Assyrtiko is a classy white grape, possibly some of the greatest varieties found in the Mediterranean basin. It originated from Santorini (Assyrtiko-Santorini) but it spread all over Greece, becoming, in terms of quality, one of the most important native varietals. It produces mainly dry white wines, some of which are being aged in oak. However, a number of sweet wines are made, from sun dried grapes.
Assyrtiko is one of these rare white grape varieties that can grow on hot and dry climatic conditions, while at the same keeping the high alcohol in perfect balance by its crisp acidity. It is more of a textural variety, emphasizing extract, body and structure, rather than an aromatic grape. Assyrtiko originates from Santorini, where it makes the lean, mineral and very concentrated PDO Santorini (ΠΟΠ Σαντορίνη) whites. However, it has been planted to most Greek wine regions, from other Aegean Islands to Macedonia Central Greece and down to the Peloponnese. It participates in the production of dry PDO Slopes of Meliton (ΠΟΠ Πλαγιές Μελίτωνα), PDO Rhodes (ΠΟΠ Ρόδος) and PDO Handakas Candia (ΠΟΠ Χάνδακας Candia). Assyrtiko outside of Santorini keeps the crispness and minerality but it also shows a higher level of primary fruit aromas and a less dense structure. Finally, the sweet wines based on Assyrtiko (like, Vinsanto or PDO Monemvassia-Malvasia/ΠΟΠ Μονεμβασία Malvasia) are rich, sumptuous and piercing.
Assyrtiko is made for people looking for unconventional, intense styles of whites, that lean towards texture and density. It offers sensations that are well away from the average, “commercially appealing” dry white. Very food friendly, especially with grilled fish and seafood. It is a variety with excellent aging potential. All Assyrtiko wines, both barrel aged and stainless steel matured, can age confidently for five or even ten years, sometimes significantly more, developing aromas and flavors of ripe fruits, honey, and intense minerality. Sweet Assyrtiko wines are eternal – time simply resists going into them.