Argyros Estate, Santorini (Greece) Assertiko 2008

 ($25, Athenee Importers):  Santorini, a crescent-shaped Mediterranean island and arguably Greece’s most famous wine producing area, could be the most inhospitable place in the world to grow grapes. The soil contains virtually no nitrogen.  There is hardly a drop of rain–and irrigation is prohibited. Strong winds blow assault the terrain in the summer and can whisk away anything that is not firmly attached to the ground. Despite these conditions–or perhaps because of them–the Assyrtiko grape thrives.  The island remains phylloxera-free, and hence, all of the vines are ungrafted. They are trained into a basket-weave pattern to protect the grapes.  Obviously all of the vineyard work is done by hand and explains, in part, why these wines are expensive–but also distinctive.  The Argyros Estate, founded more than a century ago and now led by third generation Yiannis Argyros, makes a particularly fine example of Assyrtiko.  This 2008 has notes of freshly cut lime to complement an alluring almost lava-like minerality.  You can practically taste the soil.  Lively, with a laser-like focus, it cuts cleanly through richest of seafood. 90 Michael Apstein Jun 1, 2010