An exploration of wine

Crete wines: the next Santorini?

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Crete wines vineyard panorama

Crete wines, from the stunning vineyards of the island

I was invited by Wines of Crete, a non-profit organisation formed by Cretan wineries less than 10 years ago, to spend 3 days exploring the wines, history and culture of the island.

What I found was a region steeped in vinous history, but which has only recently been rediscovering its potential. In the white variety, Vidiano, they have a high quality, indigenous grape with which to lead the renaissance of the island’s wines and with which to promote a quality perception for Crete wines.

The recent import of Assyrtiko from Santorini bodes well too as it is already producing high quality wines in a less austere style than Santorini, as does the recovery by Lyrarakis of remarkably herb-scented Dafni.

Whilst international varieties, especially Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown, domestic varieties Kotsifali and Mandilari show promise as a blend, and Liatiko as a varietal red, though these varieties are not yet at the quality level of Vidiano.

Here are my notes, thoughts and opinions on the following dimensions of Crete wines:

  • History: overview of the 4,000+ years of winemaking history of the island
  • Current state: where the industry is now, and where Wines of Crete are heading
  • Varieties: summary of the principal red and white varieties, roughly ordered by indigenous then international, with what I think are better varieties first
  • Geography and vineyards: broad overview of the geography and regions, plus key vineyard features
  • Food and people: brief observations of two key support dimensions for Cretan wine progression
  • Wines: over 130 tasting notes and scores for wines tasted, ordered by producer

 

History

 

Crete’s wine culture dates back at least as far as the Minoan civilisation that flourished from 2200BC, through to its decline after the earthquakes and huge tidal wave of around 1450BC, that wreaked destruction around the Agean Sea, as a result of the volcanic explosion of Santorini.

Minoan wine press

Wine press jars and jugs at a Minoan farmhouse

The island held the origins of the cult of Dionysus and exported the god to Athens, where he was absorbed into the Greek pantheon. Remnants of this wine culture can be clearly seen in the area of Dafnes, in the heart of modern grape growing, where ancient rock-carved grape presses can be seen today.

Rock cut Crete wines presses

Two of several 2-3,000 year old rock-cut wine presses in the Dafnes hills

With Venetian influence in the middle of the second millennium AD, Crete wines became amongst the earliest to be exported, and Crete was famous for its Malvasia grapes – possibly exporting those vines to Madeira and the Canary Islands, at least according to local geologist and historian, Stelios Manoulioudis.

Crete wines history Stelio Manoulioudis

Stelios Manoulioudis explaining Crete wine history, atop another rock-cut press

Into the modern era, viticulture changed dramatically with the arrival of Phylloxera. Whilst that was common to most regions devastated by the bug, what’s unusual is that this took place as late as the mid-1970s.

That process drove a replanting with a narrower set of grape varieties, including local varieties like Kotsifali. This mattered because the tourist boom meant rapidly growing domestic demand for Cretan wine for holidaymakers.

However, planting didn’t necessarily take place with knowledge of the best clones, or which varieties suited which places. The 1990s and early 2000s saw increasing addition of international grape varieties, just like many other parts of the wine world, with those often being used to ‘improve’ blends with local varieties.

At this time, production was dominated by half a dozen co-ops, much being of bulk wines and those bottled being generally high volume-low quality efforts. However, there were private, generally family-owned wineries emerging who were looking to bottle their own wine and to focus on quality – 40-50 of them by the 2000s, vs. only 10 or so in the pre-1990s.

The challenge for them came with the arrival of all-inclusive hotel packages, which started to switch demand away from quality, bottled wine and into the cheapest wine available. Thus, though an increasing number of independent wineries were appearing, the pool of tourist demand that was made available to them was declining, compressing domestic demand.

As a result, in 2006 a group of winery owners in the largest area of Heraklion realised that they needed to work together not only to shore-up domestic demand, but also to build export markets (including mainland Greece), to compensate for reduced domestic volume.

They formed a body to do that, which shortly afterwards combined with a similar group that had formed in 2008-9 the neighbouring Chania and Rethymno areas, creating Wines of Crete in 2010.

Wines of Crete is a membership organisation that now covers around 90-95% of bottled wine production on the island. Members must bottle their own wine, whether or not they grow or buy-in grapes, from grapes grown in Crete.

Whilst there is no restriction on using international varieties, part of the philosophy of the organisation is that Cretan indigenous varieties offer good potential to differentiate the brand of Crete wines in the wider global market.

Oenotourism – giving wineries the encouragement and the tools to open to the public – and linking into the local, fresh, vibrant cuisine are also elements of their marketing approach. Their marketing covers 20-25 projects of varying size, including well-established, popular wine fairs in Athens as well as Crete itself, plus of course ProWein and other international trade fairs.

Around 55% of effort is in Crete, 25% in Athens and 20% internationally, with the EU being most important, US and Canada next, then the UK following the North American trend. Australia would be their next target and perhaps China after that.

 

Current State

 

My view, having had focused horizontal tastings of white Vidiano, red Kotsifali blends and Liatiko, coupled with winery-by-winery tastings of their wider ranges including other white and red varieties, is that Vidiano is their showcase variety. This is good quality by any standard.

Vidiano Crete wines

Vidiano horizontal tasting at a Rethymno waterfront restaurant

Kotsifali shows potential, but I think is best in blends, where the blending partner brings a core of fruit to fill out its earthy, savoury profile. Local Mandilari does this well, though Syrah can do so too – more successfully I think than Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot.

Kotsifali Crete wines

Themed tasting of Kotsifali and blends

Liatiko also shows potential, behaving in a manner not dissimilar to Nerello Mascalese of Etna Rosso fame – being either Pinot Noir-like, or a firmer, Nebbiolo-like style. However, it’s key to manage oxidation, which the variety is sensitive to, to retain fresh, aromatic fruit tones. I found some oxidation notes on a few wines from different varieties, particularly reds.

Liatiko Crete wines

Liatiko themed tasting line-up including liastos sweet wines

In some cases, oak use is a little too prominent and for both reds and whites, so moderating the proportion of new oak, to allow the varieties to express themselves would be beneficial, especially for aromatic Liatiko.

Amongst the other varieties, Dafni, almost lost post-Phylloxera, is highly characterful and of most interest, though production is still small. Its pronounced thyme-rosemary-bay herbal aromatics are distinctive and attractive, with good acidity. One to watch.

Other notable stylistic dimensions include rosé and sweet wines. With most wineries making rosé, what was interesting was that many of them were relatively deep, dark and powerful in style, in contrast to the Provençale pale, delicate and fruity. Often from Kotsifali blends, these showed the spicy, earthy, food-friendly character of the grape and darker roses from Liatiko also had savoury character, which appealed to me (though perhaps harder commercially).

The sweet wines were distinctive too. Made from red grapes, especially Liatiko, sun dried for 5-10 days to, say 25°Baumé, then fermented to leave something like 130-200 g/L RS, these are then aged oxidatively in barrels for 4-5 years. These may not be topped up, though some use a solera system. The result is an amber-tawny, complex, somewhat volatile, spicy, nutty and figgy wine – sometimes with a touch of tannic grip. When made well, these “liastos” wines can be compelling.

Overall, though quality does vary, the leading examples either of wineries or of particular wines from a given winery show that Wines of Crete members are serious, quality orientated and on the right track. With, in effect, only 10-15 years’ experience, the members are on a learning curve with their own varieties and how best to master them.

That will go hand-in-hand with greater ability to persuade or to contract with growers to adopt significantly reduced yields. This is a significant current challenge, given how hard it is for wineries to acquire fragmented vineyards, and is key to drive better mid-palate flavour concentration.

So, I expect the bar to be rising constantly in the next 5 or 10 years. The situation today has already clearly moved on from that described by Konstantinos Lazarakis MW when he wrote the original edition of Wines of Greece in 2006, and I would anticipate as much change again in the next 12 years.

Cretan food for Crete wines

Cretan cuisine is full of fresh, vibrant flavours

By integration with food culture, which is very good, very fresh and very local, and tapping into those tourists interested in knowing Crete beyond its beaches – like visiting the Minoan ruins of Knossos Palace – domestic demand should grow.

Knossos palace tourist attraction

Ruins of the vast Minoan palace of Knossos

By leading the quality and heritage story of Cretan wine with Vidiano, growth in exports both to mainland Greece and to wider markets like the UK, should also be on a strong footing.

