The genuinely friendly Rethymno, invites you in a tasteful journey through the aromas of the fresh wine!!
Some will be visiting Rethymno for the first time, while others have now become regulars, but either way, we promise you a truly memorable winter experience.
Whether your visit is for relaxation or to explore and discover the many well known and countless hidden treasures of Rethymno, you will not be disappointed by the diversity of the landscape – the picturesque villages and stunning countryside or the uniqueness of the historic center, where you will enjoy exceptional wines combined with well known Cretan Cuisine.
Where history and tradition meet contemporary life!
In the Minoan period Crete had already emerged as on of the most important wine-growing regions, with quality products from famous grape-stocks.
The vine-growing part of Crete, in a sense the oldest in Europe, stretches from an altitude of 600 m unbroken down to the sea. They run on unhindered through many different landscapes – following every hill and fold, up and down – a delight to the beholder’s eye.
The mild winter, the warm and dry summer of Crete, its sunshine and the cool northerlies from the Cretan Sea ensure a cycle of vegetation growth without surprises and problems in the vineyards on the island, endowing them with excellent local varieties of grapes.
No wonder then that Crete has a wine-making reputation of over 4000 years. Discoveries like a cultivated vine at Kato Zakro and the press at Vathypetro are amongst the oldest discoveries of their sort in the world.
At times, Cretan wines have enjoyed great commercial success. Major milestones in the long journey include: the period between the 1st and 2nd centuries AD, when Cretan vintages, sealed into amphorae, are recorded all over the Mediterranean; and again under the Venetian rule (12th to 16th centuries), when the zenith of their reputation was reached with the famed sweet wine Malvazia.
Until this very day, the favourable soil conditions of Crete support excellent varieties of grapes, from which come the wonderful wines to accompany and highlight the flavours of one of the healthiest cuisines in the world.
It is probably in the broad zone in the centre of the island that the grape-growing and wine-making activities were maintained down the centuries, providing a key economic commerce for the locals.
Within this region currently operate some of the most important and dynamic wine producers in Crete. They produce from local and introduced grape varieties wines recognized and award-winning on the international stage.
On November begin the feasts of the opening of the barrels and go on until Christmas...
Officially the barrels opening is on 2 of November, on St. George Feast. According to our church there is no relation between the wine and St. George. On 3 of November it is honored the memory of the deposition of his remains in his temple in Palestine, but the habit of opening the barrels that day made him “Methystis” (one who is able to make you drunk) and with this name is recorded in the Greek folklore festal calendar.
The Great feast of the opening of the barrels with the new wine is known from the years of the ancient Greek world. At the beginning of Spring the feast of “Pithigia” were taking place in ancient Athens. On the day of “Pithigia” the Athenians were opening their barrels with the new wine and made wonders outside the sanctuary of Dionysus. They would throw some wine on the ground in return of his gift. It was a day of joy, celebration and endless wine-drinking.
The wine remained connected with the deity in Christian worship, but at the same time and with the joy of life. Thus, St. George became “Methystis” expressing this ancient connection among the wine with the Holy and the Divine. Saint George of November is a rural saint and mainly the saint of viticulture.
The wine producers were longing for that day to taste their new wine. In Crete, this process takes on a festal character. From early in the morning companies are gathering to taste the wine and to experience the uniqueness of the day. The houses is open to the guests and special traditional dishes are prepared for that day and offered to the visitors.
The Fresh Wines
Fresh are the wines we drink in a short time from their production (harvest) and usually up to the next 2 - 3 years from it.
They are wines, distinguished for their elegant character, their refreshing taste and the aromas of fruits and flowers.
They are the main Greek wines that fit in the Mediterranean cuisine because:
They neutralize the grease of greasy food
Balances the seafood saltyness
They minimize the saltyness of feta and other appetizers
Red fresh wines fit perfectly with grilled meat
Varieties of wine grapes
The Cretan vineyard basically uses Vilana for white wines, Kotsifali, Mantilari and Liatiko for red and rosé.
In recent years, other native varieties have been revived and used along with the main international varieties, with the result of Cretan wines with a cosmopolitan character.
The main varieties cultivated in Crete are:
Local varieties: Kotsifali, Liatiko, Mandilari, Vidiano, Vilana, Dafni, Thrapsathiri, Malvazia, Plito.
International varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache Rouge, Merlot, Mouverde, Sangiovese, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc
The wine in every-day Diet
The use of wine, in moderation, was promoted by Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, for both the healthy and the sick. Asclepius’ words are in agreement: ‘the usefulness of wine is second only to the power of the Gods – if it but be used in moderation’.
Apart from nutritional values, wine has an antibiotic value. The anti-microbial and anti-bacterial property of wine is due to its alcoholic content, along with acids and in particular the tannins present. The red wine lowers ‘bad’ cholesterol, and so increases the proportion of HDL (‘good’ cholesterol) in us. Thus, red wine helps protect the body against cardiovascular disease.
Wine, from the polyphenols present and the anti-oxidant vitamins (C and E) protects the body against the harmful ‘free-radicals’, which are also implicated in the growth of cancers. Wine also looks to slow the onset of senile dementia and the progression of Alzheimer’s.
Today the acceptance of the Cretan diet as an ideal and healthy leads to the recognition of the positive impact of Cretan wine on one’s health – as ever taken in moderation!