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Vidianó: Affordable White Wine from Crete

Note from the author: I'm sipping my way through the 1,368 varieties covered in Wine Grapes by MW Jancis Robinson, MW Julia Harding, and Dr. Jose Vouillamoz. Join me?

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One month ago, this was happening. I was windblown, bitter and ornery, on the hunt for a new home.

Yesterday, I wore shorts, worked from my lovely new Oakland home office, took my new bike on a ride through one of the most beautiful and soulful neighborhoods I've ever encountered, and grilled heirloom eggplant and tomatoes on my big new patio while I drank not one but two bottles of beautiful Vidianó. As they say these days, life doesn't suck.

Oh, and yes, I'm saving up for that trip to Greece. Perhaps I'll check in on Vidianó's homeland of Crete.

Wine Grapes is brief in its Vidianó (pronounced vee-thee-ah-NO) entry. It alerts us to the grape's variable yields, thick-skinned berries, and sensitivity to grape moths (oh, good) before describing the wines from this grape as "rich in fruit flavours that range from lime to apricot, sometimes quite tropical." And this: "They retain fresh acidity even at alcohol levels of around 13%."

I opened two bottles of Vidianó last night, because: what the hell. Because I had them, because I was in love with Oakland, because Vidianó seemed as appropriate as anything to celebrate with.

The first was the 2012 Alexakis Vidianó, ornery out of the gates with a slightly flinty edge, all hopped up on lime zest, lemon juice, sea salt and powdered candy. For a moment, I was standing in the aisle of Mr. Bulky's bulk candy store in the mall of my suburban childhood, my mouth watering at the thought of those giant, semi-chewy SweeTarts (not sure if I'm crazy and the only one who remembers those??). The finish struck a bitter note for a second—like chewing on a bite of pear skin—but by the end of the night as I washed up the dishes, the Alexakis had opened up reluctantly, gently... kind of like my new neighbor who finally smiled at me in the hallway.

The second wine was the 2012 Domaine Douloufakis Dafnios Vidianó. Slightly darker straw in color as well as more extroverted in aromatics, it launched with riper notes of white peach, maybe even pineapple and lily (I've now got this particular floral smell down-pat because we stashed a giant vase of lilies in our huge new bathroom). There may have been honeysuckle, too, along with juicy green grapes and green Anjou pears coasting in on a soft, cushiony glide. I finished an extra glass of this just as my husband hung the last string of twinkle lights from our patio. No wind, no bitterness, no regrets.

2012 Alexakis Vidianó
The Grape(s): Vidianó
The Region: Crete, Greece
Retail Price: $16
The Importer: Diamond Wines

2012 Domaine Douloufakis Dafnios Vidianó
The Grape(s): Vidianó
The Region: Crete, Greece
Retail Price: $13
The Importer: Diamond Wines

About the Author: Stevie Stacionis is a wine writer and Certified Sommelier based in San Francisco. She's currently drinking her way through the 1,368 varieties included in the new Wine Grapes tome. Follow her on Twitter @StevieStacionis and check out her snobbery-free wine videos at A Drinks With Friends TV.

Wines provided as samples for review consideration.

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