And indeed there was a rich history here. Ancient documents trace winemaking back through the centuries and note a particular popular grape variety called Bibla Ambelos. Biblia Chora winery takes its name after this long-lost variety.
Over a hundred vines were lost in the flames, but the main vineyards are-- thankfully-- just fine.
It takes teamwork. Vassilia Tsaksarlis and Vangelis Gerovassiliou first planted assyrtiko in 1998. Since 2003, assyrtiko has been an allowed grape variety in the Pangeon Area PGI.
Biblia Chora produces many wines in addition to assyrtiko, including agiorghitiko & cabernet sauvignon. But it was the assyrtiko that seemed to be stirring up conversation all over Greece.
But despite their youth and the different struggles Nature tasks them with, the assyrtikos from Biblia Chora have their own sense of beauty. After tasting through about a decade of examples, it's impossible to deny that something special is happening here.
2004 Biblia Chora 'Areti' assyrtiko
mushrooms, dried cedar, an acid skeleton with little flesh left on the bones. Interesting, but at the end of it's evolution.
2005 Biblia Chora 'Areti' assyrtiko
a soft light lemon aroma, zesty bright texture, an interesting fresh mushroom mid-palate taste
2006 Biblia Chora 'Areti' assyrtiko
aromas of seaweed and green leaves, a bit faded but in a nice way. soft & supple texture
2007 Biblia Chora 'Areti' assyrtiko
a really stellar example of aged assyrtiko from Northern Greece. Lemon nose with hints of developing mushroom, a round & rich texture
2008 Biblia Chora 'Areti' assyrtiko
that classic lemon-zest aroma, but with hints of subtle floral perfume, a pithy tartness on the palate with a soft, pleasant acidity. quite elegant and stately
2009 Biblia Chora 'Areti' assyrtiko
aromas of lemon and peaches with just a hint of smokiness, a flavor like juicy meyer lemon juice
2010 Biblia Chora 'Areti' assyrtiko
aromas of peach pit and a rich, lemon zest flavor. a clean zingy finish
2011 Biblia Chora 'Areti' assyrtiko
talcum and butter-lemon-poundcake aromas, a soft, pure richness, an acidity that is almost chewy, like lemon candies
2012 Biblia Chora 'Areti' assyrtiko
*the first year that they began barrel fermenting 15% of the wine. the previous years are all steel.
*every Areti is aged 4 months on the lees
smokey, herbaceous aromas, hints of oak. medium bodied, very intense with a rich mid-palate
It's pretty exciting to see what these two are culling from assyrtiko in the North.