The fine wines of Santorini
The unique Santorini soils lend a special character.
It took a massive volcanic eruption to create the island of Santorini and it is the volcanic soil of Santorini that has helped create some of the best conditions for wine making.
Santorini's volcanic rock is not just dry and dusty, it is rich in minerals that give Santorini wines their distinct aroma.
And the extraordinary soils and the Greek island's hot summer weather have helped Santorini island pick up a clutch of international awards for its distinguished wines.
The first records of wine-making on Santorini may go back to 3500 BC,but it was the cataclysmic explosion of 1600BC that created the island's unique soils that today give the wines of Santorini their special character.
The predominant grape is Assyrtiko which is known to produce a good dry white wine. But the soils of Santorini add a distinctive aroma of citrus, a hint of its mineral soils and a crisp acidity that make a natural accompaniment to a variety of dishes.
As well as the white grape, Assyrtiko, the island also produces the original Vinsanto for which the ancient island was famous. Vinsanto is a dessert wine with a sweet, full flavour distinguished by an aroma of fresh apricots.
Vinsanto wine-making is derived from the Italian tradition and dates back thousands of years. For a wine to be labelled Vinsanto it must be made mostly from the Assyrtiko grape blended with the Athiri and Aidani and small amounts of locally grown varieties.
What also makes Santorini vines special is their age. Many of the vines are more than 100 years old and naturally resistant to diseases that have ravaged crops on many other islands.
Santorini vines are also grown low in order and are afforded protection from the strong 'meltemi' wind by being trained to grow inside woven cane baskets.
The popularity of Santorini as a holiday destination once threatened to destroy the island wine industry as growers turned their vineyards over to property developers.
But Santorini wine-making survived and now is enjoying a vibrant revival with a slow bust steady expansion of the planting of vines on the island.
Boutari built a new winery in 1988 and helped revive the wine industry which is now very healthy.