 

Varieties

 

White grapes

  • Vidiano: the leading quality white variety. Semi-aromatic, with lemon rind or lemongrass, plus orchard fruit character and a sage-like herbal lift. Often expressing some nutty or flinty minerality. Carrying good acidity, medium to full body, and decent length. Becoming widely-made, even if a fair chunk of the vines are still young. Versatile, taking oak or not, and with some producers experimenting with amphorae, skin contact, natural winemaking and so on. Not the widest-grown white variety. Thin-skinned and sunburns easily, so Lyre training is working well as is cane pruning to reduce production. Medium-large berries and medium-sized bunches, so can overproduce if not controlled
  • Assyrtiko: strictly not an indigenous variety, but recently and rapidly being adopted from its native Santorini. Able to be produced at lower cost than Santorini and in a somewhat riper lemon-rind style. Still firm acidity, but somewhat less austere and foursquare than Santorini. A success
  • Dafni: rare white variety that nearly died out after Phylloxera, but resurrected by quality-oritentated Lyrarakis Winery. Very interesting and distinctive: markedly aromatic, with an aroma profile of resinous herbs like rosemary, thyme and bay (after which it is named). Almost reminds me of Angostura bitters with its lift! Good acidity and mineral length. One to watch
  • Plyto: also resurrected by Lyrarakis as a historical variety in the Dafnes region that, too, is showing quality potential, though not as charismatic as Dafni
  • Vilana: most widely-planted white and seen as a workhorse (read ‘huge yields’), but a couple of examples from quality producers did show some potential, with or without oak. Neutral to semi-aromatic, with decent though not so high acidity
  • Thrapsathiri: indigenous grape that produces fuller-bodied, stone fruit flavour wines based on the couple I tried. Once thought to be a variant of Santorini’s Athiri but now proven to be a distinct variety
  • Romeiko: reddish (actually multi-coloured bunches) variety, indigenous to and a speciality of the Chania region in the west of the island, but prone to oxidation. Has moderate acidity (5 g/L) at lower altitudes but can reach 8 g/L picked early at higher altitudes. Producers are learning how to handle this at the moment, including pushing growers to reduce yields to get flavour concentration, varying picking dates, examining the use of oak and how to make it reductively. A work in progress
  • Moschato di Spina: a clone of Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains from the village of Spina. Shows classic orange blossom character, though backed up by some dusty, nutty minerality. Being made mostly as dry aromatic wines, quite often blended with Malvasia Aromatica. Generally straightforward wines for easy drinking
  • Malvásia Aromatica / di Candia: as the name suggests, a markedly aromatic Malvasia variety, with white flower tones and a combination of white peach and green-tinged scented fruit. A particular local clone is known as Malvasia di Candia. Small picking window to get full aromatics but low bitterness. On its own, missing a little density on the mid-palate, so typically blended with Moschato or with more neutral varieties like Chardonnay or Vidiano
  • International varieties: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc. Both planted fairly widely and made as varietal wines as well as being blended – particularly Chardonnay – with local varieties. I didn’t taste any Sauvignon Blancs, but the few Chardonnays were pleasantly fruity without being outstanding. Interestingly, there is some Roussanne planted and Nostos’ example suggests Crete’s Mediterranean climate works for this Rhône variety

 

Red grapes

  • Kotsifali: pale red, indigenous variety with relatively light levels of tannin but decent acidity. Generally savoury aromas rather than fruit – earth, spice, fresh leather. In my view, best blended either with Mandilari as the local classic, or with an international variety – of which Syrah seemed the better partner. These add ripe fruit to aromas, mid-palate or both, as well as some tannic structure
  • Mandilari: latest ripening variety on the island – a couple of weeks later than Syrah, for example – with thicker skins than Kotsifali. Brings greater colour and tannins to a Kotsifali blend, though the tannins can be quite rustic in texture. Also brings fruit – often with a jammy tone – to such blends. Some producers like Lyrarakis are making varietal versions with some success
  • Liatiko: a speciality of the Dafnes region, with characteristics a bit like Nerello Mascalese of Etna fame: pale colour, brisk acidity, potential for high-ish alcohol and can have quite powerful, slightly wild tannins. Prone to oxidation, the best examples hold the scented red cherry and strawberry aromatics. Does work with some oak, like Pinot Noir. Has potential. Also used to make a dried-grape, oxidatively-aged sweet wine that is of interest too, for example Boutari’s Iouliatiko
  • International varieties: Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot: often blended with Kotsifali, as both minority and majority partners, these are made varietally as well. Relatively widely planted, though in my view, the Mediterranean climate of Crete is better suited to Syrah than either Bordeaux varieties, giving more varietal specificity. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, there is also some Grenache and Mourvèdre planted with success, and recently Sangiovese apparently

 

 

Geography and Vineyards

 

Crete is a long island, running around 250km east-west, but is relatively narrow – down to around 50km at its narrowest north-south. Roughly-speaking it is cut across by mountainous terrain that splits the island into a thinner southern strip, baked by hot southerly winds from nearby Africa, and the broader north.

The north is protected by the mountains that, at over 2,000m in places, protect from the hot winds, give northerly exposures and provide altitude. The vast majority of the 4,200Ha of grapevines are in the north.

It should be said, though, that Crete is very much polyculture, with olive trees in particular playing a significant role in the same zones that grapes are grown.

Ancient olive tree

Ancient olive tree in Dafnes, probably 1,000 years old or more

The countryside is a veritable patchwork quilt, even in major viticultural zones like Dafnes.

Dafnes olives and vines

Typical Dafnes countryside with olive groves interspersed with vineyards

Although there are some schist incursions, the overwhelming bedrock and soil types are limestone, chalky and related calcareous clays, where ancient seabeds have been thrust skywards by the collision of the African and Eurasian plates. Crete, unlike Santorini, is therefore not volcanic.

Crete calcareous vineyard

Douloufakis vineyards show how limestone cliffs create pale, chalky soil

The island is divided into 4 political districts, running from west to east.

Chania old harbour

Chania’s heart is its attractive old harbour

Chania is the westernmost, and generally higher district, around the historical port and second city of the Island. Though it has no PDO appellations, quality winegrowing is developing well here. Historically, Romeiko came from here, though wineries make a far wider range, with generally more successful varieties.

West-central is Rethymno, again named after its smaller port town, which had a strong historical connection to wine, though only a few wineries are based in the zone now.

Heraklion port Venetian fort

Heraklion’s famous Venetian fortress and extensive harbour wall

East-central, in the valleys to the south of the eponymous capital of Crete is the Heraklion district. Sandwiched between two massifs is the main grape growing region with by far the highest concentration of wineries, as well as 4 of the 5 PDOs of Crete.

Peza in the east is the largest sub-zone, and is flatter and warmer, with mostly calcareous clay soils. More mountainous Dafnes on the west side, against the eastern flanks of the island’s largest massif, is perhaps the highest quality, with less fertile soils, and some schist and rocky incursions. Also found here are Archanes, where major Greek producer Boutari has had its Cretan outpost since 1989, and Handakas-Candia.

Easternmost and lowest, is the Sitia district, which also has the Sitia PDO (strictly speaking, this is 2 PDOs, including sweet, liastós, Malvásia Sitia). A warmer, flatter, more fertile zone which tends to produce a fair amount of volume of grapes, though has fewer wineries based there.

Though there are 5 PDOs, most producers make most of their wines under PGI designation, even if the winery is based in, say, Dafnes and grow all their grapes there. That’s mostly PGI Crete, though some use PGI Heraklion.

Either way, PGIs give wineries more flexibility, particularly in blends. For example, PDO Peza requires minimum 80% Kotsifali in its blend, whereas winemakers may want 70% with 30% Mandilari, or even 50:50 blends with Syrah. It also allows wineries to by grapes from further afield.

In some ways, it also better reflects the state of play for Cretan wines. Right now, Wines of Crete is simply trying to promote the fact that the island can make good wine and therefore to promote Crete itself as a name.

There isn’t really enough awareness or knowledge amongst either trade or consumers to start dividing and distinguishing at the level of specific zones, so the direct value of a PDO in isolating a unique style is a little redundant at this stage. In future that could well be different and that would be a nice problem to have.

In terms of viticulture, the major grape-growing challenges is geography. Many vineyards are steep, especially for higher-quality regions and sometimes terraced, with very stony soils. That translates into much work having to be done by hand, including hand-cultivation.

Crete varied topography

Mountains and ridges show how varied Crete’s vineyard terrain is

Further, with parcels being highly fragmented – in part due to inheritance laws – and few families being willing to sell their land, buying vineyards is hard. That means many wineries are dependent on bought-in grapes and all the challenges for controlling quality that such a situation entails. That’s particularly an issue for educating small growers, used to yields up to 30t / Ha to consider cropping at under 10t.

Douloufakis irrigation

Irrigation systems built into Douloufakis’ vineyards

The warm, dry-ish Mediterranean climate means irrigation is commonplace. However, though rainfall is normally low, humidity means oïdium is they key disease challenge, rather than downy mildew or botrytis. Overall though, the warm, Sunny climate gives good ripeness even at higher altitudes.

We managed winery and vineyard visits at two estates whilst there – Boutari and Douloufakis. It’s worth sharing some things on what’s happening at those two leading properties.

 

Boutari

Boutari young vines

Recently replanted vines around Boutari’s hilltop estate

Boutari established their Scalani Hills estate in Skalani village of Archanes in 1989, as their most recent investment alongside Naoussa and 3 other mainland Greece estates, plus their other island estate on Santorini. Their 7Ha around the winery were planted with a broad range of varieties.

However, these were dry farmed and some parcels would frequently get stressed, leading to uneven ripening. With harvests already 2-4 weeks earlier than 2004 due to heat, this was becoming increasingly problematic.

So they decided to replant 4 years ago. Everything. Literally rebuild from the ground up, starting with extensive soil analysis and better matching of red and white varieties to their location and aspect. 10 previously-planted experimental varieties, including Sauvignon Blanc and Sylvaner, were abandoned.

Planting focused on Vidiano, Malvasia Aromatica, Moschato di Spina, Assyrtiko and Chardonnay, plus Kotsifali and Syrah. Irrigation was built in. 2018 is the second vintage from 3 year old vines. 2017 therefore became field-blends because the 2 year old vines produced such small volumes. Once back to normal, total production will be around 35,000 bottles of white and 15,000 red.

For Chardonnay, Malvasia and Moschato, winemaking typically involves a few hours of skin contact, then 16-17°C fermentation and maturation in stainless steel for the aromatic varieties, and 17-18°C for Chardonnay followed by barrel maturation with battonage.

With reds, Boutari were the first to blend Kotsifali and Syrah in 2003-04. Kotsifali is harvested late to get better phenolic maturation and colour stability. Both are fermented at 18°C rising to 24°C. Kotsifali is macerated for 8-10 days vs. Syrah 6-7 days.

Both are transferred to barrels after fermentation, with Kotsifali maturing in French oak but the more powerful Syrah moved to American oak, particularly for older style wines with more overt oak character. Oak is equally split between new, 2nd and 3rd fill barrels.

Boutari boutique rooms

View back to the winery, from the top terrace at Boutari’s new tourist accommodation

Finally, the other change at the estate has been the 2015 conversion of the small, historical winery building into 3 oenotourism rooms / apartments, operated by Aria Hotels, showing the growing importance of oenotourism for wineries.

