Archive for June 2013

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

June 26, 2013

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.

@WineAndSpirits Scores & Best Buys

June 18, 2013

92 Boutari 2010 Santorini Kallisti
Santorini as thirst inspiring as a salt lick, this barrel-fermented assyrtiko is deeply savory, a dense symphony of salted butter, creamy nougat and savory honey flavor wrapped around a core of orange flavor. It still has some youthfully aggressive edges to its powerful acidity, and needs time in the cellar (two years at the least; ten wouldn’t hurt) for the structure to relax.

92 Boutari 2012 Pallini Matsa Malagouzia
The heat of the 2012 vintage is evident in this wine’s deep golden hue, about two shades darker than usual. And then there’s the scent –pineapple and toasted almonds, chamomile and kumquats. It handles the vintage well, the cashmere texture carrying the flavor effortlessly, the combination of briney minerality and acidity adding succulence. It’s a powerful white for pork tenderloin basted with oranges and honey.

93 Boutari 2008 Naoussa Grande Reserve
Year in and out, Boutari’s Grande Reserve sets the mark for Naoussa in a traditional style. The 2008 excels in a vintage memorable for a summer of drought and heat spikes: The wine is moderate in its fruitiness, balanced more toward fresh mushroom than cherry. The earthy and herbal notes give it a complexity that’s riveting for minutes after each sip; the tannins are firm but fine, giving the wine a gauzy finesse.

Best Buys:

92 Boutari 2012 Santorini
This smells like Santorini in the spring, before the heat, while the flowers are blooming and the grasses still green. It’s ripe and effusively aromatic, the lemon and gardenia notes firmly ensconced on a base of chalk. Approachable now –the balance spot-on- it also has the backbone to age well over the next five to eight years.

90 Boutari 2012 Mantinia Moschofilero
Like many 2012s, this is very ripe, redolent of honeysuckle, roses, orange and white pepper, but it stands apart for its balance, a combination of fullness of texture and bright, clear freshness that lends the wine balance and precision.

88 Boutari 2009 Naoussa
This is refreshingly light, the flavors as translucent as the color. With its see-through hue and flavors that run more raspberry leaf than berry, this is a classic Naoussa. The tannins hold it firm and the acidity keeps it crisp, making it a terrific pick for meaty vegetarian dishes as well as any sort of pork preparation.

Constantine Boutari teaches @DoBianchi how to pronounce Xinomavro

June 13, 2013

I’ll never forget the day that I visited the winery in Naoussa and Constantine Boutari taught me how to pronounce the grape name Xinomavro.

He was so sweet and we had a lot of fun shooting this video. Enjoy!

Jeremy Parzen


Boutari featured in today’s Chicago Tribune

June 5, 2013

Click here for Bill St. John’s feature on Greek wine today for the Chicago Tribune.

boutari moschofilero

“Think of this increasingly popular Greek white (that comes from a pink-skinned grape),” writes leading U.S. wine writer and educator Bill St. John in reference to Boutari Moschofilero, “as a cross, in aroma and flavor, of Spanish albarino and Alsace pinot gris. It registers in with low alcohol so, combined with its lively character, it’s extremely refreshing and eminently gulpable.”

The Boutari Moschofilero is “yums at every sip; green apple, green melon, zippy acidity.”

He also recommend Bouatri’s Malagouzia Matsa, noting that it is made from a “highly aromatic grape grown mostly in northern Greece. Does not lose its aroma esters as, say, pinot gris does when ripened in high heat.”

His tasting note for Boutari Malagouzia Matsa: “All lemon, peach and hazelnut swaddled in creamy texture.”

How to pronounce Moschofilero

June 5, 2013

Click here for the complete collection of our series, the Greek Grape Name and Appellation Pronunciation Project.


Above: Vineyards in the high plains of Mantinia where Moschofilero is grown.

Summertime is here and that means it’s time to break out fresh, bright, acidity-driven (and low alcohol) Moschofilero.

So we thought it was a good time to remind Greek wine lovers how to pronounce it.

Here’s Boutari’s chief enologist, Yannis Voyatzis, sitting at a picnic table with Moschofilero vines as his backdrop.

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