Choosing wines for your wedding reception dinner is an important part of the planning process. It is sensible to make your wine selections at the same time you are deciding on the menu. The wines you choose should bring out the best in the meal, and vice versa. And for those getting married in Santorini you have access to some of the world’s most talked about & award winning wines.
Many couples who choose to marry in Santorini don’t really know the islands wine making history. The production of wine dates back to the time of the Bronze Age. After the devastating volcanic explosion, circa 1650 BC, the island was covered with volcanic ash, lava and pumice stone. This catastrophe created the foundation for perfect soil conditions which now produce very distinctive wines. The vines are cultivated in low basket shaped crowns, close to the ground for protection from the strong winds. Coming off the sea, the nocturnal fog brings needed water to the vines during the hot summer nights and together with the refreshing northerly winds provide excellent growing conditions for the creation of the superb AOC Santorini wines.
Today, more than 50 white and red varieties of grapes can be found on the island. As for the white ones, Assyrtiko (covering 80% of the vineyard) Aidani and Athiri are those participating in the AOC Santorini, dry white wine and in the AOC Vinsanto, dessert white wine. Red regional wines are also produced from the varieties Mandilaria and Mavrotragano.
Here’s some tips for pairing your dinner with the best that Santorini has to offer: Assyrtiko One of the finest noble white grapes of Europe. It has the unusual quality of maintaining high levels of alcohol and acidity at the same time, making it one of the few white grapes of the Mediterranean that also possess long aging potential. Assyrtiko produces dry, full-bodied white wines with citrus aromas combined with a pleasing mineral character derived from the volcanic soil it is grown in. Assyrtiko's signature high acidity makes it a wonderful partner with vinaigrettes and the sharp flavors of certain vegetables. It is perhaps the ultimate partner to classic Greek salads and simple Greek tavern fare.
Athiri One of the most ancient of Greek grape varieties, Athiri was once made into a sweet wine, prized during Byzantine years. The name of the grape indicates its origin from the Island of Santorini, also known as “Thira” in ancient time. Athiri, on it’s own, produces medium-bodied wines with delicate aromatic qualities. It is also used to make Vinsanto and dry white blends with Assyrtiko and Aidani. Its soft taste matches perfectly sea food and white meat dishes.
Aidani Another ancient Greek variety, Aidani produces pleasantly aromatic wines with medium body and nice acidity. It is also used to make Vinsanto and dry white blends with Assyrtiko and Athiri. Best served with seafood, fish, pasta with light sauces or salty cheese.
Nykteri These dry white wines must contain a minimum of 75% Assyrtiko, with the remaining percentage allowed from the Athiri and Aidani varieties. Traditionally, Nykteri was a wine made from grapes harvested and processed during the night or “nikta” in Greek. This is no longer the standard practice. Today the rules allow the wine to be vinified in stainless steel tanks or barrels and then aged in oak barrels for at least 3 months. Matches perfectly with appetizers, grilled chicken with light white sauce.
Mavrotragano A grape once on the brink of extinction, it is now protected as an endangered variety by the international organization, Slow Food. Mavrotragano produces wines of deep red color and intense tannins that take on more layers of complexity as the wine ages in oak. It gives aromas of fresh red fruits and spices and can also be used in the production of sweet wines. It is perfectly combined with intense taste red meat dishes.
Vinsanto - Sweet Wine One of the most historic and popular wines throughout the ancient world, Vinsanto was especially prized during the Byzantine years, when the Venetians controlled the trade routes of the Mediterranean. Vinsanto was named “Vino di Santo” by the Venetians, according to place of origin as was the custom, but then later became known as Vinsanto. This wine must be at least 51% Assyrtiko with the remaining percentage allowed from Athiri and Aidani and some small amounts of locally grown native white varieties. The appellation also requires a minimum of 24 months aging in oak barrels, where the wines develop a golden-orange color with a complex bouquet of dried fruits and raisins, together with sweet spice.
Credits: Gaia winery // Argyros Estate // Selene Restaurant // New Wines of Greece // Vine Pair // Pinterest // Travel Santorini // Hatzidakis winery // Aressana Hotel // Santo Wines // Volcan Wines // Santorini Gastronomy You can get in touch with us for your wedding planning in Santorini.