Lyrarakis Wines | Crete

Lyrarakis Vineyards in Crete covered in Snow

Established in 1966, Domaine Lyrarakis is to be found in the mountainous commune of Alagni (440 metres above sea-level), south of the city of Heraklion, in Crete. The well-preserved 14th-century stone-presses in the fields around the winery are testament to the area’s long history of grape-growing and winemaking. 

Lyrarakis is at the forefront of viticultural innovation, championing obscure local varieties such as the ancient white cultivars of Plytó, Dafni and Vidiano, that it rescued from extinction. The winery’s extensive portfolio consists of a range of mono-varietal wines (Vidiano, Plytó, Mandilari, Assyrtike, Vilana, Thrapsathiri, Kotsifali), some of which are from single, 'premium' vineyard plots, alongside a range of blends combining indigenous and international varieties (such as Syrah, Cabernet and Merlot). Quality remains key and the style emphasises fruit precision, purity and supple texture – placing the wines firmly in the modern camp, yet without flamboyance or exaggeration.

Heading up the winemaking, it is Myriam Ambuzer. She conducted her first harvest in Spain where she met her mentor, Pepe Mendoza, who gave her a baptism of fire and taught her that wine is passion and the harvest both an act of love and a battle for life. She has been vital in securing Lyrarakis a place in the island’s elite wineries. Her philosophy is all about expressing authenticity in wine and achieving harmony without resorting to a recipe book, arguing that every grape and every wine needs to be worked in its own special way, every year. Myriam envisions a biodynamic wine that will represent the power of the Cretan terroir and a link to the island’s history. Her signature wine is Vilana, fermented in the estate’s barrels.