WINE OF THE WEEK: The Society's Exhibition Santorini Assyrtiko 2020, Greece

£14.95, The Wine Society


Just the sight of the words Santorini and Assyrtiko on the label will be enough for some people to reach straight for their credit cards – and the price of this bottle is even more of an incentive.


There's no white wine quite like Assyrtiko from the Aegean island of Santorini. The Assyrtiko grape is now widely grown in Greece, but it produces its highest quality and most distinctive wines in Santorini's exceptional, hot, dry, sunny and windy conditions. The vines grow in volcanic soils rich in minerals, but with almost no organic matter, and often live for hundreds of years, thanks to the absence of phylloxera and other diseases and to the way the vines are trained and regenerated (I've written more on this here).


The result is dry wines that can never be cheap but which are mouthwateringly intense, textural, mineral and fresh. Some have an almost shocking, smoky pungency, but The Society's Exhibition wine takes a more softly-softly approach: the smokiness is there, but it's much more of a delicate veil coiling around the citrus-zest, green herb, quince and preserved lemon intensity.


The winery behind it is Artemis Karamolegos, the island's third largest, and the vines have an average of 50 years – quite young by Santorini's standards – and grow at easier, lower altitudes, which all helps to moderate the price.


I can't think of Santorini Assyrtiko without a plate of octopus, but it goes well with all sorts of fish and seafood – grilled, fried, boiled, ceviches – as well as with artichokes (notoriously difficult to match) and lemony and/or salty foods such as salads and crudités, feta, olives and salsa verde. This one would also work with green asparagus. 13.5%. Bottle weight: 480g


The Society's Exhibition Santorini Assyrtiko 2020, Santorini, Greece


£14.95, The Wine Society


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