Wines of the Month

by Patrick Skinner

 

Aperitif

KEO "Fino"

Properly made in a bodega in Limassol that could be in Jerez, KEO Fino is the only fortified Cyprus wine made in the traditional "Flor" manner. It is virtually a hobby of the island's largest company. Made from Palomino grapes, in small quantities, it enjoys modest local sales, selling at about (C 1.80 (St 2.00, US$ 3.60) in 2000 - now in 2008 it has risen to 8 euros a bottle in the supermarkets). A writer who shall be nameless regularly plugs it in his column and has been known to reprimand hotel bar keepers if they don't have a chilled bottle available.


White



"Ayios Andronicos" 1997, Xynisteri from the Monte Roya Winery at Chrysoroyiatissa Monastery

Made the first 'independent' winery, started 15 years ago, with German advice and equipment. Grapes from the monastery's own vineyards. Problems of inconsistency but on its day this is one of the best whites on the island. Xynisteri, the indigenous variety, makes a nice, fresh wine, which can be fruity and is best drunk young. ( Retail: 2000 2.50. - 2008 7 Euros)


"Ayia Irini" 1997 Semillon-Xynisteri from the Paphos winery of Theodoros Fikardos, a young, adventurous and increasingly successful wine-maker. He makes limited quantities of varietals (Chardonnay, Riesling, Semillon), which show well the provenance of the grape, but are gentle and enjoyable.


"Vasilikon" 1996 Xynisteri from Kathikas Winery, Paphos, another young winery established in 1994. Good light gold colour, nice fruity nose and crisp 'Xynisteri' grape flavour. A staple white and enjoyed by most of our visitors. ( Retail 2000  2.00. - 2008 6 to 8 Euros)


Red



"Ayios Onoufrios" 1996 from the Kathikas Winery. A blend of indigenous grapes - the low-acid Mavro and higher acidity Opthalmo and Maratheftiko. Drunk young, this wine had a fresh berryness unique to Cyprus. It is worth noting that 1995 was the first year in which the Nikolaides family had ever made commercial red wine.( Retail: 2000 2.20. - 2008 7-9 Euros)


"Semeli" 1994 from the oldest wine-making company on the island, the House of Haggipavlu. Undisclosed blend, probably some Mavro, Opthalmo and maybe Cabernet. Made in some quantities, it is a cut above most factory wine and has the virtue of being consistent year on year. Plenty of bite for red meats, stews etc. Retail: 2000 2.80 - 2008 9-11 Euros)



"Heritage" 1990 Varietal Maratheftiko Another indulgence by KEO, but one with a future. Maratheftiko is a high-acid, tanninic Cyprus grape, rediscovered by KEO growing in small numbers in a field of Mavro - a sure hint that in the "old" days in the villages they knew about blending low and high acid grapes. KEO have spent a lot of money developing and replanting this grape, rather than Cabernet Sauvignon, in order to produce, in very Bordeaux style, this premium priced (retail 2000 9.00 - 2008 17-20 Euros) wine which spends six months in new Limousin oak barrels.

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