The current Cretan wine industry is a striving one. The island counts with several Cretan appellations such as Peza, Archanes, and Dafnes, all located in the prefecture of Heraklion. Cretan wines represent a valuable heritage of traditional varieties. The different wine regions have a unique character and an ideal climate. Other than that, a new generation of winemakers is working to improve every aspect of Cretan wine.
Original from the Greek island of Crete, Cretan wine varieties have a long and rich history dating back to the Minoan times.
The local sweet wine produced under the Roman Empire was exported to Italy as early as the 2nd century AD. The region around Heraklion always boasted a special prominence in winemaking. In fact, during the late Middle Ages, between the 14th to the 16th centuries, Vino di Candia (Heraklion‘s former name) was highly valued in Europe.
Today, local wines have reached a unique status in the international market. And a visit to the island might reveal to be the best excuse to taste them.
Were to Taste Cretan labels
Several are the ways visitors can take advantage of in order to indulge in local wine tasting. Wine tourism is a growing industry that attracts a growing number of visitors every year.
Archanes and Peza share a leading role when it comes to wineries open to the public. There are always more venues with dedicated tasting rooms and winery tours showing visitors the secrets of winemaking. Wineries also offer a choice of labels to taste as well as full Cretan lunches with generous food pairing. For more information about local wineries click here.
Cretan Wines in the Capital of Crete
For those with a limited frame of time while visiting the island, or even for those who rather enjoy a glass of Cretan wine in the city, Lato Boutique Hotel’s restaurant, Brillant, offers an ample list of local varieties to choose from.
Among the red local varieties, it is possible to taste Kotsifali, Mantilari, and Liatiko. The Liatiko variety is cultivated across all over Crete. It is a red, easily oxidized variety, which gives wine mild fruity aromas and moderate acidity.
Among the white ones, guests can choose Moschato Spinas, an extremely rare indigenous variety with soft yellow color and green hints. There are also varieties such as Plito, Melissaki, Thrapsathiri, and Malvasia. Being the stars of the island Dafni, Vilana, and Vidiano.
Vidiano is a variety gaining a growing approval from locals and visitors. Its unique aroma, together with a rich body, is a key element that has transformed Vidiano in the most popular Cretan variety. Vilana, on the other hand, shows notes of lemon, pear, jasmine, and herbs with soft acidity.
Dafni (also Daphne) is an oddity originating in the prefecture of Heraklion. Almost extinct until not long ago, this white grape variety got back on the scene with dry white wines with intense aromas. Daphne in Greek means laurel, and this is no coincidence. This full-flavored grape has hints of laurel, herbs and wet leaves.
Oinotika, the Cretan Wine Fair
People visiting the island during the Cretan Wine Fair, Oinotika, can get even luckier. During the event, they will also have the chance of tasting varieties from other prefectures (such as Rethymno and Chania). Also, they will be able to meet producer in the convenience of just one venue.
Every year, Oinotika proposes a wine tasting appointment open to professionals as well as to the general public. Wine lovers from all over Europe flock to attend this event. During these days the can discover the new proposals that every year surprise the fans of the Cretan wine market. In 2019, Oinotika will take place in Heraklion at the end of February, from the 23rd to the 25th of the month. For more information, it is always a good idea to check the website of Wines of Crete.