Undoubtedly there is no Cretan family which, in the course of time, has not been directly involved in the production of wine. For the inhabitants of the island this product has been, and will remain, the most beloved of all goods, which the Cretan soil bountifully offers us.
Brought up in this environment, in 1966 the founders of the company decided to become professionally involved with the production of wine. The founding of the company was accompanied by planting some of the best local wine varieties, namely the white Vilana, and the reds Kotsifali and Mandilaria. The winery is situated in one of the most noteworthy vineyard regions of Crete, namely at Alagni, Heraklion, the most mountainous village of the appellation area (AOC) of PEZA.
The company only started bottling wines under the Lyrarakis family brand in the early nineties. The first vintage of Lyrarakis was 1992, until then all the production was sold in bulk to major wineries of Greece or abroad.
Today, the company is managed by the second generation. The family vineyard comprises of 14 hectares of gravel soil on limestone and is situated on an average altitude of 550 meters. Since the late eighties special attention is paid to rare Cretan varieties. In particular the white varieties “Dafni” and “Plyto” that have been saved from extinction constitute a source of pride for the vine-grower Manolis Lyrarakis. Vilana, White Muscat and Sauvignon Blanc complement the range of white varieties. As far as the red varieties are concerned, the local Kotsifali, Mandilari, and Black Muscat are complemented by the foreign varieties Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The family and technical team puts a lot of effort into experimenting with smaller batches of other native varieties, in the hope to be able to offer you new exciting wines soon
The company is recognized as the leading quality producer on the island, focusing on the use of native varieties – some blends also use foreign varieties. The family is credited for reviving the two ancient local white varieties, Dafni and Plyto, which are part of the company’s range of wines called “The Treasures of Crete”. The latest pride in our “Treasures of Crete” range of wines is the oaked red wine from 100% Mandilari, the red variety that was never vinificated by itself on Crete. Lyrarakis is also credited for being the first winery of Crete to blend the native Kotsifali variety with Syrah, in order to create an unusually exciting red blend, back in the late nineties. Lyrarakis wines have won numerous international awards and are exported in most of the European countries and abroad (USA & CANADA).
The winery is located at the northern side of the community of Alagni, almost in the middle of the small plateau. The construction of the new bottling facility finished in 2004. After that, the family also finished the first phase of the renovation of the visitable cellar, where the oak barrels are stored and bottle aging takes place. The cellar can now welcome visitors on a regular basis.
Please see HERE the official Lyrarakis website (+video)
Please click HERE for prices & retailers near you.
2011 Lyrarakis Assyrtiko, PGI Crete, 86 points.
100% assyrtiko (from Sitia)
Regional: Red Mullet (barbounia), World: sushi, crustaceans, shellfish, whitebait, grilled fish.
Bright yellow, green flashes. Medium viscosity. Fresh, crisp aromas of lemon, grapefruit and acidity. On the palate distinctive, elegant, round flavors of citrus, apricot and minerality. Excellent balance. Very pleasing, opulent wine.
Apparently Sitia (east-Crete) has the right terroir! (at only € 6,90!)
2011 Lyrarakis Okto white, PGI Crete, 82 points.
(Also marketed as Cuvee Grande Colline)
Regional: Lemon/pepper calamari. World: greek salad, grilled fish, ratatouille, squid, matured cheeses.
Bright yellow green. Medium viscosity. Soft perfume of muscat mingles well with the freshness of Vilana and Sauvignon blanc. Full, broad flavors of muscat, apricot and pineapple with a crisp, fine acidity in the end. Perfect aperitive.
2011 Lyrarakis Vilana, PGI Crete, 84 points.
regional: Venus clams World: rich salads, smoked salmon, charcuterie, steamed shelfish, cured pork, matured cream cheeses.
Light yellow green. Good viscosity. Very pleasant scents of green apple, lime and grapefruit. Likewise flavors with apple up-front. Nice tinge of minerality and mellow acidity. Well balanced and structured with a pleasant, lasting finish. Again value for your money! (€. 5,00)
2010 Lyrarakis Okto red, PGI Crete, 86 points.
Regional: Pork chop/peppers/Graviera. World: spicy pasta’s (puttanesca), grilled spicy peppers, lamb stew, kokoretsi, matured cheeses.
Dark ruby. Good viscosity. In the nose, abundant red fruits like blueberry, blackberry and prune. Rich, chewy, jammy flavors of ripe dark fruits. Round, smooth structure. Surprisingly complex. Excellent, somewhat tannic finish. Another great value at € 9,00!
2010 Lyrarakis Kotsifali, PGI Crete, 87 points.
Regional: Roast lamb. world: pizza, , game pate’s, matured hard cheeses.
Dark purple. Dense viscosity. Loads of ripened, dark fruit like blueberry, plum and prune. Nicely fused with undertones of spice and mediterranean herbs.
Complete, masculine flavors of dark fruits, leather and licorice. Appealingly firm structure with a good grip. Complex and long lasting finish. Amazing price at €. 5,00 a bottle. Stock-up!
2008 Lyrarakis Mandilari, PGI Crete, 90 points.
Regional: Kokoretsi. World: prime red meats, kleftiko, game, rich matured cheeses.
Deep dark purple. Dense viscosity. Thanks to very low yields and a twelve month stay on new/old French oak, this wine is a great symphony of aromas and rich flavors. In the nose ripe plums and prunes, vanilla and some cocoa.
On the palate concentrated plum, black currant and some fine tannins.
A grape to remember! Certainly this variety will go a long way….