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In Crete may be dominated by red grapes, but the vilana is the undisputed queen of the island's white grape varieties. Due to the long wine history of this glorious island, vilana is a bridge with the archetypal white wines of ancient Crete. This variety is mainly used for the production of fresh dry white wines, but some ambitious producers release small quantities of high-class, barrel-aged wines.
Wines from Vilana are characterized by a medium deep yellow color, a medium intensity of aromas on the nose and in the mouth (notes of lemon, orange, pear, flowers such as jasmine and herbs). Fresh and well-formed in the mouth, they are not too bulky and have moderate acidity and alcohol. The velana is found mainly in the Heraklion and Lasithi regions of Crete. Characteristic samples from Heraklion have the geographical indication PDO Peza (exclusively from bilana), while from Lassithi the indication PDO Sitia (where bilana is mixed with thrapsathiri).
The abundance of belana allows most growers to experiment, so the variety is combined with other natives of Greece (e.g. malvazia and moschofilero) or international ones. Belana gives soft, attractive and easy-drinking white wines, ideal for hot summer days. Their character goes well with tables of many different dishes, simple or even complex, something that the Cretans enjoy. Vilana wines are usually intended for immediate consumption, up to three years after harvest, but in some barrel-aged cases, they are refined in the bottle for five years or more.