Photo from Anoskeli
During his early 20th-century excavations in Knossos, Sir Arthur Evans uncovered the word “wine” in a sample of Linear B – the oldest preserved form of written Greek that we know of. Yet despite its remarkable, longstanding vinous history, Crete has only recently been rediscovering its potential. Planning a visit to Greece’s largest island? Indulge yourself in an immersive, most authentic experience with a visit to these top Chania wineries.
Crete holds a legendary place in winemaking history, but Cretan wines’ fame – until recently that is – was (not so) unfairly stained by memories of poor-quality bulk holiday wine. This is decisively changing nowadays. After decades of turning out mass quantities of head-pummelling rocket fuel, the Cretan wine industry has now shifted to high-quality, boutique production. This great leap has largely to do with the emergence of a new generation of winemakers with advanced know-how and innovative ideas; who are now exploiting the indigenous grape varieties’ potential and showcasing it to the world. Magic does happen in these Chania wineries. Are you ready to meet their rising stars?
Make sure to consult with our concierge at the Adeste Chania Luxury Villas, to craft a bespoke tour that blends unique landscapes, 4.000 years old tales and narratives and award-winning, exhilarating tastes.
Crete’s two most famous products are olive oil and wine. Get acquainted with both with a visit to Anoskeli – a family-owned olive press and winery in the homonymous rural hamlet in Chania. Honouring their longstanding family tradition in the production of olive oil – theirs is an internationally awarded olive oil brand marketed under the name of Anoskeli – Mamidakis brothers have expanded into viticulture in their privately owned groves. One of the most famous wineries in Chania, this boutique establishment yields high-quality wines in small quantities. Whites come from Greek and Cretan varieties with Vilana, Vidiano, and Assyrtiko grapes taking centre stage, while reds are blended with international stars like Syrah, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Anoskeli also produces a multi-prized tsikoudia (or raki) – the local fiery spirit, which owes its smooth and rounded taste to its double distillation.
A family-run Chania winery, Pnevmatikakis boasts a rich tradition in winemaking. Viniculture and vinification have been practised for many generations – and today’s state-of-the-art facilities in the province of Kisamos include a museum which pays tribute to this longstanding legacy. The focus here is on local varieties – Romeiko, Kotsifali, Mantilari and Liatiko yield potent reds; while Vilana, Vidiano, Plyto, White Romeiko and Moschato of Spina create excellent whites. Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot and Chardonnay are also grown – yet under the strong Cretan sun, these international favourites acquire local-specific characteristics.
Built, in the 17th century by Venetian nobles and scholars Jeremiah and Lawrence Tzagarol, the Monastery of Agia Triada Tzagarolon is not only one of the most beautiful, but also one of the wealthiest in Crete. This is largely because its monks have managed to find their way into the present with the production and distribution of organic olive oil, wine, honey, vinegar, and high-quality olive oil soap. The varieties grown in the Monastery’s own vineyards include international stars like Cabernet Sauvignon, Trebbiano, Merlot and Muscat, but also Romeiko – western Crete’s sole native red grape, and one of the oldest grape varietals of the world that has until recently been shunned as a peasant wine at best.
Tastings here are of course combined with an unparalleled sightseeing experience, as the Renaissance-influenced Tzagarolon is truly impressive.
You won’t see any tour buses here – you’ll probably not even bump into any other visitors either. Loupakis is a hidden gem of a winery in Chania – a small family-run unit in Kolimvari with a personalised approach to just about everything.
Armed with a generations-deep passion for the grape, advanced know-how and the conscious decision to remain boutique, Loupakis creates multi-awarded wines from Cretan and international varieties: Kotsifali and Vilana, but also Cabernet and Grenache.
Wine tastings and tours are most intimate and authentic, with the host and head winemaker, himself guiding visitors through the intricacies of wine.