Introducing Greek white variety Vidiano
15 February 2016
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Nikos Douloufakis (Douloufakis winery) is a third generation winemaker following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father. He is credited a large part of Vidiano's revival, a Greek white grape variety showing potential for the production of high quality wines.  

Back to 2000

Although people were talking about Vidiano for a while, it was only in the early 2000's that I really came to understand this variety. Until then, I had very little experience both regarding farming and vinification as it was not widely planted in the vineyards of our region in Crete

Well, back to 2000, when I was trying to replant my vineyards wondering which varieties I should plant. I had already planted some international varieties, and my interest was now focused on indigenous Cretan ones. In a conversation someone from Vitrohellas nursery mentioned that well respected agronomist Dr. Haroula Spinthiropoulou had researched Vidiano with some microvinifications at the Vine Institute, concluding that Vidiano was looking promising for quality wines possessing some outstanding characteristics.

So I've  planted the first vineyard in 2000. Completely by chance, the same year I met two vinegrowers from a nearby village, Saint Thomas, who had already cultivated Vidiano in their vineyards. They told me that themselves were getting their vines from a village of Rethymnon called Fourfouras. These were chosen from vines on old terraces, among many other varieties. My love for these vines and grapes strengthened my interest in the variety and for the following years, I've started planting or grafting vines with Vidinao so as to experimentally vinify in the next years. 

Vidiano I.D.

Vidiano gives large grapes so it is better planted in moderately rich soils. Soil should be well drained, calcareous and preferably situated at slopes. It follows that Dafnes region with its sloping calcareous soils is ideal. Of course, other fertile soils exist in our area, but when Vidiano is planted on poorer soils performs better for quality wines.

Young Vidiano vines are very productive finding their balance as they get older. The vine loves the sun and is heat tolerant with the great advantage of Vidiano in Dafnes is that it ripens fully at the same time in terms of sugar ripeness and aromas. 

I frequently hear that Vidiano lacks acidity - I personally think that acidity is not to the low side. This is because, although we are in Crete, in arid climate with enough heat, Vidiano manages to retain acidity. And I have vinified Vidiano with even better acidities compared to Vilana. For example, for 2015 vintage, our Vidiano reached an acidity of 6.7 - 7.3 g/lt of tartaric acid and pH 3.22 - 3.35 while Vilana had 6.1 acidity and pH 3.55. Great example evidencing that in comparison Vidiano maintains good acidity and low pH.

Of course, Vidiano doesn't have the great acidity of Assyrtiko, that goes higher than 8, but then again I find that that acid -volume balance is ideal.

Vidiano's strong points are its volume and ageability, both related in my opinion to the Dafnes mesoclimate. A classic stainless steel fermented Vidiano can go up to three years and reveal mineral characteristic, without fading in quality.

In the vineyard

For Vidiano's cultivation, I have not yet settled in the pruning method. So far, the double Royat that we use gives irregular results in terms of production with some heads producing many grapes while others none at all. I would like to experiment with longer pruning according to Guyot method that will perhaps correct this imbalance. Vidiano as as a grape buds and flowers relatively late making large bunches having a taste of peach - pomegranate - apricot. In Dafnes it ripens from August 20 to September 7 and to release all of its flavour potential it needs high sugar ripeness. 

Stainless steel or oak?

For vinification there are two options: Classic white vinification in stainless steel tanks and oak fermentation.

Unoaked Vidiano called Dafnios is bottled in January and the oaked version in February. A special feature of the variety is that during the first 7-10 months the wines are very forward with aromas of citrus fruit and apricot while after twelve months a more complex and highly mineral character evolves. 
 
And for the oaked version Aspros Lagos (White Rabbit), my first effort was in 2006-2007 and it was released in the market for the first time in 2008. It matures five months in oak and acacia barrels. Key for me is that I do know now which parcels give the desired fruit for the wine. For Aspros Lagos I need power and ripeness and firm structure to withstand oak fermentation.
 

​The sparkling surprise

I have also a new project with Vidiano which a sparkling wine made by the traditional method. It will be released around May having spent 24 months on the lees. I feel very excited about that wine which is absolutely delicious.
 
Nikos Douloufakis

 

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