs to be on your radar. I very much enjoyed this week!

  6. Happy days this last week, loved the Assyrtiko, just posted my verdict, but definitely going back to this one

  1. Pingback: Wine Geek Newsletter #75 | Confessions of a Wine Geek

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