Assyrtiko is a Greek grape variety, best known in Santorini where it produces rich, minerally white wines of great power and complexity. In March 2020 we planted 1500 Assyrtiko vines on our land near Bize-Minervois. So why did we decide to plant this defiantly greek variety in the Languedoc and how did we go about it?
There are three main reasons why we chose Assyrtiko. Firstly, it is a drought resistent variety and extremes of weather, including severe drought, are becoming more and more common. Secondly, it has high acidity which keeps white wines fresh and balanced, even in warm years. Lastly, and most importantly, we love the wines it produces. The freshness and zing coupled with the rich, exotic fruitiness of Greek Assyrtiko is something very special.
Obtaining authorisation to plant Assyrtiko, not to mention getting hold of the acutal plants was not easy. After numerous calls to local chambers of agriculture and to SupAgro, the wine university in Montpellier we established that we would be allowed to plant it. Provided it had the right passport!
The professor at SupAgro put as in touch with Kostas Bakasietas in Nemea, owner of Bakasietas vine nursery (and ex student of SupAgro).Who confirmed that he could supply the vines to France and that they did have the correct (yellow) passport, certifying that they are virus free planting material.
6 months later, after filling in many forms to ensure permission was granted to plant, our Assyrtiko vines arrived. They are thriving with so much growth this year that some are over 2 metres tall! We can’t wait to taste the wines from the first harvest in 2023.