2013 Gaia Estate "Thalassitis" Assyrtiko Santorini
Wine & Spirits
As is typical for Thalassitis, this is long, lean and tightly wound, needing air to get past the initial green onion notes of reduction. Then it begins to build, slightly herbal and cucumber-crisp, a leesy richness bringing fatness to all the minerality. The wine lasts, one of the most austere of the vintage, wanting another few years in bottle to come into its own.
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2013 Thalassitis is the winery’s flagship, unoaked and sourced from ungrafted, old vines (70-80 years) Assyrtiko (without malolactic fermentation since, says the winery, it has no malic acid). It is listed at 13% alcohol this year. In its youth, this is quite aggressive, the acidity lacing into the palate and leaving a lemony nuance. There is a lot of tension on that finish, notable grip and some very nice fruit, too. I expect this to calm down a bit, and it should drink much better this summer, but it is actually quite exciting right now. This does seem to be a rather pointed Thalassistis, though, eschewing any hints of lushness for precision and tension. I loved the juicy finish a lot. Given the aggressive beginning, it was clear that this was a wine that needed some reexamination with more air. Two days later it was much more transparent, with the acidity still bracing, but not throwing off as much lemon. There was a touch of flint, which made me a bit wary, but it was currently overwhelmed by the acidity and fresh fruit... For fun, I gave it a few extra hours of breathing on Day 2, and it seemed just great... Mostly, it has a nuance that could only be called steely, a word used by the owner quite correctly. If this is a fairly stern Thalassitis, I suspect it will make a great summer refresher by the time summer rolls around, and for the reasonably foreseeable future. It is one of those invigorating wines that will wake you up on a warm, lazy day. Drink now-2022.
Assyrtiko is perhaps the only Mediterranean grape to flourish under the difficult climatic conditions found in this part of Greece. From poor, porous soil formed by volcanic activity and composed largely of pumice, fully mature grapes are harvested with a relatively high acidity. Gaia's vineyard, located on the southeastern slopes of Episkopi, is composed entirely of 70- to 80-year-old ungrafted vines with a dramatically low yield. This is a bone-dry wine with a delicate honeysuckle aroma and a crisp finish, a white wine of a strong personality! Even though it's a white, we suggest decanting it for an hour or so.