This is a really impressive white wine discovery from Greece: Santorini 2018 from the Vassaltis Winery is produced from the high-quality Assyrtiko grape which originally comes from Santorini. Its key feature is the minerality, which characterizes this grape. The grapes grow in volcanic basalt soil. The wine is rich, complex and full-bodied but not overpowering or overly broad. An evident acidity lends the long-finish wine freshness, zest and quaffability. The alcohol content of 13.5% is perfectly integrated. The wine is produced in a steel tank for six months on its lees. The lees are stirred regularly (batonnage).
It takes courage to invest in a winery in the midst of a financial crisis in Greece. Three young entrepreneurs and vintners, Yannis Valampous, Elisa Roussakis and Yannis Papaoikonomou, did just this several years ago and established the Vassaltis Winery on the island of Santorini. Visionaries? Speculators? In any case, only the best is good enough, as the newly built winery, which opened in 2016 in Vourvoulos, shows. It is open to visitors year-round. The winery has capacity for an annual production of max. 100,000 bottles. The current output is around half that amount. The winery owns its own vineyards but also buys in grapes. The trio use only domestic grape varieties such as Assyrtiko, Athiri and Aidani. The newest company on Santorini is pursuing ambitious goals: they aim to produce high-quality wines that reflect their origin. The first vintages are a promise for the future, as demonstrated by the single varietal Santorini 2018 made from the Assyrtiko grape. The Vassaltis Winery is not yet known in Switzerland. But it’s a name that wine aficionados should note.