From ungrafted vines grown on crystal gypsum and limestone in a single vineyard at Mosfilies. This is the same vineyard where Maraftheftiko is grown, as Spourtiko aids that grape’s troubled pollination.
Delicately and persistently stone-fruited on the nose, with hints of cistus. Peachy on the palate, though quietly so, and notably oyster shell and leesy. This ‘minerality’ gives form and texture to a wine that is otherwise remarkably understated and elegant. That is not to say that this 10.5% abv wine is neutral. Far from it! It is incredibly persistent, expansive and concentrated. Extremely drinkable now, though serious and very useful with all manner of cuisine…or on its own. If only more wines could replicate this personality with correspondingly moderate alcohol.
2021 ‘Aerides’ Xynisteri
Sourced from 35 year old bush vines grown on crystal gypsum and clay and harvested in early October.
This is an interesting one: a full rich rendition of Cyprus’s principal white grape, Xynisteri, but at only 12% abv. These indigenous Cypriot grapes clearly happily inhabit their environment. That said, this is a rolling sweet-fruited wine with candied lemon peel, ripe red apple and hints of apricot. All the same, it possesses a little phenolic grip and balancing freshness. The marked extract and physicality of the wine gives it good frame. This would be an ideal pairing for richer and more oily vegetable and poultry dishes, as well as calamari and the like.
2021 Vasilissa (Queen)
Aspri Fraoula, Tsaousis…this grape has many names. Big berried and golden; a rare indigenous variety that is here grown at Katapani in the village of Letymbou at around 600m. Crystal gypsum, clay and limestone.
Another stone-fruited variety, though almost invariably with a notable delicacy and restraint. Vasilissa speaks with a quiet voice, but persistently. The lemon juice twist, chalky mouthfeel and bolstering freshness each contribute to render this an excellent food wine. At just 11.5% abv this is a thoroughly enjoyable drink, and you will undoubtedly desire a second glass. It’s the scented palate, acidic precision and non-fruitedness/oyster shell that lend such weave and precision to this wine. An excellent wine for more delicate sea and river fish. I hope to see more of this grape in due course.
Made from the rare Cypriot variety, Promara (ungrafted). Spontaneously fermented and aged for 5 months in clay Amphorae/Pitharia
Promara possesses a peach pit texture, along with a refreshing tartness, and this is no exception. That phenolic grip is lent flesh with some peachy charm too. The clay has certainly exposed the grape’s lemon juice freshness, chalky minerality and oyster shell linearity. All the while, the taste expression is not alone on the palate. The textural focus of this wine is altogether serious and layered, and gives shape and meaning to the complexity of flavour. I’m certain of the ageability of Promara, particularly in this charming but savoury 12% abv edition. Certainly one for challengingly-flavoured dishes, particularly those with tomato and lemon-lent acidity.
2020 En Arhi
From 30 year old ungrafted Cabernet Franc situated on a cliff top and grown on clay, gypsum and limestone.
Whilst I am a big fan of Cabernet Franc, when it comes to Cypriot wines, I prefer to see what the indigenous varieties can conjure up. However, this limpid mid-ruby wine smells altogether right and varietally typical. It shows the violet, muskiness and combination of crunchy red and black berried fruit that makes this grape so enjoyable to drink. There is no oak flavour here, just the pristine character of the fruit. Furthermore, the wine feels rather lighter than its 14% abv reality would have you believe. Impressive stuff indeed and ideal for the late spring barbeque.
From vineyards in Mosfilies in Letymbou, and grown on the local combination of gypsum, limestone. Matured in predominantly used oak barrels.
A lick of smoke adds interest to the almost Italianate black cherry bouquet. Grippy but well resolved tannic friction adds weave and frame to the crunchy fruit compote character. At 13% abv and possessing good acidic freshness, this wine shows a delightful drinkability and food-pairing potential that make it remarkably versatile. Again, this is an approachable wine that could benefit from further cellaring. But it’s very charming now. Very lightly chilled, this would be ideal with roast lamb or chicken, oily bean dishes and all manner of mezzedes; even fleshy sea fish. Very long on the palate.