How echoes are branded
Yannis & Mihalis Diamantakis leathery hands greet me. We exchange pleasantries before they brief me with a vintage report. They are men of few words, whose journey has earned them respect from their colleagues as they allow hard work to do the talking. George Lyrarakis of the powerhouse clan sights them as a leading light in the new generation of Crete’s game changers. ” Their vision on the red blends has shown the way forward ”. On this visit a newly born red beckons discovery. Do not even think for a second that the word Petali is of a name place, it could be, but it is not. As it is a pretty story, I will get back to how this brand identity came about. Standing in the courtyard of the 3 Diamantakis brothers I look up at the snow covered Mt.Psiloritis(2,456m) peaks. Zacharias Diamantakis, the youngest is a distiller and oenologist. His handshake is nothing like his brothers, he quips ”I am the seamstress in this team ” then gestures to the sky that the 2018 & 2019 rain fall is the biggest morale booster he could have hoped for, ”Nature has corrected, we could not continue after 3 years of drought”. Rainfall is over 700 ml’s and counting with another snow storm forecasted. The afternoon light is lucid, nature is pristine. What I experienced before us was a first for me. Above us to the right about mid-mountain level are three water sprouts shooting vertically into the air, natures escape valve of sorts. Zacharias called it ”foundana”, another Venetian loan word. He adds that the last time that happened was in 2014. Venice may have lost Crete in 1660 after 359 odd years though these words still persist today. Honoring past achievements seems to be an inspiration source and make sense in today’s world. The Venetian credo ‘ sono primo Venetsiani & poi Christiani(commerce comes first) was also a by-word on Crete. The nun’s of the monastery of St. Anthony were industrious with looms and this (petali) rythmic clack echoed in these hills. There are other sub plots contained here. Crete seems to be pushing many pedals these days. They are sorting out vineyard issues with exciting timely expression’s bottled in every corner of the island. Dry Liatiko revival story is all of 12 years old. It has switched on addresses scrambling to locate all the old bush vines. They seem happy in Sitia’s slate or the creamy limestone of Dafnés in the centre of the island. Terraces above Rethymno at Gerakari make some of the most striking cristalline dry rosé. If you have not experienced these distinctive new old wines think of them as stylistically in the mould of Etna reds from Sicily. Liatikos’ are also fragrant paler lighter bodied Burgundian on the Med expression. If there is a plus for these Liatikos it is the inherent viscous, high glycerol content making them such terrific food wines. Forget the oxidized sweet styles of the past, this is a new departure broadening Crete’s indigenous grape arsenal. Wines of Crete currently has 11 ambassador grapes in their innovative maps. The recently published book by Emanuel & Maritina Stavrakakis includes their DNA and histories of 39 Cretan grapes. Even as the book is avidly studied my technician friends are whispering ‘there is more out there’.
In essence the wine is a blend of of three old bush vine single vineyards. Cleverly tank fermented and aged. Translucent pale ruby. Perfumed nose of ”dry” raisins. Sweetly spice, pure fruit offers mid palate interest, firm supple tannins with a pretty back bone promising good future. Silky, balanced and harmonious. Yet again this address executes harvest timing with accuracy. More substance than 13% ABV implies. Another great dry expression of this rising star grape. 2019-2027.