The Vilana is a base variety white wine grape that is widely cultivated in Crete but very sensitive to disease. It features a fresh aromatic bouquet flavor, medium acidity and an unstable color. It provides excellent results in semi-mountainous regions, at an altitude of 400+ meters. It has yielded interesting results when vinified in oak barrels, which significantly extends its life cycle (3–5 years). Furthermore, it is often used as a “base variety.” The grape bunch grows thick with medium-sized, round grapes.
Combined with Mantilari, the Kotsifali is the basic grape for red Cretan wine. Kotsifali has a characteristic dynamic bouquet and produces wine high in alcohol content. It is combined with Mantilari because it lacks tannin and pigments, which Mantilari is rich in. Furthermore, it has now become tradition in Crete to combine Kotsifali with Syrah, producing a well-balanced, velvety result. Recently, single variety Kotsifali and Mantilari or Syrah combinations are brought to market after aging for 5 years. Kotsifali produces a round medium-sized berry on a relatively small bunch.
Mandilari or Mandilaria, as called in the rest of Greece, it is known as the “painter” or “vafias” to locals. This variety provides a deep red color wine, adding volume to the body, but requires special cultivation efforts for the fruit to acquire the necessary sugar, and consequently, the desired alcohol levels. In most cases, wine is produced by combining Mantilari with Kotsifali, at a ratio of 20% to 80%. Experimentally, some single variety efforts have been made with very interesting results. The experimental wines require time for ageing in order to soften their typically aggressive tannins. The ageing potential for a wine made with the Mantilari-Kotsifali combination is usually 5 years. In the case of a single variety wine, it can safely age more than 5 years. The Mantilari vine produces a large, compact bunch with sizeable round grapes.
The Sauvignon Blanc variety is an international white wine grape that cultivated on the island of Crete. This variety has become a favorite amongst producers, as well as with consumers, a fact that explains its premature “immigration” to the Cretan vineyard. The warm climate may sacrifice some of the Sauvignon’s aromatic intensity, however, it lends it body and substance without sacrificing its playfulness and brio. Apart from solo bottling, it also creates original combinations with domestic and foreign varieties.
The Syrah is an international red wine grape that cultivated on the island of Crete. The love of the deeply colored Syrah from warm Mediterranean climates is well known, since it dominates almost the whole of Southern France’s vineyard. Thus, neither its excellent acclimatization nor its momentous performance from one end of the island to the other should come as a surprise. However, what should make an impression is its perfect match with classic red varieties of the island, yielding wines with a Cretan character and a cosmopolitan aura.