The history of Greek isles is as old as their wines are. Some of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe lie in the Greek isles.
The Greek economy technically relies on tourism, and going by the recent economic crisis that has grappled the country for quite some time now, several Greek populists and government policies have started to encourage and even push for such policies that allow entrepreneurship and self reliant businesses.
Wine industry of Greece is one such sector that is witnessing a new breath of life, after being overlooked for almost a century.
The Greek isles from the part of the Aegean Sea that is ruled by the Greek government. One such island is the island of Santorini.
When looked from the satellite, it resembles a ring-like structure with a loop in the centre filled with oceanic water.
That loop was formed by an extensive volcanic eruption that caused the Knossos civilisation, a contemporary of early Greece, to get devastated with only its palatial ruins left for modern day tourists to appreciate the beauty of the architecture and the remaining frescoes and paintings on Knossos walls.
Perhaps only few things remained, and these were the islands’ grape varieties that are still grown today in almost all of Greece.
One such variety is the Aidani, also known as Aidini and Aedani. Aidani is a white grape variety of Greece that is almost exclusively grown on the Santorini Island.
Since the island itself is not very densely populated, the Aidani vine is grown in very limited quantities. It has in recent times, become popular due to its characteristics that make it a very sought after grape in Greece.
Regions of production
Aidani is primarily grown on Santorini Island, although it is also produced on the islands of Paros, Amorghos and Naxos.
Uses of Aidani
Assyrtiko is one of the oldest Greek varieties grown to this date, and Aidani makes a perfect blending partner with Assyrtiko.
Regional variations may occur as wines made in mainland Greece differ from those made on the Greek isles because of differing climates, proximity to the sea and different soil types.
Santorini, being a volcanic eruption comprises of volcanic soil with traces of metals and iron. Aidani grows the best on such soils, although it can also be grown elsewhere.
The Aidani is mainly used to produce dry white wines. However, due to its flavours of pale lemons, yellow fruits and mineral flowers, it acts as an excellent blending agent.
On the palate, the grape is medium bodied with medium alcohol and acidity, making it preferable for those wanting to get a mild white wine of Greece.
In less usual occasions, Aidani is also used for making dessert wines since its fresh fruit flavours mixed with light acid and alcohol become a complementary ingredient with a Mediterranean dessert.
Certain winemakers also make also make sweet wines out of it, by modifying the fermentation process in some areas where oak ageing is conducted, Aidani wines come out as sweet because of the fermentation and have some oak characteristics to them.
Other characteristics and viticulture
Aidani grapes are mostly cultivated some 70 to 300 metres above sea level on sloping hills with exposure to the sun.
A skin contact for 12 hours, separation from the musts and fermentation with indigenous at a cool temperature of 18C is the ideal vinification process.
Aidani extract is very quick maturing and is ideally matured in stainless steal tanks for about 6 months before transferring them over into bottles.
These wines are, however, long lasting and can be kept for as short a period of five years to as long as ten.
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Editor-in-Chief and Wine Writer
Michael is an online enthusiast, with a lot of knowledge about online marketing. Traveling around the world to hunt for the perfect wine. Latest on Sicily, where Etna has a huge impact on the taste, which is strong with a bitter aftertaste for the youngest wines, but older wines are fantastic. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one the passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