 

Douloufakis

Douloufakis tasting room

Douloufakis’ well appointed tasting room in Dafnes is open for tourists

Nikos Douloufakis took us through a tasting of several of his wines, in his smart tasting room, before we headed out into his vineyards to get a feel for the lie of the land, as evident from some of the above pictures. We also met his very good winery dog, Duke:

Douloufakis'winery dog

Nikos Douloufakis’ winery dog

During both parts it was interesting to understand Nikos’ willingness to experiment and test, including with amphorae, orange wines from Vidiano and Moschato (a bottle of which I now have at home for tasting at a later date), sparkling wines and so on. Even better was to taste how his evident passion and interest is translating into some very good wines – especially from Vidiano and Liatiko.

Douloufakis amphorae

Nikos Douloufakis with his terracotta amphorae alongside Wines of Crete’s Stella Astirakaki

 

Food and people

 

Refined Cretan dining

Several restaurants, like Prima Plora, are bringing refinement to Cretan dining

As briefly mentioned earlier, food is an important part of the Island’s culture. Agricultural produce is a major sector for Crete, as a major European olive oil producer, vegetable and fruit grower. Seafood is obviously widely available too. That gives wine a vibrant culinary platform with which to partner and there are plenty of local speciality foods to match with.

Salis restaurant Chania

Salis in Chania is a great example of fine food and wine

Our first meal was in the excellent Salis restaurant and wine bar, in the old harbour of Chania, owned by Afshin Molavi who is also the MD of the Manousakis winery that makes the Nostos brand. Beyond the excellent wine list that stretches well beyond Crete and Greece, this showcased how finesse is being brought to these flavours.

Semeli restaurant terrace view

The spectacular terrace view from Semeli restaurant

Semeli restaurant in the hills of Dafnes combined flavoursome food with spectacular views of the Dafnes vineyards and olive groves. Our other lunches and dinners, such as with the artisan kapriko hams and cured meats of Kassakis Bros, equally illustrated the interest that exists for food lovers.

Cretan cured meats and cheeses

A plate of Cretan cured meats and local cheeses to follow our Liatiko tasting

Embracing that through oenotourism is growing. We visited an ambitious project currently underway in the central, old town of coastal Rethymno, to renovate an old Venetian property into a boutique wine hotel, La Grotta.

La Grotta boutique hotel wine cellar

La Grotta’s boutique wine hotel includes converting this old Venetian wine cellar

Again, this illustrates a movement to build opportunities for tourists around the indigenous wine culture, as does the creation of Wine Walkers Crete by folks like Stella Astirakaki, also involved with Wines of Crete.

Vidiano tasting team

We were warmly welcomed by so many, not just sommeliere Iro Koliakoudakis for our Vidiano tasting but also the fantastic restaurant team at Prima Plora, who stayed open late for it

And the people are key to that. Of course, we met people in the organisation of Wines of Crete and of the wineries who are keen to show their Island in the best light. But beyond that, those we met in restaurants or on the beach or just around and about, were warm and welcoming. That collective environment should be a positive for oenotourism.

 

Wines

 

The following are 134 tasting notes on wines tasted over 3 days on the island, with scores for almost all (omissions are simply because I failed to note a score down). In a few cases, wines were tasted more than once, on different occasions such as in a varietal-focused tasting, then later in a winery-specific line-up.

As ever, that’s always a good chance to self-calibrate and test my own consistency! On a larger number of wines than I’d expect, I was a whole point different. In each case, I’d take the higher score as a better representation of the quality tasted.

After much contemplation, I have ordered these by winery, showing the qualities of that producer. I considered ordering by grape variety, especially after 3 horizontal, variety-orientated tastings, however, the range of varities beyond Vidiano, Kotsifali and Liatiko made that less sensible.

Within each producer, whites are first, then reds. These notes are not, therefore, in the order in which they were tasted (though I considered that as well, as the lazy option!).

Looking by winery, at this point in time I was particularly taken by the overall quality of wines from producers like Lyrarakis, Douloufakis and Gavalas. Others like Boutari, Idaia, Karavitakis, Manousakis, Miliarakis, Rhous and Strataridakis are close behind. There were also good individual wines from other producers and the pace of improvement I think means this initial impression I’ve formed will quickly become outdated.

 

Aggelakis Arodamos 2015 (16 / 20)
New winery and new members of Wines of Crete. Merlot and Mandilari. 13% ABV.
A: Pale-medium ruby-purple
N: Attractive, smoky-flinty entry, then spicy touch of pyrazine / green chilli. Spiced, with some clove
P: Spice, plum and blackberry. Fair acidity. Moderately-firm, chalky tannins. Decent length

 

Alexakis Winery Vidiano 2017 (14.5 / 20)
Large Greek winery, making over 9M bottles a year and bulk wine too. Designed to be a value-for-money, easy-going Vidiano.
A: Pale-medium lemon
N: Pear drop and floral. Some pear and apple orchard fruit, with some citrus
P: A bit flabby. Apple seed. Orchard fruit and a little bitter

Alexakis Winery Kotsifali-Syrah 2014 (15 / 20)
60% Kotsifali, 40% Syrah. American and French oak maturation. 13.5% ABV.
A: Pale-medium purple
N: Some lifted oak spice – cinnamon and orange peel touches. Chilli spice. Red cherry tones beneath
P: Ripe, rich, full. Moderate acidity. Slightly rustic, fairly-firm tannins. Moderate length

 

Boutari Fantaxa Metocho 2017 (15.5 / 20)
First vintage of new vines on the fully-replanted estate – 2 year old vines. Co-harvest and co-fermented due to small production. 60% Chardonnay, with Malv
ásia, Moschato, Vidiano and Athiri. No MLF.
A: Pale gold
N: Orange blossom lift to white and yellow peach. Ripe lemon peel fruit
P: Juicy ripe apple, apricot, peach and orange blossom. Moderate length

Boutari Santorini Assyrtiko 2017 (17.5 / 20)
100% Assyrtiko.

A: Pale lemon
N: Smoky mineral, rocky, tight and savoury. Nutty touch with lean lemon beneath
P: Full body. Rich and dense. Lemon peel and stony rocks. Creamy chew. Long

Boutari Scalarea 2013 (16.5 / 20)
50% Kotsifali, 50% Syrah. If weather permits, they let Kotsifali reach sur-maturity, with Syrah for structure. 1 year in oak then hold in bottle. Aim for 10-12 years’ ageing. 14% ABV.

A: Mid-deep garnet
N: Mellow vanilla-tobacco oak. Prune and dried black cherry. Mellow and integral. Some spice
P: Ripe and rich. Smoky blackberry and cherry. Some balsamic. Earth, pepper and spice. Firm, fine tannins

Boutari Legacy 1879 Naoussa 2007 (17.5 / 20)
From Boutari’s original, ‘home’ winery. 100% Xynomavro. Intended to show the history of Xynomavro production. Only in top vintages. Single vineyard. 1 year in oak.

A: Mid garnet-brick
N: Pronounced aromatics: tomato leaf, flint, truffle, black tea, balsamic
P: Dense, peppery, truffle and balsam. Meat. Dried red cherry. Long. Fairly firm, upfront tannins

Boutari Iouliatiko VII 2006 (17.5 / 20)
Liastos Liatiko.
A: Mid-deep amber, with a broad caramel-olive rim
N: Mellow, crystal fruit, background cakebread and cinnamon. Conserved lemons, caramel, pine needle aromatic lift. Toasted hazelnut
P: Sweet, but not overly so. Rich. Crisp acidity. Walnut and toasty oak. Integrated and complex. Peppery, spiced finish. Long

 

Diamantakis Vidiano 2017 (16 / 20)
Owned by 3 brothers, including Zacharias who is also the Vice President of Wines of Greece. Dafnes, but IGP Crete as Vidiano is outside PDO. Tank fermented. Not acidified.
A: Pale lemon
N: Tight, lemon / lime and flint. Some background nuttiness. Reductive?
P: Brighter, chalky acidity. Lemon rind, mineral, sage herb. Spiced finish. Appetising. Quite tight. Medium-long finish

Diamantakis Vidiano 2017 (15 / 20)
15Ha in Dafnes, over 30 different plots. Local and international varieties planted. Vidiano, Assyrtiko, Malvasia Aromatica, Chardonnay white varieties; Syrah, Mandilari and Liatiko reds. Winery established in 2008, which was previously only a distillery. Vidiano fermented at 14-17
°C in stainless steel, then 2-3 months on lees. First made in 2010.
A: Pale-medium lemon, with some spritz
N: Cool ferment orchard fruit notes, with lemon rind. Some herb and nut character
P: Bright orchard fruit. Lemon rind bitterness. Brisk acidity. Fair concentration and length. Straightforward

Diamantakis Vidiano-Assyrtiko 2017 (15.5 / 20)
50% Vidiano, 50% Assyrtiko. Stainless steel initiation of fermentation, then transfer to 85-90% French oak and 10-15% American oak barrels to complete fermentation, followed by 3 months in oak. Assyrtiko planted in 2010 on just one terrace, but a further 1.1Ha has since been added.
A: Pale lemon; some spritz
N: Subtle almond oak tones to white flower and lemongrass fruit
P: Ripe citrus. Nutty-creamy oak. Some fruit. Just a little dilute on the mid-palate

Diamantakis Prinos 2017 (15 / 20)
50% Malv
ásia Aromatica, 50% Chardonnay. Stainless steel fermentation with no MLF.
A: Very pale lemon
N: Gentle white flower, some apple and white peach. Straightforward
P: Orchard fruit. Some mandarin and floral touches

