Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > The Rustic 2008 Lyrarakis, Kotsifali from Crete

The Rustic 2008 Lyrarakis, Kotsifali from Crete

Psarades Vineyard, Image from Lyrarakis

Crete is located at the extreme southern end of Greece and is the country’s largest and most populated island.  The Lyrarakis winery was founded in 1966 when they started planting indigenous varietals.  All of the production was sold in bulk until they started bottling their own wine, releasing their first vintage in 1992.   In 2004 they completed construction of a new bottling facility and renovation of the cellar.  The 14 hectares of Lyrarakis vineyards are located in Algani in the north central portion of Crete.  The soils are gravel on limestone and are located at an altitude of 550 meters.

Cellar, Image from Lyrarakis

Phylloxera entered Crete during the 1970s and continued to spread throughout the 1980s.  While the rest of Greece was experiencing an influx of new money and French-trained oenologists, the old Kotsifali vines were being destroyed.  As a result the oldest Kotsifali vines in the Lyrarakis vineyards are around 25 year of age.  These vines are planted on American rootstock thus immune to phylloxera.  There are vineyards on Crete which were unaffected and provide Lyrarakis fruit for other wines which are sourced from 100-year-old vines!  In an email exchange with Bart Lyrarakis he explains that wines made solely from Kotsifali tend to age quickly and are best consumed within several years.  In order to produce a wine that will age it is blended with the indigenous Mandilari or Syrah.  Lyrarakis started blending Kotsifali with Syrah back in 1998.

Kotsifali, Image from Lyrarakis

We drank this wine over two nights and while it was still fine on the second night, it had lost the rustic vigor it showed on the first night. So if you want to try an interesting wine you should certainly pick up a bottle of this one.  I would briefly decant the wine before serving it to your friends.  Make sure you finish the bottle on the first night, I cannot imagine your friends will complain about that recommendation.  This wine is currently available at MacArthur Beverages.  Many thanks to Bart Lyrarakis for answering all of my questions.

2008 Lyrarakis, Kotsifali, Crete – $10
Imported by Stellar Importing Company.  This wine is 100% Kotsifali sourced from estate vineyards.  The fruit was de-stemmed and fermented in temperature controlled stainless steel.  Drunk over two nights this opened up well after one hour of air.    The nose revealed a combination of stone fruit and blue perfumed fruit.  In the mouth this was rustic and appealing the first night with red fruit then some soft blue fruit mixed with a hint of tartness and acidity.  There were some fine+ tannins.  ** Now-2014.

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