SINCE MOST OF SANTORINI’S vineyards are owned by growers with very small plots, competition for the limited amount of grapes during harvest is intense. Most of the wineries on the island also have small holdings of vineyards.
Santorini-born Paris Sigalas is one such winery owner, having accumulated more than 50 hectares over the years. For many years Sigalas had a close relationship with a grower in the village of Imerovigli, who was renown for the great care he took tending his vines. Known as Kavaliero, the grower often was seen walking through his vineyard, almost lovingly tending his basket vines growing on top of the volcanic soil.
When he passed away a few years ago, Kavaliero left specific instructions that his vineyard be sold to Sigalas so it would not be divided or, worse, used for touristic development. Sigalas bought grapes from the Kavaliero vineyard for years to make his flagship Sigalas Santorini wine and after he took over ownership of the vineyard, he decided to honor this special place with a single vineyard release, Sigalas Kavaliero. It was first released in 2009.
The Kavaliero vineyard experiences cooler temperatures than many parts of the island and the grapes are picked more than two weeks after most other vineyards. The extended maturity gives wine a rich mouth feel with hints of tropical fruit, including pineapple. The 2010 release should be available soon. This year’s vintage will be held for one year of aging before release. If you happen to spot a bottle of this very limited release it would be a rare find, indeed.