“The 1996 Vinsanto 20 Years Barrel Aged, bottled in late December 2014, is the typical blend here of 80% Assyrtiko and 10% each of Aidani and Athiri, aged for 240 months in used French oak. It comes in with 270 grams of residual sugar, 7.42 grams of total acidity and 13.5% alcohol. It is sourced from vines "200 years old, minimum, specifically earmarked for this style," says the winery. The rapidly increasing price point references a 500-milliliter bottle. It is fair to note, as I said with the 12 year Vinsantos, that the old-vines' yield is very low, even lower than with the 12 Year, and they aged it for you for 20 years. Fresher and better defined than the 1995, this has less richness, perhaps, but more elegance, while still seeming full-bodied. In a way, it seems like a cross between the 2004 12 Year and the 1995 20 Year this issue, with some of the elegance of the 2004 and some of the lushness of the 1995. This is powerful on the finish, precise and lifted. It's pretty delicious too, with the baked apricots on the edges mingling with some caramel. Still, the juicy finish here was spectacular, showing off startling freshness for a 20 Year Vinsanto, although there is plenty of power, and it is quite intense. It's pretty special, but then they all are this issue.”
“The 1994 Vinsanto 20 Years Barrel Aged, bottled in late December 2014, is the typical blend here of 80% Assyrtiko and 10% each of Aidani and Athiri, aged for 240 months in used French oak. It comes in with 250 grams of residual sugar, 7.7 grams of total acidity and 13.5% alcohol. It was also held back in bottle for two years before release. Sourced from very old vines, this seems dry yet rich, powerful and very concentrated. It didn't show its best for 24 hours, initially seeming just a bit duller compared to the 1993 but winning in the end. In the end, it is richer and more unctuous. As with all of them, it ends with a tannic-like grip on the finish, some molasses and caramelized sugar. Intense, dense and gripping, this is pretty special.”
“The 2001 Vinsanto 12 Years Barrel Aged is a blend of 80% Assyrtiko and 10% each of Athiri and Aidani. Sun-dried grapes are aged in French oak for 12 years. It comes in at 13.5% alcohol and 240 grams per liter of residual sugar. This takes the 2009 ‘4-Year’ this issue and substitutes a lot of complexity for the unctuous and exuberant fruit of the relative youngster, plus there's more concentration as well. Here, the acidity is also a little more obvious at first, but the first thing you'll notice up front is the change in the flavor profile—the flavors lean more to darker chocolate (with a frosted, sugary overlay) than apricots. We're not quite yet at full-on molasses nuance (that will be the ‘20 Year’), but we're getting there.
For all of its brilliance in so many areas, the juicy finish is what makes this special. As always with fine Vinsanto, the big hit of sugar is easily matched by a big hit of acidity. The tense and intense finish goes on for a very long time and grabs the palate in an iron grip as this airs and warms. You'll like the gripping finish, because every second it lasts, this is simply delicious. It was even more impressive the next day, by the way, and even more so on the third day tasted. In truth, it took a couple of days to open up. At that point, the finish was simply on another level, the one where special wines reside. Dive in now or hold it. Barring cork failures, it will age effortlessly.”