A ‘Premier Cru’ Santorini


Last week I went out for dinner with some ‘wine friends’. We always go to a lovely restaurant where the owner lets us bring our own wine – and the pressure is on to bring a really interesting/unusual/just-rather-fine-please bottle of wine to taste blind and share with tapas.

With all the recent TV coverage of Bordeaux and Burgundy, I fancied something a little bit different, and popped down to the Berrys’ Bin End Shop on my way out of work for inspiration. “What do you recommend?” was my question to the shop staff. “Have you tried the oak-aged Santorini?” was the immediate reply.

Santorini? Crikey. I hadn’t seen a Greek wine since the dreaded bi-monthly stock count at my previous place of work – it was the one which always gathered dust on the bottom shelf. Greek wine from Berrys??? I was intrigued, and promptly bought a bottle.

That night, in the cosy surroundings of the tapas bar, I served my friends the (faithfully disguised) bottle of Santorini, hoping it wouldn’t stand out too much from the crowd. The wine did not let me down – it was very, very good indeed. The oak ageing lent a beautiful harmony to the citrussy palate. It was elegant, minerally, rewarding – and the length was really impressive. “So, what is it?” I asked. The unanimous response was “Chardonnay” and when asked where from I had answers ranging from Premier Cru Burgundy to modern-style white Rioja. All agreed that the quality was excellent – and were astonished by the £10.50/bottle (£9.45/bottle by the case) price tag.

So – if you are after something different, something unusual, something to seriously throw (and impress!) your friends on a blind tasting, I can recommend, from my own experience, 2006 Domaine Sigalas Oak-Aged Santorini – a thoroughly ‘Premier Cru’ Santorini.santorini

On the Aegean island of Santorini the vines are grown on wicket baskets rather than the traditional trellis. This helps to protect them from the fierce wind which tears across the island during the growing season.