Greek Assyrtiko has become so trendy these days that even Aldi are doing an own-label. The top wines, especially from the volcanic island of Santorini, have crept up in price, so it’s a pleasure to find a very drinkable example of the grape on the high street. This one hails from Macedonia in the north west of the country and was judiciously blended with 10% Chardonnay. Crisp and unoaked, with citrus, wet stone and chamomile flavours complemented by a hint of peach.
White Varietal: Assyrtiko
Santorini Assyrtiko 2022 Reportby Peter Pharos
In Praise Of Assyrtikoby Peter Pharos
2019 Argyros Estate Assyrtiko, Santorini( £28, 14%, Bottle Apostle, Philglas & Swiggot, Tanners )
Oh to be sitting in a bar in Santorini drinking a glass of this amazing wine. But sipping it in London’s still a pleasure, reminding me of the lure of the Greek islands. Made from old, ungrafted bush vines grown on volcanic soils, it’s a stunning white from Matthew Argyros, demonstrating Assyrtiko’s classic combination of salty, briney aromatics, crunchy minerality and flavours of preserved lemons and wild herbs. Long, focused and beautifully balanced.
White wine risingby Christy Canterbury MW
2017 Atlantis, Santorini( £8, down from £12, 13%, Marks & Spencer )
Currently on a deal that has reduced its price by £4, this was worth buying at £12, but is especially so now. Made from Greece’s increasingly trendy Assyrtiko, with 5% each of Aidani and Athiri for company, this is a brilliant seafood white that’s crunchy, pithy and slightly salty, with lemon and lime zest fruit, an undertone of wild herbs and a long and very refreshing finish. If the summer ever starts again, drink a bottle outside in the sun. If not, imagine you’re on a Greek island. Drink young and well chilled.
In praise of Retsinaby Peter Pharos
Rock wine: the dry whites of Santoriniby Peter Pharos
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.
How to choose a white wine: a beginner’s guideby Ron Washam
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.
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.