Santorini, whose official name is Thira, is the southernmost island of the Cycladic cluster in the southern Aegean. For over 35 centuries, the geomorphology and fortunes of the island have been stamped by its volcano’s eruption, one of the most momentous the Earth has ever experienced. It is in this particular ecosystem that one of the most ancient vineyards of the world has been developed, a veritable monument created by nature and men. Vineyards are seen anywhere on Santorini, especially on the island’s central and northern parts. A small part of the vineyards is also located on nearby Thirassia island which is included in the PDO Santorini wine zone (est.1971).
The PDO Santorini vineyard is self-rooted since the pest of phylloxera cannot survive on the island’s volcanic soil. The vines’ trunks are pruned in a wreath-like basket shape (“kouloures” or “ambelies”) within which the grapes, sheltered from the sun and the northerly winds grow with virtually no water. Similarly with the rest of the Cycladic islands, Santorini does have many a native variety but the most important one is that of Assyrtiko. Besides the combination of Assyrtiko-Santorini is an explosive wine couple of exceptional variety and a unique appellation coming together to yield world-class dry whites.
Dry wines marked under the indication of “Nychteri ” necessitate that the grapes be ultra mature and that the wines be of high alcoholic content (a minimum of 13.5% ABV) – mandatorily aged in oak barrels for a period of at least three months.
The indication “Vinsanto” regards dessert wines. It necessitates that the grapes be ultra mature and that they have been left to dry in the sun so that they may become desiccated. thus raising the concentration of sugars to at least 370gr/l. Wines bearing the “Vinsanto” indication should be mandatorily aged in oak barrels for at least 24 months. Should they be the result of longer ageing, they should remain in the oak barrels for at least four years or for periods of time which are multiples of 4. The Vinsanto wines could be either “naturellement doux – vin de raisin passerile” or “vin de liqueur de raisin passerile”. Vinsanto wines can be harvest-specific and different harvests can be blended provided the more recent one is indicated.
For the dry wine: Assyrtiko (minimum 75%), Aidani White, Athiri.
For the sweet wine from sun-dried grapes: Assyrtiko (minimum 51%), Aidani White (small quantities from other native white grape varieties are allowed).
- Dry white
- Vinsanto –Sweet white from sun-dried grapes
- Vinsanto –Sweet fortified white from sun-dried grapes