Dafni is an almost extinct variety of white grape of Crete, that has come again to the spotlight. This happened thanks to the production of dry white wines with intense aromas and round on the palate, that maintains moderate alcohol levels. Some ambitious producers use the oldest vineyards to make even a few wines of barrel fermented daphne. Daphni is related to the laurel plant
The reasons for which this variety has taken this name are obvious, since the aroma and the full flavors of these wines remind those of laurel and other refreshing and spicy herbs and are combined with others, reminding ripe yellow and white fruits. They have a very distinct structure in the palate: although characterized by enough extract, power and mild acidity, their alcohol content is surprisingly modest, particularly for the climatic conditions of Crete, rarely surpassing 12.5%. Daphne comes from the Heraklion region and although the vineyards of this variety remain limited and only in specific areas, producers are planting more and more Daphne. So, Dafni has a substantial goodwill and in proportion to the planted areas and to the number of bottles produced from it, it is much more highlighted. It is a variety delighting those who enjoy rich wines but dislike high alcohol levels. They are thus ideal companion to intense, yet light summer meals, such as pasta and salads. Most wines produced from the Daphni variety Dafni have to be consumed within three years from the harvest. However, the most adventurous wine lovers, who love
complexity, can keep some bottles for at least three more years.
Greek grape varieties like Vidiano are a “hidden treasure” for every connoisseur and wine lover. Vidiano is a white variety, coming from Crete and it is used to produce dry, white wines, sometimes aging in barrels. The existing Vidiano vineyards are few but producers agree on the great potential of the variety, which means that its history shall be written from now on. Vidiano is a variety found mainly around Rethymnon, Crete, and covers small areas, while there is an extremely limited number of vineyards further east, near Heraklion. It gives a yellow-green colored wine, with intense individual and complex aromas, which among others bring in mind ripe peach and apricot, with hints of aromatic herbs and minerality. They are full bodied and have an elevated alcohol content, which effectively compensates for their moderately high acidity. The wines of this variety wonderfully unfold their personality when accompanying pasta with seafood or grilled fish.
Vilana is the most common white variety of Crete with its name coming from the Venetian era, when Vilana was the name of a kind of Cretan castle. On account of the the long wine history of this glorious island, Vilana is a bridge to the original white wines of ancient Crete. The characteristics of wines made from Vilana are the moderately deep yellow color, its medium intensity of aromas
and flavors (notes of lemon, orange, pear, flowers, -such as jasmine- and herbs). Fresh and well formed in the palate, they are not very heavy and present a moderate acidity and alcohol content. Vilana can be found mainly in the areas of Heraklion and Lassithi, Crete. The typical examples of Iraklion bring the geographical indication PDO Peza (exclusively from Vilana), while those from
Lasithi bring the indication PDO Sitia (where Vilana is mixed with thrapsathiri). The abundance of Vilana offers for experimentation by most farmers, so the variety is combined with other indigenous (eg Malvasia and Moschofilero) or international ones. Vilana gives soft, appealing and easy drinking white wines, perfect for hot, summer days. Their character suits various different dishes, simple or complex, as loved by the Cretans. The wines from Vilana are usually intended for immediate consumption, up to three years from harvest, but in some cases, when aged in barrels, their quality is improved in the bottle for five years or more.