Restaurant review: Lemon Tree Garden – Rethymnon, Crete

5 08 2016

Summer vacation in Crete, Rethymnon meant also visits to several restaurants and tavernas. Tried about 10 places and always tested starters and main courses. Better avoid dining spots with most aggressive “in throwers”, best ones are those counting on menu, location and athmosphere.

 

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Mostly ate in Old Town where you can find many good and not so good dining spots. When it comes to taverna type of restaurants servining traditional greek food, Lemon Tree Garden is the choice. Judgement is based on two visits, which both were above average in “tavernas category”.

Restaurant has good service, fresh ingredients and well prepared dishes not forgetting vegan choises.

During second visit had for starters Spinach Pies, Vine Leaves Rolls and Feta Cheese. Usually spinach pies include cheese, but restaurant had vegetarian version available. Two types rolls, vine leaves (dolmades) and zuccini flower rolls. Both were prepared at restaurant, too often you get canned rolls. Greek style feta cheese was delicious, right mixture of herbs and tomato.

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For main courses had Gyros, which in this case were perfect. Best part of this was just grilled pork. In one taverna get meat which had been grilled earlier and was warmed before serving.

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….and Stuffed VegetablesSweet pepper and tomato stuffed with deliciously spiced rice. A perfect vegan dish accompanied by sliced potatoes.  Olive oil is always part of the dishes, and combined with the proper spices, makes for the perfect sauce.

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In previous post you can find some information about Greek wines, which are part of dining. In Lemon Tree Garden had Melios and Chateau Julia, both Merlots.

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Chateau Julia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemon Tree Garden has nice outdoor terrace inside old walls. The name comes from the trees above tables, lemon and orange trees are the roof of restaurant.

After dinner restaurant serves fresh water melon, lemon cake and raki depending on what you have eaten. Nice way of ending dinner, but as you know what to expect, do not order dessert.

 

REVIEW: FOOD 4+/5 – SERVICE 4+/5 – OVERALL GRADE 4,5/5

 





Greek Merlot red wines

29 07 2016

Greece is one of the most popular destination for Finnish holiday travellers in the summer time.

However, Greek wines are under valued and difficult to buy in Finland. Only 4 red and 4 white wines available in Alkos as shelf products and 4 more wines which you can pre-order. Greek restaurants, few in Helsinki, offer also some other Greek wines, which they import by themselves.

During our visit to Crete in July 2016, tasted few young, good and ok red wines. Focus was on Merlot grape, which is actually quite popular, but not as popular as local grapes like Agiorgitiko, Asyrtiko, Mavrodafni and Xinomavro. Sometimes Merlot is additional grape as in few wines tasted.

Chateau Julia Merlot 2011

Winery Domaine Costa Lazaridi with distinctive title “Chateau Julia”, was founded in Adriani, Drama in 1992. The first bottles were marketed also in 1992. Amethystos white, Amethystos Rose and Amethystos Red. Today the Estate produces five families of wines, Amethystos, Chateau Julia, Domaine Costa Lazaridi, Oenodea and Oenotria Land. Today company exports wines even to Sweden but not to Finland, yet.

Chateau Julia Merlot 2011 was facinating or even surprising wine. Unfortunately wine was served too warm, but did not want to use cooler although waitress asked it. Complex aromas of forest fruit, mint and eucalyptus; rare bouquet for Merlot wine. Taste was warm, full-bodied and due to aroma, a bit complex too. Requires food with spices, pairs well with gyros, for instance.

 

Chateau Julia

 

Karipidis Merlot 2012

The Karipidi Winery is a family business in Vounaina Thessaly in central Greece that manages 30 hectares of privately owned vineyards. The vineyards, which are registered in a institution for inspection and certification of biological products, are being cultivated exclusively with methods of biological agriculture.

Karipidis Merlot 2012 is organic wine and has aromatic bouquet with hints of plum, currant, chocolate and vanilla. Mouth-feel of high density flavor, rich structure and robust body.

Pairs well with shellfish and seafood pasta and vegan foods too.

 

Wine

 

Biblia Chora Red 2014

Domaine Biblia Chora was established in 1998 by Vangelis Gerovassilou and Vassilis Tsaktsarlis being one of the newest wineries. In June 2001, the construction of this modern Domain began. In the same year, the first wine was made. Today, the Estate has a private vineyard of 350 acres, which surround the winery, and in which Greek and foreign varieties are cultivated in accordance with the biological standards of viticulture.

Biblia Chora Red 2014 is produced from two grapes; Cabernet Sauvignon 50% and Merlot 50%. It has pure and complex bouquet of ripe red fruit, chocolate and some spicy notes on the finish. Intense flavour with a full body, good structure and a high tannin content, which provides a lasting aftertaste

Pairs with quite variety of foods because of Cabernet Sauvignon, which smoothens the taste.

 

Red wine

 

Melios Red Dry Wine

Domaine Brintziki cultivates vineyards owned 120 acres applying faithfully and with love of the principles of organic agriculture for many years planted with local varieties of Greek. Winery uses also the Avgoustiatis, which belongs to a group of very rare Greek varieties, grown in small size, few producers, but with remarkably high quality results. It is a red wine variety, which gives mostly red dry wines, leading the exploration of the world’s vineyard at the edges. Products product at winery are Tinaktorogos, Augoustiatis, Sign, Melios and Enipeas.

Melios Red Dry Wine is produced from Merlot 80% and Mavrodaphne 20% grapes. Wine has dark red color, intense aroma of red fruits, vanilla and cherry. Full mouth with soft tannins.

Pairs with meat, vegetables and pasta.

Unfortunately winery’s web-pages did not work properly.

 

Melios

 

 

Idisma Drios Merlot 2013

Wine Art Estate was created by Yannis Papadopoulos and Yannis Kalaitzidis 1993. 26 hectares of vineyards at a location known since ancient times for the cultivation of the vine and the production of wines, as indicated by the ruins of a Sanctuary of Dionysus. Wine Art aims to present how well certain Greek and cosmopolitan varieties are adapted to the microclimate of Drama. Towards this direction, a new wine, Chardonnay Idisma Drios was put to market in 1999. This was the first of a new range of products, Idisma Drios (“sweetly oaked”), to be followed by Assyrtiko, Merlot and Syrah.

Idisma Drios Merlot 2013 has deep purple colour. Quite complex bouquet of spices and dark berries.
Wine is balanced and has noble tannins. It is mature, full-bodied, with a long aftertaste.

Pairs with meat, cheeses and even with asian flavors.

 

Idisma Drios Merlot

 

As said earlier, Greek wines are undervalued. Many of the wineries produce organic tasty wines, but production amounts are so small, that many times only Greeks can enjoy of these wines.

Visited Agreco Farm http://www.agreco.gr/ which is partly tourist attraction but also produces organic wines. Wines are sold from their own shops and via some hotel chains and restaurants but production quantity does not allow export these wines.

Maybe some day there are more quality Greek wines available in Finland. But travellers should first choose better wines (not the best ones) instead of grape juice (house wines in caraffes).

 








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