“My father planted assyrtiko here more than 20 years ago, and there’s a funny story about how he became interested in it,” Stamatis Mylonas told me over Skype this spring. “He used to get mandilaria from Santorini in order to make a red version of savatiano—a sort of rosé. And at that time, no one thought anything of assyrtiko. One day, the truck pulled in, looking like it was filled with mandilaria, but they’d used the red grapes to conceal a truckload of assyrtiko. What was he going to do? Well, he made wine from it, and he liked it so much he decided to plant some vines.” Now those vines have become accustomed to the limestone soils of Keratea, far down the peninsula that extends south from Athens. Not only do they grow well, but they put out a wine with a distinct sense of place. There’s the sun, in the wine’s sweet white-fruit flavors, as well as the scent of the wild thyme and scrub that scratch out a living in the vineyard’s stony soils. And in the distance, there’s the shimmer of the sea, caught in a whiff of salinity that draws the wine to a clean, refreshing close. Hand-picked, macerated for eight hours before fermentation in stainless steel, and with three months on its lees, it’s a clean, clear version of assyrtiko with character.
Mylonas 2019 Attika Assyrtiko (Best Buy)
Every week, our editors highlight a wine that intrigued them in our blind panel tastings, expanding on their tasting note in this space. These are entirely editorial choices; there are no paid placements. Subscribers can also access the original tasting note by searching here.
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 August 2020.
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