Gaia was founded in 1994 by Yiannis Paraskevopoulos and Leon Karatsalos. After travelling and training extensively in wine regions around the world, the two agriculturalists wanted to materialise a then provocative idea: to make wines in historical Greek wine regions, using local varieties only, and making them available and renowned worldwide.
Their venture started in Santorini with the purchase of their winery, located right on the beach between Kamari and Monolithos, and the release of the Santorini PDO Thalassitis. While their range has now grown extensively, both in Santorini and Nemea where they later purchased a second vineyard, Thalassitis remains the perfect introduction to Gaia Wines.
Paraskevopoulos and Karatsalos now experiment with different winemaking approaches for multiple expressions of Assyrtiko; Thalassitis remains, however, their most transparent expression of Assyrtiko and of the Santorini terroir. The grapes hail from 80-year-old ungrafted vines that grow right next to the sea on the island’s unique pumice soils. They are then whole bunch pressed and the juice is fermented in stainless steel.
What’s in the glass: A textbook Santorini Assyrtiko with its trademark minerality and unique drive. Lovely aromas of preserved lemon, white flowers and white grapefruit, topped by a delicious sea salt note. Elegant and vibrant on the palate, with a firm mineral backbone and lingering salinity. Will also be lovely once it has had a chance to mature for two to three years; the mineral edge will become rounder and the fruit notes more pronounced.
Producer: Gaia Wines
Grape Variety: Assyrtiko
Region/Appellation: Santorini PDO, Aegean Islands
Alcohol content: 12% ABV
Current vintage: 2019
Ideal serving temperature: 11ºC – decant one hour before serving.
Drinking window: Drink now or cellar for up to three years.
Pairs perfectly with: Shellfish, slow-cooked lamb in lemon sauce, grilled mackerel or sardines.