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Manousakis Winery in Crete

Manousakis winery
Philosophy of Manousakis
Over the millennia, the Lefka Ori of Western Crete have been abundant with the island's wild herbs; sage, marjoram, rosemary and thyme.  Each year they sprout to life in the spring, flower and fill the air with their unique aromas in the summer, then die and fall back to the earth to be reabsorbed by the soil...
The Nostos philosophy is simple" carefully cultivating our vines to allow them to absorb these unique aromas and flavors of the terroir, filling the grape clusters with their essence, thus capturing and preserving the incredible Lefka Ori of Crete in each bottle of Nostos wine."

Theodore Manousakis
Theodore Manousakis
History of Manousakis Winery in Crete

The Manousakis Winery is the realization of a dream that began in 1984 when the hills around the village of Vatolakkos were still untouched by humans and the wild herbs of Crete were intoxicating to one's senses. Following numerous studies both in Greece and abroad, the decision was made to plant the Rhone varieties of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Roussanne.  Manousakis felt that the environmental conditions were ideal for Rhone varietals.  
In 1993, the first vines were planted at elevations of 350 meters (1000 ft) on 2 hectares. Over the next six years, much to their satisfaction, they observed that the Rhone varieties did exceptionally well in their new environment achieving great balance in the vineyard and finding a comfortable home in Crete.

From the outset Manousakis felt that organic farming was the only way to show respect for nature and the environment. Being sensitive to the needs of the ecosystem is extremely important in the philosophy of Manousakis winery.They are committed to the sustainable development of their vineyards through the use of rigorous earth-friendly practices.The vineyard team works vine by vine, mostly by hand in weed removal, hoeing, harvesting and leaf thinning. Each vine is treated with individual attention and care. The goal is to produce healthy fruit, with a consistent balance of sugars, acidity, and natural ripeness, with minimum interference in the balance of nature and the ecology of our planet.

In the summer of 1997, with the first harvest of Nostos,the construction of the Manousakis winery was completed on the grounds of the Manousakis family home. It was a simple structure but adequate for their needs at a time of limited production. As production increased over the years, the winery was expanded to accommodate the growth. In the years following the first planting, they continued to add to the vineyard. In 1999, 1 hectare of Syrah was planted while, beginning in 2003, 5.2 hectares of Syrah, 3 hectares of Grenache, and 3 hectares of Roussanne were also added. In 2007, an additional one hectare of Mourvedre was planted.

An important part of the history is the brand name and logo. Nostos means "the yearning to return to one's homeland" and the Manousakis Winery name embraces that sentiment. The three small flowers on the logo are called “Manousakia”, from which the family name is derived. These delicate and very fragrant flowers grow on hilly fields, mountain slopes and on the sides of creeks. At the end of autumn, they are picked by the village folk and are used to adorn the icons in the small country churches.  It is this simple blend of beauty and exquisite fragrance of nature that served as inspiration for the creation of our logo for the Manousakis Winery. The three “Manousakia” are symbolic of Ted Manousakis' three daughters, Tina, Taty and Alexandra.

The Manousakis Vineyards

The Manousakis Vineyards are situated on the hills just outside the village of Vatolakkos at elevations of between 1000 and 1800 feet. The predominantly sandy soils are rich in clay and argil, ideal for limited plant growth but great for good soil wringing. The climate of this region is typically Mediterranean, with mild rainy winters, and warm dry summers. Gentle breezes keep the air moving.  During the growing season, the days are long with sunlight and the nights are quite cool. The conditions are ideal for healthy grapes free from disease and rot. The vines are oriented in a northeast direction to avoid overexposure to the sun. To encourage the root system to seek depth in the soil, the plants are closely spaced, one meter between vines and two between rows, or 5,000 vines per hectare.
The main varieties of Nostos are Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Roussanne. A small amount of Chardonnay is grown on an experimental basis, as are the Greek varieties of Agiorgitiko from the Peloponnese and Asyrtiko from the island of Santorini. They are also working with the ancient local variety from Chania, the Romaiko. Due to the wide variation of soil conditions, they practice customized farming for the many small plots of the vineyard. This "mosaic" style of cultivation is time consuming, tedious and costly, but, Manousakis believes it is quite necessary for uniform fruit ripeness and ultimately, quality wines.