Diamantakis Prinos Rosé 2017 (?? / 20)
70% Syrah, 30% Mandilari.
A: Mid-deep rose-salmon
N: Tomato, white pepper, strawberry and some toasty touches
P: Dry, spicy, white pepper and raspberry fruit. Moderate acidity. Fairly long finish

Diamantakis Liatiko 2017 [tank sample] (15 / 20)
5t of fruit, of which 1.5t from own vines. Stainless steel.
A: Pale ruby-garnet
N: Rose, scented cherry. Slight jamminess. Gentle spice
P: Forward, jammy, strawberry fruit. Some touches of herb and spice. Moderate, peppery tannins

Diamantakis Syrah-Mandilari 2015 (15 / 20)
Mandilari harvested 2 weeks later than Syrah. 1 year in 30% new French oak.
A: Pale-medium ruby
N: Wood-vanilla. Red berry fruit
P: Brisk acidity. Red berries and pepper. Firm to high, chewy tannins. Smoky, with a warming finish

 

Digenákis Bios Protos Prime Life Vidiano 2017 (16 / 20)
Large, almost single vineyard at 300m altitude. 2 types of yeast used. Lees contact and battonage. No barrels.
A: Pale gold
N: Funky, spicy, dusty, some sage and dried pear fruit. Different
P: Hay, dried white peach, spice, nut. Different. Rich, creamy, though only moderate acidity

Digenákis Kotsifali-Mandilari Edo 2016 (15 / 20)
Limestone and clay-lime soils at 400-450m altitude. 13% ABV.
A: Pale-medium ruby, with some purple tints
N: Prune and old leather. Some jammy raspberry. Lactic
P: Bright acidity and crunchy redcurrant and raspberry. Light-moderate, chalky tannin

 

Douloufakis Dafnios Vidiano 2017 (16 / 20)
Stainless steel fermentation, in a fresh, young style.
A: Pale-medium lemon
N: Sage aromatics more marked. Some reduction nuttiness. Green and herbal
P: Full-bodied. Lemon peel and spiced apple. Classy salinity. Good length

Douloufakis Dafnios Vidiano 2017 (17 / 20)
100% Vidiano from Dafnes. 25Ha from 5 growers on calcareous clay soils, giving a fuller body. No skin contact. Stainless steel winemaking, with 2 months’ battonage in tank. Bottled in February.

A: Mid lemon
N: Dusty-nutty. Lemon balm lift. Some lees and vegetal tones. Attractive
P: Brisk acidity. Full body. Lemongrass and lemon thyme. Stony mineral and saline

Douloufakis Dafnios Vidiano 2016 (16.5 / 20)
A: Pale-medium lemon-green
N: More vegetal character than the 2017, giving way to stony, slightly spicy mineral. More delicate citrus peel or lime flower. Lemon sherbet, perhaps
P: Stony-flinty entry. Some lemongrass and herbal lift. Bright to brisk acidity. Medium-long finish

Douloufakis Aspros Lagos Vidiano 2017 (17 / 20)
Breakthrough wine for Cretan wines in Athens market.
A: Mid gold
N: Nutty, spiced. Ripe lemon rind. Some sage and savoury toast
P: Juicy, ripe-lemon acidity. Attractive citrus-peel bitterness. Dense. Good length

Douloufakis Aspros Lagos Vidiano 2017 (17.5 / 20)
80% barrique fermentation, but only 5-7% new, then 5 months in barrel with battonage. French oak and acacia. 14.2% ABV, 6.9 g/L TA and pH 3.1. Bottled February after harvest and best at 2-3 years of age.

A: Mid-deep gold
N: Some torrified apple notes with creamy, subtle nuttiness. Lemongrass. Ripe apple and some stone fruit
P: Crisp acidity. Nutty almond and baked apple. Lemon citrus. Full but bright. Long

Douloufakis Vidiano Amphora 2017 (16 / 20)
Amphora fermentation and acacia oak maturation. 15.5% ABV. 6-7 g/L RS.
A: Mid amber-copper
N: Apricot jam, camomile and hay, caramel, subtle spice. Complex orange wine
P: Off dry. Mandarin, apricot, spice. Firm, grippy tannins. Ripe. Warming alcohol through the finish. Not easy to score!

Douloufakis Vidiano Sparkling 2015 (15.5 / 20)
High altitude vineyard, giving high natural acidity.
A: Pale lemon; fine bead
N: Hazelnut-almond and brioche. Fresh pear. Some lemon
P: Loose mousse. Dry – not high dosage. Flinty

Douloufakis Femina 2017 (16 / 20)
Malv
ásia Aromatica and Moschato di Spina. Dry.
A: Pale-medium gold
N: Slight reduction then spicy tones to reveal orange blossom. Some dried herb complexity
P: Rounded but dry. Some terpene bitterness. Orange peel, and some grape and mixed citrus. Floral finish

Douloufakis Alárgo Assyrtiko 2016 (17 / 20)
6 year old vines. Stainless steel winemaking.

A: Mid-deep lemon-gold
N: Pronounced lemon rind and waxy touches. Lemongrass. Some wet stone minerality. Riper and warmer style of Assyrtiko
P: Crisp, firm acidity. Ripe lemon and lemon peel. Lively texture. Some phenolics. Wet slate tones. Salt. Impressive depth for such young vines

Douloufakis Dafnios Liatiko PDO Dafnes 2016 (16.5 / 20)
Own vineyard, planted 1985. First made in 1998. 2 day cold maceration to stabilise colour and extract softer tannins. Fermentation to maximum 25
°C. 1 year in 3,000 and 1,500L barrels. Light-medium bodied grape but can be elegant.
A: Pale garnet
N: Aromatic, fresh earth and spice. Some scented red cherry. Savoury
P: Tarry touch. Spice. Savoury, rocky minerality. Brisk acidity. Peppery, fairly firm tannins. Long

Douloufakis Liatiko Amphora 2017 (16+ / 20)
Destemmed, and both fermented and matured in amphora. 90 days on skins, then continued maturation without skins. No added SO2.

A: Pale garnet-brick
N: Dried prune, raisin, caramel, balsamic. Some chocolate. VA lift
P: Powerfully tannic, spiced, prune and dried cherry. Balsamic. Perfumed and long

Douloufakis Helios Liatiko Sweet 2005 (17 / 20)
Sun-dried and oak matured.

A: Pale-medium tawny-amber, with a brick rim
N: Subtle nose. Orange peel and caramel. Milk chocolate. Cinnamon and vanilla tones
P: Fully-sweet, but crisp acidity – very lively. Cherry skins, cooked citrus and spice. Long

 

Dourakis Lihnos Vidiano 2017 (16 / 20)
Lees and 15% matured in older oak barrels.
A: Mid-deep gold
N: Much more neutral, nutty, stony and restrained. Wild yeast funk? No – old oak notes. Pear skin and ripe lemon rind. Herbal / garrigue
P: Bright pear and fair acidity. Saline touch. Mineral / savoury. Medium-long finish

Dourakis Kudos Aromatica 2017 (15.5 / 20)
100% Malvásia Aromatica.
A: Pale lemon-green
N: Greengage and melon fruit with acacia flowers and lime blossom
P: Green melon, apple and white flower. Bright, not brisk acidity

Dourakis Kudos Moschato di Spina 2017 (15 / 20)
Stainless steel winemaking.
A: Very pale lemon-green
N: Cool ferment pear. Some apricot / peach and orange blossom faint tints emerge
P: Medium density, clean, melon and grape, with white flower. Lightweight

Dourakis Romeiko Liasto Euphoria 2017 (15 / 20)
Romeiko, Sun-dried for 8 days. Stainless steel fermentation that naturally stops at 190-200 g/L RS. 10.5% ABV.
A: Medium amber; slight spritz
N: Caramelised apricots, honey and a dried herb or hay touch
P: Sweet but with some balancing acidity. Apricot. Honey. A bit over medium length

Dourakis Kudos 2017 (15 / 20)
Kotisfali, Syrah. Kotsifali nearest to Pinot Noir – lighter colour, similar oxidation risk, so blend to stabilise colour.
A: Pale-medium ruby-purple
N: Some reduction blows off to yield crunchy red & blue perfumed fruit – a hint of orange emerged in the glass. Some flinty mineral. Dusty oak touch
P: Rich, sweet, smoky red & blue fruit. Moderate acidity. Light-medium, slightly chalky tannins. Moderate length

Dourakis Lihnos 2017 (15.5+ / 20)
Cabernet Sauvignon, Kotsifali. 13% ABV.
A: Mid-deep ruby-garnet
N: Toasted tobacco, some tomato leaf, cassis and spice. Savoury. Reductive
P: Cassis, leaf, spice. Firm to high, chalky tannins. Good length

Dourakis Impromptu Mandilari 2017 (15.5 / 20)
12.5% ABV.
A: Mid-deep ruby-garnet
N: Dried tobacco and toast. Blackberry and dried black cherry. Smoky. Clove
P: Juicy blackberry fruit. Cinnamon and clove. Firm to high, wild tannins. Drying finish

 

Efrosini Winery Mikri Evgeniki Vidiano 2017 (16? / 20)
Growers, whose wine is made by the winemaker of Idaia Winery.
A: Pale gold; some spritz
N: Baked apple tones. Oxidative? Pastry. Some salty spice. Different
P: Rich orchard fruit, but with a briskness of acidity / CO2 lift. Some salinity. Toasty touch through the fairly long finish. Intriguing. Hard to score

Efrosini Winery Mikri Evgeniki Vidiano 2017 (16.5 / 20)
100% Vidiano. Stainless steel winemaking. 13.5% ABV.
A: Pale-medium lemon; spritz
N: Some celery seed and hay tones. Dried herb – herbal more than lemongrass
P: Dry, savoury and minerally. Lean citrus. Dried herb. Brisk acidity. Long, lemongrass finish

