Lyrarakis, 'Psarades' Dafni, Crete, Greece
This delicious wine has a fascinating story because it is made form a variety that was saved from extinction by the Lyrarakis family themselves. With flavours of citrus blossom, citrus fruits, Rosemary, Bay and Laurel (which in Greek is 'Dafni', hence the name), this complex white is at once delicate yet profound; vibrant and earthy. Do, please give it a try; it is fantastic! Plus, it's seriously good value.
Grown in the Psarades vineyard in the centre of Crete at an altitude of 480m, the vineyards are clay and loam, and all of these Dafni grapes are picked by hand. The diurnal temperature variation is 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 nighttime.
The wine is made in temperature-controlled tanks with a slow fermentation over about 21 days. It's then aged on its fine lees for four months to build structure in the wine and allow the herbaceous flavours to develop. It's beautiful and certainly unusual - a mix of herbaceousness, laurel and bay leaves and citrus fruits that make it amazing with food that is reminiscent of top Grüner Veltliner. Even though it tastes nothing like it!
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!9
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
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