Nikos Douloufakis is regarded as a pioneer-winemaker in the gorgeous island of Crete, producing great quality wines and contributing into reviving indigenous varieties such as upcoming Vidiano. His continuous efforts are well noted by his fellow winemakers that see Douloufakis as a devoted producer aiming for the top.
Vidiano is on the rise in Crete and may become a big success even in all Greece if more producers believe in its potential. It is a white variety with apricot aromas and a satiny texture resembling Viognier perhaps, full body and ripe with good affinity with oak.
Douloufakis produces two versions, the stainless steel fermented Dafnios and the oaked-matured Aspros Lagos (translates into White Rabbit).
Are we talking exclusively about oak? The answer is no, as the producer has experimented for several years with acacia wood, that offers more neutral aromatics leaving out the intense vanillin and toasty character of oak. At the same time it gives a sweet layer to the wine. However, the producer is gradually abandoning acacia because of the difficulties in its use. Douloufakis admits that this year he threw away half of the acacia barrels due to leaks. For Aspros Lagos 2014, he used 60% second-hand acacia and 40% oak barrels where the wine was fermented and then matured for five months.
For Vidiano, Douloufakis believes that the secret lies in controlling vigour as it is a very productive variety. ''A very interesting aspect of the variety is that after the first five years of high productivity, the plant regulates itself lowering yields to a point where you can have a vine with just two bunches of grapes'' he says. "From five years onwards, with moderate yields the quality can explode!'' he continues.
An outstanding quality that we met in the single-vineyard Aspros Lagos 2014 Vidiano. An almost sensual nose with pure fruit flavors such as ripe, almost dried apricot, white flowers and Mediterranean herbs, "embraced" by the vanilla and the sweetness of acacia wood. Full-throttle on the palate, but not without elegance due to firm acidity that refreshes fruit. Multi-layered and buttery yet fresh and vivid this a delicious wine for food. (92/100)
Yiannis and Gregory (The Wine Commanders)
(Aspros Lagos 2014-SRP in local market 13 euros 13.8% alcohol, 3.22 pH, 7.1 total acidity)