The Society's Exhibition Santorini Assyrtiko 2020 is no longer available

This is a carousel with zoom. Use the thumbnails to navigate, or jump to a slide. Use the zoom button to zoom into a image.

Out of stock

The Society's Exhibition Santorini Assyrtiko 2020

White Wine from Greece
4.363640000 star rating 11 Reviews
A benchmark Santorini assyrtiko offered to us at an incredible price from winery Artemis Karamolegos. From low-lying vines averaging 50-years-of-age this is pure, taut and concentrated assyrtiko with lime-zest and peach flavours alongside assyrtiko's classic power and mineral, saline finish.
is no longer available
Code: GR2211

Wine characteristics

  • White Wine
  • 1 - Bone dry
  • Assyrtiko
  • 75cl
  • Now to 2025
  • 13.5% Alcohol
  • no oak influence
  • Cork, natural
Play Video
The Society's Exhibition Santorini Assyrtiko Video transcript

Video transcript

New to the range in 2022 is The Society's Exhibition Santorini Assyrtiko, produced exclusively for the Wine Society by Artemis Karamolegos on the island of Santorini.

The wines from the island of Santorini are impossible to replicate anywhere else. It's hot climate, its volcanic soils and its low annual rainfall typically produces incredibly textured, very firm, very bold styles of white wine. And this is exactly that.

Produced from grapes from 50-year-old vines, this has got all the lime and lemon citrus aromatics, a touch of chamomile, and that familiar textured, taut and firm palate you expect from this style of wine.

It's absolutely glorious, and I can't wait for you to try it.

Greece

The extremely ancient and proud history of winemaking in Greece goes back 6,500 years and the central part it has played, and does play, in Greek culture ought to have assured it of a place in the hearts and minds of modern wine drinkers. The fact that it has not yet done so is due to a complicated set of factors that involve history, language, geography and climate, not to mention economic woes, political upheaval and a lack of investment.

The prosperous years, in winemaking terms, of the Byzantine Empire was followed by the rapacious regulation of trading Venetians and then the dead hand of the Ottoman Turks who, though they did not prevent the making of wine, taxed the end product heavily. Communication difficulties exacerbated the problems and wine production became a very fragmented and localised business. An international reputation, or even a national one, based on produce from well organised, demarcated and business-like regions with a reputation for fine wines never got off...
The extremely ancient and proud history of winemaking in Greece goes back 6,500 years and the central part it has played, and does play, in Greek culture ought to have assured it of a place in the hearts and minds of modern wine drinkers. The fact that it has not yet done so is due to a complicated set of factors that involve history, language, geography and climate, not to mention economic woes, political upheaval and a lack of investment.

The prosperous years, in winemaking terms, of the Byzantine Empire was followed by the rapacious regulation of trading Venetians and then the dead hand of the Ottoman Turks who, though they did not prevent the making of wine, taxed the end product heavily. Communication difficulties exacerbated the problems and wine production became a very fragmented and localised business. An international reputation, or even a national one, based on produce from well organised, demarcated and business-like regions with a reputation for fine wines never got off the ground in Greece as they did in, for example, Bordeaux or the Douro. Even though independence was won from the Ottomans in the 1820s, the ripples of the occupation were still felt into the 20th century.

The Greek wine renaissance began in the 1970 by the Greek Shipowner Capt. John Carras, who set up his Estate in Chalkidiki, then the largest Estate in Europe. He employed Professor Emile Peynaud from Bordeaux University to advise and supervise the viticulture. The grapes originally planted were predominantly international grape varieties and his Chateau Carras (a Bordeaux blend) soon became famous and was listed at Harrods. The Hatzimichalis family followed swiftly with a very large Estate in Central Greece; again focusing on International grape varieties.

In their wake many smaller producers started making good quality wines. In the 1990's French trained George Skouras continued the renaissance and made 'Megas Oinos' a red wine that focused on the indigenous agiorgitiko variety; this became an iconic wine in Greece.

As the 'new breed' winemakers travelled and studied abroad they realised that Greece's 'treasure trove' of indigenous varieties are perfectly suited to the climate and terroir. By the beginning of the millenium there was a host of young, talented winemakers making wine from Greek grape varieties e.g. Leonidas Nasiakos with his moschofilero, Haridimos Hatzidakis with his Santorini assyrtiko and Apostolos Thymiopoulos with his 'New Age' xinomavro. More recently the second and third generation of Cretan winemakers such as Nikos Karavitakis and Maria Tamiolaki (Rhous Winery) have followed suit and are pioneering the Cretan indigenous grape varieties such as vidiano, vilana and kotsifali. The winemaking industry in Greece has become dynamic, adventurous and exciting and many smaller and niche winemakers have become very popular both in the domestic market and in the international scene.
The climate of Greece is categorised as Mediterranean, and is one of the hotter European areas for wine production. The mountainous interior provides many opportunities to plant at altitude and therefore to ameliorate the effects of heat, but the effects of drought are harder to overcome in an EU region where irrigation is forbidden without a Brussels derogation. Ripeness is therefore rarely a problem except in certain, exceptional circumstances and sites, and the problem is more likely to be a lack of acidity. Harvests in July are not unknown.

Soils are generally limestone based and impoverished except in areas close to the coast or certain valleys where more lucrative crops are planted on the fertile soils. On the islands, in particular the Cyclades, the soils are often volcanic. Santorini is a prime example, and these volcanic soils play a significant role in the character of the wines there. There is, of course, a mosaic of soils types in the entirety of Greece, from schist to sand, but limestone and volcanic soils tend to proliferate.