Efrosini Winery Chirikou White 2017 (15.5 / 20)
60% Malvásia Aromatica, 40% Assyrtiko. Stainless steel winemaking. 13.3% ABV.
A: Pale lemon-gold
N: White flowers and peaches, but also some spiciness and flint minerality
P: Ripe peach-apricot fruit. Some phenolic chew. Bright acidity. Moderate length with some terpene bitterness and flint

Efrosini Winery Lumicino 2016 (16- / 20)
60% Rapsathiri, 40% Chardonnay. 6 months in new French barrels with MLF. 1 year in bottle.
A: Pale-medium gold
N: White peach and vanilla. Some chemical oxidation notes? Part-baked apple pie
P: Brisk acidity. Yellow apple. Lively CO2 touch. Baking spice. Vanilla emerges. Textured. Long-ish white peach and apple

Efrosini Winery Chirikou Red 2015 (16 / 20)
50% Kotsifali, 50% Mandilari. 6 months in new and 2nd fill French oak.
A: Pale-medium ruby-purple
N: Smoky-earthy and spice notes. Savoury and nutty. Blackberry fruit
P: Blackberry, earth, mixed spice. Bright acidity. Spicy mid-palate. Fairly firm, chalky tannins. Decent length

Efrosini Winery Onirikon 2014 (15.5 / 20)
Onirikon means “dreamlike”. 50% Kotsifali, 50% Mandilari. One of the smallest wineries in Crete. 6 months in French oak. 13.5% ABV.
A: Pale-medium garnet
N: More overt, toasty-nutty oak. Some oxidation. Scorched earth. Dried red fruit
P: Juicy red fruit. Brisk acidity. Spice. Chocolate. Peppery, medium-firm tannins. Toasty oak length

Efrosini Winery Mikri Evgeniki Liatiko PDO Dafnes 2016 (15.5 / 20)
A: Pale garnet, with brick rim tones
N: Fresh leather, slightly natural funk. Cocoa powder and some VA. Nutty oak?? Scented, quite ripe red cherry. Aromatic
P: Brisk acidity. Peppery, firm tannins. Quite wild. Chocolate over dried red cherry. Fair length

 

Gavalas Vidiano 2017 (17 / 20)
228L barrel fermentation, with battonage – use a Burgundy-based winemaking consultant.
A: Pale gold; some spritz
N: Integral cinnamon / mealy oak over pear, apple, cream and a herbal lift
P: Rounded orchard fruit and lemon peel. Silky. Flint touch. Bright acidity. Good length

Gavalas Vilana 2017 (15.5 / 20)
Stainless steel fermentation. 2nd year of production.
A: Pale-medium lemon
N: Crushed rock. Nut. Some sweaty reduction. Pear fruit and pine needle aromatics
P: White peach and citrus. Mid-weight. Dried thyme herbal twist

Gavalas Efivos White 2017 (16 / 20)
60% Sauvignon Blanc, 30% Vilana, 10% Moschato di Spinas. Stainless steel.
A: Pale lemon
N: Reductive touch, then boxwood. Greengage and gooseberry fruit. Sweaty touch
P: Juicy, white peach, some boxwood and spice. Bright acidity. Medium-long finish

Gavalas Fragospito 2017 (15.5 / 20)
400m altitude single vineyard. 50% Malvásia di Candia, 50% Moschato di Spinas.
A: Pale gold
N: Powerfully floral, soap and orange blossom aromatics. Some background nuttiness
P: Dry, but perhaps 3-4 g/L rounding RS. Floral soap, grape, orange blossom flavours, with some terpene bitterness at the finish

Gavalas Efivos Rosé 2017 (15.5 / 20)
70% Kotsifali, 30% Mandilari.
A: Pale-medium salmon
N: Wild strawberry, some nutty / toasty and fresh earth hints
P: Brisk to crisp acidity. Red cherry and strawberry. Spice. Some herbal tones

Gavalas Mo Nachikos 2014 (16+ / 20)
Winemaker’s wine. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 14 months in French oak with MLF in barrel. Bottled 1 week before.
A: Mid-deep ruby-garnet
N: Some grilled capsicum and tomato leaf. Relatively ripe red fruit but with some green tones. Spice
P: Crisp acidity. Firm, chewy tannins. Tobacco. Gravel mineral. Medium body. Some mocha and vanilla oak. Needs time. Bitter touch to the finish

Gavalas Efivos Red 2014 (?? / 20)
Family vineyard since 1906, but only built winery in 2004. Efivos means “Teenager”, reflecting the young, lightly matured style. 60% Kotsifali, 30% Mandilari and 10% Syrah. Estate grapes, grown at 300-350m altitude, farmed organically since 2002. 8-9t / Ha. Stainless steel fermentation and maturation. 14% ABV.
A: Pale ruby
N: Earthy-spiced white pepper
P: Spicy red cherry. Some leather. Lots of white pepper on the finish. Moderately-firm tannins

Gavalas Orimos 2014 (16.5+ / 20)
60% Kotsifali, 30% Mandilari and 10% Syrah blend like Efivos ‘teenager’, but after 24°C fermentation in stainless steel, MLF and maturation for 15 months in French oak, as the ‘adult’ version.
A: Medium ruby-garnet
N: Integral tobacco and subtle clove oak. Some eucalypt. Subtle fresh earth and fresh & dried cherry
P: Bright acidity. Dried and fresh cherry. Firm, chalky tannins surprise through the medium-long to long, vanilla-clove finish

 

Idaia Winery Vidiano 2017 (17 / 20)
4-500m altitude, calcareous clay. Stainless steel winemaking at 16°C.
A: Pale gold
N: Struck match reduction. Toasty spice. Flint over sage and lemon. Some camomile
P: Rich. Focused, flinty / smoky citrus peel and spice. Dense. Some baking spice touches

Idaia Winery Vidiano 2017 (16 / 20)
Winery focusing on local varieties. Stainless steel fermentation with 3 months’ maturation on lees with battonage.
A: Very pale lemon; some spritz
N: Orchard and lemongrass fruit. Some herb
P: Crisp lemon acidity. Lees roundness. Straightforward but pleasant. Sweetness to the citrus fruit

Idaia Winery Hesperis Vidiano Barrel 2017 (16.5 / 20)
Stainless steel fermentation at 15°C, then 4 months in oak with battonage.
A: Mid gold; some spritz
N: Mealy lemon rind, some peach tones. Hints of sage and garrigue
P: Medium-full bodied. Ripe, lemon, citrus and flint. Tingly acidity. Mealy, toasty finish. Decent length

Idaia Winery Hesperis Vidiano Barrel 2017 (16.5 / 20)
4 months in oak.
A: Pale lemon; spritz
N: Slight reduction. Mealy oak tones to lees and lemon peel. Nutty touch
P: Ripe lemon. Cinnamon-meal oak. Denser and richer. Longer

Idaia Winery Idaia Gi 2014 (16.5 / 20)
60% Kotsifali, 40% Mandilari. Dafnes, low yield mountain vineyard on limestone. 1 year in French oak. 13% ABV.
A: Pale-medium ruby-purple
N: Subtle cinnamon oak. Black pepper and dark earth. Cocoa oak
P: Bright, juicy blackberry and smoky chocolate. Well-handled, medium-firm tannins. Good length. Attractive

Idaia Winery Liatiko 2016 (16 / 20)
2 day pre-ferment maceration. 8 months in oak. 15% ABV.
A: Pale ruby
N: Nutty-spicy oak, but not overdone. Scented, crunchy red fruit and ripe cherry. Hint of dried herb
P: Ripe but not jammy strawberry and red cherry. Fairly firm, but fine-grained tannins. Brisk acidity. Toasty-nutty finish

Idaia Winery Liatiko 2016 (16.5 / 20)
Calcareous soils.
A: Pale ruby, with a rosy rim
N: Nutty cinnamon oak tones over perfumed red cherry. Some resinous herb. Attractive
P: Rich, medium body, with brisk acidity. Ripe red cherry. Firm, but smooth-textured tannins

Idaia Winery Liatiko Sweet PDO Dafnes 2012 (16.5 / 20)
10 days Sun drying to 22
°Brix. Fermentation to 12% and 40 days maceration in stainless steel, then to barrel for 4 years. 7.5 g/L TA.
A: Mid-deep amber, with a broad, caramel rim
N: Marked VA lift to cooked citrus fruit. Caramel, some oak spice and fig
P: Crisp acidity, sweet but not cloying. Cooked citrus, fig and caramel. Some tannic grip

 

Karavitakis Malvásia Aromatica 2017 (15.5 / 20)
650m altitude, 20 year old vines. Small picking window to get fine aromatics and low bitterness, so harvest quite early. Chilled overnight and CO2 in press. Stainless steel fermentation for 15 days then hold on lees for 40 days. 7,000 bottles.
A: Mid-gold, with a slight spritz
N: Heady white flower perfume over grape and white peach
P: Juicy, bright melon and white peach, fleshy fruit. Bright acidity. Medium length but attractive fruit. Spiced finish

Kavaritakis Klima Vidiano 2017 (16 / 20)
A: Very pale lemon
N: Peachy orchard fruit. Scented. Mandarin. Sage overtones
P: Rich citrus and mandarin. Ripe melon tones. Spice, nuts and salt. Decent, toasty length. Rich

Kavaritakis Eliá Single Vineyard Vidiano 2017 (15.5 / 20)
New release. Single vineyard in Chania. 27% new oak. 4 months’ barrel ageing.
A: Pale gold
N: Compote apricot. Confected. Floral
P: Peach skin, some flint and spice. Some alcoholic penetration through the finish that takes away from the fruit depth

Karavitakis Eliá Single Vineyard Vidiano 2017 (16.5 / 20)
First vintage. Barrique maturation. 13.5% ABV.
A: Pale-medium lemon
N: Aromatic resinous herb – thyme and rosemary. Some celery seed. Subtle cinnamon-nut oak. Lemongrass and stony tones
P: Lemongrass. Stones. Herbal tones

