Sunday, February 15, 2009

Greek Wines: Lyrarkis

Lyrarakis Wines, founded in 1966, is a family owned located on the island of Crete. Sotiris and Lampros Lyrarákis followed in their father's footsteps, who also was a wine maker. One of their accomplishments was to revive two indigenous grapes, Plyto and Dafni, which were close to extinction.
The 2008 Lyrarákis Plyto is made from 100% Plyto, one of those grapes that was threatened with potential extinction. And I am very thankful that this grape was saved as I loved this wine. It had a pale yellow color and a very enticing nose of exotic fruits and spices. It reminded me a bit of Gewurtztraminer, in both nose and taste. On the palate, the Plyto was complex and delicious, interesting citrus and tropical fruit flavors with exotic spice notes and even a bit of minerality. A crisp wine with a very satisfying finish. And as this wine is only about $17, it is an excellent value as well. I highly recommend this unique wine.
The 2007 Lyrarákis Dafni is made of 100% Dafni, the other almost extinct grape. This wine had a light yellow color and a very aromatic nose, citrus and floral notes. On the palate, it was a crisp wine with the taste of grapefruit, reminding me a little of some Sauvignon Blancs. I liked this wine though it did not impress me as much as the Plyto had done.
The 2008 Lyrarákis Vilana is made from 100% Vilana, another indigenous Cretan grape. This wine also had a light yellow color and a citrus nose. On the palate, it was a crisp wine with strong citrus flavors, especially lemon. Another pleasant, easy drinking wine but I almost think I was spoiled by the Plyto. Neither the Dafni or Vilana seemed as complex or unique as the Plyto.
The 2006 Lyrarákis Mandilari is a red wine made from 100% Mandilari. This dark red wine had a strong nose of blackfruit and mocha. This was a rich, full-bodied wine with prominent black fruit and ripe plum flavors and some strong tannins. It has a long finish with a unique taste, a bit of spice and exotic fruit. It has some complexity, an excellent balance and was quite delicious. Definitely a food wine with some rich game meat or a steak. Another wine I recommend.

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