Tasting the Cretan Wines of Digenakis
On a lazy Cretan afternoon, we tasted the wines from Digenakis Winery.
Leftheris Digenakis’ approach to Cretan wines is gifted with grapes from some unique vineyards. He is not shy to blend either. Many of the grapes on the island of Crete are ancient varieties.
Leftheris’ wines are a very modern take on ancient indigenous varieties. He is not afraid to blend either and the results are quite impressive.
Here are our impressions of some wines we tasted
2018 Bios Protos, Vidiano.
The Bios Protos is no stranger to those familiar with Cretan wines. This is 100% Vidiano and a good example of that. Tropical aromas of mangoes and peaches with hint of flowers. Characteristically, it has a substantial viscous mouthfeel and a good finish.
2018 Aeriko, Dafni & Sauvignon Blanc.
This is an interesting white wine. Two grapes with strong personalities make up this blend. Sauvignon Blanc and Dafni. Therefore, this is not your typical shy white wine. There is a lot going on here. key limes, stone fruits, baked apples etc.
The mouthfeel is excellent and it finishes long with notes of Cretan honey with herbs. I would pair this with aromatic foods and meals that need wines to match up to them.
2017 is currently available for sale.
You think Greek white wines and Santorini Assyrtiko comes to mind. Rightfully so. With it’s marine influenced, mineral laced, razor edged personality, this wine has long held the title of Greece’s pre-eminent white wine.
However, outside of Santorini strong arguments are being made for Assyrtiko. For instance, we are biased towards examples from Evia (Vriniotis Winery), Asprokambos (Pirgakis) and Corinthia (Papargyriou). By no means, are they attempting to imitate Santorini. Instead, these are different strokes on different canvas. These are examples of fine artistry never the less. These Assyrtikos rock this author’s boat!
Digenakis’ Assyrtiko is expectedly a Cretan rendition. It is also a modern take. This wine is very fruit forward and minerality is just a touch here. 80% of the wines spent 3 months in oak barrels and 20% of the wine saw none.
This was a super delicious wine and joins the above mentioned examples of outside Santorini Assyrtikos that I would drink every day. Well chilled!
We expect this wine to be in stock just before Christmas!
2018 Ypopsia Rosé, Mandilaria, Kotsifali & Syrah.
υποψία pronounced Ipopsia means “hint”. I almost feel the name is a wink and a nod towards our notion of rosés. Again, my tendencies lean towards pale, aromatic, acid driven ones. From Greece, think La Tour Melas’ Idylle d’Achinos. The latter is a fine example from anywhere.
Digenakis’ Ypopsia is dark and almost broody. But, past the color, this is a pure under-the-sun rosé. Yes, this is big and built for food. Two Cretan grapes – Mandilaria and Kotsifali joins Syrah in this blend.
2017 Nympheos, Cabernet Sauvignon & Merlot.
This was the Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot blend that was an early introduction to this winery. We tasted a barrel sample and there is ample fruit in here. Tannins and structure point towards a good future in the bottle.
The Nympheos continues it’s trend of being a standard bearer for Cabernet Sauvignon from Crete. We look forward to this in the bottle.
Look anywhere in Crete and you will find Kotsifali blended with with other grapes. Mandilaria and Syrah are often used. Seldom would you find it bottled as a single variety. So, when this one came in my glass, I was curious.
The grapes are an ancient clone of Kotsifali, sourced from a 30 year old vineyard. The wine spent 8 months in oak before bottling. Garnet red in color, this wine at first sip was all cherries, cinnamon, paprika, pepper and chocolate. Crazy stuff.
Leave it in the glass for a while and the chocolate and earthy component comes out strong. The finish is long.
This is an unusual wine, but a very easy one to like. A wine like this, I imagine would pair with some spicy sausages or meatballs.
This Rick Bayless recipe for turkey mole would be tempting to try with this wine. We expect this wine to be in stock just before Christmas!