Karavitakis Nomas Assyrtiko 2017 (16 / 20)
100% Assyrtiko.
A: Pale lemon
N: Perfumed style of Assyrtiko: ripe lemon and lime rind. Some white peach
P: Ripe lemon and peach fruit. Brisk acidity. Some phenolics. Nutty, stony finish

Karavitakis Moschato di Spina 2017 (?? / 20)
Very old vines. 13% ABV.
A: Pale lemon-green
N: Orange peel, some chamomile – basil suggested in discussion. Grapes. Lifted floral tones
P: Orange. Spice touch. Brisk acidity. Simple and clean

Karavitakis Liastós Romeiko 2008 (16.5 / 20)
Romeiko, Sun-dried for around 2 weeks, rain permitting. Whole bunch pressed to stainless steel tanks for wild-yeast fermentation. Drop to -4°C at around 14.2-14.3% ABV, to kill yeast, then bleed off lees and clarify. 3 years’ ageing with ullage in 300L barrels. Hand-bottled, unfiltered. 3-4 years in bottle before sale. 180 g/L RS. 15% ABV.
A: Mid-deep amber, with olive rim glints
N: Complex. Vanilla, crystal fruit, marked VA lift, herbal tones like grappa – dried hay
P: Sweet, spiced, dried fruit and wood spice. Full bodied. Toasty / nutty. Long and spiced finish

Karavitakis Kotsifali-Merlot 2016 (16.5 / 20)
65% Kotsifali, 35% Merlot. Buying from 1 producer, whose father-in-law died and he inherited a 0.3Ha mountain vineyard of 65 year old gobelet-trained Kotsifali. Intend to reduce Merlot by 5% a year to maximum 15%. 9-10 months in 3-400L oak.
A: Pale-medium ruby
N: Dusty mineral. Some stem herb tones. Orange peel hints. Spicy clove touches. Richer red & black fruit
P: Bright-to-brisk acidity. Some sour red cherry & fresh plum. Spicy mid-palate. Sandy tannins on the light side of medium

Karavitakis Kotsifali-Merlot 2016 (?? / 20)
65% Kotsifali, 35% Merlot. 12 months in oak before blending. 14% ABV.
A: Mid ruby-garnet
N: Dusty clove oak and some tomato leaf. Plum. Clean?
P: ??

Karavitakis The Little Prince 2016 (16 / 20)
65% Kotsifali, 35% Mandilari. Stainless steel.
A: Mid ruby-garnet
N: Earth. Bright, slightly jammy blackberry. Stem herb tones. Nutty
P: Plum and blackberry jam. Firm, peppery tannins. Spicy finish

 

Klados Winery Mega Geraki Vidiano 2017 (17 / 20)
Mega Geraki is “Great Hawk”.
A: Pale lemon
N: Nutty oak and complex lemon rind. Sage and stones
P: Pure, brisk citrus, apple, spice, stones and mineral. Fine

 

Lyrarakis Ippodromos Vineyard Peza DOP Vidiano 2017 (17 / 20)
400m altitude single vineyard.
A: Pale lemon
N: Flinty, aromatic sage and toast. Lifted. Some citrus
P: Rich, lemon pith, spice, salt. Sophisticated and long

Lyrarakis Psarades Vineyard Plyto 2017 (16.5 / 20)
100% Plyto – variety nearly lost post-Phylloxera, and rescued by Lyrarakis. Psarades is a single vineyard, now represented on the label – as with the other wines in their single vineyard series. Harvested in 3 passes – first in early-August to take green grapes for making verjus, then 2nd and 3rd picks later to make the wine. Stainless steel winemaking. Certified vegetarian.
A: Pale gold
N: Nutty depth. Gravelly mineral. Subtle dried herb and citrus
P: Intense, ripe citrus. Bright acidity. Salt and spice

Lyrarakis Psarades Vineyard Dafni 2017 (17-17.5 / 20)
100% Dafni – also nearly lost post-Phylloxera. Next block to Plyto in Psarades vineyard. Later maturing than Plyto, with end-September harvest, and looser bunches. Produces ageable wines.
A: Pale lemon
N: Powerful, intensely aromatic herbal lift. Bay, rosemary and Angostura Bitter. Wow. Very distinctive and attractive
P: Lemon-lime fruit. Intense aromatic herb. Brisk acidity and perfumed. Medium-long finish

Lyrarakis Vóila Vineyard Assyrtiko 2017 (17 / 20)
100% Assyrtiko. Grapes bought from a single vineyard in East Crete.
A: Pale lemon
N: Crushed rock and dusty mineral. Nutty tones. Garrigue. Lemon rind
P: Crisp acidity. Firm. Ripe lemon. Powerful and dense. Some phenolics. Long

Lyrarakis Pirovolikes Vineyard Vilana 2017 (16.5 / 20)
100% Vilana, from 600m altitude, 30 year-old bush vines, cropped at 7.5t / Ha.
A: Pale green-gold
N: Almond shells, nutty and toasty oak. Some rocky minerality. White peach beneath?
P: Intense citrus and white peach fruit. Almond and baking spice oak. Integral. Fairly crisp acidity. Long

Lyrarakis Kedros Liatiko Rosé 2017 (16 / 20)
800m altitude single plot in Rethymno. 13.5% ABV.

A: Very pale salmon
N: Spice, coffee and earth. Delicate strawberry and cherry skins. Citrus
P: Stony, spicy-peppery. Ripe citrus, spice and strawberry fruit. Savoury. Light tannins

Lyrarakis Kotsifali 2017 (16 / 20)
Stainless steel winemaking.
A: Pale to pale-medium ruby
N: Garrigue, fresh earth. Pure. Some liquorice and red cherry
P: Lively acidity. Bright red cherry and garrigue. Gentle spice. Moderate, fine-grained tannins

Lyrarakis Aggelis Vineyard Liatiko 2016 (15.5 / 20)
100% Liatiko, from an Eastern area vineyard, planted in the 1930s. Small proportion in oak for 4 months. 14.6% ABV.
A: Pale ruby-garnet
N: Aromatic, slightly leathery / oxidative. Tobacco and cinnamon
P: Sweet cherry, sour acidity. Tobacco and leather tones. Moderate, peppery tannins

Lyrarakis Aggelis Vineyard Liatiko 2016 (16 / 20)
Sitia region fruit.
A: Pale ruby, with garnet glints
N: Toasty, rosemary lift with slightly oxidative, fresh leather tones on red cherry skin fruit
P: Ripe cherry. Fresh leather. Spice. Earth. Firm, slightly grainy tannins. Good length

Lyrarakis Plakoura Vineyard Mandilari 2014 (16 / 20)
100% Mandilari.
A: Pale-medium ruby-garnet
N: Clove-cedar oak. Cheese. Tobacco. Dried black cherry beneath
P: Brisk to crisp acidity. Grippy, firm tannins. Balsamic and vanilla oak. Quite Rioja-like

Lyrarakis Plakoura Vineyard Mandilari 2016 (17+ / 20)
100% Mandilari.
A: Mid ruby
N: Attractive tobacco and fresh leather oak. Scented plum and black cherry fruit
P: Chalky tannins, juicy plum and black cherry. Spicy oak and clove tones

Lyrarakis Karnari Vineyard Kotsifali 2012 (16 / 20)
100% Kotsifali cropped at 9t / Ha and fermented at 16°C. Purposefully oxidatively aged in barrels for 4 years without ullage, but with some flor.
A: Pale garnet
N: Aldehyde tones. Hazelnut, dried tobacco and old leather. Fresh earth
P: Rich and full-bodied. Aldehyde, dried red fruit and spice. Leather finish

 

Manousakis Winery Nostos The Journey Vidiano 2017 (15.5 / 20)
A: Very pale lemon
N: Toasty spice. Some seashell and pear-citrus
P: Pear and apple. Spice. Some salt. A little light on the mid-palate

Manousakis Winery Nostos Romeiko 2017 (15.5 / 20)
First vintage. Experimenting to try and tame the variety. 650m altitude, 80 year old, organic vineyard. Reductive variety, so dose with SO2 at harvest. Whole bunch press to avoid colour. 2017 a poor year, so yields were naturally lower. 10t / Ha is ‘good’ for the variety, compared with 30t / Ha often found from growers. Buy-in grapes and growers traditionally were encouraged toward high yields by payment per tonne. Variety has moderate acidity of around 5 g/L in lower altitudes, but can reach up to 8 g/L at higher altitudes when picked early, or 6.5 g/L fully-ripe.
A: Mid-deep orange-gold
N: Subtle toast. Apricot with a tinned edge. Bruised apple. Some biscuit. Terpene-like floral lift
P: Full-bodied. Dry. Spiced touch to mandarin and apricot. Smoky finish tone. Warming. Moderate to bright acidity. Saline, mineral tones

Manousakis Winery Nostos The Journey Roussanne 2017 (17+ / 20)
A: Mid-deep gold; green glints
N: Subtle toast and honeysuckle, ripe fresh quince
P: Full bodied. Rich. Moderate acidity. Nutty, blanched almond, honeysuckle and bitter peel touches. Spice and flint touches. Lots of honey. Long

Manousakis Winery Nostos The Journey Grenache 2015 (?? / 20)
600m altitude Grenache, planted in 1993 with a Beaucastel clone. Basket pressed. Stainless steel, wild-yeast fermentation. 16 days maceration, then aged in 4-5t, 10 year old foudres. Needs more SO2 in future, as Nikos had been interested in natural winemaking at that point, but the wine is ageing faster than he would like.
A: Mid-deep orange-gold
N: Subtle toast. Apricot with a tinned edge. Bruised apple. Some biscuit. Terpene-like floral lift
P: Full-bodied. Dry. Spiced touch to mandarin and apricot. Smoky finish tone. Warming. Moderate to bright acidity. Saline, mineral tones

