Before he tragically took his own life in August 2017, Haridimos Hatzidakis, Santorini's artisan winemaker, selected a single tank of his best Assytiko to be left on its lees for twelve months. This was to have been the latest in a long line of innovative wines. His assistant winemaker kept the tank as he wished, and it was bottled as Skitali 2016.
After Jancis Robinson described it in the FT as “every bit as impressive as a top grand cru white burgundy”, that wine became something of a sensation. For a bottle under £50, it is some praise, and goes to show that although prices have risen in the last few years, the best Santorini Assyrtikos remain some of the cheapest indisputably great fine wines around.
Led by his eldest daughter, Stella, the Hatzidakis family have kept things going and are determined to make wine in Haridimos' way. That means exceptional fruit from organically farmed, very old Assyrtiko vines, coupled with a simple approach in the winery. Although we have tasted several excellent wines from them already, we've really been waiting for a new vintage of one of the top wines to make a proper judgement, and at last Skitali 2017 is here.
There is no question in my mind that Skitali 2017 is a superb wine, one of the very best wines from Santorini, and in fact one of the best Greek wines full stop. Like the 2016, it is certainly world class. It has extraordinary concentration and amazing energy. It is very powerful, but nevertheless graceful and balanced. The price is pretty much the same as last year and so there seems little more to say than if you are interested in drinking some of the best value fine wines in the world, and the very best that Greece has to offer, this should certainly be on your list.
We have a couple of cases in stock now, with more on the way and available to pre-order. You can drink it now, or you could quite happily cellar it for ten years.