Crete wines: the next Santorini?

By Tim Jackson MW.

I was invited by Wines of Crete, a non-profit organisation formed by Cretan wineries less than 10 years ago, to spend 3 days exploring the wines, history and culture of the island.

What I found was a region steeped in vinous history, but which has only recently been rediscovering its potential. In the white variety, Vidiano, they have a high quality, indigenous grape with which to lead the renaissance of the island’s wines and with which to promote a quality perception for Crete wines.

The recent import of Assyrtiko from Santorini bodes well too as it is already producing high quality wines in a less austere style than Santorini, as does the recovery by Lyrarakis of remarkably herb-scented Dafni.

Whilst international varieties, especially Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon are grown, domestic varieties Kotsifali and Mandilari show promise as a blend, and Liatiko as a varietal red, though these varieties are not yet at the quality level of Vidiano.

Here are my notes, thoughts and opinions on the following dimensions of Crete wines:

  • History: overview of the 4,000+ years of winemaking history of the island
  • Current state: where the industry is now, and where Wines of Crete are heading
  • Varieties: summary of the principal red and white varieties, roughly ordered by indigenous then international, with what I think are better varieties first
  • Geography and vineyards: broad overview of the geography and regions, plus key vineyard features
  • Food and people: brief observations of two key support dimensions for Cretan wine progression
  • Wines: over 130 tasting notes and scores for wines tasted, ordered by producer



Crete’s wine culture dates back at least as far as the Minoan civilisation that flourished from 2200BC, through to its decline after the earthquakes and huge tidal wave of around 1450BC, that wreaked destruction around the Agean Sea, as a result of the volcanic explosion of Santorini……. Read the full article: