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Fortællinger fra Kreta | 6

Tales from Crete | 6

When I first became acquainted with Greek wine, or rather Cretan produced wine, in 2005, it was definitely not a good experience. It tasted, quite frankly, like the worst splash I could easily make better at home on one of the so-called 3-week wines, it was so popular to brew in its time.

Actually strange enough, because on Crete, wine has been produced for more than 4000 years and it is precisely on Crete that the oldest wine press in the world is found in the town of Vathypetro. A wine press which is believed to be from around 1550 before the birth of Christ, so they should otherwise have the experience, one would think. But like so many other tourists, I just got some of the cheapest and worst wine, which the waiter at the local Taverna praised and told about how good it was, and that the wine of course came from the Taverna's own small plantation and was produced according to all the rules of art, as had been done for generations. But no thanks – I quickly chose to order beer with the food instead, even though I actually was and still am most fond of wine.

In 2009, I was invited to be part of the wine harvest with a family in Crete and it was very nice, but after a long day where I had stood and fed an electric grape press with grapes, I still chose beer for the following lunch, where everyone who had been with the harvest gathered and had some good food.

Another of my good acquaintances in Crete, whom I still see regularly, one evening we were enjoying ourselves in the early spring, brought out his little Flaski (sort of a hollowed-out Calabash) and asked if I would like to taste some of it best wine there was in Crete. The expectation was high, so of course I wanted to. As he poured, he said that this wine, which was of course his own, only appeared on the table on very special occasions and was reserved for the initiated few. I tasted it and had roughly the same experience as I had the first time in 2005. It was like an unusually bad port with a horrible taste and no character. In order not to disappoint my good friend, I drank anyway and (unfortunately) had to fill up the glass again. The next day had more than enough to do with battling an infamous headache, which more than anything looked like a proper hangover, which I couldn't quite understand after just 2 glasses of wine. "What did you think of my wine, isn't it just excellent?" he asked with anticipation in his voice.  It was a bit difficult to answer without disappointing him, but no, it was by no means excellent. It was possibly some of the worst squirt I had ever tasted.

Fortunately, I have now become much wiser about Greek and especially Cretan wines, because there are actually several very serious wine producers in Crete who have not been tempted by the EU's support schemes to plant olive trees instead of grapes and stubbornly kept for generations steadfast in the love of producing some of the best in wine.

All the more, it cannot but please my old heart that in our shop Elenas we have just received the import and distribution from some of the best wine houses in Crete and the mainland. In fact, so many types that within a very short time we can present no less than 40 types of Greek wines, mainly from Crete.

I am personally very much looking forward to that, so that in the future I can enjoy a good glass of Cretan wine with food. 

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