Tsikoudia of Crete is an authentic Cretan product inextricably linked to the way of life, hospitality and entertainment of the inhabitants of our island. It is the distillate of grape marc or tsikuda as they are called in the local dialect. Its production begins with the selection of grape varieties, continues with the careful fermentation of their marcs (the skins that remain after pressing the grapes and the extraction of the must for the production of wine) and ends with their slow distillation (of the already fermented marcs).
Good grapes are a basic condition for the production of quality tsikoudia. Therefore, factors such as the variety of grapes, the composition of the vineyard soil, its altitude and orientation, the year, cultivation practices, harvest time, etc. play a decisive role in the final product.
The fermentation of the marcs is also an important stage in terms of taste and aromatic characteristics during the production process of tsipouro, which is why its controlled conditions are necessary. (controlled temperature, stainless steel tanks, good extraction of red grapes, etc.).
In distillation, the art of the distiller is to capture the aromatic and taste characteristics of the grapes, as they were formed after the fermentation of the grapes, and to give its own touch to the character of the final distillate.
The distillation of the marcs for the production of tsipouro is a complex process that in order to have a quality result requires knowledge, experience and modern technological equipment.
The distillation fractions are divided into heads, hearts and tails. The heads have a high alcohol content and contain compounds with pungent taste and aggressive aroma while the tails are superior alcohols with heavy aroma and taste. The heads and tails are removed and re-introduced into the distiller along with the next batch, while the heart, the highest quality part of the distillation after dilution, maturation and filtration, is led to bottling.
The first production of distillate was the work of monks in the 14th century. After the idea of using the remnants of winemaking in order to produce an alcoholic beverage, passed to the growers. Thus was born the winegrower’s drink, tsikoudia or tsipouro as it is called in the rest of Greece.
Until 1988 the production of tsipouro was the exclusive prerogative of the vine growers who produced it for their own use and for limited marketing in bulk in its production prefecture and in the neighboring prefectures. In 1988, the legal framework was established that defines the conditions for the production and bottling of tsipouro by organized units that meet all the necessary specifications provided by the respective national and Community provisions.
Today, the production and bottling of tsikoudia by organized units with the latest technology infrastructure, with the use of modern know-how and with modern ways of approaching the market, improved its quality, upgraded its image and laid the foundations for its international promotion and establishment. In fact, in the last revision of the Community legislation for alcoholic beverages, tsipouro / tsikoudia were recognized as Protected Geographical Indications (PGI) of beverages produced exclusively in Greece.
Tsikoudia, as a drink that comes from the grape, reminds us over time of the traditional values of Greek nature, the precious goods of our countryside, the authentic and hospitable character of its people. It has long been the pre-eminent treat of our hospitality. It is the drink that relaxes us, makes us participate, to communicate with our company and unites us around a table with a wide variety of small dishes of spicy Greek mountain and sea delicacies that are constantly changing. Indeed intense flavors of meat and seafood, with various ways of cooking, mature cheeses and cold cuts and clean flavors of earthy appetizers such as pickled vegetables, grilled wild mushrooms, tomato with coarse salt, olive with nut, baked potato etc.
Tsikoudia, due to its intense taste and digestive properties in combination with sweet flavors from fruit to spoon sweets and ice cream, can happily close a rich meal.
For greater enjoyment, it is consumed cool at 10 degrees Celsius.
Taste our tsikoudia! Find her here !