Terra Nera 2016
Variety: 100% Assyrtiko
Assyrtiko is arguably Greece's most iconic grape variety, grown most famously on the volcanic island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea. It has developed a reputation as being a versatile grape variety, and wines are made in a multitude of styles, from fresh, minerally white wines to rich, nutty dessert wines known as Vinsanto. It is planted as far north as Drama in Greek Macedonia, and is also occasionally seen in Retsina.
The vines on Santorini can reach 70 years old and are some of the oldest vines in Greece. This is because the harsh volcanic conditions on the island have prevented the spread of plylloxera and, unlike most of Europe; the vines do not need to be grafted onto plylloxera-resistant rootstocks. Advanced vine age tends to have an effect on wine quality as yields are reduced, and Assyrtiko has the potential to make some very complex wines. Despite this obvious advantage, the Santorini terroir offers up some challenges that have affected winegrowing significantly. The island is dry enough to be classified as a desert on the Köppen climate scale, and very windy to boot. Growers have adapted to these conditions by training their vines into "baskets", essentially winding the canes into a protective ball around the fruit. This shelters grapes from strong winds, and the lack of water in the soil means growers will space vines further apart than is usually seen.
Vinification: Classic white vinification at controlled low temperatures followed by maturation on the fine lees and batonnage for about 2 months.
Tasting Notes: Fruity nose with ripe apple and citrus elements, combined with mineral undertones reminiscent of gunflint. Lovely texture, with elevated acidity, backed up by fruit-extract and great balance between primary and developing character on the palate. Mellow, yet quite complex aftertaste.