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Winter Warmers...

At this time of the year, the thought of hibernating in a snug spot like so many sensible mammals is a tempting one, but since this is not possible, it’s more practical to think of wintry drink ideas to chase away the chill on these short, dark days and boost the body’s own central heating system.

On Crete, this means seeking out the most warming, big red wines. At this time of the year, one yearns to curl up with a glass of the boldest red you can find – one that has a texture as chunky as your woolen sweater and gives a warm, comforting glow. It should be something opaque and deep in flavor, with intense fruitiness that recalls the sunshine of a few months ago, focusing on the darker fruits like blackberry, blueberry or plum. Above all, it should also have a whole host of secondary notes which suit the season such as liquorice, chocolate, coffee, allspice, cloves and even a hint of smoke. It is no coincidence that this more full-bodied warming style will complement the comfort foods that are called for at this time such as a hearty rabbit stifado with cloves & cinamon.

Single varietal Syrahs are immensely suitable for winter drinking and on Crete they are worth a try on their own or paired wonderfully with the local Kotsifali.

Wine Recommendations

Miliarakis Vineyards Red (Kotsifali, Mandilari, Mourvedre)
Peza, Heraklion

A velvety red wine characterized by mature red fruits and the aroma of prunes. It is a full-bodied wine with a discreet finish of vanilla due to the 10-month ageing in French oak barrels and a long-lasting aftertaste.

Boutari Skalani 2006 (Syrah-Kotsifali)
Skalani, Heraklion

Deep red wine with an intense bouquet dominated by aromas of rich forest fruits, spices like cloves and cinnamon and cocoa, matched with the aroma of oak barrels and roasted nuts. Smooth finish.

Tamiolakis Ekti Ekdosi (Kotsifali, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon)
Houdetsi, Heraklion

Deep ruby color with a warm, sweet nose that presents a strong character of red fruit preserves. Cherry and cassis dominate, with chocolate and coffee aromas making their appearance in the palette. It is full-bodied in the mouth with a well-structured and rich tannic character and long after-taste.

Zacharioudakis Orthipetra 2006 (Syrah-Kotsifali)
Plouti, Heraklion

Matured in new oak barrels for 12 months, this wine has a deep ruby color with the aroma of matured red fruits set against light and dark coffee herbs. The tannins are mature and soft and the aftertaste is lingering.


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