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SANTORINI WINE Asyrtiko

This variety is often described as Greece's best white wine grape. The enthusiasm of those who produce and enjoy wine from Asyrtiko is well-justified, although, in part, the top status of this cultivar results from something of a monopoly that is eroding slowly as increasing numbers of lesser-known white varieties undergo modern vinification. Asyrtiko has the distinction of being a southern Mediterranean white grape that ripens to high acidity. Soil, climate and elevation have significant effects on the outcome of vinification. The Santorini whites in which it plays a dominant role are among the most elegant in Greece.. It is a producer of fickle must. Despite the incredible structure and agebility of its wines, it is high in phenolic compounds and highly susceptible to oxidation. The tendency for Asyrtiko to brown and produce darker aromas as a result of even controlled oxidation has advantages in the vinification of Vinsanto, yet its reaction to oak– especially to new oak–can test a winemaker's skill in barrel selection and timing. The most successful barrel-aged Asyrtiko wines seem the product of a stability-first philosophy in which few chances are taken where the risk of over-oaking exists. Asyrtiko has far more patience for old oak than for new. Some producers striving to create oakier products they believe will appeal to New World sensibilities have fallen victim to the merciless side of the variety. In recent years,its range has been extended as far north as Drama and it is achieving success in the hands of those sufficiently respectful of its slightly volatile nature.



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