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The Grapevine

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WINES of the TIMES

If it has not happened yet, it certainly should—the new darlings of the white wine world on the savvy wine lists should be Cretan wines. I am not only talking about the Cretan version of ubiquitous old world cultivars like Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc – but rather, wine names that don’t trip off the tongue quite so easily: varieties like Thrapsathiri, Malvazia di Candia, Vidiano, Vilana, Plyto and Moschato Spinas.

For both the serious-minded wine aficionados of today, as well as for the casual sipper, there may be no more exciting region that Crete—a repository of ancient wine-grape migration with a diversity of grape varietals that are amazing in their pure form, as well as when expertly blended. Crete’s lesser-known white wines offer not only the thrill of discovery, but also the more basic fact that they are perfect with the foods of the island, due in large part to their higher acidity. This makes them a great match with fish and seafoods as just one example.

Vilana is the island’s mainstay grape variety and is the grape of choice for many house wines due to its refreshingly light, lemon-scented character. Vidiano is a delicate grape variety but produces a rich body and creamy taste with the aroma of apricots and citrus fruits. It could be considered the “Viogner” of Greece.
Moschato Spinas is really making a comeback. An aromatic cousin of Muscat, it is generally bone-dry despite its sweet scent and gives a palatable mix of fruit and flowers.

For those who have not yet been bitten by the Cretan wine bug, now’s a great time to try these varietals. Thanks to the great diversity, there’s a bottle out there with your name on it. Experiment and enjoy. Στην υγεία μας!

Wine Recommendations 

Douloufakis Aspros Lagos
Dafnes, Heraklion
100% Vidiano, this complex wine has been fermented and matured 5 months in barrels (60% acacia/40% French oak). The typical aroma of fruits is present, with the additional notes of vanilla and dried fruits. Good match for poultry and fatty fish.

Silva-Daskalakis Psithiros White
Siva, Heraklion
This award-winning wine is a blend of Malvazia and Moschato. It exhibits a distinctive richness of aromas and offers a balanced mouth feel and long finish. It is best enjoyed on its own.

Lyrarakis  Plyto
Alagni, Heraklion
Saved from extinction, this grape variety is now a classic from this winery. Straw-yellow color, complex aroma and excellent flavor balance. Good with all seafood, white meat and some cheeses.

Diamantakis Prinos
Kato Asites, Heraklion
This 50-50 blend of Malvasia di Candia & Chardonnay gives a well-balanced wine with a complex aroma of pineapple, banana and lemon flavor. It is perfect with fish and seafood.

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