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CRETE EXPECTATIONS

Some small wineries on the island are thinking outside the wine box

@LisaAbend

THE VINEYARDS at the Manousakis Winery carpet peaks in the steep Lefka Ori mountains in western Crete, their only entrance via a rocky dirt path so deeply rutted that it threatens to eviscerate the transmission of even the most rugged four-wheel drive. The topography makes this an unlikely place to find a vineyard—but what’s even more surprising, on an island not known for its dedication to fine wine, is the quality of the grapes. The Manousakis family, who own the winery, are determined to produce wines that can change Crete’s reputation. One clear sign of that: They have planted 32 acres of grapes in this apparently inhospitable location.

“We brought in experts from France and the United States, and they all agreed,” says co-owner Afshin Molavi, as clouds roll in and obscure the valley below. “If we wanted to make high-quality wine, this was the spot.”

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