It’s Greek Week on the blog! The last week has been absolutely gorgeous in the Pacific Northwest so opening a bottle of Assyrtiko (ah-SEER-tee-koh) was perfect! A few years ago, I was drinking my way through the Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil and found this gem! I am very fond of the wines of Domaine Sigalas from Santorini because I love their delicate complexity. Assyrtiko is a white grape mainly found on the Greek Isle of Santorini but over the past few years, as it has gained popularity, it is being planted in other areas (such as Australia and the Greek mainland). Santorini is a volcanic island and this geology is part of what makes wine from there so beautiful. It imparts subtle minerality into the wine unlike any other location. It is also in the middle of the Aegean Sea. The strong winds that come off the water deposit salt water mist on the grapes, which provides a mild salinity to the wine. The winds are another interesting factor. In order to protect the grapes from the wind, the vines are woven into baskets close to the ground.
Domaine Sigalas was founded in 1991 by the Sigalas family. In 2003, they increased their number of shareholders, which allowed them to increase the reach of their brand and the financial capabilities of the company. Following this move, the wines slowly began to be exported globally. Throughout this time, their wines have been winning awards as the brand has gained international esteem, as well as being recognized as one of the top wine producers in Greece.
Sigalas Assyrtko is a pale yellow wine with watery legs. It smells of pineapple, white grapefruit, wet stone, lemon pith, and honeysuckle. This medium bodied wine surprisingly has 14% alcohol, but is well masked by the crisp acidity. It is this acidity that makes this so wonderful to pair with greek food! Tonight, I made a greek salad with feta, kalamata olives, pepperoncinis, cherry tomatoes and tzatziki. All of this acid would typically over power most wines but Assyrtiko is the perfect accompaniment to it all! The wine almost tastes a bit sweet amongst all these wonderful ingredients! The notes of pineapple, grapefruit, lemon, and herbs, along with the aforementioned salinity are excellent compliments to the salad. The next time you pick up a gyro for dinner, this wine would make a perfect way to wash it down!