Greek white wines made from the Assyrtiko grape may be leading the charge for “the white wine” of Greece. Santorini with its volcanic terroir is the most famous producer of wines made from Assyrtiko but prices are high for these Santorini wines. Mega Spileo in the Achaia region of Greece produces a more affordable Assyrtiko.
Having attended a Santorini Volcanic Terroir tasting in Toronto recently I tried to sum up Santorini Assyrtiko by such words as lemon, ginger, custard and lime with varying degrees of acidity and length of finish. Having just returned from Pico Island in the Azores which has volcanic soil like Santorini I can say the Pico white wines were more piercing with higher degrees of acidity.
Most Assyrtiko wines are suited to ocean fish including shellfish. I had a few sips with Malpeque Oysters at the Santorini tasting and that was an ideal match. Oak aged Santorini Assyrtiko may also suit grilled lamb and chicken.
This Mega Spileo 2021 Assyrtiko deserves a try if you aren’t willing to shell out $37-$70 for some of the Santorini Assyrtiko I tried.
Aroma: Lemon, lime, guava and ginger rather similar to the Santorini Assyrtiko.
Palate: Very dry but without raging acidity. Lemon, guava with a hint of caramel. Short finish lacking in complexity.
Food Pairing: Oysters or simply prepared limpets. Sea bream and sea bass or porgy with a sauce of olive oil, oregano and lemon served with vleta known in Ontario as pegweed or perhaps callaloo. This wine is not sipping wine. Built for seafood.
Personality: I am not ashamed to say I am a wine that suits a limited range of foods as that is what I am best suited for!
Price: $19.95 (Ontario).
RKS 2023 Wine Rating: 86/100.
(Mega Spileo Assyrtiko 2021, PGI Achaia, Mega Spileo Winery, Aigio Gefira Meganiti, Greece, 750 mL, 12.5%, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 31680).