Choosing the right Wine!
Wine in Cyprus: You might not know, but it is a fact that Cyprus has been accepted as the earliest proven producer of wine. The wine varieties of the island are among the oldest in the world being produced for the last 6.000 years! The best way to find the one that suites you best is to try to feel “the taste of Cyprus”, not buying wine from supermarkets, but go directly to local wineries.
The Wine Routes
Follow the wine routes around Cyprus and you’ll discover small producers united in their desire to change perceptions about the island’s viticulture.
The island’s six wine routes have evolved alongside 40 boutique wineries that are attempting to resurrect almost-forgotten indigenous grape varieties. Production is between 35,000 and 100,000 bottles a year. Wineries are obliged to have regular opening hours and adequate tasting room and someone on hand to meet the public.
We visited Tsiakkas winery several years back but it was a quick stop. Intention is to be back and highlight several more Cypriot wineries.
Maratheftiko is more costly than other reds produced on the island as it is not widely cultivated, this wine is definitely worth it. Thought of by wine experts as a serious challenger to Cabernet Sauvignon, it is rich and off dry with aromas of cherries and plums. One sip and the warm flavours of chocolate and spice will have you hooked. Available as a blend or a varietal from several wineries. Worth paying that little bit extra and perhaps go for a smaller producer it will be sure to impress your palate.
Xynisteri is contender against the likes of Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. This indigenous variety produces young, fresh wines with citrus notes. Delicious served chilled as an aperitif or accompanying seafood dishes you will find this very refreshing on hot summer nights. Used by a wide range of winemakers across the island there is a surprising variety of wines that have been produced using it. Try reading the notes on the labels to check what each offers and then why not compare a couple of them back at home on your balcony. A bottle of wine makes a great gift as well.
Mataro originally grown in southern France, this grape has made a big impact in Cyprus where the hot climate brings out a richness of fruity flavours – a good keeping-wine if you can avoid temptation, again available in blends where it adds depth of flavour or as a varietal, this grape is to be found in some of the best wines the island produces.
For unique and authentic Cypriot wine, avoid the largest wineries. Those that are piled in supermarkets, hotels and restaurants. If you are a true connoisseur, take a pleasant ride up to the mountains, following the Wine route and visit the smallest possible Cypriot wineries. You will be surprised with the quality and tastes!