One of the primary reasons for visiting Crete is the Iraklio (Heraklion) Wine Region.
Heraklion is the capital of Crete and produces some of the most notable wines in Greece. The wine region is regarded as a top wine region in Greece, producing great wines that must be sampled. The region is home to almost two-thirds of Crete’s vineyards. The Heraklion wine area accounts for 80% of overall wine production in Crete. To discover this unique region, the territory is divided into four different PDOs and two major wine routes. The Minoan Megaron, one of the world’s oldest wine presses, is located in the deserted village of Vathypetro near Peza. In the Heraklion wine region, you are never too far away from a local winery.
Heraklion is the largest city on the island of Crete, located in southeast Greece. The Aegean Sea surrounds the wine area from the north and south. Lassithi is located to the east, and Rethymnon is located to the west. To make it easier for visitors, the wineries are coordinated, and there are road signs along the wine route. The majority of the wineries are concentrated near Archanes, Peza, and Dafnoneno. Wine tourism is thriving in the Heraklion wine region, allowing visitors to interact with local wineries and get to know the region better. Some prominent sights along the wine routes are the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Nikos Kazantzakis Museum at Myrtia, the Monastery of Agarathos, and Saint George Epanosifi.
The wines of Crete are among some of the most prestigious drinks in the Greek market. And there are more wine varieties than you can count. Wherever you go in Crete, you won’t be far from a local winery, especially in the region of Heraklion. Keep reading to discover the top wineries in Heraklion. Liatiko, Dafni, Muscat of Spina, Malvasia di Candia, Pluto, Romeiko, Vilana, Vidiano, Thrapsathiri, Athiri, Kotsifali, and Mandilaria are the most common grape types in the Heraklion wine area. Cabernet Sauvignon is another foreign grape variety grown in Heraklion. White wines are often dry, with rich scents of sweet apple and apricot, as well as a fruity aftertaste, and are ideally served as a summer wine.
I am taking a combination tour of Knossus and Iraklio.
There are more than 11 distinctive local grape varieties and they all play a role in raising the profile of Cretan wines. Most of the wines produced on the island, especially, on the west side are fresh and aromatic white wines. Vidiano, for instance, a rising Cretan wine is often referred to as a Greek Viognier. Two of the most popular red wines from local varieties are Kostifali and Mandilari. They are often blended, though we did try them as single varieties
There are four Protected Designation of Origin areas in Heraklion that can be split into two wine routes: Archanes (reds) and Peza (whites and reds) on the road south-east beyond Knossos; Dafnes (reds) on the road southwest towards Phaistos; and Malvasia Handakas – Candia (whites) found along both routes.
I will let you know if the wine here is better than the mainland or Santorini.