Dourakis Kudos Aromatica 2017
Wine as memories
Even with an appointment arranged ahead one never knows what will happen once you have entered a tasting room, as a public space they can have a life all of their own. On my visit to Dourakis I got lucky. The introduction to this piece was given to me so to speak on a plate, it also made me think what wine is to many of us, memories. Life’s stage within this story was simply brilliant in it’s timing. Two US servicemen were sitting at a different table and were going through a list with many of this winery’s tasty wines. The room was teeming with Austrian and French visitors. As there was no one available I sat in a corner. It was too good to be true and the unfolding double scenario’s were life’s gift. It soon became obvious that they were moving from Crete to the American Pacific. One of them compared Dourakis wines to Italy’s Campania. Perhaps from a previous shopping spree when posted in Naples? As there were going deeper through their rather long lists I pondered on how much these wines from Greece’s largest island will mean to them when shared next with their new friends in the Pacific. In that context alone Vidiano is as urbane cosmopolitan as they come. It will be welcomed with open arms. Who knows what images and memories it will evoke on the other side of the world. Moving out to the pergola shaded terrace for my update tasting I left them discussing the packing in their container destined bubble wrapped bottles and isothermic arrangements. Another piece of good news on this trip is that wine tourism seems to be growing at this attractive wine route location between Rethymno and Chania. Marketing manager Evie Dourakis informed me, that early spring and autumn bring the most interested visitors, notably from Israel, Norway, England and Russia. Music and other artistic events are held though out a season now reaching 10 months. Evie Dourakis communicates all this with inventiveness on social media.
Dourakis was founded in 1988 and at its current location since 1992 in the village of Alikampos 350m in the foothills of Lefka Ori. Their various vineyards at several altitude zones are rare. Mandilari at 550m, Vidiano and Moschato Spinas at 350m. A Grenache rouge is planted at 1,100m and is harvested not suprisingly in early October. Spoilt for choice all their wines are attractive, great quality price ratio and ‘speak’ fluently of western Crete. Malvasia Aromatica hailing from Italy was first planted in various places in Greece in the early 1990’s. It seems to have adapted better than other incomer white grapes. On Crete it has gone one step better. Forgotten bottles in various eatery places seem to pop up in my travels. There was a three year old located in Sitia – it was fresh as a daisy proof it ages rather well. The reviewed wine comes from 550m high vineyard named Korfés. Soils are sandy- clay loam rich in calcium. It is an early maturing site prior to the autumn rains. This is just another facet of the gifted Cretan landscape which has so much to offer to the new generation of wineries. Evie’s brother Antonis studied in Germany at Weinsberg and Geisenheim. He has taken over winemaking duties from their father founder Andreas Dourakis. There is an organized order about this address a blend of German discipline and Cretan flair. There is another thing, too. This rugged setting with the imposing Lefka Ori(2,453m)backdrop when covered in snow reminds me of Spain’s Alhambra. Looking back on my travels, vines placing do seem to be planted more out of practicalities rather than aesthetics yet some come with breathtaking landscapes. The hillside views from Alikampos now is on the stand out list.
Screw cap closure. Pale yellow. Clean aromatic hedonistic complexity with floral and lemon confit dominating. Round richness followed by tropical fruit raciness. Though dry alternates from ”sweetness” to salinity. Spicy peach-honey qualities. Citrus tanginess on the long finish adds vibrancy. Harmonious and generous. Not your easy drinking aperitif wine. Serious food wine to partner contrasting freshness such as lemon grass, garlick-chilie spicy flavoured dishes. Best 2018-2023.