Reviving ancient vineyards on Crete’s mountainous slopes, Iliana Malihin has become one of the most talked about young winemakers in Greece thanks to her spellbinding Vidianos. Shrine to the Vine is excited to make her wines available in the UK for the first time.
While completing a postgraduate degree in oenology and working at Douloufakis – one of Crete’s top domaines – Iliana saw huge potential in Rethymno’s historically overlooked heritage vines and established her own winery on Mount Vouvala in 2019 at the age of 26.
These steep schist terraces are home to rare ungrafted, pre-phylloxera Vidiano, as well as other indigenous varieties, Liatiko and Thrapsathiri. Starting with an original group of five, Iliana now oversees more than thirty local growers across 10ha who work organically and to her exact specifications.
At her newly converted cellar in Melambes, Iliana draws on techniques such as skin contact, extended lees ageing, and elevage using different vessels to craft distinct expressions of Vidiano that crackle with energy and tension.
Aged for 6 months on its lees, Iliana’s Vidiano ‘Young Vines’ is vibrant and textural, notes of peach and apricot combining with crushed rock. From 90-to-140-year-old vines, ‘Amygdalos’ marries orchard fruit and an oily texture with saline minerality and herbal notes, while ‘Rhea’ offers citrus fruit and smoky reduction.
In addition to Vidiano, Iliana makes a Thrapsathiri – a rich and creamy white wine with tangy, refreshing acidity – as well as an unusually serious and ageworthy expression of Liatiko aged for 8 months in old barrels to produce a bold and spicy red.
In July 2022, devastating wildfires tore through the region, destroying more than 80% of Iliana’s vineyards. With the future of her domaine and its vines uncertain, this is an opportunity to get your hands on these micro-production bottles that may never be seen again.
Vidiano ‘Young Vines’ 2021 (£24) Sold out
After short skin contact this spends 6 months on fine lees. Bright and textural, with notes of white peach and apricot, crushed rock, chamomile, and citrus oils. Drink to 2026.
Vidiano Old Vines ‘Amygdalos’ 2021 (£44) Sold out
From 90-to-140-year-old vines; spending 12 months on fine lees. Layers of powerful orchard fruit and herbal, savoury complexity through a long, silky finish. Drink to 2032.
Vidiano Old Vines ‘Rhea’ 2021 (£44) Sold out
From 90-to-140-year-old vines; fermented in stainless steel. Focused and taut, rippling with concentrated citrus fruit and smoky nuances. Drink to 2032.
Thrapsathiri 2021 (£27) Sold out
Broad and fresh, showing ripe stone fruit and honeydew melon, alongside reductive minerality and tangy acids. Long, with a little almond skin grip. Drink to 2028.
Liatiko 2021 (£31) Sold out
From 40-to-50-year-old vines at 700-900m elevation; spending 8 months in old barrels. A bold and powerful Liatiko, intense with plum, sour cherry, and earthy spice. Drink to 2032.
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