Cyprus Mail
Life & Style

New wines from one of the island’s foremost wine makers

By  George Kassianos

I wrote once that if I were in Spain I would have labelled Theodoros Fikardos as one of the Dons of Cyprus wines. And I stand by what I said considering his experience in making wine for 27 years. He is seen by his peers as one of the wine authorities in the recent history of Cyprus wine. Born in Paphos, he fell in love with winemaking while he was running his own restaurant there near the picturesque harbour. During this time he never gave up his dream of building a proper winery. When he tours his winery in Mesogi on the outskirts of Paphos towards Polis he will stop in front of some aged, stainless steel tanks. He fondly remembers the early days when he constructed his own stainless steel tanks until he could afford to buy industrial ones. They are still at the winery, a reminder to people who dream…

And he has the right philosophy. Once I asked him whether good wine is made in the vineyard or at the winery. Honest as he is, he first said that good wines are discovered when they simply make you want to drink another glass. He was emphatic when he said that 90 per cent of this is achieved from a good vineyard, and 10 per cent as a result of the talent of a winemaker. As a pioneer winemaker he was one of the first to trust the white Chardonnay grape and the red Mataro.
It is the right time to try some of his new releases of 2014 vintage.

2014 Amalthia Xynisteri-Semillon, Pafos Regional, Abv12%
Amalthia’s formula still carries on in 2014 vintage. The blend of the local Xinisteri with Semillon was based on the typical blend of Bordeaux whites (there you have Sauvignon Blanc though instead of Xynisteri). Suddenly our usual Xynisteri grapes, once they are blended with the likes of Semillon, turn from light bodied and crisp to medium bodied and crisp. The dry version of Amalthia is a fresh, dry white, with a pale yellow colour with green nuances. Vibrant notes of honeysuckle flowers, white peaches, lime and lemons lead to richer notes of mandarins, passion fruit, and hints of pineapple and of dried herbs. A subtle, stony characteristic lingers in the background. Good concentration and structure with nuances of yellow fruits rounding out the crisp flavours of citrus lime and lemon, and stone fruit. This wine displays reasonable balance in its weight and texture, providing a soft mouthfeel and lively acidity with a dry, bitter finish. Great with a range of light dining cuisine, tempura battered seafood, stir fries, lightly creamy cheeses and goat cheese and tomato based green salads. €5.53

2014 Katerina, Semillon-Xynisteri, Pafos Regional, Abv 10.5%
The grams of sugar increase, Semillon influence is higher than Amalthia. Medium yellow colour with some lime tinges on the edge, you expect honey, syrupy notes on the nose but its sweet aromas are not so severely intense. Some honey drenched pineapple, orange, apricot and nectarine but balanced well with lemon peel. The palate is coated with layers of sweet yellow and orange fruits, spice and honey. Medium body and medium sweet, this is a wine with length, purity and freshness that ends with an orange rind, apricot and sweet honeyed pineapple. Just try this with pumpkin pies, Raclette both the type of cheese and the Swiss dish, Thai chicken or chicken Satay, pork cooked with fruit, yellow or green curries with coconut milk, or even you may try this wine with Cyprus beignets (bourekia) and fresh Anari cheese, touch of cinnamon. €5.53

2014 Iocasti Rosé, Mataro, Pafos Regional, Abv 13.5%
This wine has a raspberry red colour, fresh and clean nose of strawberries, minerals, white peaches, cherries and some subtle earthiness, and an herbal character. It has a light to medium body, fresh with crisp acidity and maybe just a touch of residual sugar. A juicy fruit and some minerals dominate the palate with a touch of vegetal notes in the background. The finish has nice length and leaves a very slightly sweet and crisp final impression. The perfect wine to enjoy on a warm summer afternoon with or without food too, it won’t be long. €5.53

2014 Valentina Cabernet Sauvignon-Mourvèdre, Pafos Regional, Abv 13%
The famous medium dry…ish Valentina. A blend of two red grape varieties, it has a salmon pink colour and it is perfect for a spring and summer sipping. This crisp and fragrant rosé features fresh strawberry and cherry, peach and orange marmalade, rose petals and hibiscus aromas that are mirrored on the palate too. This rosé is somewhere between rosé and cranberry juice. Each sip leaves your mouth watering, making it very refreshing. With its dry finish and balanced acidity, this rosé is perfectly suited for al fresco dining and lighter fare. Excellent with oriental dishes such as chicken with cashew nuts, pork with mango sauce, roast duck with cherry fruit sauce, excellent as well as picnic foods like cold fried chicken, potato salad and chorizo sausage… any food with spice. €5.95

And some new red wine vintages

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Pafos Regional, Abv 14.5%
This fresh cab has an intense ruby-red colour with aromas of red fruits such as ripe strawberries and blackberries with spicy notes and a light touch of toast, vanilla and toffee. On the palate it has well balanced acidity, soft tannins, good structure and a pleasant, fruity finish. This is a Cabernet Sauvignon that cries out to be paired with big, bold foods. Anything off the grill – steaks, pork, grilled peppers – would be a great companion. For a weeknight dinner, try it with burgers loaded with caramelised onions and blue cheese. €8.33

2013 Shiraz, Pafos Regional, Abv 13%
This classic red has a deep red colour with an expansive nose of fragrant dark cherry fruits, flowers, pepper and hints of meat. The palate is a showcase of pure Med Shiraz – medium to full bodied with dark berry flavours, some fruit sweetness and savoury tannins. With excellent freshness and length, this fruit-driven wine will continue to gain complexity and character with medium term cellaring. This is the perfect wine to accompany that roast rib of beef on Sunday or traditional souvla. Spicy sausages during the week with mustard mash and onion gravy or a platter of roasted antipasto containing eggplant, capsicum and olives topped with some fresh feta cheese. €8.33

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