Chateau Bonhoste Bordeaux Blanc 2011
Bastille Day Feast

Hatzidakis Santorini 2011

I've written about Hatzidakis before (Click here to see the Santorini 2007 notes) and this is a perennial favorite out of all the wines Devenish handles.  The Santorini's depth, complexity, unique flavors, and the absurdly harsh environment that produce it Wow me! 

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So Haridimos Hatzidakis; he moved to Santorini originally to work for Boutari and run their operation on the island.  That relationship ended but he had fallen in love with Santorini and started reviving some disused vineyards that his wife's family owned.  Eventually that relationship (the marriage) also ended, but he was still totally in love with Santorini and the extreme nature of it's wine making so he started the difficult search for vineyards of his own. 

Santorini is a small volcanic island in the Cyclades islands of the Agean.  The island has a distinctive half moon shape from a volcanic eruption 3000 years ago that destroyed 1/3 of Santorini's land mass.  The island rises quickly and many of the vineyards are at approximately 1000 feet above sea level.  The conditions that make Santorini such a popular tourist destination (constant heat in the summer, no clouds, no rain) make it a very difficult environment to grow wine grapes, however the Assyrtiko grape seems uniquely suited and preserves it's acidity even in the oppressive sun and heat. 

Santorini-2
The vineyards are so dry and windy that the vines have to be trained into low basket shapes to protect the grapes and collect moisture.

Stefani bloom
here's the Stefani (as the low bush vine is called) in full bloom in the summer.

grape: Assyrtiko

Farmed organically

Aroma: This is a brighter more focused style, kind of a departure from Hatzidakis of past years.  This is aromas of fresh wild flowers, lemon, a hint of anise, some fresh pine, and there's also a fuller meatier cooked aroma too- kind of a baked lemon tart.  It's pretty strongly aromatic and you can tell this is going to be an energetic, driven, mineral white wine by the aroma.

Taste: The Hatzidakis Santorini is a big, rich, full bodied wine and has an expansive palate that clothes it's intense minerality and energetic acidity.  It's racy, cut, young minerality fades into a more lush mid palate with preserved/softened lemon and some spice.  I get a kind of gravelly taste in there too as well as some lemon grass.  It's a complicated wine but it's not annoyingly so and is well balanced. 

Though this doesn't have the oily and nutty qualities that some past vintages have had, it's very pure and clean but still screams Santorini with all those flavors.  This is a killer summer white for grilled meatier fishes, all salads, lamb; lamb for sure.  I just had this with Bluefish and it was perfect.  This is white wine that has the complexity, balance, and sense of place  that costs $30-$40 in Savennieres, white Burgundy, and dry Riesling.  This is more like $17 retail.  Available at the Rosemont Markets, Niky's Restaurant, Bel Cibo da Cherie's, Whole Foods, Browne Trading, Emilitsa, Trattoria Athena, Mckean and Charles, and the Wine Seller.

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