Aôri, which means 'mountain' in Cretan dialect, was set up by ex-sommelier Aimilios Andrei and Dimitris Skouras, oenologist and viticulturalist. The project is based around some impressive high-elevation vineyards which Aimilios discovered near Spina, on the mountainous coast southwest of Chania. The altitude – the vineyards they work with are between 750- 850m above sea level - gives a much cooler climate than you might expect in the Mediterranean. Grapes have been grown on Crete since the third millennium BC and it's home to a number of local varieties. Aimilios was searching for Kotsifali, a rare red grape that can produce elegant wines with high acidity, fine tannins and bright red fruit. He also found 100-year-old plantings of Muscat of Spina, a native clone of Muscat a Petits Grains. He's not usually a fan of this aromatic variety, but the vineyards were so spectacular – ungrafted and densely planted on schist soils over slate he decided to make a wine from there. The result was a Muscat that didn’t smell typically aromatic, Aôri’s Muscat of Spina is saline and textured with refreshing acidity. Their winemaking philosophy is low-intervention, to add as little as possible without risking the precision and clarity of the wines. This is a young project, but we’re excited to see how it develops.