clear wine glass overlooking orchard during daytime

Santorini Wines: Rich History and Unique Varieties


Santorini, a stunning Greek island in the Aegean Sea, is home to some of the world’s most unique and flavorful wines. Due to the island’s volcanic soil and hot, dry climate, the Santorini wines are unlike any other in the world.

With a history of winemaking that dates back more than 4,000 years, Santorini is a must-visit destination for wine lovers and history buffs alike. This blog will take you on a journey through the rich history of winemaking on Santorini and introduce you to the unique varieties of wine that you can only find on this striking island. Get ready to sip and savor the flavors of Santorini – let’s dive in!

Brief history of wine-making in Santorini

Santorini has a rich history of winemaking that dates back more than 4,000 years. Records show that winemaking on the island was prevalent during the Minoan civilization period. According to legend, the wine was so highly regarded that it was exported to other parts of Greece and even to other countries.

The vineyards of Santorini were devastated by the phylloxera disease in the late 1800s, which led to the decline of winemaking on the island. However, through hard work and dedication, the winemakers of Santorini were able to revive and preserve their winemaking traditions.

Today, Santorini’s winemakers continue to combine ancient vine-growing methods with modern technology to produce some of the world’s most unique and flavorful wines. The hot, dry climate and volcanic soil of the island create the ideal conditions for growing grapes, and the winemakers’ meticulous attention to detail ensures that each bottle of wine is of the highest quality.

santorini wines

Unique varieties of grapes grown in Santorini

Santorini is known for its unique grape varieties that are grown in the hot and dry climate of the island. The volcanic soil provides ideal conditions for producing grapes that are different from any other varieties found around the world. Here are some of the unique grape varieties grown in Santorini:

  1. Assyrtiko – This is considered the most popular and celebrated grape variety in Santorini. The grape yields wines that are full-bodied with a high acidity level. The flavors are infused with notes of citrus, lemon, and mineral.
  2. Athiri – This grape variety produces wines that are light and aromatic, with a hint of sweetness. The wine is refreshing and perfect for pairing with seafood.
  3. Aidani – This variety is known for its strong aromas of flowers and citrus fruits. The wine produced from Aidani grapes is sweet and ideal for dessert.
  4. Mandilaria – This variety is known for producing red wines with intense flavors and high levels of tannins. The wine has notes of black cherry, blackberry, and a hint of spice.

Each of these grape varieties is unique and contributes to the distinct flavors and aromas of Santorini wines. The winemakers of Santorini continue to experiment with these varieties and create blends that showcase the best of what the island has to offer.

Production process of Santorini wines

The production process of Santorini wines is unique and differs from traditional wine-making practices. The wine-making process in Santorini is heavily influenced by the island’s harsh climate and volcanic soil. Here are the steps involved in producing Santorini wines:

  1. Cultivation – Grape cultivation in Santorini is carried out in the traditional basket method, known as kouloura. The vines are pruned to grow in a circular shape and low to the ground, thus protecting them from the strong winds and intense sun exposure.
  2. Harvesting – Grapes are harvested by hand, especially the delicate and thin-skinned Assyrtiko grape variety, ensuring the highest quality of grapes is used in the production.
  3. Pressing – The grapes are destemmed and pressed to produce grape juice, which undergoes natural fermentation, without the addition of any yeast or sugar.
  4. Aging – Santorini wines are aged for at least one year before being released to the market. Assyrtiko grape variety is also aged in oak barrels, adding extra complexity to the wine.
  5. Blending – Winemakers experiment with blending the unique grape varieties of Santorini to produce new and exciting flavors and aromas.
  6. Bottling – Santorini wines are bottled using recycled glass, which adds to the sustainability of the wine-making process.

In conclusion, the unique climate, volcanic soil and grape varieties of Santorini contribute to the distinct flavors and aromas of their wines. The production process of Santorini wines is traditional, sustainable and allows the best quality of grapes to be used for the production of their world-renowned wines.

