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Assyrtiko varietal

I see many grape varietal on TWS website but not this one.

Do any other members want to see TWS selling this? I would.

I believe it’s very popular in Santorini and is even grown in Lebanon. Some MW’s rave about it’s salinity and compare it favourably with Albariño.

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It is available from time to time and is a regular on the site. I believe @horsleym spoke about re: stocking Hazidakis reasonably soon. I think part of the issue with Assyrtiko, is that the ones that come specifically from Santorini are expensive due to production levels but also because they are grown in basket trellising which means all hand harvesting.
There are some great examples of the grape variety and would also recommend Estate Argyros cuvee monsignori.

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Great topic! I have a few assytikos already heading our way so I ask for patience. As @Leah says those from santorini are typically not cheap as the yields are horrifically low (they’ve had terrible drought for a few years so some as low as 3hl/ha). Some are also (in my opinion) simply not worth the money but I have a couple from Hatzidakis coming in later this year/in the new. Im also hoping to bring in a wine from mainland Greece as an ‘intro’ to assyrtiko at a more entry level in the new year. We shall see. It is a wonderful variety that I hope to provide for members ASAP.

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Thank you Leah and Horsleym - I’m very excited to try this varietal out as and when available and yes value for money does count for a lot. Please put me on the wait list for these wines! Efgaristo poli!!

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An intro Assyrtiko would be fantastic to have @horsleym, looking forward to trying it and hopefully some more “Island” wines maybe ? I appreciate it’s probably difficult right now with Covid to actually get out there and taste but I’m very excited in general for Greek wines going forward :wink:.

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Santorini Assyrtiko is one of the most exciting white wines on the planet imo. Mainland Greece and Crete (Lyriakis) are good sources of more affordable versions. Looking forward to more examples coming onto the list as well as other Greek wines.

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It’s a great grape. A lovely alternative to albarino or Sauvignon blanc, and much better than both for my taste. It’s got a great freshness and minerality.

As @Leah said the Argyros is really good and used to be available at a good price from Costco. It’s been a while since I’ve been there so not sure if they are still stocking it.

I’m down to my last bottle of assyrtiko which is the one that I brought back with me from Greece last summer.

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I agree, I’ve not really thought to compare Assyrtiko to Albariño before @CellarClarkos commented but I guess I can see a little comparison.
In my experience, decent Santorini Assyrtiko has more body and weight and a more linear structured profile than Albariño . Alcohol content is usually a bit higher too so In my experience it’s quite different to for example a Riax Baixas or even an Albariño from further north and more exposed .
In fact, I guess what I’m trying to say that the really good Santorini’s I’ve tasted have little or no similarities to Albariño… :grimacing::grimacing:

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Santorini Assyrtiko is a great wine, but production is limited by the size of the island, and the market is now recognising the high quality of the wine, so it is not cheap.

Personally, to understand what Assyrtiko is about, I would start with good quality wines that are not designed to be too fancy. Gaia Thalassitis is such a wine, it’s made in stainless steel, widely available, and relatively cheap, from around £22. It’s sharp as a razor, pure and precise. That’s Assyrtiko - without oak, wild yeasts, lees aging and all the other things that might be used to make more upmarket wine. As you might know, Gaia, is now a pretty well established winery, with a number of locations (two I think) in Greece.

The Santo Wines basic Santorini also shows the grape well at a lower price (about the cheapest Santorini you will find). Santo is a coop, but not to be sniffed at - it really kick-started modern wine production on the island, so was very influential. However I think most people would notice the drop in quality from Thalassatis.

Another favourite of mine that is not too showy, but IMO damned good, is Vassaltis Santorini Assyrtiko. I think it is their “basic” wine, from around £32 in the UK. This too is clean as a whistle, but shows more complexity than the Thalassitis. Vassaltis is a relatively new producer on the island and considerably smaller, but doing great stuff.

At the very least I think those wines are a good place to start. Personally I find myself returning to them too. But there are plenty of other styles to explore, not least the sweet Vinsanto.

Agyros and Hatzidakis (mentioned above) are both older family businesses on the island, and well-respected. Sigalas is another good traditional name on the island that springs to mind. I tend to find them interesting rather than necesssarily the best, but that’s just my personal taste - they are certainly worth trying.

I would say Albariño is a pretty good point of comparison for Assytiko. Another one is Alsace Riesling (German wines are too light). There are of course differences, but I think they both indicate the ball-park feel of Assryrtiko.

Finally, do visit if you get a chance. As with the wines, it is now very popular and not cheap. I would suggest going early or late in the tourist season to avoid the tourist hordes (especially cruise ships). But it is stunningly beautiful, and with great archeological sites too.

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Hi Steve,

Many thanks for time and great insight into assyrtiko.

On further research I see there is also a producer in Australia Jim Barry and I have one order from Chateau Oumsiyat in Lebanon.

I shall enjoy ordering some as you have suggested from ‘la source’ ie Santorini and comparing them.

I’m a fan of crunchy, drier, saline non-oaked Albariños such as Mar De Frades so it will interesting to compare that with the assyrtikos.

Cheers

Mikey C

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Let us know how you get on with the Chateau Oumsiyat.

I have tried the Jim Barry one (2016 vintage) and quite liked it, but I think I prefer the Santorini ones, and that Santorini offers better VFM - which is saying something!

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