If you’re looking to drink Greek wine in Rethymnon, Veneto is one of the best places to do just that. In this two-part interview with the owner Yannis Prokopakis delves into what you need to know.
Where to Drink Wine in Rethymnon, Crete
Yannis Prokopakis, an enologist and Greek wine expert, is behind one of the best fine dining restaurants in Rethymnon’s old town quarter. He also happens to be a wine lover and enologist. Greece’s best wines – and Crete’s best wines – take center stage here.
In the first part of our food and wine Q&A with Yannis, we ask him about wine in Crete and what makes Rethymnon so special.
AV: Tell us how you were introduced to the culture of Greek wine in Rethymnon?
YP: I was first introduced to wine as a child. You see, wine always held a place in our family gatherings. It went along with lingering meals. It was something we sipped and savored. Nowadays, in Crete, drinking a glass of wine along with a daily meal is as certain as there would be forks and knives on the table!
As I was growing up, I kept up a consistent love for nature and wine. That eventually led me to grow my own vineyards in the village where I was born called Kallikratis. I then dabbled and experimented in various wine making techniques.
AV: Veneto is one of our favorite restaurants in the Old Town and we know it as a great place to drink Greek wine in Rethymnon. Also, our villa guests love your menu. Tell us about it.
YP: For the last two decades, I have been running and managing Vento which is an art hotel and restaurant. In Veneto’s vinotheque or wine cave, you can find some of the best wines not only from Crete or Greece but from all over the world. My wife Argyro Petraki has the final say on what wines we serve because she is a professional and experienced enologist.
AV: Tell our readers about the best local wines to try. Also, tell us why they are so special.
YP: People who visit Crete have the opportunity to taste fine local wine varieties. Some of the white varieties you’ll encounter are Vidiano, Vilana, Muscat Spinas and Thrapsathiri. Some red varieties to look out for are Kotsifali, Mandilari, Liatiko and Romeiko.
In my opinion, modern Cretan wines are so unique because they are a product of unique local grape varieties. The varieties here own a truly special taste and character which are different from what most people from around the world are used to.
Let’s step back and think about wine production here in Crete. It is a dreamy and unique place characterized by the diversity of its nature. While it may be an island, it has gorges, rivers, lakes and snowy mountains. This landscape, in conjunction with Mediterranean climate, creates the most beneficial condition for wineries to thrive.
AV: That is true. Crete is extremely diverse in its landscape. If our guests want to expand beyond Cretan wines, give them advice about Greek wines. Tell us about some famous Greek wine varieties.
YP: The most famous Greek white varieties are Assyrtiko, Athiri, Vilana, Muscat, Moschofilero, Robola, Roditis and Savatiano. The most famous Greek red varieties include Agiorgitiko, Kotsifali, Mandilaria, Mavrodaphne and Xinomavro.
AV: Thank you, Yannis. We appreciate your insight into your hometown and teaching our readers about Greek wine in Rethymnon.
Be sure to check the blog next week for part two of our interview with Yannis Prokopakis of Veneto restaurant in Rethymnon. He’ll dive into topic of the combination of food and wine in Rethymnon. For any traveler to Rethymnon who would love to try local food and sip the best wines to go with it, you’ll have to stay tuned.
For more about Veneto, please visit www.veneto.gr