Meet Some of the Sons and Daughters: Matthew & Yiannis Argyros - Wine & Spirits Magazine

Meet Some of the Sons and Daughters: Matthew & Yiannis Argyros

Jasmine Hirsch never believed she’d end up working with her father, David, at Hirsch Vineyards on Sonoma’s remote far coast. Olivier Berrouet didn’t have a second thought when he was offered the job his father, Jean-Claude, had held for more than forty years—making the wine at Château Pétrus in Bordeaux. Working with—or separately from—a famous father may not be the simplest career path—but the sons and daughters in the pages that follow have worked it out brilliantly.

Yiannis Argyros is not easy to get to know. The third generation of his family to run the Argyros winery on Santorini, Yiannis gets the credit for lifting it into the pantheon of the island’s best. He’s built like a welterweight boxer, compact and solid, and he prefers to listen rather than talk. He doesn’t smile, and his silence made me distinctly uncomfortable on my first visits to his winery; it didn’t get much better when his son, Matthew, started fielding the visitors. Although he’s more talkative than Yiannis, his father would never leave the room—he’d just sit there without saying a word, as if testing his son on Argyros hospitality. It felt like watching an MS exam.

Now Matthew is 31, with a decade of full-time work at the winery behind him, and the atmosphere is far more relaxed. “Of course my father is not always open to fresh ideas,” Matthew says, and asks me for an opinion on a new label design. I duck the test, earning a hint of a smile from Yiannis. “We never like the same labels or packaging in wines,” Matthew says. “I tend to experiment more than him. It takes some time and effort to convince him of new techniques,” he adds, spinning a screw cap off a bottle. His dad nods, eyes twinkling: Screw caps were an argument Matthew won, his father agreeing that it accents the freshness of the entry-level wines.

But there are some things Matthew would never mess with. “I consider my father the master of the Vinsanto,” he says. “My father is a very calm and patient person, and this is obvious in his wines. Also, he is a very good listener and a very good link between the experience of the older farmers and winemakers of the island and the modern winemaking techniques.” Matthew’s real test will be to cultivate that same calmness, patience and ability to listen, sustaining the reputation of the Argyros Vinsantos as the wines by which all other Vinsantos are judged.

91 ‘10 Argyros Estate Santorini Assyrtiko $45 (08/11)
91 ‘07 Argyros Estate Santorini Kthma $29 (10/08)

This story was featured in W&S Fall 2011.

is W&S’s editor at large and covers the wines of the Mediterranean and Central and Eastern Europe for the magazine.

This story appears in the print issue of fal 2011.
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