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Gaia Thalassitis Assyrtiko 2018 (1x 75cl)

Awarded 90 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their July 2019 article on Santorini (see blue link below).

Gaia Thalassitis Assyrtiko 2018 - July 2019 Decanter review

One of the pioneers of the modern Greek wine revolution Gaia Estate was established in 1994 by Greek winemakers Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. Operating two different wineries they make cutting edge wines in both Nemea and Santorini. Gaia's main aim is to present the potential of the indigenous Greek grape varieties to wine enthusiasts worldwide.

This wine is made from the island's indigenous variety Assyrtiko (pronounced Ah-SEERtee-koe) which is renowned for combining full flavoured maturity whilst retaining considerably high acidity. The grapes are produced exclusively from vineyards in the Episkopi, Akrotiri and Pyrgos regions, at elevations of between 50 to 250 metres above sea-level. The vines are between 70 to 80 years old and produce a particularly low yield of between 18 to 25 hectolitres per hectare. The vines are cultivated in volcanic soils which are porous with a high mineral content.

The hand-picked grapes were cold macerated for a period of 12 hours at controlled temperatures of 10°C. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 16 to 18°C with selected yeasts. The wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation. This wine was produced in an unoaked style in order to retain its freshness and purity of fruit and spent four months in stainless steel tanks on its lees with frequent bâtonnage to impart texture and complexity.

100% Assyrtiko.

Explosive minerality with fresh lemon zest on the nose, crisp acidity on the palate and underlying floral notes. Refreshing with a crisp, mineral finish. An excellent partner to seafood, fish, shellfish or lamb with lemon.

£24.70

Gaia Wild Ferment Assyrtiko 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded 93 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their July 2019 article on Santorini (see blue link below).

Gaia Wild Ferment Assyrtiko 2018 - July 2019 Decanter review

The 2017 vintage was awarded a Platinum Medal and 97 points at the 2018 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2018 DWWA winners, click here.

One of the pioneers of the modern Greek wine revolution Gaia Estate was established in 1994 by Greek winemakers Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. Operating two different wineries they make cutting edge wines in both Nemea and Santorini. Gaia's main aim is to present the potential of the indigenous Greek grape varieties to wine enthusiasts worldwide.

The vineyard is located in Santorini. The terroir is recognised worldwide for its tremendous historical roots as the vineyards in this area date back 3,000 years. The low yielding vines are self rooted and are grown in soils which are poor in organic matter. The high sand content has ensured they have never been affected by phylloxera. The soils are also volcanic: porous with a high mineral content, which imparts a mineral quality to the resulting wine. The long sunshine hours, lack of rainfall, sea mists and strong summer winds all contribute to the unique microclimate. The surrounding Aegean Sea acts as a climatic buffer which softens the climate, so the extreme conditions and vintage variations are reduced. The vines are trained on traditional basket shaped systems called kouloura.

100% Assyrtiko.

The handpicked grapes were destemmed, crushed and cold soaked for 12 hours with skin contact at 10°C. The free run juice was then fermented naturally, using only natural yeasts. 50% of the must was fermented in stainless steel tanks, 35% in new oak casks (18% French and 17% American oak) and 15% in acacia casks. The temperature was allowed to rise naturally without any further intervention. From here, modern technology passed the baton to traditional winemaking and the fermentation developed at its own, gradual pace, with the prevailing yeast strains determining the wine's final character. In each tank and barrel, the wine fermented differently, so at the end of the fermentation each portion was tasted and carefully selected, according to the quality. With each vintage, a new dimension of this multifaceted variety is discovered. 

2018 was a good vintage in Santorini. Favourable weather conditions enabled the vines to ripen steadily and resulting in healthy grapes with excellent maturity.

"Toasty, smoky and funky on the nose with mineral dusting and brooding intensity. The palate is salty dry with laser-beam precision and very funky wild ferment layering of complexity with oak wreathed into the mix with sensitivity. The finish is dry, with lasting salty and tangy flavours. Unique and outstanding wine." (The Wine Gang)

ABV = 13.5%.

