Matthew Argyros: Passion for wine
Matthaios (Matthew) Argyros, is continuing the wine growers tradition of Estate Argyros since 2004. Lead by his passion about wine and his deep knowledge of Santorini vineyard, he is the present and promising future of the Estate. Here, he opens up about the family tradition, his favorite wine and of course the magic land of Santorini.
1. You are the 4th generation of a family of winemakers, why did you choose to continue the family tradition? Is it something you always wanted?
Indeed Estate Argyros was established in 1903 and I represent the 4th generation of winemakers. My personal background is all wine-related. I was born and raised literally into the Estate Argyros. I was trained in the vineyards next to my grandfather Matthew Argyros, while my father Yiannis Argyros initiated me into the winemaking. Although I had the chance not to follow the tradition of my family, Santorini Assyrtiko had already penetrated my DNA.
2. What makes your wines special?
In Estate Argyros we believe that great wine is only made in the vineyard, so this is why we invest in the vineyards and we take all the painstakingly work and attention to detail to make sure that we only have the best grapes arriving at our cellar.
Our philosophy in the vineyard is to work almost exclusively with old vines because only these vineyards can provide the depth, the definition and the concentration needed to produce the desired style of wine. Work in the vineyard is meticulous, with hundred of man-hours per year per hectare, since every single vine is considered a unique organism.
Estate Argyros vines are farmed organically, without using pesticides. Each vineyard work is done manually, apart from ploughing, carried out by mules. The vines are not irrigated and most of the additions in the vineyard are by products of the wine making process, like composted stems and grape skins.
The recipe in the cellar is that there is no recipe, with each plot being harvested, vinified and aged separately until very late in the production process. Each plot is treated with the required sensitivity, in order to express its birthplace, while achieving purity and elegance.
3. If someone could only taste one of your wines, which one would this be and why?
I am proud for all the wines that we produce. However, if I had to pick only one that would be the Estate Argyros Cuvee Monsignori Santorini. Cuvee Monsignori is Estate Argyros’ vision on what Santorini Assyrtiko can actually be. Excessively old Assyrtiko vineyards, at least two hundred year old, giving minute yields. A wine of breed, extract and length, that needs about four years in bottle to unfold and can be confidently kept for more than a decade after vintage.
4. Where do you draw your inspiration from?
My biggest passion is the vineyards of Santorini. This is where I get my inspiration from. Also, the acceptance and recognition of our wines is a great motivation to continue the hard work.
5. What’s your motto in life and business?
I wouldn’t say that it is my motto, but what I strongly believe in life is that with strong will, patience and persistence, everyting is feasible.
6. What part of Santorini is your favorite?
One of my favorite spots on Santorini is the Monastery of Prophet Ilias on the top of Pyrgos. It is not so popular for visitors and apart from the serenity, I really enjoy the view. From the courtyard I can see our vineyards on both sides – one is the slope of Episkopi and the other one is the slope of oyrgos and Megalochori up tp Akrotiri.
7. What would you suggest to someone to do on their first time in Santorini? Give us a small itinerary. What’s the perfect day in Santorini?
Santorini is a unique place, beautiful all year round with spectacular views and traditional (white and blue) settlements.
With no doubt it offers an unforgettable experience to every visitor.
One should not miss watching the sunset from Oia or the lighthouse on the south end, a volcano tour, a visit at Akrotiri ancient site, a walk along the Caldera and the picturesque villages of Pyrgos, Megalochori and Emporio.
Among the ‘must’ is a gastronomic experience at one of the many distinctive restaurants of the island and of course a wine tour to explore the authentic side of Santorini.
8. How was the 2020 season for you? What are you hoping for the future for your business and for Greek wines? Any positive note for our readers?
2020 is a difficult year with no doubt. Although the pandemic brought as unexpected challenges, I remain positive and optimistic for the future.
For the last years in Estate Argyrso we systematically invest in the vineyards without compromising our focus in winemaking. I believe that even under these adverse conditions our efforts are rewarded and everything will be much better as soon as the circumstances allow it.
Few weeks ago, the Estate Argyros was ranked at the top two positions of 50 Great Greek Wines and received one Best in Show award and 3 Platinum awards at Decanter, listing our winery among the 50 best wineries of the world.
I strongly believe that in the wine business stability and patience are two very important values. We need to stay loyal on our vision and Greek wines will have a great future.
Visit Estate Argyros here. Ask our concierge team for more information about visiting the winery.