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Amorgiano, pariano, vaftra, black koundura, mandilari... are just a few of the names of the late red variety mandilaria, which testify to the extent of its spread, especially in island Greece. From the time of Pausanias, the mandilaria was already involved in the production of the famous Chiotian Ariusi wine. Today it is involved in a large number of reds, rosés and dessert wines with strong identity and character, although examples of single varietals from Mandilaria are rare.
In the Aegean Sea and in Crete, the heart of Mandilaria beats. It is no coincidence that there it participates in PDO Peza, PDO Archanes, PDO Paros red wines, while it is entirely responsible for PDO Rhodes red wine. In the wind-swept and sun-scorched vineyards of these islands, Mandilaria – usually cup-shaped – acquires characteristics beyond the ordinary: deep dark color, aromas of overripe fruit, animal aromas (e.g. leather) and medium body, with unruly, firm tannins. By hard work in the vineyard and in the winery, but also through mixing with
other varieties – such as the white Monemvasia in Paros or the soft red Kotsifali in Crete – many notable wine producers are trying to tame the generally unbridled character of Mandilaria. However, a few years in the bottle is probably the best way to be in front of a "European" wine, which with its taste transports mentally to its wonderful place of origin.
With its imposing personality, the unique Mandilaria variety leaves an indelible mark on Greek wine, which is sometimes deeper and sometimes subtle, but always revealing the identity of its terroir. Given its versatile character, every daring wine lover who wants to expand his aromatic and taste palette will find an occasion to bring a mandrilaria to his glass.