Assyrtiko: The Crisp Contender from Sunny Climes

Roll up, roll up, for the tale of Assyrtiko, the zesty heavyweight from the sun-kissed isles of Greece. Not just any old grape, Assyrtiko is like the mate who thrives in the heat of an Aussie summer BBQ without breaking a sweat. This grape doesn’t just handle the heat; it turns it into a crisp, mineral masterpiece that’s as refreshing as a dip in Bondi Beach on a scorching day.

Primary Flavours

Assyrtiko tantalises the palate with a burst of lemon zest, a touch of crisp green apple, and a distinctive minerality that echoes the ancient volcanic terrains it hails from. The wine often carries a hint of salinity, reminiscent of a gentle sea spray, paired with floral undertones that suggest the wild herbs blooming along the Greek coastlines.

Taste Profile

Aspect Rating out of 10 Characteristic
Sweetness 🍷 As dry as a BBC comedy, with no room for any sugary nonsense
Body 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Medium-bodied, standing firm like a Beefeater at the Tower of London
Tannins As absent as sun at Glastonbury Festival
Acidity 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷 Crisp and invigorating, like a bracing walk in the Lakes on a crisp morning
Alcohol by Volume 🍷🍷🍷🍷 Around 12-13.5%, as warming as a cuppa after said walk
Each wine glass icon 🍷 represents one point on a 10-point scale. Assyrtiko, hailing from the sunny climes of Santorini, is as robust and adaptable as a British holidaymaker seeking the sun. Known for its mineral and citrus notes, it’s a wine that doesn’t just accompany seafood; it lifts it to new heights, much like clotted cream elevates a scone. It’s the vinous equivalent of a steadfast friend who’s always there to refresh and invigorate your palate, no matter how dreary the weather outside.

Growing Regions

Originally hailing from Santorini, where it sunbathes on ancient volcanic soil, Assyrtiko has started to spread its vines to other parts of Greece and beyond. It’s even made a home in the Aussie vineyards, where it’s learning to surf the waves of Clare and Eden Valleys, bringing a touch of Mediterranean flair to the Aussie wine scene.


Assyrtiko’s as ancient as the ruins dotting its Greek homeland, yet it’s managed to keep up with the times, staying as relevant as a hashtag on Twitter. It’s the Meryl Streep of grapes – versatile, enduring, and seemingly immune to the passage of time.

Serving Temperature

Chill it down to about 10°C (50°F) – cool enough to take the edge off a hot day but not so cold that you mute its complex symphony of flavours.


For Assyrtiko, choosing the right glass can greatly enhance your enjoyment of this distinctive wine. A white wine glass with a moderate bowl is particularly beneficial as it allows the wine’s rich array of aromas to collect and concentrate at the top of the glass.

This shape is crucial for capturing the subtle floral and citrus notes typical of Assyrtiko, allowing them to unfold elegantly before reaching your senses, thus magnifying the intricate and refreshing qualities that make this wine so celebrated.


While decanting is often reserved for wines that benefit from aeration, Assyrtiko typically does not need this preparation. This is because its bold, crisp flavours are most pronounced when fresh, and decanting could potentially diminish the wine’s vibrant minerality and acidity. Therefore, Assyrtiko is best served straight from the bottle, ready to delight the palate with its immediate freshness and dynamic flavour profile.


While many enjoy Assyrtiko in its youthful zestiness, some versions, especially those from Santorini, can age gracefully, developing richer, more complex characters over time – think George Clooney.

Assyrtiko is a versatile wine that offers different pleasures at various stages of its life. Young Assyrtiko is prized for its vibrancy and zest, making it a refreshing choice for immediate enjoyment. However, it also possesses a notable capacity for ageing.

Over time, Assyrtiko gracefully evolves in the bottle, developing richer, deeper flavours like honey and nuts, which complement its inherent mineral sharpness. This ageing potential allows connoisseurs to experience a more complex and layered expression of the wine, adding a robust dimension to its already dynamic character.

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Food Pairings

Seafood Symphony:

  • Oysters with Mignonette Sauce: The wine’s crisp acidity complements the oysters’ briny sweetness, creating a taste as refreshing as a sea breeze through the Eucalyptus trees.
  • Charred Octopus Salad: With hints of lemon and olives, this dish’s Mediterranean flavours are elevated by Assyrtiko’s citrus and mineral profile.

