Akra Chryssos, the New Santorini


Santorini – Chapter 1

As the wines from Santorini capture the attention of serious wine lovers worldwide, a new generation of winemakers, among them Spyros Chryssos is taking on the responsibility of maintaining quality at new sustainable standards while addressing emerging challenges. Here, SAY, ILOVE WINE begins to celebrate some of its rising stars.

5′ min read

December 2023 / Nikos Panidis

Santorini, wines of Akra Chryssos

Clockwise from the top left – Nykteri ’22, Skafida ’22, Santorini ’22, Santorini ’18,

It’s inspiring to witness the rise of a new production model in our era, where winemakers are placing a heightened emphasis on vineyard management and the quality of wines originating from specific vineyards. Spyros Chryssos from Santorini is a prime example of this kind of winemaker. Beginning as a viticulturist, he has successfully crafted some of the most exciting white wines on the island of Santorini.

Engaging with Spiros reveals that his connection with wine is not just a routine but a lifelong dedication. As a child, he accompanied his father to the Boutari winery and later to Hatzidakis, spending entire days absorbing the intricacies of winemaking during the harvest season. This early exposure eventually turned his childhood dream of producing his first wine into a reality in 2015.

What I find commendable about Spyros is that, despite being self-taught, he crafts wines with a stand-out quality, and a profound understanding of the terroir of Santorini. Freed from the dogmatism that can sometimes permeate the academic realm of wine, he has followed his path, successfully producing wines with distinct authentic character while meeting the demands of the contemporary market.

In our current times, it’s evident that producers of quality wines need to adopt a holistic approach, encompassing not only environmentally friendly production but also addressing climate change. Adhering to biodynamic cultivation and low intervention in winemaking, Spyros Chryssos employs gentle practices to craft authentic wines with a sense of place (“What I want is to make wine traditionally, not technological”).

Tasting his range of wines offers a captivating glimpse into some of Santorini’s diverse styles, with each wine expressing specific characteristics—an aspect I value, especially in contrast to wines that appear to have followed a similar template.

His current Santorini ’22 is a monovarietal blend from Assyrtiko grapes coming from three villages—Pyrgos, Megalochori, and Akrotiri. It is beautifully refined with a restrained mineral nose, and a classic Santorini structure on the palate with the well-known steely acidity. Santorini wine lovers looking for delicious wines on limited budgets need to look no further, as it is one of the best value-for-money entry-level PDO Santorini wines. Buy and store.

The Santorini ’18 is a stylish, buttery-textured wine that epitomizes a mineral style, displaying attractive notes of beeswax, chamomile tea, and honey, clearly benefiting from a few years of aging. It is a very good vintage that allowed all three grape varieties in Santorini whites to make up the traditional blend: mainly Assyrtiko, with a small persentage of Aidani, and Athiri.

Santorini Single Vineyard Skafida ’22 is a 100% Assyrtiko. It showcases an austere style with subtle notes of citrus, flowers, and flint. With a slight phenolic edge, ample nerve, and a promising long life expectancy, only 650 bottles of this exceptional wine were produced.

Santorini Nykteri ’22 is a special wine of traditional style, requiring the grapes to be harvested at dawn and aged for a minimum of three months in oak barrels. The grapes are sourced from the highly renowned Louros vineyard near the village of Pyrgos. Despite being fermented in new French oak barrels and aged for seven months, the creamy oak notes are extremely well integrated and barely traceable in the nose. The wine displays finesse and a great structure. Again, there are only 650 bottles produced.

Santorini is undoubtedly entering a golden era, and from the impressions I’ve gathered, it’s clear that Akra Chryssos wines are positioned to become a future cult sensation.