For quality and interest relative to value, the wines of Lyrarakis on Crete must be some of the best buys in wine. In this newsletter I have already featured several, and the Assyrtiko remains a consistent bestseller. Their secret is a combination of native Cretan and Greek grape varieties (some of which they have almost single-handedly saved from extinction), a conscientious focus on quality in the vineyard, and highly skilled winemaking.
Last week I tasted some of their 2019s for the first time. They were all excellent as usual, but what stood out was a wine made from a grape called Thrapsathiri. Grown in the Armi vineyard at 500m altitude, it is fermented in old oak and has a wonderful combination of richness and energy. It is at the same time both powerful and refreshing.
There's a definite impression of spicy oak on the nose but it doesn't overwhelm the citrus and stone fruit. Quite oaky on the palate and needs time for the oak to recede, though there is a very nice touch of orange on the palate. Firm, chewy and classy, the oak and the fruit in harmony for the longer term. Powerful, deep but fresh. Long and satisfying.
17 pointsJulia Harding MW, JancisRobinson.com
I bought all that remained - sadly just 36 bottles. It is in stock now. Don't miss it.