The 2019 vintage in Santorini was described as the “pocket vintage” with circa 1,000 tons of grapes harvested on the island compared to the normal 3,000 tons. Fortunately, quality was high and new boutique producers like Vassaltis Winery, who have already established a very high quality track record, were able to source sufficient quantities of high quality old vine Assyrtiko.
For the vintage, owner and proprietor Yiannis Valambous stated that “our source vineyards in Vourvoulos yielded approximately 50% less than they did in 2018. Yields were approximately 6 hl/ha. It is scary, but it is what it is… on the upside, quality seems to be outstanding.” I recently tasted a bottle of the Vassaltis Black Label “estate” Assyrtiko and was suitably impressed.
Vassaltis Assyrtiko 2019, PDO Santorini, 14% Abv.
Summer is in the air and this new 2019 Assyrtiko from Yiannis Valambous is another serious benchmark Santorini white. With the island’s unique volcanic terroir and old vines, you always know there will be freshness combined with a concentration of flavour and minerality. This classical rendition speaks of Santorini’s maritime terroir with a fabulously complex nose of dusty basaltic minerality, crushed gravel, salted almonds, lemon bon bons and dried summer grasses. On the palate there is impressive purity and precision, a hallmark of all the Vassaltis wines that combine a palate tingling intensity of salty, briney zest, deliciously tangy acids and a remarkable palate breath that leaves a long lasting impression. Drink now and over 3-5 years.
(Wine Safari Score: 94/100 Greg Sherwood MW)