Wines From Crete are Cool…
…and That’s No Bull!
by John Dunham
The Mediterranean island of Crete was the center of one of the earliest European civilizations. The Minoan civilization was the home of the legendary King Minos and the half-man half-bull Minotaur. This civilization was eventually replaced by the Myceneans who were the precursors to the Greeks.
While winemaking was likely invented on the eastern shores of the Black Sea, it was the ancient Minoans and Greeks that really brought wine to the world.
Today, as part of Greece, the Island of Crete produces about eleven distinctive wines and also , these are found nowhere else. At a recent walk-around tasting, we discovered some special wines.
Vidiano produces a light colored wine with a nose similar to Viognier, featuring stone fruits and apricots.
The taste profile is also similar, with a lot of floral notes as well as peppery herbal flavors and stone fruits, but with more acidity and crispness than one finds in the more popular Viognier varietal.
These are excellent pairing wines. Because wine seems to pair best with what’s grown near it you will find it perfect for dishes like clams, grilled fish, grape leaves, gyro and kababs.
This grape is grown in only small quantities which means it is difficult to find the wine outside of Greece. In fact, the grape almost went extinct about 25 years ago before a number of small scale producers began to reintroduce it in small quantities.
In the United States you’ll find these wines only in limited amounts and with price points about double what they are in Greece.
Still they make an excellent and interesting addition to a well-stocked cellar, not to mention a reason perhaps, to visit different areas in Greece.
We recently attended a Cretian wine walk-around tasting where we focused our attention on Vidiano.
Some of the more notable choices were:
Rhous Tamiolakis Winery Rhous Skipper (2015: $29). This wine was almost clear in color with a very floral nose and a floral palate featuring some peppery and herbaceous notes on the finish.
Diamantakis Winery Vidiano (2016: $7.00 a bottle in Greece so about $21.00 in the US). Clear to light yellow in color the nose of this wine was more marine in character with some peach notes. The wine was floral up front moving to stone fruits and some distinct minerality on the finish.
Digenakis Wines Vios Protos (2016: $9.00 in Greece). Yellow tinged clear color, with a marine nose. On the palate, the wine was floral up front with a peppery finish.
Dourakis Winery Lithnos Vidiano (2016: ?). Clear in color the wine has distinctive floral notes on the nose and a fruity palate with peach and floral notes.
Gavalas Winery Vidiano (2016: ?) Clear yellow tinged color, the wine had a nose featuring florals and watermelon. ON the palate there were marine and sour apple notes.
Keep an eye out for this fantastic varietal and other wines from the island of Crete.
These wines are unique, and that’s no bull!
For Information Vidiano and other wines from Crete visit www.vinesofcrete.gr