Lyrarakis is a wine producer based in the Peza appellation of Crete, Greece. The company was established in 1966 by brothers Manolis and Sotiris Lyrarakis, but it wasn't until 1992 that they first bottled their own wine under the Lyrarakis name. Now run by the second generation of the family, the winery is considered one of the most progressive on the island.
One of the things that sets Lyrarakis apart is their commitment to working with indigenous grape varieties. In 1996, they produced varietal wines from Dafni and Plyto, two old varieties that they had rescued from obscurity. And in 2010, they planted Melissaki, another traditional grape that had all but disappeared. The only non-indigenous grape in their current range is Assyrtiko, which hails from the island of Santorini.
Assyrtiko is a white wine grape variety that is known for its acidity and minerality. This wine is a perfect pairing for seafood or fish dishes.
Lyrarakis Vóila Assyrtiko 2020 Crete, Greece
13.5% alcohol. This is fresh and linear with lovely chiselled citrus fruit with some nice spicy intensity and a vital, saline finish. This has real personality: so bright and intense.
Another wine that is a must-try is the Mandilari, a red wine grape variety that is known for its medium body and mild tannins. This wine is a perfect pairing for grilled meats and poultry dishes.
Lyrarakis Plakoura Mandilari 2018 Crete, Greece
14% alcohol. 500 m altitude with a sandy, stony soil. This is fresh and concentrated with lovely structure under the vivid black cherry and blackberry fruit, with some raspberry crunch. This is really structured and grippy with some minty hints and firm tannins: a bold, fresh, focused red wine of real intensity. Lovely purity here, and amazing potential for development.
In addition to their commitment to preserving traditional grape varieties, Lyrarakis is also committed to sustainable practices in their vineyards. They use natural and biodynamic methods to control pests and diseases, and they have implemented a recycling program for their vineyard waste.
Overall, Lyrarakis is a wine producer that is worth seeking out for anyone interested in trying unique and characterful wines from Greece. With their commitment to working with indigenous grape varieties and sustainable practices in the vineyard, Lyrarakis is helping to ensure the continued survival of traditional Cretan winemaking.