Iliana Malihin’s new project focuses on the mountain villages of Rethymno and aims to rejuvenate the traditional viticulture practices in this rugged mountainous area along the northwestern coast Crete.
These 2021 wines are even more valuable to secure, as a wild fire raged out of control for four day in 2022 and wiped out over 300 acres of old pre-phylloxera Vidiano in the local village of Melampes!
Iliana Malihin’s 2021 harvest resulted in two Vidiano wines sourced from the mountain village of Melampes. Crete’s popular Vidiano grape variety reminds us very much of Chardonnay. The truth is that Rethymno, although it lags behind other prefectures of Crete, is a unique source of forgotten, self-rooted, dry farmed old vineyards found on steep terraces between 600 and 900m elevation. What we like to call “severe viticulture”!
Vidiano “Amygdalos” old vines comes from a rare vineyard of 90-140 + years farmed by the winegrowers of the Melampes area, while Vidiano “Young Vines” is a mixture of three different vineyards that are not older than 15 years. The dry farmed cultivation of both the young and old vines is organic and is done manually. For both wines the winery follows the same philosophy of minimal intervention, native yeast fermentations, low sulfites and avoidance of processes such as clarification, in order to highlight to the maximum the uniqueness of each terroir. The fermentations take place in temperature controlled stainless steel tank where each wine is allowed to rest on its lees for six months.
On the one hand, the “Amygdalos” old vines express the charm of the maturity of the vineyard with complex aromatics, seamlessly rich and dense fruit with great depth, but elegant freshness. Most noteworthy is the intense and long lingering finish of saline-like minerality and supporting acidity. No doubt this “Amygdalos” could be mistaken for a fine, slightly aged white Burgundy with potential for even greater evolution. 2400 bottles produced.
While on the other hand, in contrast, the “Young Vines” is just that….a delicious “baby”! Youthful with generous stone fruit aromatics, that echo on the expansive palate with a fresh buoyant liveliness of ripe pear and baked apple. There is a similar, but less evident, nuanced minerality that should become more evident if this wine is allowed to age. 3600 bottles produced. ($33.95)
The “Amygdalos” deserve serious consideration by those with a palate for fine white Burgundy, or top line Chardonnay the likes of Kistler or Marc Aubert! Certainly if the comparison is made, the price is ridiculously low!