Hitting up the wineries
We hit up the beach area near the red beach which is in the town of Akrotori. Once for dinner, Cave of Nikolas and once for breakfast, Dolphin Taverna. Don’t go to either. Completely local but just because it is local doesn’t mean it is good. Run down and bad food.
Today we hit up the wineries. We went to 3 different wineries. The first vineyard we went was Boutari. Each place gave us two whites and their vin santo. Vin Santo is the local sweet wine. Boutari is perhaps the most well known of the region but we didn’t love their wines. We found them very thin which not much depth or interest. Josh gave it a whirl as you can see in the picture.
Our next stop was a tiny family winery which was very old and I really liked the feel. Gavalas was the name. They literally still have a room where they stomp the grapes. The vats where the wines were aging was ancient. Even the barrels looked as if they were pasted together. All the vineyards seem to do one white either aged in the bottle, a steel barrel or a wood barrel. The grape of the region is called assyrtiko.
The pumice soil that is also volcanic is great for growing grapes. What I like about the wines in Santorini is that they are perfect for drinking with the local food, grilled fish. Makes sense.
The last place we went was my favorite. Hatzidaki. We drove up to
Hatzidaki and it appeared to be empty so we kept driving up the road. Hatzidaki is located on the mountain that is the highest peak in Santorini. Driving up, another white knuckle drive, is worth it. You get a 360 degree view of the entire island. Breathtaking. The grapes, the water, the churches and a lot of barren land.
On the drive back down, we pass Hatzidaki again. There were 2 men out in the field, I am not sure I’d call it a field but more like a front yard with vines. We stop and I ask if the vineyard is open? The guy speaks English and says, sure, do you want to taste? We pull in and park the car. When he comes over we tell him how we love these wines and have had them in NYC but want to be able to
buy a few cases and can he point us in the right direction when we get back to the states which distributor to contact. Then I ask, are you Mr. Hatzidaki? As it turns out, he is. A nice guy who makes wines. He is originally from Crete (that is where his family lives) but the earth in Santorini is perfect for wine making. He has been at it since 1994. He has a wife and 3 kids. A girl about 10 and two young boys 6 and 4. We taste two whites and of course a vin santo. He pulls them from the refrigerator and hands us some glasses. The best wines yet and the best vin santo, hands down. A great experience and a by chance encounter.