Estate Argyros Vinsanto 1947

Possibly the most interesting wine I have tried this year.

Tasted 4th October 2019

An unanticipated treasure during a tasting of Santorini wine styles.  This was made at the time when much production for personal use consisted of vinsanto – a dried grape wine style.  Grapes were picked and the bunches left out in the sun for maybe around 10 days, before being crushed and processed in the normal way.  The drying concentrated sugar in the grapes at the expense of water, so when the yeast finally gave up the ghost there was still a lot of sweetness remaining in the wine.  This is a way of making wine which we know has existed for at least 2,800 years – and probably much longer as a way of providing sweet wines.  Long-term barrel ageing adds oxidative complexity.  The most interesting wine I have tasted this year.

Very dense hazelnut-brown colour, and a very syrupy wine.  Dried fruit – dates and figs, plus caramelised nuts, and coffee.  Rich and honeyed, with spicy fruit-cake characters; it also has what I see in some wines as ‘catholic church after a service’ – a combination of dustiness with an incense flavour, where the priest has been swinging the censer (but maybe the name – it means ‘holy wine’ – is subconsciously influencing me here!).  Rather phenolic (so a bit drying in the mouth) and very, very long.  Even at a tasting you don’t spit this.