Refreshing White From the Island of Santorini

Today’s Story: Domaine Sigalas

Domaine Sigalas was established in 1991 by Paris Sigalas, Christos Markozane, and Yiannis Toundas. Though the winery was initially based in the Sigalas family home, in 1998 the team constructed a new winery, bottling, and aging facility in the area of Oia in the northern part of the island of Santorini. Domaine Sigalas today consists of about 20 hectares (~49 acres) of vineyards, planted to the indigenous varieties of Assyrtiko, Athiri, Aidani, Mandilaria, and Mavrotragano. Sigalas farms all their vineyards adhering to organic viticulture, and they’ve been a pioneer in organic viticulture on the island with participation in government programs for it since 1994. The soil type is typical of the island of Santorini, made up of high amounts of sand (sometimes 93-97%) in volcanic pumice and ash. This is a hazardous environment for Phylloxera to survive, so the vines on Santorini are still on their original rootstocks and Sigalas is able to farm very old Phylloxera-resistant vines. Total production of Sigalas is about 25,000 cases per vintage, and while they are known for their mineral-driven and steely Assyrtiko the rest of their wines offer a good range of variety and style.

Today’s Wine: 2019 Santorini Assyrtiko

100% Assyrtiko; 14.5% ABV

The 2019 Santorini Assyrtiko is pale yellow in color. I enjoyed letting this blossom in the glass over 20-30 minutes, as it is pretty youthful and I think will show best with another 1-2 years of bottle age. The aromas are of medium intensity, with notes of lemon zest, yellow apple, honeysuckle, flint, and saline mineral. Meanwhile the flavors are also of medium intensity, with the palate displaying notes of pear, lime zest, passionfruit, beeswax, and sea salt. This dry white is medium-bodied with high acidity, high alcohol, and a medium length finish. Very refreshing and enjoyable, but not really too complex. I think this will only improve over the next year or two.

Price: $40 (might be able to find closer to $34). I’m just starting to explore Assyrtiko, so I struggle to call this a solid value wine but take that with a grain of salt. For instance, the last one I had was about 25% less expensive but it drank just as well. That being said, this is no doubt a high quality and enjoyable wine I would love to revisit down the road, and perhaps it ends up being a great value as I expand my Assyrtiko horizons.

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