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Boutari Santorini 2009

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  • W&S90
13.5% ABV
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3.5 4 Ratings
13.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The island of Santorini is one of the most beautiful vacation destinations in the world. The island is all that remains of a massive volcanic eruption 3,600 years ago that destroyed civilizations hundreds of miles away. The extremely hot, dry and windy growing conditions make it impossible to grow grapes in standard rows. Instead the vines are trained into basket shapes and the grapes are grown in the protective center of the basket. Some vines are over 200 years old and form giant baskets. The wines of Santorini are made from the Assyrtiko (a-SEER-tee-ko) grape, which has the unique ability to maintain its fresh, citrusy flavors despite the extreme conditions that would make other grapes overripe. The result is a completely unique dichotomy of flavors that combine grapefruit and red apples with notes of wet chalk. The mouthfeel is rich, but finishes with crisp minerality that makes it the perfect pairing for shellfish.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 90
Wine & Spirits
Given the historically high interest in 'natural' products of all types, it's no surprise that wines made with lower than normal levels of sulphites would begin to develop a following. This is especially true in France, where a handful of talented young winemakers are producing some of the most exciting wines in their appellations by taking a 'non-intervention' approach to winemaking. It's a high stakes gamble that requires enormous attention to detail, along with a fresh approach to traditional cellar practices. One of the acknowledged leaders of the movement is Thierry Allemand of Cornas, whose 'Cuvée Spécial' Cornas is thought to be the benchmark example of Northern Rhône Syrah. Allemand has kindly shared his winemaking ideas with us over the years, encouraging us to try these techniques with our Syrah. We have recognized his role by naming the resulting wine 'Cuvée d'Honneur'. In 2005, our Cuvée d'Honneur Syrah took a dramatic step forward in both complexity and intensity. The production remains small, by necessity -- less than 10 barrels. The aroma is a striking combination of multiple spices, with earthy tones of bacon fat and leather. The real charm, though, is the underlying fruit. Big, grapey and supple, this wine is a textbook example of the heights reachable with old world technique and new world fruit. We bottled 250 cases.
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Boutari, Greece
2009 Santorini
The Boutari family has been crafting wines from Greek varietals since 1879, when Yiannis Boutari first started producing red wines in the small northern village of Naoussa. Since that first vintage the family has become a pioneer of Greek wines. From exporting the first bottled red wine from Greece to reviving lost varietals, Boutari now crafts wines from six different regions using varietals that are grown nowhere else in the world. In a constant quest for improvement Boutari maintains "demonstration" vineyards around Greece where local farmers are invited to learn new methods and techniques for improving their grapes. The results have been astounding: Boutari has been named an International Winery of the Year by Wine and Spirits 14 times – only 5 wineries in the world have received the award more times. Achievements such as developing the modern style of Santorini to reviving lost varietals have garnered lavish praise from the wine press and spawned a generation of high-quality Greek wines made by vintners who cut their teeth under the tutelage of the Boutari family.

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 exist, made mostly from Greece’s plentiful indigenous varieties. Still suffering for centuries after Ottoman rule, the modern wine industry did not truly begin here until the late 20th century, after a mass 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 often moderated by cool maritime breezes. Drought can be an issue during the long, dry summers, often 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 of many of these native 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 soft 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.

Other White Blends

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With hundreds of white grape varieties to choose from, winemakers have the freedom to create a virtually endless assortment of blended wines. In many European regions, strict laws are in place determining the set of varieties that may be used, but in the New World experimentation is permitted and encouraged. Blending can be utilized to create complex wines with many different layers of flavors and aromas, or to create more balanced wines. For example, a variety that is soft and full-bodied may be combined with one that is lighter with naturally high acidity. Sometimes small amounts of a particular variety are added to boost color or aromatics. Blending can take place before or after fermentation, with the latter, more popular option giving more control to the winemaker over the final qualities of the wine.

SWS95456_2009 Item# 105588

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