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Gaia Santorini Wild Ferment Assyrtiko 2009

Assyrtiko from Greece
  • W&S93
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Winemaker Notes

For "Assyrtiko by GAIA - Wild Ferment" we took a different approach. The Assyrtiko grape, carefully selected, originates exclusively from the "upland" vineyard of Pyrgos, a factor that makes it a little more aromatic than the Assyrtiko from the other parts of the island.

After undergoing the 12-hour skin contact the must is partially clarified and stored in small chilled INOX tanks as well as in new 225 lit French Oak barrels. The temperature is then allowed to rise naturally, without any further involvement. From that point on, modern technology passes the baton to traditional winemaking.

Alcoholic fermentation begins and develops on its own at a very gradual pace. The yeast strains that have managed to prevail are the ones which eventually determine - to a large extent - the new wine's character.

A particularity of most Assyrtiko varieties from Santorini is that, although we're talking about white wines, they take on the "demeanor" or red wines! Try ageing Gaia's Assyrtiko for 2-3 years, but strictly at a temperature never surpassing 12-14 degrees celsius. The wine will undergo profound changes. Its metallic dimension will subside while the fruity and honey flavors will envelop its body.

Finally, remember to pour Gaia's Assyrtiko (whether new or aged) in a wide decanter for around half an hour before savoring it. The new dimension this creates in the wine will enthrall you!

Critical Acclaim

W&S 93
Wine & Spirits

Oak may be the most noticeable element in the aroma, but the first taste is all about minerality, a spray of chalky notes spreading across the palate. From that earthy base lemon notes begin to bloom, along with tight, green herb scents that keep it feeling fresh and lively. It's as graceful and powerful as an Alvin Ailey dancer, with a backbone that will keep it going strong for a good decade.

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Gaia
Gaia, , Greece
Gaia
GAIA WINES was founded in 1994 by Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos.

Thalassitis, a Santorini A.O.C. white wine, inaugurated the company's first appearance, and quickly won a place in the Greek wine market. The 9,800 numbered bottles of Thalassitis in 1994, rapidly rose to more than 100,000 in 1999, all the while maintaining its commitment to quality.

In 1996 GAIA WINES acquired a private vineyard in Koutsi region of Nemea, along with a perfectly equipped winery of a total capacity of 3.000hl.

Santa Lucia Highlands

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Perhaps the most highly regarded appellation within Monterey County...

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Perhaps the most highly regarded appellation within Monterey County, Santa Lucia Highlands AVA benefits from a combination of warm morning sunshine and bracing afternoon breezes. This allows grapes to ripen slowly and fully, resulting in concentrated, flavorful wines that retain their natural acidity. Wineries here do not shy away from innovation, and place a high priority on “green” viticultural practices.

The climatic conditions here are perfectly suited to the production of ripe, rich Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These Burgundian varieties dominate an overwhelming percentage of plantings, though growers have also found success with Syrah, Riesling, and Pinot Gris.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow...

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One of the most difficult yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is commonly referred to by winemakers as the “heartbreak grape.” However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. More reflective than most varieties of the land on which it is grown, Pinot Noir prefers a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality, and demands care in the vineyard and lots of attention in the winery. It is an important component of Champagne and the only variety permitted in red Burgundy. Pinot Noir enjoys immense popularity internationally, most notably in Oregon, California, and New Zealand.

In the Glass

Pinot Noir Is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and lively acidity. It ranges in body from very light to the heavier side of medium, typically landing somewhere in the middle—giving it extensive possibilities for food pairing. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount), it can develop hauntingly beautiful characteristics of fresh earth, autumn leaves, and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon, ocean trout, and tuna. Its mild mannered tannins don’t fight with spicy food, and give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry—chicken, quail, and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, it can even match with heavier fare. Pinot Noir is also very vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

Pinot Noir is dangerously drinkable, highly addictive, and has a bad habit of emptying the wallet. Look for affordable but still delicious examples from Germany (as Spätburgunder), Italy (as Pinot Nero), Chile, New Zealand, and France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions.

WBW30075829_2009 Item# 103113

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