Having just returned from an epic wine tour through Greece, I’m so excited to bring you my insight on several of the producers that I had the privilege of visiting.
Assyrtiko is one of Greece’s most known white grape varieties. If you have ever had a white wine from Santorini, you likely have tried Assyrtiko. Because of the popularity of Santorini, both from a tourism and wine consumption perspective, other parts of Greece have begun to produce their versions of Assyrtiko.
One of the very best versions of this grape that I tried on my trip came from Domaine Nerantzi. This small producer is based in the PGI of Serres, in the northern part of Greece, known as Macedonia. Nerantzi Mitropoulos founded the winery in 1988, as a home winemaker turned professional. Today Nerantzi and his daughter Eva farm 15 hectares of vineyards, including the local indigenous varieties Asprouda and Koniaros.
The farming at Nerantzi is organic, with vineyards sitting around 300 meters in elevation. The soil is largely calcareous sandy loam. There is no shortage of sunshine in these vineyards, but the moderately cooling nights help the grapes develop a profile with balanced fruit, minerality, and acidity.
Nerantzi Mitropoulos takes great pride in the history of the region. In fact, he made the time to take us to Amphipolis, to view ancient artifacts from this historic place. Yet he doesn’t need to go far to find historic artifacts. The family is constantly finding broken pieces of clay vessels and other signs of ancient life in the vineyards, these pieces dating back 5,000 years. Let’s just say this isn’t a new wine growing region!
As to the wine in question, I’m so excited for you to try the 2021 Assyrtiko. Beautiful aromatics on the nose, with notes of citrus zest, salinity, and spice. I love the texture on this wine, silky, with some weight on the midpalate, yet framed nicely by its vibrant acidity. An ideal white to serve with snacks as a precursor to your meal. Nerantzi easily won my self-appointed award of the best homemade spanakopita of the trip, and this match would make for the best possible aperitivo you could imagine.
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