Archive for October 2012

Phylloxera-free “apsa” soil of Santorini and its unique macroclimate

October 24, 2012

Above: The so-called “apsa” subsoil of Santorini’s phylloxera-resistant terroir. Photo courtesy Wines from Santorini.

We’ve always loved this fascinating post by Wines of Santorini on the unique apsa soil of Santorini and the koulara method of “weaving” the vines to their baskets.

Because of the volcanic nature and very low clay content in Santorini’s soil, the island is essentially immune to phylloxera. That means that the rootstocks have never been grafted and the wine we drink today is from the same vines that have grown here for hundreds of years.

But this same soil is light and crumbly and easily blown by the winds from the ocean and can damage the delicate grapes. So the vineyardists of Santorini have developed a unique alternative to trellising…they weave the vines into a circular coil kept low on the ground. With this “Koulara” technique the grape bunches are trained to lay inside the protection of the basket and the leaves outside and above to protect them from the harsh sun and head.

As the vines get longer and longer they decline in productivity and need to be renewed. So every 50-100 years or so, the vines are cut back close to the soil and a new plant will sprout from a dormant eye in the old rootstock to begin the process anew.

Click here to read the entire post.

When we spoke with Boutari winemaker and chief researcher Yannis Voyatzis, he explained that the grains of sand in the subsoil of Santorini are so small that the phylloxera insect is unable to “jump” from one grain to the next and thus cannot thrive there. It’s another one of the reasons that this harsh environment for grape-growing and winemaking creates such unique, distinctive wines.

How do you pronounce Xinomavro? The Greek Grape Name & Appellation Pronunciation Project

October 18, 2012

Click the YouTube links below to hear Boutari winemakers pronouncing Greek grape names and appellations.

Xinomavro as Spoken by Constantine Boutari.

Agiorgitiko as Spoken by Vasilis Georgiou.

Attikí as spoken by Roxani Matsa.

Malagousia as Spoken by Roxani Matsa.

Mantinia as Spoken by Yannis Voyatzis.

Moschofilero as Spoken by Yannis Voyatzis

Negoska as Spoken by Vasilis Georgiou

Xinomavro as Spoken by Vasilis Georgiou

TY @WineSpectator for making @Boutari #Moschofilero a daily pick!

October 10, 2012

@WineandSpirits “winery of the year” again for 2013! TY @TQTHomas

October 9, 2012

Above: Boutari winemaker Yannis Voyatzis as featured in the 2013 Wine and Spirits magazine buying guide. Click here for a downloadable PDF version of the winery’s profile by Tara Thomas.

It’s not easy to find wines for less than $30 that will blossom over a decade in a cellar. And yet Boutari puts out a range of them every year. The most famous examples are the Naoussa reds, from the cool northern climes of Greece, a region of fog-shrouded fir trees and snow-chilled mountain streams. This is where Yannis Boutari set up a winery in 1879, back when the region was struggling to recover from years of war; his hope was to build a business significant enough to bolster the local economy and preserve the vineyards.

Two generations later, Naoussa’s wine scene is peppered with an array of new producers while Boutari’s wines remain the touchstones. the 2008 is pitch[perfect Naoussa, firm, tight and earthy with sweet-tart pomegranate and tomato paste notes lifted with lively acidity. It will easily age another six to ten years, though it could step in for a Barbaresco this winter with a bowl of porcini risotto.

The Reserve 2007 is more elegant, a luminous ray of cherry fruit shinig through a firm mesh of ferrous tannins. It smells of damp earth and pine, bringing up images of the region’s foggy forests and icy mountain streams. It will go another decade in the cellar, maybe more — I’ve tasted Boutari Naoussa with 30 years of age, still vibrant, firm and aromatic.

Boutari also excels in cellar-ready Greek whites. When Constantine and Yannis Boutari set about rejuvenating forgotten terroirs across the country in the 1980s, they started in Santorini, where winemaker Yannis Voyatzis has since proved that assyrtiko, the island’s main variety, is capable of making sophisticated, long-lived whites. The 2011 Santorini, with its chalky, austere flavor, vibrant acidity and rich texture, has a structure not unlike fine Chablis, with a taste that’s redolent of the Mediterranean sea in its salty minerality. It’s gorgeous now with a plate of grilled octopus, but every time I taste it, I think of the 1993 that I tasted last summer — lightly almondy, deeply mineral and very fresh. At $23 (and likely less on the shelf), it’s well worth losing a few bottles in your cellar, alongside some Boutari Naoussas.

—Tara Thomas, Wine & Spirits

Top-scoring wines:

93/100 Naoussa Grand Reserve 2007
91/100 Naoussa 2008
90/100 Santorini 2011


This is textbook Naoussa: tart, tight and earthy with sweet-tart pomegranate and tomato paste notes. Iron-hard tannins and an extreme, lively acidity give it many more years to go. If you open it now, decant early and serve with something rich, like a porcini risotto, no hold barred on the Parmigiano.

Boutari Moschfilero “a racy white”—Wine Spectator

October 2, 2012

Boutari Moschofilero 2011
Score: 89
Release Price: $17 Country: Greece
Greece Issue: Oct 31, 2012
Wine Spectator

A racy white, with crisp and pure-tasting flavors of green apple, grapefruit and pear, joined by notes of jellied quince. The firm, focused finish offer honey cream accents. Drink now through 2018. 6,300 cases imported. —Kim Marcus, Wine Spectator

Click here for the Tasting Note at the Wine Spectator site.

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