Gourmet Greek Delights:

  • Spanakopita (Spinach and Feta Pie): The flaky pastry, rich feta, and earthy spinach find their match in the wine’s zesty acidity, making for a delightful contrast.
  • Lamb Souvlaki: Juicy grilled lamb, marinated in garlic, lemon, and herbs, dances beautifully with Assyrtiko’s bright and acidic nature.

Aussie BBQ Classics:

  • Barbecued Prawns with Garlic and Lemon Butter: The succulent prawns gain an extra layer of flavour from the wine’s vibrant citrus notes.
  • Grilled Barramundi with Herb Salad: This Aussie favourite, with its delicate flesh and a herby accompaniment, pairs seamlessly with Assyrtiko’s crisp minerality.

Vegetarian Visions:

  • Roasted Pumpkin and Feta Salad with Pine Nuts: The sweetness of the pumpkin contrasts splendidly with the Assyrtiko’s sharpness, while feta echoes its mineral undertones.
  • Stuffed Capsicums with Quinoa and Mediterranean Vegetables: A hearty yet refreshing dish that’s complemented by the wine’s balanced body and acidity.

Cheese Course:

  • Honeyed Goat Cheese on Crostini: The creamy goat cheese, drizzled with honey, enhances Assyrtiko’s floral notes and acidity.
  • Aged Manchego with Quince Paste: The nutty, savoury cheese alongside the sweet quince paste showcases the wine’s versatility with both savoury and sweet profiles.

Decadent Desserts:

  • Lemon Tart: The sharpness of the lemon curd is a perfect match for Assyrtiko’s citrusy acidity, making for a zesty and refreshing end to any meal.
  • Pavlova with Kiwi and Passionfruit: The crisp meringue, whipped cream, and tangy fruits offer a delightful contrast to the wine’s dry, crisp finish.

These pairings illustrate just how well Assyrtiko plays with a range of flavours, from the robust and savoury to the light and zesty. It’s a testament to the wine’s ability to elevate a dining experience, offering a perfect sip for every bite. Whether you’re throwing a Grecian feast or just firing up the barbie, Assyrtiko is your go-to for a wine that bridges continents and cuisines with ease.

Renowned Labels - Assyrtiko
Winery Region Note
Domaine SigalasSantorini, Greece Masters of Assyrtiko, capturing the essence of Santorini’s terroir.
Gaia WinesSantorini, Greece Innovators turning volcanic soil into liquid gold.
Jim BarryClare Valley, Australia Aussie adventurers bringing a Greek classic down under.
HenschkeEden Valley, Australia Crafting elegant Assyrtiko with a distinctly Aussie twist.
Tselepos WinesPeloponnese, Greece Showcasing the versatility of Assyrtiko beyond its island home.
In the illustrious realm of Assyrtiko, these wineries stand as titans, each brandishing their unique interpretation of this ancient grape. From the volcanic cradles of Santorini with Domaine Sigalas and Gaia Wines to the pioneering spirit of Jim Barry and Henschke in Australia, these labels have mastered the art of turning a Greek classic into a global sensation. Tselepos Wines rounds off the ensemble by showcasing Assyrtiko's adaptability, proving that true wine excellence knows no borders.


In the world of wine, Assyrtiko stands out as a beacon of freshness and vibrancy. Whether it’s accompanying a seafood feast or simply enjoyed on its own, this wine promises a taste of the Mediterranean with every sip, proving that sometimes, the oldest tricks are the best. So, next time you’re yearning for a Grecian holiday, just pop open a bottle of Assyrtiko – it’s cheaper than a plane ticket!

Is Assyrtiko a red or white wine?

Assyrtiko is a white wine grape, creating wines that are the liquid equivalent of diving into the Aegean Sea – refreshing, invigorating, and slightly salty.

Where does the name Assyrtiko originate from?

The name “Assyrtiko” is as Greek as breaking plates at a wedding, derived from its homeland. It’s the kind of name that sounds like you need to say it with a mouthful of olives.

To which wines is Assyrtiko similar?

If Assyrtiko were to mingle at a wine tasting, it might find common ground with Sauvignon Blanc or Chablis, sharing a love for acidity and minerality. It’s the kind of grape that enjoys a good debate over crispness and complexity.

Is Assyrtiko known by any other names?

Assyrtiko, being quite the diva, sticks to its stage name. In the world of wine, it’s known for being unapologetically itself – no pseudonyms necessary. It’s like the Cher of the grape world.

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