Considered by many experts to be the greatest white grape in Greece, the Assyrtiko is a productive and versatile varietal. The Assyrtiko adapts well to different soil types and is known for having both high alcohol and high acidity, a trait uncommon for whites from the mediterranean. Two distinct styles are widely sold: an intense and dry version with notes of citrus fruits and minerals, and a sweet version sold as Visanto where the grapes are dried in the sun before fermentation thus creating a wine closer in character to a tawny port than to a botrytised wine.
The island of Santorini claims both the origin and best expressions of Assyrtiko. The volcanic soils of the island are home to very ancient vines, some reaching 150 years in age. Wines from Santorini are very robust and earthy, while Assyrtiko from other points in Greece are more perfumed and floral.