TOP 4 best Santorini wines
Santorini is not only famous for its breathtaking scenery, stunning beaches, and glamorous spots but also for its one-of-a-kind volcanic wine. The mythical Greek island is actually one of the most exciting wine-producing regions in the Mediterranean, choc-a-block with interesting indigenous grape varieties and unique wines. Are you wondering what the best Santorini wines are to be drinking on the island? Let’s take a look at the most delicious styles!
The sweet Vinsanto is probably Santorini’s most important contribution to the wine world. This naturally sweet dessert wine possesses a golden orange color and a fruity character reminiscent of quinces, braised figs, dates, and ripe yellow fruit, touched with honey and caramel. It is produced by local Assyrtiko grapes, which are laid out on the terraces of the villages and dried under the sun for 15 days before it goes to the wine-press. There are different theories about the origin of the name. Some believe it derives from the abbreviation of the word “vino santo” which means ‘holy wine’ while others think it comes from the phrase “vino di Santorini” which means ‘wine of Santorini’.
The bright yellow Nykteri pays tribute to a special wine-making style that is unique in Greece. The Assyrtiko, Athiri, and Aidani grapes were traditionally harvested to avoid the hot temperatures and create a fine wine with little extraction from color and exposure to air. The name translates to “staying up all night’ which well describes this centuries-old practice. Following the vinification process, Nykteri wines must be aged in oak for a minimum of three months. The result is a crystal-clear, semi-yellow wine that is dominated by the aromas of jasmine, citrus fruits, flowers, and pear, all of these enhanced with a gentle vanilla sense.
Red wine lovers will not be missed out either, as Santorini also offers excellent red varieties as well, among which Mavrotragano is the most noteworthy. Until recently this rare red grape variety with its black (mavro) and crisp (tragano) berries was merely blended in the Santorini sweet wines and nearly became extinct. Today, it is one of the highly-praised varieties employed in producing reds. The full-bodied spicy Mavrotragano is a deeply colored, tannic, and medium-to high-acid wine that displays aromas and flavors of wild berries, red cherries, spices, and minerals. Its savory characteristics are reminiscent of northern Rhône Syrah.
Although this wine is not part of Greece’s classification system, it is commonly produced on the island. This distinctive red wine is the less sweet version of Vinsanto and is typically made from a combination of raised and unraised Assyrtiko grapes, or from grapes that have undergone less sun drying than in the case of those employed in Vinsanto. Another difference is that before vinification, dry grape must is added to the run-off juice from the raised grapes. The name of the wine comes from the time of the island’s Venetian occupation between the 13th and 16th centuries. Mezzo wine has rich aromas of coffee, caramel, dried fruits, and dried nuts with a pleasant acidity that balances the sweet and mineral aftertaste.