93

2013 Gaia, Thalassitis, Assyrtiko, Santorini

( £14.95, 13%, Noel Young Wines, Winedirect )

Assyrtiko is one of the most under-rated grapes in the world, especially when it’s grown on the volcanic soils of the island of Santorini. Bone dry, minerally and deliciously austere, this example from Gaia shows the variety at its delicious best with notes of quinine and lemon zest and incredible extract and concentration. A total bargain at £14.95.

BuyDrinking window: 2015-17Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, White, Assyrtiko
90

NV Tetramythos, Retsina

( £7.95, 13%, The Wine Society )

This is no ordinary, drink-it-on-holiday Retsina. It’s biodynamic, fermented in amphorae with wild yeasts and highly unusual. The pine resin notes are restrained and enjoyable, adding a Mediterranean herb like dimension to the pear, beeswax and honey fruit. The wines finishes tangy and dry. 

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, White
90

2010 Seméli Reserve, Nemea

( £10.95, 14%, The Wine Society )

It’s not the easiest grape in the world to love (those tannins can be a little firm, like a Greek version of the Portuguese Baga grape) but Agiorgitiko is that country’s best variety. This is a very fruity example, but it’s still got backbone and acidity behind the chalky red cherry and pomegranate flavours. Make sure you eat this with robust food or cheese.

Drinking window: 2014-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, Red, Agiorgitiko

Spend less, drink better

by Matt Walls
The UK is a nation of bargain hunters. There are more pound shops on Britain’s high streets than bookstores. When it comes to wine we’re no different; most of what...
90

2011 Domaine Thymiopoulos, Jeunes Vignes de Xinomavro, Naoussa

( £12.50, 13.5%, Oddbins )

Xinomvaro can be pretty toothsome stuff, even when the vines are young. But this combines the Nebbiolo-like tannnins and dryness with some sweet, supple red fruits. The overall effect is vey tasty indeed, with hints of rose petal, raspberry and wild strawberry set against a background of savoury, spicy tannins. Delicious at the price.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-16Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, Red, Xinomavro
91

2012 Hatzidakis, Assyrtikos, Santorini

( £13.75, 13.5%, Oddbins )

if you’re flirting with Greek wines but haven’t consumated the relationship yet, this is the place to start. Sourced from the volcanic island of Santorini, it’s rich, spicy, yet unoaked, with plenty of weight, notes of pear and fresh hay and a thrilling backbone of stony acidity. Like a cross between a Chablis and a Rhône blend, but with a herbal, Mediterranean twist that is all its own.

BuyDrinking window: 2013-15Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, White, Assyrtiko
88

2012 Semeli Wines, Feast, Moschofilero, Peloponnese

( £8.50, 12%, Oddbins )

It’s a pleasure to be recommending a bottle from Oddbins as my wine of the week once more! And what better way to start than something from Greece, long an Oddbins speciality? This is a musky, perfumed, dry white with hints of pear and rosepetal, crunchy acidity and a tangy, seafoood-friendly finish. A great introdcution to an indigenous grape variety. 

BuyDrinking window: 2013-14Similar Wines: £5-£10, 86-90, Greece, White, Moschofilero
91

2010 Hatzidakis Santorini Assyrtiko

( £10.99, 13%, Waitrose )

Harry Hatzidakis makes some of the best whites on the volcanic holiday island of Santorini from the wonderful Assyrtiko grape. This is typically fresh and tangy, with a salty undertone, stony minerality and bright, lip-smacking acidity. The wine is shwowing really well right now after two years’ bottle age. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: £10-£20, 91-95, Greece, White, Assyrtiko
90

2011 Monemvasia Kidonitsa, Laconia

( £11.50, 13%, Bowes Wine )

The Kidonitsa grape may be new to you (you’re not alone there), but don’t worry about that because it’s a great drink. Spritzy and slightly honeyed, with the texture of a Pinot Gris but an extra dimension of flavour. A touch of straw, some ginger spice, a whisper of thyme. You can almost smell the Med. 

BuyDrinking window: 2012-14Similar Wines: £10-£20, 86-90, Greece, White, Other Whites