 

Maragakis Winery Vidiano “8” 2017 (15.5 / 20)
A: Pale-medium lemon
N: Nutty tones over pear fruit and some chalky notes. Lemon rind and herb
P: Slightly dilute lemon rind and herbal tones. Bright acidity. Medium body. Lees here? A little warming. Not as complete as Dourakis Lihnos

Maragakis Winery 8th Art 2016 (16 / 20)
60% Kotsifali, 40% Syrah. Small winery in Dafnes. 6 months in French oak. 14.7% ABV.
A: Medium-deep purple
N: Bacon fat oak and white pepper. Some olive and blackberry
P: Fairly bright acidity. Firm, wild tannins. Black cherry and raspberry. Medium body. Syrah. Only slightly warming finish

 

Miliarakis Vidiano B 2017 (16.5 / 20)
Nicos Miliarakis is Chairman of Wines of Crete. First winery to bottle in Crete.
A: Pale gold
N: Integral, ripe orchard fruit and some white peach. Subtle toasty cinnamon oak
P: Quite crisp acidity, malty tones. Peach and lemon. Medium-long finish

Miliarakis Chelona Vineyard White 2017 (16.5 / 20)
Chelona means “turtle”, because the shape of the hill behind the vineyard looks like a turtleshell and head. 1Ha, North-facing vineyard at 650m altitude gives coolness. 50% Roussanne, 50% Vidiano, co-fermented in stainless steel. Began unfiltered, but this led to pinking of the wine in bottle, so now filter.

A: Mid gold
N: Camomile, dusty floral and almond notes
P: Juicy yellow peach, gentle dusty spice. Rich, dense and interesting

Miliarakis Vilana Fumé 2016 (15- / 20)
Stainless steel fermentation then 40 days in new French oak. Hold for 1 year to mature.

A: Mid gold
N: Apple-aldehyde oxidation, with some almond beneath
P: Creamy oak, apple and oxidation tones. Some spice. Fair length

Miliarakis 2 Faraggia Single Vineyard 2016 (16 / 20)
The 2 Faraggia are 2 gorges at the North and South ends of this 5.5Ha vineyard. 50% Kotsifali, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourv
èdre. 8 months in new and 2nd use French oak.
A: Mid ruby-garnet
N: Slight oxidation. Tobacco, cinnamon. Dried, mixed, red and black fruit
P: Spicy, meaty, with structured, peppery tannins. Dense red and black fruit

Miliarakis Chelona Vineyard Red 2017 (16.5+ / 20)
Chelona means “turtle”, because the shape of the hill behind the vineyard looks like a turtleshell and head. 1Ha, North-facing vineyard at 650m altitude gives coolness. 45% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 20% Mourv
èdre. 10 months in new and used French oak.
A: Mid-deep ruby
N: Vibrant raspberry and strawberry fruit. Spicy oak and chilli. Rich and complex
P: Dense blackberry fruit. Fresh leather, spice and dried herb. Firm, peppery tannins. Fair acidity. Give it 3-5 years

Miliarakis Red 2016 (16 / 20)
80% Kotsifali, 20% Mandilari. Single vineyard in Peza, planted in 1999. Early-September harvest at 55HL / Ha. 10 months in 33% new French oak.
A: Pale-medium purple
N: Woody-cedar oak. Some smoke. Hint of aldehyde? Old leather and earth. Some dried thyme
P: Supple, slightly peppery medium-firm tannins. Blackberry. Spice. Ripe fruit core. Medium-long to long finish

 

Paraskevás Winery Aspros Lagos Vidiano 2017 (16.5 / 20)
A: Pale-medium gold
N: Sage and lifted herb. Funky. Complex. Savoury and camomile. Lemon rind
P: Spiced, savoury, creamy lemon rind. Salt. Rich. Fair acidity but interesting. Good length

Paraskevás Winery Mandilari Lofos Rosé 2017 (14 / 20)
Mandilari gives colour and red fruit intensity. Like Syrah but less spicy.
A: Pale-medium pink
N: Jammy red berry fruit, some flinty tones and a little pear drop
P: Fairly full-bodied. Spice touch, some pip bitterness. Smoky / savoury. Warming. Some phenolic grip

 

Domaine Paterianakis 3.14 Vidiano 2017 (16 / 20)
Named Pi. No added sulphites. Lees contact. Bottled around February 2018. 1,500 bottles. First vintage. The next vintage will be 3.141, then 3.1415, 3.14159 and so on through the digits of Pi.
A: Pale gold
N: Camomile, fresh leather, rocks, old cream. Wet slate minerality
P: Flinty / smoky. Subtle spice. Nutty. Dried apple and lemon rind

Domaine Paterianakis Melissokipos Vidiano 2017 (16 / 20)
Single, 6Ha estate.
A: Pale lemon
N: Fresh leather and camomile. Some sage. Nutty. Natural
P: Quite firm, flinty acidity. Saline touch. Some nuttiness. Warming finish

Domaine Paterianakis Assyrtiko 2017 (16+ / 20)
20Ha estate around the winery, so able to use Domaine in their name. 650m altitude. Biodynamic and natural winemaking principles. Bees are the winery logo as they have many in the area. 18 year old Assyrtiko.
A: Pale lemon
N: Flinty, nutty with lean lemon fruit. Tight
P: Crisp acidity, chalky mineral tone. Lean citrus and apple

Domaine Paterianakis Moschato di Spinas 2017 (15.5 / 20)
West of Crete.
A: Very, very pale lemon
N: Rich orange blossom and white flower
P: Orange and white flower, with some grape. Bright

Domaine Paterianakis Melissionos Rosé 2017 (15 / 20)
80% Kotsifali, 20% Syrah. Stainless steel winemaking. First wine they made.

A: Pale-medium salmon
N: Apple-aldehyde. Some cherry fruit
P: Brisk acidity. Apply. Some strawberry richness

Domaine Paterianakis PDO Peza 2015 (?? / 20)
80% Kotsifali, 15% Mandilari. Owned and run by 2 sisters. 1 year in French oak barriques, then 1 year in bottle before release. Sadly this bottle corked. Second bottle tasted a day later, but 2014.
A: Pale-medium purple
N: Corked
P: …

Domaine Paterianakis PDO Peza 2014 (16.5 / 20)
80% Kotsifali, 20% Mandilari. 50 year old vines. Oak and bottle maturation.
A: Pale-medium ruby-garnet
N: Earth, tobacco, old leather, some natural funk. Spice. Complex
P: Savoury, meaty, spicy. Funky. Dried red fruit. Moderate tannins. Good length

Domaine Paterianakis Melissionos Red 2015 (16 / 20)
100% Syrah. 1 year in barrels.

A: Medium ruby
N: Roasted coffee, some bacon fat and spice. Dusty. Red fruit
P: Rich, spicy raspberry and coffee. Meaty / savoury tones. Fairly firm, peppery tannins

Domaine Paterianakis 3.14 Red 2017 (?? / 20)
100% Kotsifali, organically grown grapes. No added sulfites. 11.5% ABV.

A: Pale-medium purple
N: Funky, smoky / meaty and saddles tones. Rocks and cherries. Savoury
P: Sour cherry. Brisk acidity. Fairly firm, peppery tannins. Bright cherry fruit. Savoury

 

Rhous Winery Estate White 2017 (16 / 20)
50% Vidiano, 50% Moschato di Spinas. 10 hours’ skin contact then fermented at 16°C. Estate recently rebranded from difficult to remember family name, to a word meaning “flow” or “progression”.
A: Very, very pale lemon
N: Candied pear, floral, orange blossom. Very aromatic. Some spice
P: Medium body, lemon and floral tones. Fair acidity. Easy

Rhous Winery Skipper White 2017 (17 / 20)
70% Vidiano, 30% Plyto. Own, 400-550m altitude vineyards on limestone with a high pH, giving less aroma and more structure. 50% of the Vidiano given skin and stem contact before transferring the juice to French oak barrels for fermentation. 50% on skins before stainless steel winemaking, with battonage.
A: Very pale lemon
N: Subtle, mealy oak. Pear and apple orchard fruit. Garrigue. Fine
P: Intense orchard fruit flavour. Mealy oak and some wax. Spiced. Gentle phenolics. Long

Rhous Winery Estate Rosé 2017 (16 / 20)
80% Kotsifali, 10% Mandilari, 10% Syrah. Sun and flavours suit the deeper, clairet style of rose, so 38 hours’ skin contact, pre-fermentation.
A: Pale ruby
N: Powerfully savoury and spicy. Some creamy tones to white pepper and ripe strawberry
P: Rich raspberry, white pepper and herb. Moderate tannins. Savoury

Rhous Winery Estate Red 2017 (16 / 20)
90% Kotsifali, 10% Syrah. Stainless steel only for varietal character. Deeper colour in 2017.
A: Mid ruby
N: Dusty, spicy and fresh earth. Berry fruit beneath. Aldehyde touch?
P: Ripe, rich berry fruit. Spicy and ripe. Peppery, fairly firm tannins. Fair length. Some tomato character

Rhous Winery Skipper Kotsifali-Mandilari 2015 (16- / 20)
50% Kotsifali, 50% Mandilari. 1 year in French barriques.
A: Pale ruby-garnet
N: Some exotic Szechuan pepper to the clove oak. Dried, slightly oxidative red fruit
P: Old leather and prune. Spice. Moderately-firm tannins. Fair length

 

Silva Wines / Daskelakis Winery Grifos Rosé 2017 (16 / 20)
Kotsifali. Amphora fermentation for 3-4 weeks, then 4 months in new oak. No SO2. Aim for 18 month drinking window. 14% ABV.
A: Pale-medium salmon
N: Spice, cinnamon and fresh earth. Garrigue herb. Fresh leather and fresh pastry. Delicate wild strawberry. Complex
P: Fresh leather. Strawberry. Garrigue herb. Brisk acidity. Stony mineral undertow. Medium-long finish

