The Greek Grand Cru - Santorini

What's this? Another Wine & Greene newsletter already? I know, I know, but I've been saving up an email about some truly wonderful wines for a while, waiting patiently for the opportune moment - only to be scooped by Jancis Robinson in last Saturday's FT. Since then the wines in question have been flying out of the door, and if we had a hook, our phone would almost certainly have been ringing off it.

So while there's still some left...

The first wines I bought for Wine & Greene were by Haridimos Hatzidakis. He was a pioneering genius - the first to make artisan, single vineyard wines on Santorini and show the world what heights they could scale. The combination of Haridimos' skill, ancient (100+ years old) Assyrtiko vines and Santorini's unique volcanic soils produced wines of immense depth and character. They were built to age for years.

All remaining bottles should be treated like national treasures Hugh Johnson on Hatzidakis

Assyrtiko is not a widely planted grape variety, but what is made elsewhere does not have the same combination of power, finesse and longevity you get on Santorini. The wines are world class, and even though prices have been rising recently, they are still some of the cheapest indisputably great wines around. No more so than those made by Haridimos himself, who tragically took his own life in 2017. The wines he left behind are vanishing bottle by bottle, an irreplaceable loss.

Hatzidakis' last wine, Skitali 2016, is a marvel, aged for 12 months on its lees and every bit as impressive as a top grand cru white burgundy. I'd say it's worth every penny of its price tag Jancis Robinson MW

In the FT, Jancis singled out Skitali, Hardimos' last wine. Before he died, he left instructions for a single tank of his best 2016 Assyrtiko to be left on its lees. His assistant winemaker did as he wished, and it has now been bottled. I can't better Jancis' description: 'this is every bit as impressive as a top grand cru white burgundy'. Part of what makes it great is the life it could have ahead of it. It is already sublime, but you could easily keep this for 10-20 years and watch it evolve magnificently.