When there's some banter about traveling in Europe, it usually concerns the three things that the continent is known for - art, culture, and food. Fine dining and drinking have always been a part of the European way of life. Ultrafino
is touring the evergreen continent, trying to find exotic locations and exploring the local cuisines. With that, we give our two cents on the wine tasting sessions that you shouldn’t miss out when you plan on touring the place.
The first step towards travel and living is understanding that such episodes come with a lot of history and perspectives. And thus, the experience does not end with that one pearly-white glass filled to the quarter with blood red Chianti. Wine making is a tradition that has lasted tens of generations. The craftsmen through the years have put their souls into making the brew richer and better. Think of the local wine as a piece of antiquity, an evolution of taste through millions of hours of devotion to the trade.
Sunsets and Wine Tasting in Santorini
Greece has its fair share of tourism and Santorini is probably the most popular destination of them all. It is quite a sight during the summer with spotless azure skies and whitewashed houses sparkling against the blue Aegean. What people miss is that the tiny island has produced the best wine of the country for centuries. So good is their wine that the Ottoman Turks, who captured the island in the 16th century, were quite enthusiastic about the trade despite the fact their religion forbade them from drinking. Talk about the magic the wine can cast on men!
The unique factor of Santorini's wine is its sweetness, derived out of an abnormally high alcohol content. This made it a prized possession for the sailors back in Medieval times, as it could withstand long voyages on high seas. Due to this sweetness, it essentially is a dessert wine and great to have after a portion of Souvlaki, a popular local dish, made of grilled pork.
Vinsanto - the Nectar of the Gods
The most famous of the wines in Santorini is the Vinsanto. The name is extremely similar to Vin Santo, an Italian counterpart. But unlike the latter, Vinsanto is more of a vintage wine, which takes years to make. It is made from a blend of white grapes Assyrtiko, Aidani, and Athiri. It is put into oak casks for at least three years. The oak bark gives it a unique flavor and color, which makes it quite rich in taste compared to the other dry wines in the area. There are a lot of local wine tasting tours in Santorini, which let you experience different local wines and also learn a bit more about the skills and best-kept secrets of the wine trade.
Truth be told, the essence of the wine tasting experience is heightened by the island's beauty and serenity. Santorini has stunning black sand beaches, due to volcanic activity thousands of years back. Sitting on the sides of Oia, looking towards the sunset and sipping Vinsanto with some acoustic guitar music across the alley is possibly the best way to sink into modern Greek culture.
The next time you make it to Santorini, do not forget to try their wine while engrossed in the pursuit of their beaches.The Greeks are fun and laid-back, and it would be wonderful if you could strike up a good conversation with a friendly local.
Image credit : peteranddorota/Flickr/CC BY 2.0
That is it from this episode of wine tasting across Europe. Remember to bring your Panama hat on your trip! See you soon from a different location with another unique wine tasting session!