75cl * Vegan * 13.5% ABV * Santorini, Greece
One of the pioneers of the modern Greek wine revolution, Gaia was established in 1994 by Greek winemakers Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos to showcase the potential of indigenous Greek grape varieties. Operating two different wineries, they make cutting edge wines in both Nemea and Santorini utilising both modern technology and their unique terroir.
The grapes for Gaia's 'Wild Ferment' Assyrtiko come exclusively from the vineyard of Pyrgos where vineyards date back 3,000 years. The long sunshine hours, lack of rainfall, sea mists and strong summer winds all contribute to the microclimate here. Low-yielding, 80-year-old vines grow in volcanic, sandy soils, unaffected by phylloxera, all influencing the bold aromatics and mineral quality of the wine.
After careful selection by hand, in the winery the Assyrtiko grapes undergo 10 hours of low-temperature skin contact. Separate quantities are fermented using only natural yeasts in a mixture of stainless steel tanks, wooden casks (15% French oak, 15% American oak, 15% in acacia casks) and ceramic vats to add multiple textures, flavours, and aromas. From here, modern technology passes the baton to traditional winemaking and fermentation develops at its own, gradual pace, with the prevailing yeast strains determining the final character of the wine. The wine is aged on its fine lees for four- to six-months with bâtonnage before bottling.
This wine has a highly complex, aromatic and herbal nose. Citrus notes combine with floral hints from the acacia wood, vanilla, toasty oak and a touch of smoke. The layers of wild ferment envelop this precise and dry wine which retains a mineral and salty complexity to the tangy finish. Gaia recommends decanting this wine at least half an hour before you enjoy it, to appreciate its nuanced flavours and aromas.
After 2-3 years under cellar conditions (between 12 - 14 °C), this wine will undergo profound changes, it's mineral character will develop into more rich, honey flavours.