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2010 Pavlidis Winery, Emphasis Assyrtiko Greece
Scores and Reviews
The wine appellation of Drama in the far North-East of Greece is one of most exciting regions with a number of vanguard wineries, and the 30 hectare Ktima (meaning Domaine) Pavlidis is one of its shining stars.
Founded in 1998 by the local entrepreneur Christophoros Pavlidis, who made a fortune in marble, granite and construction, the estate is located at an altitude of 240-340m.
The young oenologist Nikos Karatzas (pictured right) produces a range of contemporary-styled wines from a mixture of indigenous and international varieties that include Syrah, Agiorgitiko Chardonnay, Merlot, Tempranillo (red & rose wines), the indigenous Assyrtiko, Sauvignon blanc (in blends with the former).
Assyrtiko (aka Assirtiko) [pronounce: A seer' tee ko] is one of Greece's signature white wine grape varieties, used for both dry and sweet wine. It reaches its apogee in the island of Santorini (where it was first planted – currently 70% of the island’s vineyard area). It yields a bone-dry, steely wine that has deliciously concentrated citrus aromas mixed with an earthy, mineral aftertaste evocative of the volcanic soil of Santorini.
Uniquely, the vines are cultivated in low basket shaped crowns, pinned to the ground, for protection from the often fierce winds dominating the climate in Santorini. Coming off the sea, the nocturnal fog brings much needed water to the vines during the dry, hot summer season and this, coupled with the cooling northerly winds provide the right growing conditions for the grape to thrive.
Assyrtiko is highly resistant to most grape diseases and this partly explains why it been widely re-planted throughout appellations in Greece, such as in Paros, Naxos, Crete, and in smaller quantities in Attica, Drama, Epanomi, Halkidiki and Hromitsa, Drama.
Owing to its pronounced mineral profile, Assyrtiko stands up well for blending with grapes such as Sauvignon blanc, Sémillon and the indigenous Greek white grape Malagousia.
These are wines to be enjoyed young or aged; the ideal complement to delicate dishes, fish, seafood and, surprisingly, even grilled meat dishes.
More famously, Assyrtiko is paired with the aromatic Aidani and Athiri white grapes for the production of a distinctive, naturally sweet wine called Vinsanto (derivative of the name Santorini), known since the Byzantine times.
Vinsanto can be naturally sweet or fortified and must be barrel-aged for a minimum of 2 years. The opulently sweet Vinsantos display a deep amber colour, a thrilling nose of crème brûlée’, chocolate and dried apricots and a palate of dates and dried figs.
The wine appellation of Drama is one of the hot-beds of viticultural innovation in Greece.
Centred in the eponymous region that spans in parts of East Macedonian and Thrace in North-East Greece, the region plays host to a number of successful wine estates, such as Domaine Pavlidis.
The area around Drama has known viticulture probably from the bronze age to the present. Leading the way on the vineyard are the classic Bordeaux varieties Cab. Sauvignon & Merlot Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, as well as Chardonnay; all seem to be at home in the land-locked, mountainous climate of the region.
Blocks of Sangiovese, Ugni Blanc, Tempranillo, Cab. Franc, Grenache & Syrah also add to the diversity of the region. Red wines often receive barrel treatment in French oak and tend to be muscular and fleshy, with well-defined flavours.
The dominant Indigenous grapes are the whites Roditis & Assyrtiko and the full-bodied red Limnio (often blended with Cab. Sauvignon).