Tasting notes and characteristics of Santorini wines

5 Tasting Notes and Characteristics of Santorini Wines

Santorini wines are known for their unique characteristics, which are a result of the island’s volcanic soil and distinct grape varieties. Here are five tasting notes and characteristics of Santorini wines that set them apart:

  1. Bracing Acidity – Santorini wines display a high level of acidity due to the island’s harsh climate and soil conditions. The signature grape variety of Santorini, Assyrtiko, has a lemony acidity that adds freshness to the wine.
  2. Mineral Flavors – The volcanic soil of Santorini imparts a distinctive minerality to the wine. This mineral flavor can be described as smoky or salty and adds complexity to the wine.
  3. Citrus Aromas – Assyrtiko grape variety, which is the most widely planted grape in Santorini, is known for its citrus aromas. The wine may have notes of lemon, lime, or grapefruit, depending on the ripeness of the grapes and the production process.
  4. Crisp and Clean Finish – Santorini wines have a crisp and clean finish that lingers on the palate. This is due to the high acidity of the wine, which balances the sweetness and adds freshness to the wine.
  5. Age-Worthiness – Santorini wines have a potential for aging due to their acidity and mineral character. Some Santorini wines can be aged for over a decade, where they develop a more complex and nuanced flavor profile.

In conclusion, Santorini wines offer a unique tasting experience with their signature characteristics of high acidity, mineral flavors, citrus aromas, crisp finish, and age-worthiness. These characteristics make Santorini wines stand out among other Greek and international wines.

Santorini wines in a glass

Pairing recommendations and cuisine in Santorini

6 Pairing Recommendations and Cuisine in Santorini

Santorini, known for its unique wine varietals and volcanic soil, is a paradise for wine enthusiasts. In addition to the breathtaking views, the island boasts exceptional cuisine. Here are some pairing recommendations and cuisine options to enjoy during your visit to this Greek paradise:

  1. Fresh Seafood – With Santorini being an island, it is no surprise that fresh seafood is a staple of the cuisine. Enjoy grilled octopus with an Assyrtiko wine with high acidity or a crisp and refreshing white wine like Athiri.
  2. Tomatokeftedes – Santorini’s famous tomato fritters made with the island’s exquisite tomato varieties pair exceptionally well with a chilled dry rose wine.
  3. Moussaka – A popular Greek dish consisting of eggplant, minced beef, and béchamel sauce is a perfect match for a full-bodied red wine like Mavrotragano.
  4. Fava – A delectable yellow split pea puree, a Santorini specialty, pairs beautifully with a crisp and refreshing white wine like Assyrtiko.
  5. Lamb – Santorini lamb is world-renowned for its unique taste, thanks to the influence of the island’s volcanic soil. It would be best to pair roasted lamb meat with a fruity medium-bodied red wine such as Mandilaria.
  6. Baklava – Indulge your sweet tooth with Santorini’s famous honey-laden pastry, Baklava. Pair it with a sweet dessert wine Lingotokleftiko, made from the rare and indigenous white grape Varitis.

In conclusion, Santorini offers a wide range of cuisine that pairs exceptionally well with its famous wines. From fresh seafood to savory meats and decadent sweets, visitors can enjoy a perfect pairing with their Santorini wine of choice.

Conclusion and invitation to experience Santorini wines firsthand

Santorini has a rich history and unique varieties of wines that are sure to please any wine enthusiast. From the volcanic soil to the indigenous grape varieties, Santorini wines are truly one-of-a-kind.

With the perfect pairing recommendations, visitors can indulge in delicious cuisine and experience the full spectrum of flavors that Santorini has to offer. From fresh seafood to savory meats and decadent sweets, every dish is elevated when paired with a Santorini wine.

If you have not yet experienced Santorini wines firsthand, we invite you to do so. Come visit Santorini, attend a wine tasting, and explore the island’s vineyards. You may just discover your new favorite wine and gain a newfound appreciation for the rich history and culture of this beautiful Greek island.

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