The grapes to produce the Assyrtiko “Wild Ferment” Gaia Wines were hand-picked, destemmed, crushed and cold soaked for 12 hours with skin contact at 10°C. The free run juice was then fermented naturally, using only natural yeasts. 45% of the must was fermented in stainless steel tanks at low temperatures, 45% in wooden casks (15% French oak, 15% American oak, 15% in acacia casks). The remaining 10% was in ceramic vats. The temperature was allowed to rise naturally without any further intervention. From here, modern technology passed the baton to traditional winemaking and fermentation developed at its own, gradual pace, with the prevailing yeast strains determining the wine’s final character. The wine was aged on its fine lees for four to six months with bâtonnage.
The Assyrtiko (Ah-SEER-tee-koe) vineyard is located in Santorini. The terroir is recognised worldwide for its tremendous historical roots, as the vineyards in this area date back 3,000 years. The low-yielding, 80 year old, self rooted vines are grown in soils which are poor in organic matter. The high sand content has ensured they have never been affected by phylloxera. The soils are also volcanic: porous with a high mineral content, which imparts the mineral quality to the wine. The long sunshine hours, lack of rainfall, sea mists and strong summer winds all contribute to the unique microclimate. The surrounding Aegean Sea acts as a “climatic buffer” which softens the climate, so the extreme conditions are reduced. The vines are trained on traditional basket shaped systems called “kouloura”.
Gaia Wines Estate was established in 1994 by Greek winemakers Leon Karatsalos and Yiannis Paraskevopoulos who was one of the pioneers of the modern Greek wine revolution . Operating two different wineries they make cutting edge wines in both Nemea and Santorini.The Gaia Wines main aim is to present the potential of the indigenous Greek grape varieties to wine enthusiasts worldwide.