Kravitz still has a knack for finding good wines at great prices – Robert Parker, Parker on Wine, BusinessWeek, 8/20 & 27, 2007

Hand Picked Selections in Crete

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands, and produces roughly 8.5 million cases of wine per year (about 20% of Greece's total wine production). Spanning 135 miles east-west and 30 miles north-south, it is the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean, and has a proud heritage of viticulture and winemaking dating back to the ancient Minoan Civilization, nearly 4,000 years ago. To this day, the oldest commercial wine press (which dates to 1,400 years BC) can be found at the ancient villa at Vathipetro, just south of the historic village of Arhanes.

There are a total of about 125,000 acres under vines, and the Mediterranean climate, rugged, mountainous terrain and patchwork of varied soil types are well suited to the production of quality wine. While vineyards (along with citrus and olive groves) are scattered throughout the island, plantings in the eastern half are generally recognized to the be the best. This portion of the island is home to the four demarcated AOC regions of Crete (Archanes, Dafnes, Peza, and Sitia), as well of the village of Vatolakkos, where the Manousakis winery grows and produces Nostos.

While the island is more known for its cultivation of native Greek and Cretan varieties (Vilana, Kotsifali, Mandelaria, Liatico, to name a few), plantings of international varietals (notably Chardonnay and some Syrah) are not uncommon. The Manousakis team has had great success with their Rhone varietals (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne), grown in the foothills of the Lefka Ori (White Mountain) range.

While Crete may have lagged behind the mainland in Greece's modern wine revolution of the 1970's and 1980's, the recent surge in investment and sheer number of outstanding offering from quality-conscious estates and cooperatives are a clear indicator that those days are over.  It is an exciting time to be making wine in this historic setting!