The best wine stories are told of scraggly vineyards such as those on Santorini island in Greece, where grapes have been grown for thousands of years. Santorini is a top vacation destination, among the world’s most popular. The island is replete with thrills for visitors, between the dazzling whitewashed villages, dramatic cliffs, and breathtaking views of extraordinary beaches and the caldera, the world’s largest active sea crater. The fame of the island, according to legend, began with the popularity of a sweet wine, amber in color, referred to as Vinsanto. The vineyards then, in ancient times, were as unique as they are today; and they continue to produce wines worthy of Rosehill Wine Cellars.
As wine connoisseurs are aware, the best wine grapes are those which grow in seemingly pitiful conditions. That couldn’t be truer of Santorini grapes. The vineyards there don’t even look like vineyards. The serpentine vines grow on the ground and look much like weeds. Over the centuries, vine growers developed a method for protecting the vines from brutal winds. They train the vines into coils that hug the ground and resemble baskets.
Amidst concentrations of shady leaves that provide protection against glaring sunlight, grape bunches grow in restricted quantities.
There is no irrigation on the island, where water is too precious a commodity. The vineyards get what moisture they can from the air, the ground, and sea mists. In these stark conditions, it seems unlikely, but some vineyard plots contain grapevines that have been producing for up to 500 years, with many being at least two centuries old.
Most of the vines are indigenous white grapes, and there are some red varieties.
Which Santorini wines should you buy for your wine cellar? Here are two of many possible suggestions:
- 8-year Vinsanto has a blend from the past eight vintages. The smell of the wine is described as crushed herbs, chocolate, coconut, hints of coffee and toffee, and candied orange peel as well as papaya, pineapple, mango, and other tropical fruits.
- 2008 Santo Wines Grand Reserve Assyrtiko is a balanced, harmonious wine made from vines more than a century old. The aroma includes vanilla and lemon blossoms, and mouth feel is a silky texture with a blend of saline flavors, including salted butter.
Do you have a Santorini wine in your custom Rosehill Wine Cellar yet?