East Med, Mediterranean wines, Review

Greek Assyrtiko: between thyme and the deep blue sea

What is the Greek wine Assyrtiko? Grown on the volcanic soil of Santorini, it is a white wine that when good, is a summer wind by the sea made into taste and smell.

Last night I had the Hatzidakis Assyrtiko with hot salmon, fresh herbs and dijon mustard on ciabatta and, although it is not a traditional Greek dish, it is an excellent match for this wine: as clear as white houses against blue sky.

For those who had too much cheap retsina on a package holiday once: this wine will rock your preconceptions about Greek wine. Let in the fresh air. There is no reason why Santorini AOC should not be more well-known: minerally, fresh and from a major Greek Island. The technology is there to create fresh white wines, hopefully Hatzidakis will pave the way for more wines from this region.

Tasting with a handful of vine-ripened tomatoes before dinner lifted the wine to another level, and my friend suggested it was the methoxypyrazines that are working together in tomato and the Assyrtiko (the green tastes in wine, in this case: dried herbs). Whatever the science behind it, it was a fabulous tasting moment and overall, the clean taste with a light breath of thyme, is as complete as a walk home on a quiet track after an afternoon at the beach.

 

Hatzidakis Assyrtiko

Waitrose

 

Related post: Anything but Assyrtiko

 

Repost with updates October 17, 2010 – my thoughts are with Greece today. And Assyrtiko is a perfect white wine for heatwave weather.

 

Image: Jean-Luc Godard’s Contempt 1963

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