Gaia Wines, ‘Thalassitis’, Santorini, Assyrtiko 2019
A nervy dry wine with a strain of flinty saltiness on the mouthwatering, bone-dry finish.
One of the pioneers of the modern Greek wine revolution Gaia Estate was established in 1994 by Greek winemakers Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. Operating two different wineries they make cutting edge wines in both Nemea and Santorini. Gaia’s main aim is to present the potential of the indigenous Greek grape varieties to wine enthusiasts worldwide.
2018 was a challenging vintage with difficult climatic conditions. As a result, the yields were lower than previous years. Vigilance in the vineyards and winery ensured the wines have retained the high quality and varietal characteristics.
This wine is made from the island’s indigenous variety Assyrtiko (pronounced Ah-SEERtee-koe) which is renowned for combining full flavoured maturity while retaining considerably high acidity. The grapes are produced exclusively from vineyards in the Episkopi, Akrotiri and Pyrgos regions, at elevations of between 50 to 250 metres above sea-level. The vines are between 70 to 80 years old and produce a particularly low yield of between 18 to 25 hectolitres per hectare, which in turn produces concentrated juice. The vines are cultivated in volcanic soils which are porous with a high mineral content.
The hand-picked grapes were cold macerated for a period of 12 hours at controlled temperatures of 10°C. Fermentation took place in stainless steel tanks at 16 to 18°C with selected yeasts. The wine did not undergo malolactic fermentation, to retain its characteristic crisp style. This wine was produced in an unoaked style preserving its freshness and purity of fruit. It spent four months in stainless steel tanks on its lees with frequent bâtonnage or lees stirring, imparting texture and complexity.
A bone dry wine, with an explosive mineral core surrounded by delicate notes of fresh lemon zest and floral hints. Refreshing with a crisp, mineral finish.