This wine comes from the large Greek island of Crete, which lies almost due south of the center of the Greek mainland. It’s made from Syrah (40%) and Kotsifali (60%), an indigenous grape in Crete. The Alexakis family members all work in the winery and vineyards; the family has been involved in winemaking there for many years. Today Alexakis is Crete’s largest privately-owned winery. Kotsifali makes wines that are aromatic, with full body, low acidity, and soft tannins, and light color (due to thin skins), sort of a more-scented version of Grenache. After fermentation, the wine was aged in French and American oak barrels (50% new) for 2 years. This particular blend is medium in color depth and body, with an attractive peppery-spicy aromatic quality that is reminiscent of red Cotes du Rhone wines. It has a strong enough personality that it matches nicely with Greek dishes, and also most of what we’d call the prime ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine: olives, peppers, lamb, pork, herbs, and don’t forget the garlic!