Volcanic Slopes Vineyards, Pure 2014/15 Santorini


From $26.99, €32.40, £217 per case of 6 

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What’s in a name? Everything in this case: from the motivation to the result. 

Pure is the result of a partnership between vineyard owner Manolis Chloridis and winemaker Matthew Argyros, owner and winemaker of the well-established and respected Argyros Estate on Santorini. 

The first vintage was 2013 and current production is a mere 6,000 bottles per year but the track record has been exceptional so far. I recently tasted the 2014, 2015 and the not-yet-available 2016 and all are worthy of the name Pure.

It’s not that there is any lack of fruit – typically expressed as citrus, herbs, even a touch of cedar or spice – but the Assyrtiko variety grown on the volcanic slopes of Santorini, in the exceptionally trained and exceptionally old vineyards (pictured below), has so much more to it than fruit. There’s a steely, chalky character that might be austere, especially given the high acidity, were it not for the richness in the mouth that is achieved by leaving the wine on the yeast lees for 14 months after fermentation. The overriding sensations are purity, intensity and immense persistence of flavour.

The grapes for this wine come from two vineyards in Pyrgos and Megalochri that have been bearing fruit for more than 200 years. Inevitably the fruit is hand-picked and thus carefully selected. The wine ferments in these striking underground concrete vats, with nothing added or taken away (apart from protective sulphur dioxide in moderation). The concrete seems to bring even greater precision to the wine while adding no make-up. During the 14 months on lees, the wine is stirred now and again to increase the depth of flavour.

This is one of those rare occasions where the finished product lives up to the concept and design.

In the UK, you can buy the 2014 direct from importers Clark Foyster Wines (£218 per case of 6). Otherwise the the wine is generally sold in top-end wine-minded establishments such as The Fat Duck, Core, 67 Pall Mall and Hide in London. The 2014 is also currently available in central London from Hedonism (£45.10), and from The Life Goddess, a Greek-themed shop/restaurant in Carnaby Street.

Pure is also distributed in Canada by the Kolonaki Group, in the US by The Winebow Group, in Germany by Vin du Sud of Munich and in France by Paris-based Mavromatis.

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