A true Cretan grape, Thrapsathiri is still relatively rare and undiscovered. It is mainly used in blends because it produces full-throttled white wines of crisp, refreshing acidity with tropical notes. There is increased interest in this grape, so more varietal options are available, including some interesting examples with oak.
While the name of Thrapsathiri makes us think it is closely related to the Aegean grape Athiri, DNA profiling suggests it is more closely associated with Begleri, Dafnato and Vidiano grapes.
When yields are restricted under 70 hl/ha (approximately 9-10 tonnes of grapes/ha) and grown at higher elevations, the results can be stunning and unique. Acid-driven, but with a rich, round body, it is an oxymoron for the hot Cretan climate.
Thapsathiri is perfectly adapted to the island’s growing conditions. It is very drought tolerant, primarily if it is grown in the traditional bush vines. However, it is susceptible to berry fungi, like oidium (also called powdery mildew), and botrytis which creates grey rot when humidity increases and it needs constant care to limit its high vigour.
Thrapsathiri is traditionally grown in the eastern part of Crete, specifically in Sitia PDO. There it works as a blending partner of Vilana, another Cretan variety, creating beautiful wines.