£28.50

Gaia, Notios White Moschofilero/Roditis PGI Peloponnese 2018 (1x75cl)

One of the pioneers of the modern Greek wine revolution Gaia Estate was established in 1994 by Greek winemakers Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. Operating two different wineries they make cutting edge wines in both Nemea and Santorini. Gaia's main aim is to present the potential of the indigenous Greek grape varieties to wine enthusiasts worldwide.

2018 was a challenging vintage with difficult climatic conditions. As a result, the yields were lower than previous years. Vigilance in the vineyards and winery ensured the wines have retained the high quality and varietal characteristics.

The Moschofilero grapes (pronounced Mosho-FEEL-ero) come from the mountainous vineyards of Arcadia region, where the 15 year old vines are grown at an altitude of 700 metres and produce grapes with fruity characters and crisp acidity. The Roditis variety is grown at 900 metres altitude in upland Corinth, in a microclimate which imparts elegance to the resulting wine. The vines yield approximately 75 hectolitres per hectare and are grown in soils which are mainly limestone clay. The Assyrtiko grapes come from the slopes of Koutsi, which are planted at 600 metres above sea-level with a southwesterly orientation. The vines are 15 years old and are cultivated in marl on limestone soils.

The carefully selected grapes were chilled to 4°C before being destemmed and pressed. Each variety was vinified separately with selected yeasts in stainless steel tanks at 16°C, to preserve the varietal characters. Only the free-run must was retained from the Roditis grape variety. Fermentation lasted for approximately 20 days and the wines did not go through malolactic fermentation resulting in a crisp style of wine. The Roditis, Moschofilero and Assyrtiko wines were expertly blended to create a wine with perfect balance.

Moschofilero 40%, Roditis 40%, Assyrtiko 20%.

A lovely combination of exotic and floral tones with a zesty grapefruit and peach kernel character, very refreshing mineral finish. This fusion of traditional Greek varieties results in a light, fresh and elegant wine. The Moschofilero contributes vibrant, floral flavours, the Roditis imparts a smooth citrus zesty character and the Assyrtiko delivers wonderful complexity, crisp acidity and a mineral finish. Serving Suggestion A delicious apéritif or as an accompaniment to light meals and delicate flavours.

£11.95

Ktima Biblia Chora Ovilos Semillion Assyrtiko 2018 (1x75cl)

Awarded a Platinum & Best in Show medal and 97 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details).

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Biblia Chora is the innovative creation of Vangelis Gerovassiliou and Vassilis Tsaktsarlis, two of the most talented winemakers in Greece. The winery was established in 1998 and the privately owned vineyard lies on the cool climate slopes of Mount Pangeon, at Kokkinochori near Kavala. It has been farmed organically since day one. These exceptional, cutting edge wines are some of the best white wines in Greece, which have similarities to very good white Bordeaux – not surprising as Vassilis studied with Denis Dubourdieu; the king of modern white Graves. Vintage 2017 saw a very cold start, with snow and rainfall during the spring months, which built soil water reserves. Warm weather during the summer led to optimal growing and maturation conditions. The white wines are full bodied and have rich varietal aromas with good balancing acidity.

Located in the coastal region of Pangaia, Biblia Chora’s privately owned estate vineyard is situated at 380 metres altitude and extends over 140 hectares. With the striking Paggaio Mountain as the backdrop and the sea breeze coming from the Aegean Sea in front the estate, the vines thrive in this mild, Mediterranean climate which is characterised by mild winters and cool summers. The wide diurnal temperature range encourages a long, slow maturation of the grapes, concentrating the flavours in the berries. The vineyard is cultivated according to strict ecological agricultural standards in order to respect the environment and local flora and fauna. The vines are planted at a density of 4,000 plants per hectare and all the work in the vineyard, such as leaf thinning and the harvest is carried out by hand. The soil is rocky and infertile, with limestone and clay and good levels of drainage.

