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Wine

New Favorite Summer Wine? It's Greek.

(Yes, really.)
Greek Wine Drinking Guide

Rosé, we'll always love you.

Right now, though, we're dreaming of Santorini--and not just for vacation.

If you've never tasted the Assyrtiko-based white wines from this idyllic Greek island, you may be surprised at how they rival the pink stuff for happy hot-weather sipping.

"What's so exciting about Santorini," says Michael Madrigale, wine director at NYC's Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, "is that the wines belong in the same camp with Champagne and Bordeaux and Burgundy and Barolo, yet they're still inexpensive. And there's still so much to be discovered."

These wines, made primarily from the indigenous Assyrtiko grape, have that same racy acidity and salinity found in Burgundy's famed Chablis, making them a natural match for everything from oysters to salads to whole grilled fish.

They're also ridiculously affordable: Top bottlings, from estates such as Gaia, Domaine Sigalas, Koutsoyannopoulos, Hatzidakis and Argyros, can be had for less than $25.

A lot goes into these notoriously flinty whites: The island's volcanic soil, for instance, adds notes of mineral and earth. The vines are hand-woven into shallow baskets using a centuries-old technique known as koulara. It keeps the grapes low to the ground and protects them from the powerful winds that roar across the Aegean Sea.

What we like most about these wines is how totally unique they are; despite their full-bodied, fruit forward character, the wines maintain their trademark acidity and citrus aromas that carry through on the surprisingly long, bone-dry finish.

"There's still a lot to be done in the region," says Madrigale. "In a world where you assume that everything is already found and codified, it's nice to know that it's not all written down just yet."

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