2012 Gaia Estate "Thalassitis" Assyrtiko Santorini Greece
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 2012 Thalassitis, the tank-fermented version, is one of Greece’s more familiar and finer whites. Its vineyard source at Episkopi is 'composed entirely of 70-to-80 year-old, ungrafted vines with a dramatically low yield never exceeding 25 hectoliters per hectare.' Owner Yiannis Paraskevopoulos says that 2012 is a somewhat friendlier vintage than 2011, so perhaps a little infanticide is in order for this just-released wine... With fine solidity and crisp acidity supporting the fruit, plus an amazingly pure, transparent and freshly bottled nuance, this is just lovely on opening, clean and long, although not quite as mouth-coating as sometimes seen. Yes, it seems rather friendly initially, its balance quite impeccable. 'Seems' was a key word there. It was, to be sure, completely unevolved as the subsequent course of events proved. When revisited the next day, it was just a little less friendly and more interesting -- not unusual with young, top of the line Assyrtiko... Consumers should hold this at least until summer for better results. For that matter, it is likely to show even better in the summer of 2014. Given its youthful and unevolved state, let’s be a little conservative at the moment, but this seems right in line with the fine bottlings coming from Gai’a. Drink now-2020.
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.