Lyrarakis, Kotsifali, Crete, Greece
Red cherries and a touch of spice, balanced by zingy dark fruits, this is a feast for the senses that won't hit you over the head and will become a great friend, especially with food. Made from one of the most classic Cretan grape varieties, this is the essence of what reds from that island are all about. Plus, it's seriously good value.
Grown in the Alagni region around the centre of Crete at an altitude of 500m, the vineyards are sandy and loam. All of these Kotsifali grapes are picked by hand and freshness is achieved because the diurnal temperature variation is so massive (that's the posh phrase for the difference between hot daytime and cool nighttime temperatures) because it's Crete, which is really hot, and it's at such high altitude, which makes it cold at night.
The wine is made in temperature-controlled tanks with fermentation lasting for about 9 days. The Kotsifali variety often gives a bitter-sweet lick to the palate at the end of the glass, and that is the case here. Gorgeous red fruits and a touch of oak, it is then vibrant enough to make your mouth water so that you're ready for food. Or another glass...
The Lyrarakis family have been making wine in Crete for decades. With their moderate alcohol levels and restraint, where excess would be such an easy option, the wines that the family make are wonderful food pairings and darling wines for sommeliers. The all-female wine making team are on the rise - critical acclaim and commercial success has had only one problem: they often run out of wine!
Jancis Robinson is a big fan - 17 points; Wine Enthusiast say it's one of the Best Buys and Wine and Spirits Magazine gave it 93 points.
- Goat's Cheese
- Hard Cheeses
- Red Meats
- Medium Bodied
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