Wine of the Week: 2011 Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko-Athiri
Region & Country: Santorini, Greece
Santorini, Greece may not be the first place you think of when looking for a crisp, refreshing white wine. Well, think again!
This 2011 Assyrtiko-Athiri blend from Domaine Sigalas will definitely change your mind. Delicately fragrant with a strong, almost briny minerality that seamlessly mingles with the wine's citrus and floral aromas. Crisp and vibrant on the palate. A taut backbone of acidity and mineralty adds tension and definition. Good depth of flavor - flavors that mirror the nose - juicy citrus, hints of stone fruit, jasmine and a spicy kick on the finish. The Athiri grape adds roundness and softness to Assyrtiko's racy acidity and high extract. Long, persistent minerally finish.
At the Table
On the island of Santorini, Assyrtiko and Assyrtiko blends are natural partners for the island's bounty of fish and shellfish. One of my all time favorite pairings for this wine is char-grilled octopus, drizzled with olive oil and paprika. This wine is also delicious with any simple grilled white fish or Mediterranean style vegetable dish.
About Domaine Sigalas, Santorini wines and the Grapes Assyrtiko and Athiri
Paris SIgalas is a legend on Santorini. Originally trained as a schoolteacher Paris started his own winery in 1991 and has gone on to become one of the most highly regarded and innovative producers on the island dedicated to preserving and working with Santorini's ancient, indigenous varieties.
Santorini is one of the most beautiful and historic wine regions in the world, where winemaking dates back to the Bronze age. The volcanic eruption of 1650 BC created what we have today - an island covered with volcanic ash, lava and pumice stone - perfect for the cultivation of wine grapes.
Assyrtiko and Athiri are two white grape varieties indigenous to Santorini. Assyrtiko is the more well known of the two, producing distinctive full-bodied, mineral-driven wines, widely sought after for their racy acidity. Athiri is a perfect blending partner for Assyrtiko, as on its own Assyrtiko wines can be a little too acidic and austere for some wine drinkers. Athiri adds softness, roundness and a delightful floral fragrance to the wines.
Mary Gorman-McAdams, MW (Master of Wine), is a New York based wine educator, freelance writer and consultant. In 2012 she was honored as a Dame Chevalier de L'Ordre des Coteaux de Champagne
(Image: via Wired for Wine)