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19 July 2016

Alpha Estate Single Vineyard Assyrtiko 2015

Almost two years ago I asked Angelos Iatridis, owner of Alpha Estate, if he was interested in investing in Santorini. He honestly replied that he was thinking about this and if he was going to do it he would do it the right way.

Well the news are out and Iatridis did it but not in Santorini for the moment; he told me however today that he has not abandoned the idea of producing wine in the island but it will take cautious steps to make it happen. For now, he chose a single vineyard terroir in his beloved Amyndeon in Northern Greece. The wine comes from a vineyard of just 1.5 hectares called Agia Kyriaki with yields of 60 hl/ha at the usual high altitude plateau of Amyndeon around 535 metres.

Production for 2015 is 11.000 bottles but Iatridis aims higher at 50.000 bottles when the whole 6.9 hectares vineyard comes into play. ''You need to be serious with a wine otherwise there is no meaning'' he commented. 

Having tasted recently the wine I have to say that it has more in common with Santorini rather than mainland Greece with a salty texture and obvious citrus fruit along some herbal hints. It is leaner and not so powerful perhaps but shares the same underlined minerality and firm structure. Alcohol is 12.5%, considerable low than a typical Santorini while pH and Total Acidity are closer, being 3.15 and 6.6 g/lt respectively.  Five months on the fine lees have also added another layer of complexity. 

The 2015 Alpha Assyrtiko is very detailed in all aspects and demonstrates (for one more time) the professionalism of the Estate. Packaging again is very impressive giving out all necessary information in the back labe. Yields are expressed very scientific as kgr per square metre of active canopy which I think would be better if it was kgr per healthy plant or the classic hl/ha. There is also a superb leaflet that accompanied the wines which answers most of the questions. Very professional indeed and I hope more producers could follow these trails. 

Some of the related information: DIAM 5-10 Tradition, bottle Bourgogne 1859, Embossing Braille alphabet among others.

The most important thing however that I would like to comment is the wine's single vineyard origin. I am a strong believer that championing single vineyard wines is the direction that needs to be followed for premiumization of our varieties.  It may open a new chapter for the entire Greek wine industry benefiting also growers that face serious financial issues, And I think that Alpha Estate has realised that by this new series that includes a Chardonnay and a Sauvignon Blanc as well. I would like to see however the name of the vineyard also on the front label. 

Well done Alpha Estate and good to see Amyndeon emerging as an exciting - beyond Santorini terroir -  on the same track with Drama and Tinos.

* The wine retails in Greece for 16 euros and will be available mostly for export markets, duty free and in Norhern Greece.  

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