Assyrtiko 50%, Semillon 50%. The grapes were picked at optimum maturity and then carefully selected. The wine was vinified in the state-of-the-art winery, using modern techniques to ensure the aromatics and varietal flavours were retained. Each variety was vinified separately and then matured in 225-litre French oak barrels for a period of five months, with bâtonnage taking place in the barrel. This wine went through full malolactic fermentation, enhancing the creamy texture.

Enticing aromas of peach, vanilla and flinty notes combine with a vibrant burst of fresh grapefruit. A wonderful weight and creamy texture on the palate with notable minerality, this is a tropical version of a white Graves.

£25.55

Ktima Gerovassiliou Epanomi Malagousia 2018

Awarded a Gold medal and 95 points at the 2019 Decanter World Wine Awards (click link for details)

For other 2019 DWWA winners, click here.

Ktima Gerovassiliou is the brainchild of Evangelos Gerovassiliou. He initiated the revival of the family vineyard by planting the nearly extinct Malagousia in 1981. This state of the art winery is now surrounded by 74 hectares of meticulously well-cared vineyards on the slopes of Epanomi. Ktima Gerovassiliou guarantees consistent, high quality wines of international acclaim every year and his Malagousia remains the benchmark to this day.

At Ktima Gerovassiliou, the single, private vineyard is cultivated with great care and enthusiasm, which leads to constant research and experimentation with Greek and international varieties. New technological advances blend well with tradition throughout the vine growing and vinification processes to produce high quality wines that carry all the distinct characteristics of the terroir of Epanomi. The climate in the region of Epanomi is Mediterranean with mild winters and hot summers, tempered by sea breezes. The vineyard is surrounded on three sides by the sea, which is three kilometres away, while its west side faces the Thermaic Gulf, Mount Olympus and the beaches of Pieria. The vines are grown in soils which are mainly sandy with a few clayey substrates and calcareous rocks. It is rich in sea fossils, as the surrounding hilly area was formed by sea deposits.

The Malagousia (pronounced Mah-lah-gou-ZYA) grapes were macerated on the skins to extract the desired level of aromatics. Part of the must was fermented in stainless steel at controlled temperatures of between 18 to 20°C; and part was vinified in seasoned French oak. Clarification took place by gravity. The wine was then matured on the lees for a few months with regular lees stirring or bâtonnage, prior to being fined with bentonite.

Malagousia 100%.

Wonderfully expressive and complex aromas of white pear, mango and lemon zest combine with floral hints. Delightful and refreshing on the palate, it is rich and harmonious with a spicy, mouthwatering finish with a delicious flinty, mineral character.  A perfect match for Mediterranean dishes, seafood, Thai-spiced grilled swordfish, orzo cauliflower salad or fried courgette blossoms.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. 

£15.75

Ktima Gerovassiliou Viognier Epanomi 2018 (1x75cl)

Ktima Gerovassiliou is the brainchild of Evangelos Gerovassiliou. He initiated the revival of the family vineyard by planting the nearly extinct Malagousia in 1981. This state-of-the-art winery is now surrounded by 74 hectares of meticulously well cared vineyards on the slopes of Epanomi. Ktima Gerovassiliou guarantees consistent, high quality wines of international acclaim every year and his Malagousia remains the benchmark to this day.

At Ktima Gerovassiliou, the single, private 74-hectare vineyard is cultivated with great care and enthusiasm, which leads to constant research and experimentation with Greek and international varieties. New technological advances blend well with tradition throughout the vine growing and vinification processes to produce high quality wines that carry all the distinct characteristics of the terroir of Epanomi. The climate is Mediterranean with mild winters and hot summers, tempered by sea breezes. The vineyard is surrounded on three sides by the sea, which is three kilometres away, while its west side faces the Thermaic Gulf, Mount Olympus and the beaches of Pieria. The vines are grown in soils which are mainly sandy with a few clayey substrates and calcareous rocks. It is rich in sea fossils, as the surrounding hilly area was formed by sea deposits. The floral variety of Viognier was initially planted on the estate in 1993, under the supervision of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. The vineyard is cultivated in compliance with ecologically sustainable management practices.

