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02 April 2016

Assyrtiko around the globe

Right after our recent article on Jancis Robinson about Jim Barry's Assyrtiko on Clare Valley that we tried during our summer visit in Australia for the promotion of Greek wine and voilaaaa! Our Turkish neighbour Mustafa Chamlica just informed us that Assyrtiko will soon be planted in Turkey!

Chamlica is one of the most serious wine figures having hugely invested in a vineyard of 85 hectares with his daughter being the genius mind behind the winery's fascinating labels. His plan is to graft Assyrtiko on 8 years old vines so that from 2017 he will be able to produce an Assyrtiko from the region of Strandja (Strandja Massif) on calcareous soils (lacustrine limestone).

Going further, I noticed a tasting in South Africa where rock-star and most important person in the country's wine scene (keen surfer as well) Eben Sadie presented both an Assyrtiko and an Agiorgitiko as shown in a photograph of the wine journalist Remy Charest.

I couldn't help it and asked Charest how were the wines on issues of minerality and commercial availability. It appears that both were micro-vinifications of 100 liters with Assyrtiko expressing ''an abundance of minerality with emphasis on texture'' and Agiorgitiko showing a ''lovely purity of fruit''.

Obviously we cannot hide our enthusiasm, with the first Assyrtiko production in the States from vines coming from the FPS (Foundation Plant Service) in Davis, adding to the joyful picture!

It may be that the plantings so far are very tiny and the discussion focuses a lot on intentions, yet the interest seems extraordinary. Assyrtiko is a captivating variety and a perfect choice for warm mesoclimates as it retains acid easily, so the only thing left to do is the necessary work to increase availability of certified clones around the world. Then things I believe will flow easily...

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