The cultivation of Vidiano is quite recent. All but extinct less than 25 years ago, this grape variety has been introduced into commercial production over the last decade. It originates from the region of Rethymno and you will now find it fairly widespread through many wineries in Crete.
Most varietals are PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) Crete, although you will currently find one “appellation standard” of quality which is PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Handakas-Candia, where Vidiano is a minor blending partner. This can be explained by its quite recent development.
Vidiano has a medium to high acidity level. You will find aromas of peach and apricot, flowers and sweet herbs. On the palate, it has a creamy mouth coating texture. It is round, well-structured and its “lemony green” color is of medium intensity.
Iro Koliakoudakis, who is a Sommelier from Crete with "La Grotta Wine Boutique Hotel", explains the following:
“Vidiano is a thin skin grape variety with noble characteristics. Even though it is indigenous to a sun filled Crete, it does not really enjoy a 'sun tan', so it requires protection from the vine leaves. It becomes thirsty easily so sandy soils are not preferable for this variety. Limestone and gravel are much better soils for it to grow.
Vidiano can offer wines with a beautiful aromatic profile especially if the skin is in contact during the vinification process. It is also interesting to cultivate Vidiano in different altitudes since higher vineyards add a unique "mineral and herbal" profile to this variety, where white pebbles and chamomile make their presence easily identifiable.
Generally speaking, Vidiano has very profound peach, apricot and green apple characteristics. It is best to drink it fresh, but Vidiano is also flirting with oak fermentation or maturation to make it more complex, fuller and deeper. It is an ideal grape for ageing. This variety has become synonymous with Crete and is the variety that most wineries cultivate.
In both Cretan wine fairs recently organized in 2018 by the "Wines of Crete Region" in Chania and Heraklio, Vidiano was acknowledged in providing very interesting amphora wines with a noble oxidation profile. Its qualities did not go unnoticed by other Greek producers who have started cultivating it and are experimenting with it mainly in the Northern part of Greece”.
While the cultivation is very much in progress, one winery is committed to its development as Crete’s next rising star. Diamantakis winery is located on the Eastern foothills of Mount Psiloritis, near the village of Kato Asites. A charming landscape at an altitude of 450 meters with a micro-climate that favors ideal conditions for this grape variety which ripens late.
Zacharias Diamantakis who studied oenology is involved in the process of wine making at all phases. He is a strong believer in the potential of local varieties to create exceptional wines, like Vidiano. His winery produces 2 wines, Vidiano which is a single varietal, and Diamantopetra – a blend of Vidiano and Assyrtico (50/50). Both varieties age separately for 3 months in oak barrels before their assembly. Diamantopetra was first released in 2015 and has already gained recognition at Decanter World Wine Awards and Greek Wine Awards (Top Gold medal).
Creticos currently offers 3 single varietals of Vidiano – Vorinos from Silva Daskalaki, Nostos Vidiano from Manousakis, and Vidiano from Diamantakis which recently won a Silver Medal at the "Thessaloniki International Wine Competition".
We also offer 2 blends, chosen carefully for the uniqueness. Diamantopetra, which embodies nice minerality, and Orthi Petra from Domaine Zacharioudakis, a well-balanced Sauvignon Blanc and Vidiano that is rich in aromas and a long finish. Vidiano is growing in popularity and a limited number of bottles of Vidiano have found their way in the market place internationally.
Iro Koliakoudakis would recommend the following: “Enjoy it fresh with elegant food dishes inspired by the Mediterranean cuisine, oysters, wild greens, lemon-based sauces and when it is aged in oak, pair it with grilled fresh calamari, prawns, chicken and pork dishes with more creamy sauces, or even traditional Cretan Kalitsounia with greens and mizithra cheese which you must absolutely try when in Crete”.
While there are many unique grape varieties in Crete, many will agree that Vidiano is Crete’s most promising variety to further build the region’s reputation on the International scene. For local winemakers of Crete, Vidiano is a pride jewel that further transcends the uniqueness of their "terroir" where you can find Crete’s aromas and flavors in a single glass.
By Iro Koliakoudakis and Patrick Hadsipantelis