Silva Wines / Daskelakis Winery Vorimos 2013 (16+ / 20)
50% Kotsifali, 50% Liatiko from “Northward” vineyard. 18 months in new French oak. Aim for 8-9 years’ bottle age. 13.5% ABV.
A: Medium ruby-purple
N: Fresh leather, dense blackberry fruit. Cinnamon-clove oak. Dried fruit and herb
P: Ripe and dried, smoky black fruit. Dense. Firm to high, chalky, oak tannins. Long, leathery finish with a touch of alcohol

Silva Wines / Daskelakis Winery Psithiros 2014 (16.5 / 20)
80% Liatiko, 20% Merlot. 18 months in new French oak. 13.5% ABV.
A: Pale-medium purple
N: Dried tobacco, torrified tones and old leather. Dried prune and cherry fruit beneath
P: Ripe plum and blackberry palate fruit. Spice, chocolate, vanilla and clove oak. Long. Fairly firm, but fine-grained tannins. Refined

Silva Wines / Daskelakis Winery Grifos 2017 (15+ / 20)
Liatiko. Amphora fermentation for 6 weeks, then 4 months in oak. 15% ABV.
A: Pale garnet with a bricking rim
N: Natural funk with fresh leather and camomile. Prune fruit and balsamic. Herbal character reminiscent of raki / marc
P: Slight sweetness – rounded. Hot alcohol. Wild, rustic, firm to high tannins. VA and chocolate on the finish

Silva Wines / Daskelakis Winery Spiva Liastos 2009 (16.5 / 20)
Liatiko, Sun-dried for 7-10 days, then 4.5 years in oak. 13% ABV. 200 g/L RS. 5kg grapes per 1L wine.
A: Mid-deep tawny-amber
N: VA, vanilla, dark chocolate, dried cherry and balsamic hazelnuts
P: Lifted. Cooked citrus and dried red cherry. Dark chocolate. Sweet, but balancing, brisk acidity. Long

 

Stilianou Winery Theon Gi 2010 (16 / 20)
50% Kotsifali, 50% Mandilari, co-fermented in stainless steel, then 12 months in French oak. Unfiltered. 13% ABV.
A: Pale garnet
N: Mocha scent. Vanilla. Rose petals. Dried, spiced red cherry and wild strawberry
P: Brisk acidity. Some balsamic to dried red cherry and sour cherry. Fairly firm, chalky, oak tannins

 

Strataridakis Aspra Charakia Vidiano Dafnes 2017 (15.5 / 20)
Limestone soils – Aspra Charakia means “white stones”.
A: Pale lemon-green
N: Neutral, stony, smoky tones. Some lemon rind. Nutty notes. Quite Assyrtiko like
P: Mid-weight. Needs more flavour density, but plenty of lemon rind and dried herb. Some salinity. Fair minerality and acidity. Moderate length

Strataridakis Syrah-Kotsifali Rosé 2017 (16 / 20)
60% Syrah, 40% Kotsifali. Kotsifali gives a more savoury, earthy, dried herb character, with leather and prune development, so works with a fruitier blending partner.
A: Deep ruby-salmon – almost a pale red wine
N: White pepper, ripe strawberry and cranberry. Rich and powerful. Savoury earthy-spice
P: White pepper around rich red cherry. Juicy acidity. Dense and flinty. Rose touches. Decent length. Spicy

Strataridakis Strata Kotsifali 2016 (15.5 / 20)
From south of Crete, but with a small mountain ridge that blocks the hot African winds from the south. 12.5% ABV. Stainless steel fermentation at 23-25°C.
A: Mid ruby-purple
N: Blackberry, earth, spice, old leather. Fruit core, but lots of savouriness
P: Juicy blackberry, earthy spice. Peppery textured tannins, but on the light side of moderate intensity. Spiced, medium-long finish

Strataridakis Kokkina Chomata Cabernet-Kotsifali 2014 (16+ / 20)
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 50% Kotsifali. 10 day fermentation at 24-28°C, then 18 months in new French oak. 13.5% ABV.
A: Mid-deep garnet
N: Cedar, tobacco and tomato leaf / capsicum. Slightly roasted / coffee oak cassis. Some earth / spice
P: Bright acidity. Spiced, clove oak. Firm, chalky oak tannins. Spiced red and black fruit. Chocolate. Fairly long; long enough

Strataridakis Ichnilatis Syrah-Kotsifali 2014 (16.5 / 20)
50% Syrah, 50% Kotsifali. 10 day fermentation at 24-28°C, then 18 months in new French oak. 13.5% ABV.
A: Mid garnet
N: Toast, Szechuan pepper, some bacon fat. Ripe, spiced blackberry. Some earth hints
P: Bright acidity. Red & black berry fruit. Peppery spice. Sweet clove and vanilla integral oak through the finish. A little warming. Fairly firm, peppery-chalky tannins

 

Titakis Wines Vinosophies NV (14.5 / 20)
11.5% ABV. Screwcapped. Kotsifali, Mandilari and a little Merlot.
A: Pale purple
N: Smoky earth-spice. Blackberry. Savoury but quite simple
P: Juicy but a little dilute blackberry. Easy drinking. Some herb / leaf. Slightly grainy, medium-firm tannins

Titakis Wines Impetus NV (15 / 20)
Kotsifali, Merlot and Syrah. 13% ABV.
A: Pale-medium purple
N: Slightly geosmin / dirty earth? Spice. A little flat. Dried fruit
P: Bright acidity. Dried red and black fruit. Smoke. Spice. Chocolate

 

Toplou Monastery Winery Thrapsathiri 2017 (15.5 / 20)
Monastery in the East of Crete, growing mainly local varieties as well as Chardonnay and Syrah. 100% Thrapsathiri.
A: Mid gold
N: Ripe crab-apple and quince. Nutty oak. Ripe, fruit-forward style
P: Rich, orchard fruit and baking spice. Powerful undertow. Fair acidity

Toplou Monastery Winery Assyrtiko 2017 (16 / 20)
100% Assyrtiko. Dry climate, similar to Santorini.
A: Mid gold
N: Chalky / oyster shell over ripe lemon rind. Dusty, nutty mineral
P: Crisp acidity. Full body. Salty touch. Some honey notes to ripe lemon

Toplou Monastery Winery Rosé 2017 (15.5 / 20)
100% Liatiko. Speciality from the East of the island – local clone.
A: Mid-deep onion skin – quite orange-tinted
N: Dried herb and savoury spice. Nutty, but unoaked. Cherry skins
P: Juicy, brisk acidity. Spiced cherry and strawberry. Peppery finish. Slight bitterness. Moderate length

Toplou Monastery Winery Red 2016 (15 / 20)
85% Liatiko, 15% Mandilari. Stainless steel winemaking.
A: Pale garnet
N: Floral, rose-scented cranberry and strawberry. Some spice and dried herb touches
P: Jammy strawberry & sour cherry. Spice touches. Moderate acidity. Light tannins. Easy drinking. Savoury

Toplou Monastery Winery Sweet Red NV (16 / 20)
Solera aged. 12.5% ABV.
A: Brick-amber, with a pale, broad rim
N: VA lift. Macerated prunes, dried fig, milk chocolate, gentle white pepper and some dried herb
P: Fully-sweet. Marmalade, chocolate, dried cherry, orange peel and balsamic

 

Domaine Zacharoudakis Vidiano 2017 (16.5 / 20)
Organic, terraced vineyard. Unusually from the south part of Heraklion district, but protected from the African heat by local ridges.
A: Pale gold
N: Spice, oyster shell, mineral and citrus peel
P: Ripe citrus, some phenolics, chalky. Bright citrus

Domaine Zacharioudakis Kotsifali 2014 (16 / 20)
100% Kotsifali. 3-500m altitude terraced vineyard where altitude cools against southern exposure. 1 year maturation in 60% new French barriques.
A: Pale-medium ruby, with garnet glints
N: Clove-vanilla. Background earth, but oak-led
P: Juicy acidity and blackberry fruit. Pepper spice. Fairly firm, chalky oak tannins. Vanilla-clove, medium-long length

Domaine Zacharioudakis Orthi Petra 2014 (15.5+ / 20)
Cabernet Sauvignon, Kotsifali at 500m altitude. Orthi Petra means “standing stone”, after which the vineyard is named. 14.5% ABV.
A: Pale-medium ruby-garnet
N: Clove. Toast touches. Hint of aldehyde chemical oxidation. Dried tobacco and red cherry
P: Smoky black fruit. Chocolate oak and spice. Pepper. Drying firm to high tannins. Warming finish. Where will this go?

Domaine Zacharioudakis Orthi Petra Reserve 2010 (15.5 / 20)
Syrah, Kotsifali. Organic. 14.5% ABV.
A: Mid-deep garnet
N: Mellow, old tobacco and fresh leather. Some bacon fat. Subtle chocolate and dried prune
P: Fairly full-bodied. Some tomato fruit to old tobacco and dried cherry. Spiced. Medium-long finish

 

Zoumperakis Rethymno White (14.5 / 20)
Vidiano, Thrapsathiri. Organic. 12% ABV. Vintage not stated, but likely 2013.
A: Pale lemon
N: Toasty, curry spice and savoury. Background ripe citrus fruit
P: Burnt toast (reduction?). Spice. Melon

Zoumperakis Rethymno Red (13 / 20)
Kotsifali, Liatiko. 13% ABV. Vintage not stated, but likely 2012.
A: Pale ruby, with garnet glints
N: Oxidative. Aldehyde then vanilla. Oxidised
P: Ripe cherry, but oxidative. Firm, peppery tannins

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