If you’re a first-time visitor to Santorini, you’ll be shocked at the sheer number of vineyards on the small but perfectly formed island (14). As you see more of the island, you’ll notice many snake-like, basket-shaped vines dotted around the landscape, which makes you realise just how important winemaking is here (it’s hard to believe that many of these vines are two to three hundred years old due to the absence of phylloxera – a vine killing insect). The quality of Santorini wine will definitely surprise you!
Santorini has a rare combination of volcanic, mineral-rich soil, an arid, dry climate which forces the vine deep into the earth to find water, and an award-winning white grape variety, Assyrtiko which is perfectly adapted to extreme conditions. Assyrtiko produces strong, voluptuous yet crisp white wine (it won the gold Medal at the Decanter World Wine Awards 2015). Now world-renowned oenologists (wine experts) flock to Santorini to work with vineyards and learn about the unique conditions of this stunning place.
The largest vineyard in Santorini is the Argyros Estate. Founded in 1903 by George Arygos, it combines the ancient Santorini traditions of winemaking with up-to-date technology to produce some of the most highly awarded wines on the island. The Estate was transformed by George’s grandson Yiannis to create vineyards totalling thirty hectares. Now Yiannis’s son Matthew has taken over the management of the winery, which due to its success has now moved into new purpose-built premises and now owns sixty-five hectares of vineyards.
Their wines feature a wide variety of native grapes including, Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano, some of which are over 150 years old. Argyros wines have won many awards in Greece and internationally (Wine & Spirits ranked the Estate among the top 100 in the world in 2005, 2006, 2013 and 2014). In the range you will find three dry white wines made from the Assyriko grape – Estate Argyros Santorini (perfect with fish and seafood), Estate Argyros (a great compliment to classic Greek dishes such as fava and tomato fritters) and Argyros Atlantis White (great with fish). There’s also Argyros Atlantis Red, made from the Mandilaria and Mavrotragano grape varieties which has hints of prune and leather, and is perfect with charcuterie and spicy dishes. Finally their is the show-stopping Vinsanto which has complex aromas of chocolate, honey, coffee grains and dried fruits and nuts. It is excellent served with chocolate and desserts or as an aperitif.
Don’t leave the island without tasting the world-famous Vinsanto, which achieved the highest rating ever for Greek wine from leading wine critic Robert Parker (he scored the 20-year-old version at 97/100). You can sample four and twelve year old version at a tasting session at Argyros. If you’re looking for a unique wine-tasting experience in a traditional environment, look no further.
To find out more visit the website (the website is in development)