by Markus Stolz

Colorful
dry Assyrtiko

byMarkus Stolz
September 25, 2012, 3 Comments

Assyrtiko from the island of Santorini does not need an introduction any longer. The wines are deservedly championed by sommeliers, wine writers and critics alike. It is no surprise that this grape variety has been transplanted all over Greece and one will be hard pressed to identify a region where it is not grown.

When sipping Assyrtiko from different regions, I often associate a color with the relevant tasting profile. This is of course a generalization, but it works for me in most cases, highlighting the diverse nuances this grape exhibits.

Santorini is one of the hottest vine growing regions on the planet; the island features a hot desert climate. Assyrtiko wines are typically marked by lemon, lime, mineral flavors and saltiness. Its citrus characteristic reminds me of a light yellow color.

Amyndeo on the other hand is the coolest wine producing region in all of Greece with a Continental climate. It is located in eastern Florina, Macedonia. The Karanika Assyrtiko is perhaps somewhat richer and fuller than its Santorini counterparts. Although it is unmistakable Assyrtiko, there is a marked difference on the palate. Lemon gives way to apricots and orange zest, the saltiness is replaced by subtle spices. Orange is my color choice.

The island of Chios boasts a temperate Mediterranean climate, warm and moderate with dry summers and plentiful rainfalls during the winter months. It is situated in the Aegean Sea, approximately four miles off the Anatolia coast. Chios is known for its famous Mastic trees that provide a raisin which is used for a number of products, including the Mastika liquor. It is rarely mentioned as a wine producing region. Yet, Assyrtiko is grown even here. The Ariousios Athiri-Assyrtiko blend is intriguing and intense, dominated by pink grapefruit, embedded by the creamy texture. I associate a light and bright pink color with this wine.

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  1. SpyrosSeptember 25, 2012, 10:09 pm

    What do you think about assyrtiko in Crete? I had a chat with a young winemaker in the roots of Psyloritis who is planting it now…

  2. MarkusSeptember 25, 2012, 10:16 pm

    I have tasted Lyrarakis and Alexakis Assyrtiko from Crete, both very expressive.