Assyrtiko 'Voila', Lyrarakis, Crete, Greece 2018

Voila Assyrtiko.jpg
Voila Assyrtiko.jpg

Assyrtiko 'Voila', Lyrarakis, Crete, Greece 2018

from 12.95

There’s a cracking joke at this end of this tasting note, so bear with it, the pay-off is well worth it. Although Assyrtiko is more famously associated with the sparse, lava-strewn landscape of Santorini, where the wines take the concept of ‘minerality’ to the extreme, it also does well in the high-altitude vineyards on the eastern side of Crete. This little gem is grown in the ‘Voila' vineyard in gravel over limestone soils at 580m above sea level, an altitude which tempers the island’s warm climate (conferring warm days and the all-important cool nights) and gives just the right conditions for achieving the grape’s most aromatic expression. This is one of those lovely, crunchy white wines bursting with lemon, grapefruit and white-fleshed fruits, the acidity is just enough to make your gums shiver politely in anticipation, and there’s a lingering taste of the island – a dusty, chalky quality, as if you were driving up a rocky/gravel track through a lemon grove. It’s a deliciously zippy and distinctive white that can be enjoyed as an aperitif or with food (something simple like grilled fish with lemon and herbs would be ideal). What do you call an expert in the wines of eastern Crete? A Knosseur. 13.5% alc. Drink now-2021. Told you!

JancisRobinson.com (Julia Harding): “Restrained herbal and lemony nose, full and dense, firm in the mouth and it becomes drier and more chalky on the finish. Excellent concentration without heaviness. Spice and a sour-salty freshness, impressive persistence. Not quite as extraordinary as the best Assyrtikos from Santorini but concentrated, dry and with a long stony aftertaste. Shows how good this variety can be elsewhere in Greece. The best vintage of this wine I have tasted so far.” 17 points

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