Kostifali 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 real soul of Crete.
Kostifali, on its own, produces a wine that can be described as “typically Mediterranean”: low in color, intense on aromas, relatively high in alcohol, soft in tannins and acidity. For these reasons, most Kotsifali is blended with numerous red grape varieties, either Cretan—most notably Mandilaria—or 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, specifically in PDO Peza and PDO Archanes. Both designations have to be a blend of Kotsifali and Mandilaria.
Kotsifali produces a full, rich style of wine for wine lovers who enjoy reds with no hard edges. Kotsifali blends are very food-friendly wines, perfectly suited for rich meat dishes, casseroles, sausages, and hearty roasts. Most wines are ready to be consumed on release, but the more extracted styles, usually aged in oak for several months, can develop over 5 to 8 years, exhibiting a mellow structure and an intricate patina of flavors.