It goes without saying that the cycle of good organic wine starts with the grape varieties used in its production. We are well aware of that in our winery; this is why we only choose the very best grape varieties, with special emphasis on old Cretan controlled-yield varieties. Our varieties include grapes used to make wine by the ancient Greeks, such as Liatiko and Kotsifali, the jewels of the vineyards of king Minos, or Limniotiko, used to make the famous wine drunk by the Greeks during the siege of Troy!
The red varieties from the vineyard of the Zoumberaki Family used in the production of red wine include: Liatiko, Kotsifali, Achladi, Agiorgitiko, Limniotiko, Cabernet, Merlot. Our white wines, on the other hand, are made from the following varieties: Vidiano, Vilana, Thrapsathiri. Let’s get to know them together...
One of the oldest varieties of the Mediterranean, it formed the base for the production of the famous sweet Byzantine wine, Malvasia. It’s an early red variety, used to produce both dry and dessert wines. Liatiko wines are paler, with a rich flavor reminiscent of ripe red fruits. The grape’s cultivation is demanding, due to its sensitivity to weather conditions. The grape ripens around the end of July; this is what its name alludes to (“Ioulios” being the Greek word for “July”).
The red variety that is a Cretan trademark. An outstanding variety with a mild, sweet character and aromas of plums. It has a soft color and a rather high alcohol content. It’s also known as “the Cretan Merlot”, as it produces full-bodied rich wines for lovers of delicate flavors.
An outstanding Cretan red variety with particular flavors and aromas that appeal to demanding palates. A suave variety, used for both varietal wines and blends.
A fine “poly-dynamic” variety that originated in Nemea but is nowadays cultivated in vineyards around Greece and in Crete, in particular. It’s one of the hardy varieties and very resistant to dry environments. It’s considered one of the most important grape varieties in Europe. It produces high-level wines, with a deep red color, intense aromas of red fruits, medium acidity and soft tannins. The ideal suggestion for wine connoisseurs.
A Greed red variety which, according to Hesiod and Aristotle, originates from the ancient Greek “Limnia Stafyli”. It’s also known as Lemnion or Kalambaki. The wines produced with this variety are of average concentration, with delicate aromas, few tannins and a medium body. It’s considered to be a rather “bad tempered” variety, requiring dedication to be tamed. A rare, ancient Greek grape variety, thought to be used in the production of the wine drunk by ancient Greek during the Trojan war.
It’s considered the black diamond of wines; one of the aristocratic red grape varieties, thanks to its unique ability to age spectacularly for decades! It has a characteristically deep red color and loves the warm Mediterranean climate; it has taken to the Cretan soil like a fish to water. It produces mildly acidic wines, with a bold color and bold aromas, that become more complex as it ages. Syrah varietal wines have the flavor of black fruits (e.g. black mulberries, blackberries and plums), and contain high quantities of antioxidants that give a healthy boost! The Zoumberaki Family makes the best use of the unique features of the variety to produce wines with a Cretan personality and a cosmopolitan aura!
Cabernet is thought of as the “king” of red varieties worldwide. It’s used for the production of fine red wines that can age for decades in the bottle. It produces wines with a dark red, almost purple, color, with aromas of green bell peppers, currants and wild cherries, cedar and spices. Cabernet Sauvignon wines have a robust mouthfeel with a lot of structure, with tight tannins and high acidity. The most impressive quality of the variety is that it may be cultivated in various areas and still produce wines that are recognizably Cabernet Sauvignon! When grown in warm regions, like Crete, it ripens faster and produces wines with a rich color and a voluptuous flavor and aroma.
Also known as the “Velvety Red”, Merlot is a French variety of red grape that produces soft wines. It owes its name to the blackbird (“merle” in French) which has a particular affinity for the Merlot’s sweet grapes, as they ripen before other varieties. It’s a wine variety that complements Cabernet Sauvignon but doesn’t have its fame. Merlot has a velvety texture, a deep red color and a combination of aromas that render it particularly flavorful. Its aromas bring to mind plums, cherries and strawberries; one of its main features is its low density.
It’s thought of as the best Greek white variety that produces high-acidity, full-bodied wines with high levels of alcohol, that still manage to be utterly sophisticated. Originally from Santorini, this rare white variety has now spread throughout Greece, thanks to its high quality. It adapts perfectly to dry and warm environments and is sensitive to the wind. That’s why it’s, essentially, grown underground, pruned into the picturesque “kouloura” (ring) shape. It produces wines with a fresh, mineral character and primary aromas of fruits. It’s the ideal choice for wine lovers who seek unconventional white wines, with a dense structure and mouthfeel.
Vidiano is a variety mainly found, in small acreage, around the area of Rethymno. This is a lively, fertile, productive vine, resistant to downy mildew, that produces high-level wines, with medium acidity and a robust, creamy taste. It produces lemony green wines with intense, individual and very complex aromas of ripe peach and apricot, with hints of aromatic herbs. Its production is still rather limited; the experts, however, believe that, in a few years, this charismatic grape will have established its position as the “white diva” of Crete!
There can be no doubt that Vilana is the “queen” of Cretan white varieties, acting as a bridge with the archetypal white wines of ancient Crete. It dominates the vineyards of the island and is not found outside its confines. It’s a highly productive variety, which produces large quantities of rather neutral wines; its best expression is found in wines produced from grapes that grow at higher altitude, like the vineyards of the Zoumberaki Family. The hallmarks of Vilana wine are a moderately deep yellow color, medium acidity and alcohol content, a fresh, lemony flavor and aromas reminiscent of citrus fruits, apple, jasmine and herbs.
A white variety grown throughout Crete, particularly resistant to drought. It gives balanced, full-bodied wines, with strong botanical aromas. It is ideal for high yields per sq.m. and produces wines with a soft yellow green color, of medium intensity, with aromas that are mostly reminiscent of melon and peach. Thrapsathiri ripens in the first two weeks of September and requires great experience in winemaking, as it oxidizes easily. Thanks to the neutrality of its aromas, it’s the ideal suggestion for rich, strongly-flavored dishes, especially in the colder months of the year!