A Taste of Crete
 September 14 2011, 13:45

I was served two Cretan wines from Boutari in a little restaurant where we had dinner last night. Called Kretikos, the first was a white made principally from Vilana, the chief white cultivar in Iraklio. Fresh, with aromas of green apples and straw, its low alcohol was well suited to quaffing. I had tasted numerous other examples of Vilana that were nondescript and more are prone to oxidation, but I doubt this grape will ever trump a Riesling, Grüner Veltliner or Sauvignon Blanc in a blind tasting. The red was a blend of Kotsifali and Mandilaria, indigenous varietals, the first of which I did not know at well. My travels have taken me often to Greece, but not yet to Crete. Mandilaria is the most widely planted red grape in the Aegean, but I have never seen it as a monovarietal, not because of it tannic edge, but because it is generally insufficient in alcohol on its own. Kotsifali was new to me, but I have been told that it may bei the underdog of the red cultivars, especially on the island of Crete. Higher in alcohol, wildly spicy but less intense in colour, a blend of the two - some wineries use Syrah instead of Madilaria - is thought to produce the best results. As this was only a pouring - drinking - wine, I look forward to tasting the more serious stuff on an as yet unplanned trip to Heraklion. Comments


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