Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Santorini Wines Make Jancis Robinson's Top Ten Undersung Varietals List

If you're not yet ready (like me) to fork out $110 for Jancis Robinson's new wine tomb, Wine Grapes: A Complete Guide to 1,368 Vine Varieties, Including Their Origins and Flavours, you may enjoy reading her latest Decanter article on "The 10 Grapes Every Wine Love Should Try" (subscribers only - in print) which lists grapes from Europe - and surprisingly, Japan and Turkey - that are definitely in the lesser known category. Some are a little known - Vermintino, for instance - and others are obscure. 

(None are from the U.S.)

Just being back from a 10 week trip to Southern Italy, Sicily and Greece, including Santorini, I was happy to see Assyrtiko make the list. This Santorini varietal was one of the few to survive the phylloxera epidemic at the turn of the century. Grown in the volcanic soils of this island - in the deep waters of the middle of the Mediterranean - it's hardy enough to survive high winds. It's also dry farmed as there is no water source on the island.

There are only a few organic producers on the island - one of them, Hatzidakis is among the two producers Robinson features in her article, calling it "great stuff and great value."

You can find this wine for less than $20 in the U.S. from the following suppliers:

I had some while I was on the island - and it's a lovely white, fresh and crisp.

You can also get the Sigalas (which I dearly love now) from KLWines.com. It rated a 93 pt. rating from Robert Parker - and it's not often that that happens with a bottle that costs $19.99!

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