Gai’a Thalassitis Assyrtiko 2022, Santorini PDO, Greece

One of the pioneers of the modern Greek wine revolution, Gai’a Wines (pronounced Yay-ya) was established in 1994 by Leon Karatsalos and winemaker Yiannis Paraskevopoulos (PhD, University of Bordeaux II). Their mission was to capture the best that Greece’s indigenous grapes have to offer by merging traditional viticultural and production methods with innovative techniques. The estate is named after ‘Mother Earth,’ in honor of the unique terroir that gives birth to these world-class wines. The grapes for the Thalassitis (AKA “Originating from the Sea” in Greek) come from 70-80 year old vineyards located on the Southeastern slopes in Episkopi on the island of Santorini. The nutrient-poor, porous soils are composed largely of pumice; a uniquely harsh environment in which the native Assyrtiko is one of the few varietals that can thrive. The hand-harvested grapes are chilled down to 40°F, then destemmed and pressed. The must undergoes a chilled maceration with the skins (50 degrees F) for 12 hours, in order to extract as much of the varietal’s aromas as possible. The temperature is regulated during fermentation (between 60-62 degrees), and the must is inoculated with select yeast strains. No malolactic fermentation is required. Tasting notes: The flagship white of the Gai’a portfolio, this wine is bone-dry with strong character: full-bodied, well-structured with crisp acidity, distinctive minerality and delicate honeysuckle aromas. This white wine will continue to evolve for 2-5 years, as the mineral notes soften the palate will develop more nuanced flavors of fruit and honey.