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Hey Big Blender!

If you take away the paintbrush and the easel, the best winemakers in the industry should be likened to artists. With their own brand of passion and enthusiasm, they strive to create a masterpiece out of their wines, particularly when taking the different grape varieties and blending them into their own unique combinations.

It is unfortunate that the public demand for these ‘blended works of art’ or cuvées has been decreasing in favor of single varietals made from one particular grape. Many wine lovers think that blends are an excuse for diluting wine with poorer quality grapes or to cut costs by using cheaper grapes. Yet if you consider that some of Europe’s greatest wine regions (Rioja and Bordeaux to name only two) have based their success on blended wines that combine more than 2 varieties, cuvées should not be summarily dismissed.

What is exciting about Crete is that the pioneering winemakers are not just copying the Old World templates to make reproductions of the great classics, but instead are looking at the native grape varieties that are best suited to their particular terroir, to come up with a whole new array of new and unusual wines. They also know all the idiosyncrasies of their varietals and know which ones are good for blending and which are not.

So while single varietals allow for a better understanding of the grape varieties in their pure form, blending adds extra complexity, especially to reds, giving them an extra dimension. Cretan reds show that it is definitely possible to reveal the true characteristics of the grapes in the blend, while also showing a sense of place.

Wine Recommendations

Miliarakis Estate (Kotsifali & Mandilari)
Peza, Heraklion
This top quality Cretan wine is from the Miliarakis organic vineyards. Due to the small yield per km2, the two typical Cretan grape varieties have developed their aromatic and flavor capacities to their fullest. The wine has matured in new French oak barrels, achieving a rich, multi-dimensional result. Excellent with beef filet, game, rich sauces and creamy cheeses.

Douloufakis Enotria (Liatiko, Kotsifali & Syrah)
Dafnes, Heraklion
The grapes for this award-winning wine are from organic vineyards with a separate vinification for each variety. It is a ruby-colored wine with soft, round, elegant fruity flavors. It is a well-balanced, easy drinking wine with a pleasant finish.

Nostos Alexandra’s (Syrah, Mourvèdre & Grenache)
Vatolakkos, Chania
Dense ruby-colored wine with rich legs and fruity aromas of strawberry, black cherry, mulberry and some notes of tobacco and spices. Full and dry in the mouth with smooth tannins. It has a long, clean finish that accentuates the spices. Best with roasted meats and casseroles.

 

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