AT A GLANCE:
Name of wine estate: Domaine Sigalas SA
Wine region: Santorini
Standout points: Location in Oia, a site for dreamlike Santorini sunsets; centuries-old basket-trained vines; stunning Assyrtikos
Winemaker: Paris Sigalas
Wine style: Volcanic wines focused on the indigenous grape variety of Santorini, Assyrtiko
Enter the volcano
For oenophiles with a taste for volcanic wines, the Cycladic island of Santorini would have to be a bucket-list destination. This awe-inspiring ancient stratovolcano with three millennia of winemaking history attracts more than two million tourists every year, some of them drawn by the island’s dreamlike sunsets, but many also on a mission to discover the stunning Assyrtikos born of its unique terroir.
Situated on the ancient plain of Oia to the north of the island, Domaine Sigalas has been owned and run by former mathematician Paris Sigalas since 1991, and is now arguably Santorini’s leading premium wine producer. Domaine Sigalas specialises in wines made from the island’s principal white variety, Assyrtiko, along with two other indigenous white grapes, Aidani and Athiri, and the reds Mandilaria and Mavrotragano. Guided by a hospitality team led by the charming and wine-savvy Panayiota Kalogeropoulou, you can enjoy these wines on the Sigalas patio under the shade of vine-covered pergolas. The winery restaurant is a place where you sample some of the culinary delights of the Cyclades Islands – for example, the fava (split peas) and cherry tomatoes for which Santorini has its own PDOs.
Unique soils, ancient methods
The unique low-potassium volcanic soil of Santorini prevented the spread of the phylloxera epidemic which blighted most of the world’s vineyards in the 19th century. As a result, Santorini is home to some of the oldest vines in the world. It is also home to ancient vinegrowing methods, such as the distinctive kouloura basket training of vines, which protects the precious grapes from fierce sun and strong winds. Visitors to Domaine Sigalas should not miss the opportunity to take a tour of the vineyards and learn about their unique soil and viticultural methods of Santorini for themselves.