Argyros Assyrtiko 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Founded in 1903, the Argyros Estate is located on the island of Santorini, famed for its spiraling vines and white washed churches. In 1950, the Argyros vineyards were passed down to the founder’s son, who tripled the estate from 5 to 15 acres. Yiannis Argyros, the third-generation owner of the estate who took over in 1974, began looking beyond the local market for his wines. The inorganic soil of the island of Santorini is naturally immune to Phylloxera and many other vineyard pests, reducing the need for synthetic herbicides & pesticides. Estate Argyros practices sustainable viticulture, using composted grape must as fertilizer, and plowing the vineyards with mules.
The estate vineyards are located primarily in Episkopi and Pyrgos, which are prime locations for Assyrtiko. The ungrafted vines range in age from 30 to over 150 years, and are trained into basket-shaped bowls, a traditional technique called ""kouloura"". Today, Mathew Argyros, the fourth generation of family winemakers, continues his father's legacy by making legendary wines from Assyrtiko and other indigenous Santorinian varietals, using traditional techniques.
A picturesque Mediterranean nation with a rich wine culture dating back to ancient times, Greece has so much more to offer than just retsina. Between the mainland and the country’s many islands, a wealth of wine styles exists, made mostly from Greece’s plentiful indigenous varieties. After centuries of adversity after Ottoman rule, the modern Greek wine industry took off in the late 20th century with an influx of newly trained winemakers and investments in winemaking technology.
The climate—generally hot Mediterranean—can vary a bit with latitude and elevation, and is mostly moderated by cool maritime breezes. Drought can be an issue for Greek wine during the long, dry summers, sometimes necessitating irrigation.
Over 300 indigenous grapes have been identified throughout Greece, and though not all of them are suitable for wine production, future decades will likely see a significant revival and refinement of many of these native Greek wine varieties. Assyrtiko, the crisp, saline variety of the island of Santorini, is one of the most important and popular white varieties, alongside Roditis, Robola, Moschofilero, and Malagousia. Muscat is also widely grown for both sweet and dry wines. Prominent red varieties include full-bodied and fruity Agiorghitiko, native to Nemea; Macedonia’s savory, tannic Xinomavro; and Mavrodaphne, used commonly to produce a Port-like fortified wine in the Peloponnese.
A crisp white variety full of zippy acidity, Assyrtiko comes from the volcanic Greek island of Santorini but is grown increasingly wide throughout the country today. Assyrtiko’s popularity isn’t hard to explain: it retains its acid and mineral profile in a hot climate, stands alone or blends well with other grapes and can also withstand some age. Somm Secret—On the fairly barren, windswept Mediterranean island of Santorini, Assyrtiko vines must be cultivated in low baskets, pinned to the ground. The shape serves to preserve moisture and protect the growing grapes in its interior.