A visit to the Greek island of Crete a while back gave us the chance to explore its fascinating history and culture and, of course, its wine. Many of the grape varieties grown on the island are found nowhere else – not even on the Greek mainland – and I was keen to try some Kotsifali or Liatiko (both reds) and the whites, Vilana and Vidiano. Of course, the local restauranteurs were all happy to serve someone taking an interest – and, at just a few euros a bottle, I could hardly go wrong.
I came home with a very positive impression of Crete’s wines but, not surprisingly, found hardly anything I had tried there back here. Until, that is, the latest Wine Society catalogue dropped through my letter box. There it was – the Klima Vidiano from Karavitakis’ winery in Chania (at £9.95, rather more expensive than I’d paid in Crete, but with over a third of the UK price going in tax, that’s to be expected).
But how often have you loved a wine you’ve tasted while on holiday and found it wasn’t as good as you remember when you open it at home? That’s the key test! Well, this one didn’t disappoint at all! It was beautifully perfumed – apricots, peaches, a hint of lychee, almost like a mini-Gewurztraminer. A good aperitif with plenty of herby freshness, but it was also rich and full enough in the mouth to make it an excellent food wine: a creamy turkey stroganoff in our case. Do look out for it – and other wines from Crete. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed either.
And a date for your diary: to celebrate English Wine Week which runs from 23 to 31 May, there will be a tasting of English wines at the Bordeaux Quay restaurant on Bristol’s harbourside on Thursday 28 May from 5pm to 7pm. Tickets are £10 each and are available by emailing Guy Smith on Guy@bibelotwine.co.uk. Many English vineyards will be running special events and some restaurants will be featuring English wines during the week. For full details, google ‘English wine week’ and follow any of the links.