For the first time, a Cretan winery will be presented and judged at CONCOURS AMPHORE, the oldest and largest International Competition for organic and converting wines, including natural and biodynamic ones, in Paris. Created by French wine expert, Pierre Guigui, the event has occurred annually in Paris, France for the last 23 years. The 2019 competition will occur on 15th April when 180 judges will analyse and score wines from around the world.
Although ancient Cretan wine makers were of the first to use amphora to store and transport their wines, it is the first time a Cretan winery will be represented at the competition which takes its name from these clay vessels. Amphora have been made continuously since Neolithic times on the island of Crete. The epicenter of Cretan pottery today is the village of Thrapsano, not far from Silva Daskalaki Winery.
Silva Daskalaki Winery located outside of the Cretan capital Heraklion in the village of Siva will present their natural wine series, Grifos, the Greek word for puzzle. Grifos includes a white wine of Vidiano, a rose of Kotsifali, and a red of Liatiko, all native Cretan varietals that are fermented and aged in 300 liter custom made amphora from Thrapsano.
Irene Daskalaki, owner and winemaker at Silva Daskalaki has always operated on instinct; from how she treats her vines to how she blends the final product. Her approach to the Grifos series is no different. The idea to ferment wines in amphora was inspired more by logic than by trend. Daskalaki has been following biodynamic practices for years based on how she observed her grandparents treat the vineyards she has now inherited. “I follow the moon phases, and let the vines guide me, the less we interfere, the better. It’s just the way things have always been done,” she explains. Going back to the ancient practice of fermenting in amphora was a natural progression in her philosophy. The grapes are harvested by hand, fermented by wild yeasts, and left to evolve on their own. She seals the amphora by hand with propolys, a resin made by honey bees, and mastic, the sap from gum trees.
The results are wines with texture and soul. They are ever evolving in the glass and as it ages. The Vidiano has scents of ripe peaches and baked apples and flavors of green apple and fresh almonds. The rose of Kotsifali smells of a wild berry field and has bright sour cherry and cranberry on the pallet. The red of Liatiko is hypnotic. The bouquet is layered with red fruits, earth, and herbs and continues as it is tasted.
When asked about being included in the competition, Daskalaki’s signature modesty comes through. She is honored to be the first winery from Crete showcased. She plans to use the feedback and response she receives as a way to learn and improve.
Contact for AMPHORE International Competition-Greece: