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is a red grape variety that can give dry red wines of great finesse, but reaches its apogee in the sweet ones. However, while most red grape varieties receive addition of alcohol during fermentation, -in order for fortified sweet wines to be produced-, sweet wines from Liatiko are made of sun-dried grapes (raisined wines). The wines from Liatiko have relatively low color intensity, tending to be red-Grenot. Their aroma is intense, with rich, ripe red fruits and sweet spices. The palate is full, with high alcohol levels and low, very soft tannins. Since the grapes are dried in the sun, sweet wines from Liatiko are even more intense on the nose, displaying characteristics of more sweet and more mature fruit. In the same way, their taste characteristics present a bigger concentration with more intense acidity.
Long aging in barrels is important and it usually takes place in big, old ones. Liatiko can be found throughout the island, but the best wines come from Heraklion (PDO Dafnes wine) and Lasithi (PDO Sitia wine), where a percentage of 20% of Mandilaria can be also added Liatiko is the epitome of hot weather, which is found in certain areas of Crete (the dry wines of the variety are round, full and soft, while the dessert ones are more rich and dense).
The dessert wines from Liatiko (for example, those with geographical indication “Sitia”) are ideal for those who want to enjoy sweet red wines with less alcohol content than most fortified wines, and develop nicely over time. Being raisined they may be improved for decades while the dry wines require at least five years in order to become more enjoyable, while they can age comfortably for ten or more years.