Wild Ferment Assyrtiko Gaia Wines 2016
One of the pioneers of the modern Greek wine revolution Gaia Estate was established in 1994 by Greek winemakers Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos. Operating two different wineries they make cutting edge wines in both Nemea and Santorini. Gaia’s main aim is to present the potential of the indigenous Greek grape varieties to wine enthusiasts worldwide.
The vineyards are located in Santorini with the worlwide acclaimed unique terroir. The vineyards here date back 3,000 years, with low yielding, self rooted vines and soils that are poor in organic matter and with a high sand content have never been affected by phylloxera. The soils are also volcanic, porous with a high mineral content, imparting a mineral quality to the final wine. The long sunshine hours, lack of rainfall, sea mists and strong summer-time winds all contribute to the unique microclimate. The surrounding Aegean Sea acts as a “climatic buffer” that softens the climate, so there are no extremes and reduces the vintage variation. The vines are trained on traditional basket shaped systems called “kouloura”. All these elements, combined with one of the noblest grape varieties in the Mediterranean, create rare and precious wines.
The handpicked grapes were destemmed, crushed and cold soaked for 12 hours with skin contact at 10°C. The free run juice was then fermented naturally, using only natural yeasts. 50% of the must was fermented in stainless steel tanks, 35% in oak casks and 15% in acacia casks. The temperature was allowed to rise naturally without any further involvement. From here, modern technology passed the baton to traditional winemaking and the fermentation developed at its own, gradual pace, with the prevailing yeast strains determining the wine’s final character. In each tank and barrel, the wine ferments differently, so at the end of the fermentation each portion is tasted and carefully chosen, according to the quality. Each vintage, a new dimension of this multifaceted variety is discovered.
Toasty, smoky and funky on the nose with mineral dusting and brooding intensity. The palate is salty dry with lazer-beam precision and very funky wild ferment layering of complexity with oak wreathed into the mix with sensitivity. The finish is dry, with lasting salty and tangy flavours. Unique and outstanding wine.(The Wine Gang)