Iron Gate Restaurant. The session was lead by @1winedude +Joe Roberts, who had an extensive visit with the island's wineries a couple years back. Joe described many of the native grape varieties while leading our large group through a blind tasting panel.
For reds, Kotsifali is the primary indigenous grape, with some international varieties like Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in play. Other indigenous red grapes are Liatiko, Mandilari, and Romeiko. One of my favorites of the tasting panel was the Boutari Skalani, a Kotsifali- Syrah blend, very earthy, dusty with dark black fruit flavor and aroma.
After the official blind tasting, our hosts were kind enough to offer an open bar of 23 Cretan wines. Being a Santorini freak, I enjoyed the Mediterra Assyrtiko as well as the Anoskeli Ano Playa Rose - perhaps a bleed of their Ano Plagia (Syrah, Grenache Rouge, Cabernet Sauvignon). For reds, I turned to the wines from two winemakers who Alexandra Manousakis and Maria Titaki. Ms. Manousakis actually grew up in Washington DC, but eventually returned to Crete when her father started planting Rhone varieties in his native island. The 2008 Manousakis Nostos (Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre) was quite nice - full of creamy berries and good acids. The Titakis Vin de Crete is a fruit forward, easy drinking wine, with smooth tannins, and although I don't have the office retail price - rumor says quite inexpensive.
So once again Greek wines impress with their quality and presumed affordability. Expand your horizons and check out these historic wines. Cheers.