Mavrotragano is an enigma. To begin, it is a thick-skinned and tough grape that creates full-bodied and tannic wines; the complete opposite of the light, easy-drinking red wine one might expect to find on an island. However, eking out life on a volcanic island is tough, which also makes for tenacious vines and powerful wines. Additionally, there’s a lack of typicity among the wines made with it; it is very much at the mercy of the winemaker.
In keeping with the DNA of our winery, Vassaltis is dedicated to vinifying the native Santorinian grapes. Not only do we want to introduce these flavors to the world, but we have made a commitment to keeping their production alive to pass onto the next generation. Santorini should have a red wine and it should be every bit as intense and compelling as Assyrtiko. We believe that Mavrotragano is a variety worth exploring.
Our question when undertaking this wine was, how do we take such a fierce grape and tame it without taking away its identity? We chose a straightforward approach that would allow the grape to speak for itself as much as possible: whole cluster maceration and fermentation on indigenous yeasts followed by 12 months in oak barrels to help round out the ofttimes gritty tannins. The result is a complex and balanced wine with rich red fruits, cherries, black currants and plums, hints of minerality, forest floor, and black tea wrapped in structure, smooth tannins, and a long finish.