As with most EU countries, Greece has developed an appellation system, based on the French model, to the extent of borrowing the terminology of Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée on the label. Quality wines, as defined by the EU, are designated either OPE (Controlled Appellation of Origin) if sweet, or if dry as OPAP (Appellation of Superior Quality. If the words Réserve or Grand Réserve are used on a label they have the legal meaning of being aged for an extended period. The equivalent of a Vine de Pays system also operates under which a wider range of grape varieties may be used to make wine.

Wine is made all over Greece, from the high country of Macedonia on the border with what was once Yugoslavia, to the arid island of Crete in the Mediterranean, a location that is closer to Libya and Egypt than to Macedonia. Native varieties are being planted and replanted despite the encroachment of several international varieties.

Sweet wines like the famous muscats of Samos and Mavrodaphne of Patras have a long heritage and when made well are wonderful. And we must mention the famous, and sadly misunderstood, Retsina. Though it has a somewhat debased reputation there is a modern breed of winemakers like Tetramythos determined to make a more refined and delicate version that may yet convert any doubters.
Read more

Artemis Karamolegos

Portsmouth News

The Aegean island of Santorini is home to one of Greece's best white grapes, assyrtiko and [this] is not only a lovely example but also good value for a style of wine that can be more expensive. This is...
The Aegean island of Santorini is home to one of Greece's best white grapes, assyrtiko and [this] is not only a lovely example but also good value for a style of wine that can be more expensive. This is produced from vines averaging 50 years old planted on old volcanic soils. The nose is striking with lime, stone fruits, green herbs and a touch of salinity.The palate is fresh with mouth-watering zesty acidity, more of the stone fruits and a wonderful textured finish. I could imagine this with some simply grilled red mullet or chilli squid, delicious, just add sunshine.
Read more

Alistair Gibson

wine-pages.com

A truly lovely example of assyrtiko from the island of Santorini, this zips along with fabulous alacrity, combining juicy fresh-squeezed lemon and shimmering saltiness, with some delicate herb and flower...
A truly lovely example of assyrtiko from the island of Santorini, this zips along with fabulous alacrity, combining juicy fresh-squeezed lemon and shimmering saltiness, with some delicate herb and flower nuances. Balanced and long, intense and delightfully crisp, there is pleasing ripe fruit, but tightly wound into the finish. From 50-year-old vines, this has a natural sense of concentration somehow allied to weightlessness, and is a truly lovely example.
Read more

Tom Cannavan

Sussex Express

{This] is not a wine which is naturally at the top of everyone’s mental buying list, unless perhaps you’ve visited this Greek island on holiday. The local assyrtiko grape variety, however, produces a...
{This] is not a wine which is naturally at the top of everyone’s mental buying list, unless perhaps you’ve visited this Greek island on holiday. The local assyrtiko grape variety, however, produces a stunning, full-bodied dry white of great individuality, from the arid, volcanic soils of the island. Fresh acidity, with peach and lime notes, a full-flavoured wine, perfect with grilled fish or chicken.
Read more

Richard Esling

joannasimon.com

Just the sight of the words Santorini and assyrtiko on the label will be enough for some people to reach straight for their credit cards – and the price of this bottle is even more of an incentive....
Just the sight of the words Santorini and assyrtiko on the label will be enough for some people to reach straight for their credit cards – and the price of this bottle is even more of an incentive. There's no white wine quite like assyrtiko from the Aegean island of Santorini. The assyrtiko grape is now widely grown in Greece, but it produces its highest quality and most distinctive wines in Santorini's exceptional, hot, dry, sunny and windy conditions. The vines grow in volcanic soils rich in minerals, but with almost no organic matter, and often live for hundreds of years, thanks to the absence of phylloxera and other diseases and to the way the vines are trained and regenerated (I've written more on this here). The result is dry wines that can never be cheap but which are mouthwateringly intense, textural, mineral and fresh. Some have an almost shocking, smoky pungency, but The Society's Exhibition wine takes a more softly-softly approach: the smokiness is there, but it's much more of a delicate veil coiling around the citrus-zest, green herb, quince and preserved lemon intensity. The winery behind it is Artemis Karamolegos, the island's third largest, and the vines have an average of 50 years – quite young by Santorini's standards – and grow at easier, lower altitudes, which all helps to moderate the price. I can't think of Santorini assyrtiko without a plate of octopus, but it goes well with all sorts of fish and seafood – grilled, fried, boiled, ceviches – as well as with artichokes (notoriously difficult to match) and lemony and/or salty foods such as salads and crudités, feta, olives and salsa verde. This one would also work with green asparagus.
Read more

Joanna Simon

matchingfoodandwine.com

A bright zesty white that would be great with taramasalata, olives, tzatziki and other meze as well as spanakopita, pretty well any kind of seafood and grilled lamb.

Fiona Beckett

Rotherham and South Yorkshire Advertiser

Concentrated lime zest and peach flavours and a mineral streak.

David Clay

Belfast News Letter

... lean, delightfully dry, zesty and mineral-rich ... This highly distinctive Greek white ... is full of lime and peach flavours on its expressive palate before a satisfyingly savoury finish with notes...
... lean, delightfully dry, zesty and mineral-rich ... This highly distinctive Greek white ... is full of lime and peach flavours on its expressive palate before a satisfyingly savoury finish with notes of camomile, quartz and a strikingly firm and most pleasing acidity.
Read more

Raymond Gleug

JancisRobinson.com

Stony citrus. Subtle aroma. A very good example at a good price (especially given the current price of grapes on the island). Dry, stony, even chalky, and with piercingly fresh citrus fruit....
Stony citrus. Subtle aroma. A very good example at a good price (especially given the current price of grapes on the island). Dry, stony, even chalky, and with piercingly fresh citrus fruit. Mouth-wateringly dry, long too, especially at this price, even if not for ageing. Good value. 16/20
Read more

Julia Harding MW

2020 vintage reviews

Bestselling wines

Back to top