Vinification started with skin contact followed by barrel fermentation in new French oak. The wine was matured on its fine lees to enhance the rich creaminess and texture.

Viognier 100%.

Benchmark Viognier with expressive aromas of exotic fruits combined with hints of jasmine, green tea and (of course) peach: perfumed and elegant with a wonderfully long finish.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

£17.05

Monemvasia Kydonitsa Laconia 2017 (1x75cl)

Awarded 91 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their June 2019 feature, Weekday Wines (see blue link below).

Monemvasia Kydonitsa Laconia 2017 - June 2019 Decanter review

The Monemvasia Winery was founded in 1997 with a clear objective: to revive the production of Malvasia wine in its birth place. The Frankish name for Monemvasia is Malvasia, which originally lent its name to the wine. In the 12th century and for the subsequent 300 years, this wine ruled the European world. It is still produced in many countries, but until recently was not being produced in the country of its origin - Greece. The Monemvasia Winery created the first privately owned 121 hectares of vineyard, planted with local varieties. It is committed to producing quality wines which showcase the characteristics of the indigenous varieties and the terroir of the peninsula of Maleus.

2017 was very hot, with a major heatwave taking place in June. It was also very dry with no rainfall from the middle of May, which resulted in disturbances in the growth cycle. Nevertheless, the grapes were healthy and ripe at harvest with a high concentration of sugars, relatively high alcohol and full concentrated flavours.

Kydonitsa ( pronounced Ki-do-NI-tsa) is a rare, old local variety and one of the components of the legendary wine Malvasia. The vineyard is located on the peninsula of Maleus at the foothills of the Parnonas Mountain range at an altitude of 80 metres above sea level. Surrounded by the Myrtoo Sea to the North West and by the Laconian Gulf to the South West, the vineyard is influenced by a Mediterranean climate with high sunshine hours and coastal sea breezes. The soils are clay loam and rich in minerals. All these factors contribute in creating a unique terroir and the climatic conditions present an ideal environment for healthy vines, which are cultivated with minimal intervention.

The grapes were carefully selected, destemmed and crushed. The free run juice was extracted by crushing, while the press wines were gently extracted at pressures of a maximum of one bar. The juice was settled at 13°C. Fermentation took place with selected yeasts, in stainless steel at 16°C lasting between 15 to 20 days. The wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation resulting in a wine with a fresh, pure style. It was matured on the lees for five months, with regular bâtonnage (lees stirring) imparting texture and complexity. 

Kydonitsa 100%.

Kydonitsa is Greek for quince and this wine is true to its name showing ripe quince, elegant aromas of tropical fruits and a hint of pistachio complexity. Creamy and full flavoured on the palate with a balancing mouthwatering freshness and a long aromatic finish. Perfect with seafood, especially fresh lobster or grilled fish.

£12.50

Santo Santorini Assyrtiko 2018 (1x75cl)

The 2017 vintage was awarded 89 points and Highly Recommended status by Decanter in their July 2019 article on Santorini (see blue link below).

Santo Santorini Assyrtiko 2017- July 2019 Decanter review

The Union of Santorini Cooperatives, Santo Wines was founded in 1947. Today, it consists of the largest organization of the island representing all the cultivators and counting 1,200 active members. SantoWines is committed to safeguarding the local traditional cultivatio methods, producing the highest-quality Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) Santorini wines and products as well as promoting sustainable agriculture development. 

SantoWines’ R&D invests in the ongoing development of cultivation and vinification techniques, while it targets the preservation of the biodiversity through the operation of a nursery of autochthonous/indigenous varieties, a solid base for study and trial cultivation of local grapes. The traditional methods of the farmer-members of their cooperative guarantee the authenticity and the premium quality of their wines.

See blue link below for the fiche technique/technical & tasting note from the winemakers at Santo (this, for the 2017... 2018 expected from Santo soon!).

Santo Santorini Assyrtiko 2017- fiche technique

£19.05
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