Titakis Vidiano – Moscato
At 1231m Asterousia are Crete’s lowest mountain range. With the proximity of the Lybian sea they play an important climatic role in this middle belt of the island. If they did not exist, there would be no central and southern Mediterranean landscape, but a dessert like arid patch of wind swept land. Suprisingly it is this little known southern mid belt that has become the new Moscato Spinas epicenter first initiated by Titakis followed more recently by the Strataridakis Brothers. This location’s meso climate does not make an easy region to farm grapes. It seems to thrive in difficult vintages and less so in the good ones. It reinforces that the diversity on Crete is far more nuanced than what we actually perceive. This new generation of technicians and winery principals continue decoding, gaining insight to understand better how what works best and where. The Messara Plain is covered with olive trees. The top soil is creamy limestone. It is not thought of as the finest source of olive oil, but more quantity than quality. I am parked at the agreed meeting point. As there are yet no sign of vineyards I wonder if there has been a misunderstanding. Maria Titaki drives up and waves to follow her. We pass more olive groves but no sign of even an abandoned vineyard. Finally, we pull over in a drive way where there is a fenced vine oasis. We are greeted by vineyard manager Yiannis Tranpantaros. Their white grape vineyards are near the village of Amygdalia and red grapes in the village Pretoria. She adds ”As a wine producer we have no interest in olives, 20 years ago we uprooted olive tress and planted vines.” This may explain the relative large in size one block of 4 hectares planted to Vidiano, Moscato Spinas and Malvasia aromatica. The red grapes include Kotsifali, Syrah and Merlot then in vogue that turn up in the Impetus blend. More varietal wines are in the works such as 2018 Vidiano.
Titakis are one of the largest privately own merchants. Unusually they also own and farm vineyards. Their winery is a jewel of cement tanks which was cutting edge when built in 1974. It has recently been refurbished with great attention to detail. It is like a black and white film converted to color. It is a fascinating piece of industrial architecture now brought into the 21st century. As we walk through I ask about her experience with cement and red wines.” They spend a year in cement before blending and bottling. They have more definition and keep fresher in bottle than the stainless steel storage”. Maria Titaki is the soul and driving force behind this historic address. She studied history and philosophy of science at Athens University before her Master of science in viticulture and oenology. Tasting with her is illuminating. Have long been aware that women have better noses than men. MT goes one better, as she is a formidable blender. One of the finest I have encountered. ” I do all of it by instinct. I do not follow the classical blends of the market trends. Moschato Spinas? A difficult grape in the vineyard and the wine. Chose not to go bone dry as wanted the residual sugar to mirror the grape in the vineyard”.
L 10318 70% Vidiano 30% Moscato Spinas. Synthetic closure. Pale gold-green tints. Floral, whiffs of lime/chalk, mineral notes, pit stone, full bodied mid palate creamy textures. Hard to believe that it carries 12grs/litre. Freshness and zest to balance the verging on opulent fruit. Finishes with enlivening tangy flavours. Not unlike the label: some balancing act! Best 2018-2020.