This white grape was grown for centuries only on the island of Santorini, where the nutrient poor volcanic soil made the vines' rootstock impervious to the Phylloxera louse which devastated vineyards throughout Europe in the 19th Century. Every 100 years or so the grower chops off the vine's trunk allowing it to grow a new shoot. This has been completed several times over the centuries leading many to believe these are the oldest vines in the world! Additionally, the winds on Santorini are so strong that traditional vine training is not used. Growers have to coil the vine into a basket with the bunches of grapes hanging inside, protected from the wind. This is a unique grape variety. Assyrtiko yields a bone-dry, high acid wine that has citrus aromas mixed with an earthy, mineral aftertaste due to the volcanic soil of Santorini. It is one of the few white wines that can age and it is recommended to decant for an hour or so before serving.
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