The Winery

Manousakis philosophy at Nostos is that fine wine is first produced in the vineyard and then expressed in the winery through artisan and hand crafted methods of winemaking. While taking extreme care in managing the vineyards for the highest possible quality yield, the philosophy in the winery is for a gentle, minimalist approach to the winemaking process. Under the guidance of chief project director and winemaker Kostis Galanis, the Manousakis Winery commitment to quality continues to evolve toward its ultimate goal of becoming a premier producer of wine in the world arena.
Vinification currently takes place primarily in double-jacketed stainless steel tanks under controlled temperatures. However, Kostis' experimentation with oak fermenters has yielded very positive results for the Manousakis winery and future vinification for all reds will take place mostly in small oak vats. The Roussanne is fermented and aged in small oak barrels. Fermentation is separated by lots and blending is carried out after fermentation and/or ageing.
A primary objective is to achieve an optimum balance between fruit extraction and oak, while expressing the depth and character of western Crete. The barrel selection, from the world's finest coopers, is carefully handpicked from the Allier, Vosges, and Nevers forests of France. They also use a small quantity of Missouri oak, primarily for our Syrah grapes. Barrels are toasted mostly to medium with some to light.

Manousakis Nostos
Manousakis Alexandra's
Manousakis Grenache
Manousakis Syrah
Manousakis Roussane
Nostos Manousakis

Clear, very dense ruby color with youthful purple notes. Many dense legs coat the glass. Intense nose, complex character with ripened black fruit in excellent balance with the oak. Some notes of leather with finesse and freshness. Mouth with volume and density of high but ripened tannins in perfect balance with the rich alcohol and good acid. Complex flavors follow and reflect the aromas. Long finish that accentuates the freshness while maintaining its richness. Ready to drink and will reach its peak in the next 3 to 4 years. It will remain at its peak for the following 5 years. 
Nostos  Syrah

Clear, almost opaque dark purple color with nearly static legs. Intense, dense aromas of black fruit, tobacco, black pepper, ink and coffee. Simultaneously very complex and young in character. Mouth full of varietal character. Full bodied with intense tannins that are softened by the high level of alcohol. Flavors of black berries, black pepper and Wild Mountain herbs. Exceptionally long finish with freshness but rich at the same time. Ready to drink. It will reach its peak in the next 4 to 6 years which will last for the following 10 years.
Nostos Grenache

Clear, medium to deep ruby color with rich, dense legs. Intense nose with aromas that emphasize the maturity: red fruit juices, chocolate and sweet spices, mainly vanilla. Dry in the mouth with volume and depth. Ripe and smooth tannins. Long finish with intense presence of ripe, red fruits. Ready to drink now and will remain at its peak for the next 2 to 4 years.
Nostos Alexandra's

Clear with dense ruby color and rich legs. Fruity aromas that are simultaneously dense and fresh. Aromas include strawberry, black cherry, mulberry, some notes of tobacco and spices. Full and dry mouth with smooth tannins and again, fresh fruit. It has a long and clean finish that accentuates the spices present.
Ready to drink now and will remain at its peak for the next 2 to 4 years
Nostos Roussane

Bright, moderate to dark lemon-green color with slow and rich legs. Nose with moderate to high intensity. Ripe, fleshy, white fruit, honeycomb, dried flowers, butter and vanilla. Dense, full bodied and complex mouth with intense flavor of white fruit.
Long finish dominated by vanilla, honey and light oak flavors. Ready to drink now and will develop for the next 3 to 5 years. Once it reaches its peak, it will remain there for at least 4 more years.

Manousakis Nostos Winery

Vatolakos, Chania

Tel +30 28210 78787
Fax +30 28210 78788
Official website