Archive by Author

Latest News

16 Summertime Sippers from Greece | Tasting Highlights | News & Features | Wine Spectator

Tasting Highlights bring the best wines from our editors’ most recent tastings to members.

If you’re seeking fresh whites for summer drinking pleasure, look no further than Greece. The country is home to an amazing array of native grape varieties, and local vintners are stepping up to provide distinctive flavors. The highest quality white variety is Assyrtiko, which reaches its pinnacle with versions made on the island of Santorini, combining Riesling-like purity with lush creaminess.


SANTO WINES Assyrtiko Santorini Trygos 2014

Wine Spectator Score: 89

Country: Greece

Tasting Note:

This rich version is filled with lemon curd, apple tart and white raspberry flavors that feature a fresh-tasting salinity. A smoky hint lingers on the well-spiced finish. Drink now through 2019. 2,500 cases made.



SANTO WINES Santorini Vinsanto Trygos 2005

Wine Spectator Score: 89

Country: Greece

Tasting Note:

A buttery, dessert-style white, with a creamy texture and robust dried apricot, glazed pear and melon flavors. Dried ginger details show on the spicy finish, accented by honeyed notes. Drink now through 2022. 300 cases made.



SANTO WINES Cyclades Rosé Semi-Dry Ageri 2014

Score: 83

Country: Greece

Tasting Note:

Off-dry, with candied cherry and plum tart flavors that turn a touch cloying on the finish. Drink now. 1,000 cases made.



SANTO WINES Cyclades Kameni 2012

Score: 84

Country: Greece

Tasting Note

Off-dry, with raisiny notes to the roasted plum and dark cherry flavors. The rustic finish has juniper berry accents. Drink now. 1,000 cases made.


Wine Spectator scores our Assyrtiko 91!

Santorini Assyrtiko 2013 Score: 91

From “Discovering Santorini” in November 15, 2014 Wine Spectator

“Following centuries of tradition, the vines are bush-trained and planted in shallow depressions – designed to conserve precious moisture and to protect against severe winds – with vine shoots woven into round, shrubby baskets, and grapes huddled at the center. The basket also helps shield the grapes from the region’s strong sun and capture dew that sometimes descends from morning fog in the summer. Yields are correspondingly low, averaging just 1.5 to 2 tons per acre.

The vines grow like this, trained but unpruned, for decades on the seemingly sterile soil. After 50 or 60 years, the canes get cut all the way back, then are allowed to regenerate; individual root systems are thus conserved and may be up to 400 years old. These factors combine to make Santorini one of the world’s most distinctive and unique winegrowing regions.”

“… Over the past 25 years, Santorini’s Wines, once known for sweetnes and high alcohol levels, have undergone a sea change. Now recognized as Greece’s finest, the fresh, mineral-laced offerings from the island’s flagship grape, Assyrtiko, are compared to fine versions of Riesling or Chardonnay.”

“Santorini’s vineyards were shaped the same way the island’s awe-inspiring topography was – by a giant volcanic eruption about 3,600 years ago that destroyed a thriving civilization. The volcano’s crater collapsed into the sea – leaving behind miles of dramatically sheer cliffs that plunge into deep blue waters.”

“Vinsanto, the island’s luscious, creamy sweet wine, first gained fame when Santorini was under Venetian rule during the Middle Ages. Similar to Italian-style passitos, Vinsanto is made from at least 51 percent Assyrtiko grapes that are dried on mats in the sun and aged in barrels at least two years. (Santorini’s version is spelled as one word to distinguish it from Italian Vin Santo.)”

“The island also produces a small quantity of red wines of wildly varying quality-principally from Mavrotragano and Mandilaria grapes, classified as Cyclades regional wine.”

Assyrtiko 2013 gained 91 points and is often compared to Rieslings.



kameniposter 24x36

10 Best Wine Travel Destinations 2014–Greece/cparticle/2

The Aegean Islands, Greece

With whitewashed villages that cling to steep hillsides, which drop precipitously toward the deep blue sea, few people think of the Aegean Islands as a wine destination. But if you look carefully, you will see that the island of Santorini is essentially one large farm, Samos has terraced vineyards on Mount Ambelos, and Crete is home to a variety of white and red grapes. All three islands have excellent choices for lodging and fine dining, and the network of ferries and short-hop flights make visiting one or more of these convenient and simple. —Mike DeSimone & Jeff Jenssen

Other Activities

There are many choices for sunset cruising, but if you’re feeling adventurous on Santorini, climb aboard the Schooner Thalassa and sail across the caldera to hike to the top of the volcano. Afterward, swim where the volcanic hot spring meets the sea. When you climb back on board, you’ll catch the most romantic sunset of your life.

Budget Tip

The best way to see the rim of Santorini’s volcanic caldera is to hike from Fira to the town of Oia. The three-hour journey ventures through several small villages, passing picturesque churches and chapels.

When to Go

April to October are the busiest months with the best weather, but true wine geeks aim for the August grape harvest.

Local in the Know

Stela Kasiola, of Santo Wines on Santorini, says, “One of my favorite places to spend a day with friends is Vlychada Beach—it has a spectacular landscape, and the drive there takes you through vineyards and fields of huge volcanic rocks. Besides relaxing on the beach and swimming, you can walk to the medieval castle in the village of Pyrgos. It is a magical place with little winding paths and small churches. It has a great aura and gives you a wonderful feeling of what Santorini must have been like in the past.”

Where to Taste

There’s no better place on Santorini to taste wine while watching the sun descend over the caldera than Santo Wines. Order a flight of six wines and pair them with specialties including cheese, olives, bread and spreads made from tomato and fava beans. Before leaving, visit the newly renovated boutique to purchase wine and locally grown products.

Prominent Wines

Visitors to Santorini quickly learn that Assyrtiko is the most important variety on the island. Crisp, clean and delightfully acidic, it’s the perfect wine to pair with grilled octopus-and-tomato keftedes (meatballs)—sheer perfection in every mouthful. Other varieties include Aidani, a lightly floral white wine, and Voudomato and Mavrotragano, earthy, medium-bodied reds that go beautifully with local cuisine. Samos is known for delicious sweet wine made from Muscat grapes, and Crete offers a variety of wines, including zesty Vilana and apricot-scented Vidiano. Mantilari is considered one of the best Cretan reds—it’s aromatic and pairs perfectly with lamb.