Kotsifali (pronounced koh-tsee-fah-lee) is the benchmark red variety of the celebrated vineyards of Crete, defining the style of the dry reds coming out of one of the most significant wine-producing regions of the Aegean Sea. Since red grapes are much more important on the island than whites, Kotsifali can be considered as the main grape of Crete.
Kotsifali, on its own, produces a wine that can be described as “typically Mediterranean”: low in colour, intense on aromas, relatively high in alcohol, soft in tannins and acidity. For the mentioned reasons, most Kotsifali is blended with numerous of red grape varieties, either Cretan—most notably Mandilaria—or even international. However, it is not just an “augmenting blending partner”; it adds roundness and tannic grace, while the aromatic expression is full of sweet flowers, dried black fruit, and complex spices. It is grown all over Crete, but the best wines come from the area of Heraklion, precisely in PDO Peza and PDO Archanes. Both designations are blended with Kotsifali and Mandilaria.
Kotsifali produces a full, rich style of wine for wine lovers who enjoy reds with no hard edges. Kotsifali can be categorized as food-friendly wine, perfectly suited for rich meat dishes, casseroles, sausages, and hearty roasts. Most wines are ready to be consumed on release, but later extracted styles, usually aged in oak for several months, can develop from five to eight years, exhibiting a mellow structure and an intricate patina of flavours.