What is your Love-Hate wine? Assyrtiko from Santorini may change your mind. #TryThis

By / Wine + Drinks / May 11th, 2018 / 7

When I think of a style of wine that could be considered “love-hate,” high acid, mineral driven whites come to mind. I’m generally in the love camp — Chablis or dry German Riesling are wonderful. At their best as food wines but they can also be sipped solo on a hot day. If you enjoy wines like these, I’d really encourage you to try the native Greek white grape Assyrtiko. Grown all over Greece, it gives the most structured and austere versions from the windswept, volcanic soil vineyards of Santorini Island. Versatile in the hands of the winemaker, it is fabulous in both unoaked and oaked styles.

Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko 2017, Santorini ($28)

This wine saw only stainless steel in its production, enhancing its tart, youthful character. It is straightforward, with fresh citrus and sea breeze aromas and flavours. The hallmark racy acidity is felt but not too dominating. Makes me crave oysters and sunshine.

Gaia Wild Ferment Assyrtiko 2017, Santorini ($40)

Fermented by wild yeasts and using both concrete vats and French oak barrique, this Assyrtiko has layers of complexity. There is a saline tangy character (a typical flavour of the Santorini versions), with just enough openness and warmth from the oak. Texture and acid backbone for days, and though it is tasty now it would be fun to let this one age for 3 to 5 years further.


Brie Dema has a career rooted in hospitality and has worked with several fantastic Canadian wine and culinary programs including Langdon Hall, Fogo Island Inn and the Elora Mill. She has studied with WSET and CMS, holding the Diploma and the Advanced Pin respectively. Brie played the part of a bumblebee in her dance studio’s production of Peter Pan when she was five. She has a lousy sense of direction but can always find her way to the bottom of a glass of wine. Brie’s favorite role and greatest accomplishment is being a mom to her wonderful daughter Una. She wishes she was a better cook, but is glad she married a chef.

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