Why is it that Santorini produces some of the most distinctive wines in Greece? What makes the wines of Santorini so unique? The answer is hidden in the particular terroir of this volcanic island that creates favorable conditions for the cultivation of Athiri, Aidani, Assyrtiko, Mavrotragano and Mandilaria, the main varieties of Santorini.
To begin with, the soil of Santorini is consisted of aspa, a mixture of volcanic ashes, pumice stone, sand and solidified lava; this soil has minimal, if any organic constituents with a high content of essential minerals that result in naturally low pH levels in the wine and high acidity. In addition, the presence of minerals and the lack of clay in the soil of Santorini provide the grapes with a precious immunity against hazardous pests.
At the same time, Santorini is an island that receives very little rainfall throughout the year, and whatever little rain does fall, it is quickly absorbed by the porous soil and the rocks. Whatever moisture the vines get comes from the condensation drawn from the deep underground from the summer heat, as well as the morning sea mists coming from the vapors of the active volcano interacting with the sea.
Finally, the cool northern winds that blow all through the summer help prevent pests and mold, and keep the temperature rather low, adding to the acidity of the Santorinian wines.
It is apparent that the vines that grow on Santorini do so through hard conditions, and that demand for additional help and protection; thus the winegrowers have come up with the “kouloura” method, the gradual weaving of the vines in a continuous circle that eventually forms a basket. This method helps protect the vine from the harsh winds and keeps moisture trapped near the root.
These are the conditions that merge to forge the distinctive, fierce character of the Santorinian wines, the bizarre conglomeration of the land, the sea, the wind and centuries of experience in the world’s oldest vineyard. Taste its yield in the delicious Vinsanto, the bright Assyrtiko or any of the lip-smacking wines of Santorini. Visit http://www.santorinifeelings.com/category/wine/ for more tidbits on the wine of Santorini.