The white grape variety originates from Greece, from the island of Santorini. Synonyms are Assirtico, Assyrtico, Asurtico, Asyrtico and Asyrtiko. It is believed that the variety was used (among many others) to produce the famous Malvasia wines, which were shipped or exported from the Greek port of Monemvasia as early as the 13th century. According to DNA analyses carried out in 2011, there is a parent-offspring relationship with the two varieties Gaidouria and Platani.
According to one hypothesis, the name points to its origin Assyria (in ancient times it belonged to Mesopotamia), from where it is said to have come to Greece via Spain. However, according to analyses, there are no genetic links with varieties from Spain or the Middle East. The late-maturing, high-yielding vine is resistant to both types of mildew and drought. It produces pale yellow white wines full of character with high acidity and alcohol content, as well as storage potential that tends to oxidation.
The variety is mainly grown on Santorini, where it accounts for 70% of the population. The vines are planted true to their roots and are cultivated in the traditional Kouloura training system. The shoots are woven in a circle around the grapes in the form of a nest to protect the fruit from the wind. Here it is the main variety for the OPAP white wines, which are produced dry and from sun-dried grapes as Vinsanto sweet. In the Attica region, it is used for blending the low-acid varieties Roditis and Savatiano because of its acidity, but it is also vinified independently. It is also present in Chalkidike in the appellation Côtes de Meliton and in Peloponnese. In 2010, 902 hectares were recorded.
Source: Wine Grapes / J. Robinson, J. Harding, J. Vouillamoz / Penguin Books Ltd. 2012
Assyrtiko: Ursula Brühl, Doris Schneider, Julius Kühn Institute (JKI)