Gavalas Winery, a traditional method and family owned winery in the heart of Santorini

Santorini has more wineries than I expected. Unfortunately, I couldn’t visit them all during my last visit on September 2018. Perhaps the best way to see them all in a short amount of time is by scheduling a wineries tour, but we decided to go with the flow and take it one by one, even when we visited only three of them.

Gavalas Winery Wine Tasting - Santorini Greece - Wineries around the World by WineDivaa

(September 28, 2018; Santorini, Greece) – One of the ones that impacted me the most was Gavalas Winery. Gavalas Winery is located on the island of Thera in Santorini.  Gavalas is a family-owned winery that produces all its wine by the traditional methods and of course lives under volcanic soil terroir. You read it right, conventional techniques that involve grape stomp and all that jazz we saw in I Love Lucy episodes.

I had the pleasure of tasting only three of their wines for 5 euros. I wish I could have tasted more of their wines, but I didn’t have enough time in Santorini. Moreover, I wanted to explore more wineries, so I had to go with their three-wine-tasting option.

An affordable and unique Wine Tasting

The first wine that we tasted was ‘Katsano,’ a blend of 85% Katsano and 15% Gaidouria, both grape varieties little known outside the island, as they only cover 1% of the total vineyard. The harvest commences in early August so that the grapes may be collected before they are fully ripe.

According to their website, Gavalas’ Katsano is a dry white wine possessing green highlights and a nose of sweet aromas of flowers, honey, and lemon blossom. Katsano develops a rich taste on the palate with an exceptional balance, pleasant acidity, and a long after taste. It accompanies all seafood and white meat dishes superbly with light sauces. Katsano is best served at 12oC/ 53oF. The production is strictly limited.

The second wine we tasted was a Dry White Wine named ‘Nykteri.’ Nykteri is produced from extra matured Assyrtiko grapes. In the past, the harvest took place during the day and the stomping of the grapes during the night. This wine continues to be produced with the traditional method. Nykteri is characterized by high alcohol (more than 14%), remaining sugars, and long aging in oak barrels. Its color is gold, and its nose of pear and jasmine. It is full-bodied, and it can be aged for at least 7-8 years. Perfectly paired with grilled and white meat, grilled squid, intense spicy flavors, and fatty fish. Best served at 12-14oC/53-55oF

The third and last wine we enjoyed was, of course, their dessert wine, Vin Santo. Gavalas’ website states that ‘The soil of Santorini is characterized by unique geological inorganic elements created by the volcanic eruptions. However, due to the limited rainfall and the strong winds, the yield is very low, with only 300-500 kgs of grapes per 1000 sq.m. of vineyards. The result is the production of grapes having excellent quality and perfect maturation. When the grapes reach the desired degree of maturation, they are carefully picked and are sun-dried on terraces for approximately 10-15 days.’

Volcanic Terroir at its best

Gavalas winery vinifies the most vibrant variety in Greece, Assyrtiko, as well as Aidani, Mandilaria and Mavrotragano. In order to show the richness of the land, we are the only winery in Santorini that vinifies the indigenous rare varieties of Katsano and Voudomato.  Learn more about Gavalas Winery here. If you are ever in Santorini, definetely make the trip to visit this unique winery.

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