Cyprus Mail
Life & Style

Lamb, red eggs… and wine

By George Kassianos

Greek Easter lunch is probably the most lavish and important meal of the year. It is an impressive springtime feast of lamb, wild greens, flaounes and red hard-boiled eggs. Traditionally a small lamb is put on the spit but these days it is as likely to be lamb or pork souvla. So what wine should you have at your Easter table?

2010 Domaine Skouras, Grand Cuvée, PDO Nemea, Abv 13.5%
Aged in new French oak for approximately 20 months, with concentrated spicy red fruit flavours, mocha, raspberry, sweet red plum and sour cherry on the nose, with lively acidity and firm but ripe tannins on the palate, this wine is an amiable complement to virtually any dish. It does, however, have a special fondness for lamb, beef, goat, pork and almost any other four-legged creature. As expected, it is also delightfully well-suited to Greek cuisine and Easter. Classic partnerships include moshari yiouvetsi, a casserole made with pasta and herbed beef; meat or vegetable moussaka; and arnaki kleftiko, a slow-cooked stew featuring lamb and tomatoes. €20.50 (Cava Dionysion)

2010 Kratistos, Lykos Winery, PDO Nemea, Abv 13.5%
Yet another outstanding wine from Aghiorgitiko grape; warm red colour and aromas of plum, pepper and juniper berries combined with shades of tobacco and vanilla, eucalyptus and green pepper. Fleshy and rich in flavour, a mouth with volume, well-structured and soft with a tasty, velvety and juicy aftertaste. Tasty combinations include tomato braised meat casserole, dishes cooked in olive oil, yellow cheeses and of course spin roasted lamb. €19 (Alithoinos – Barrique)

2009 Kikones, Limnio, PGI Ismaros, Abv 14%
One of the finest Greek wines in the style of a fine Burgundy. Clear, light ruby colour with a restrained nose, full of personality. The red fruits and fresh herbs on the nose are mind boggling with stylish barrel and a spicy, peppery note. Dry in the mouth with a relatively light body and velvet-soft tannins. Slightly spicy in the mouth, full, balanced and clear with enjoyable aftertaste. Excellent with meat pasta, meat pies and grilled lamb or beef on the barbecue. €15.50 (Vinοcultura)

2012 Argyriou Winery, Merlot, PGI Parnassus, Abv 14.5%
In Argyriou vineyards on Parnassus Mountain, the classic cultivation of Merlot at 450m altitude offer the best conditions for the creation of a Merlot which perfectly represents the region’s terroir grounds and the distinctiveness of the microclimate. Intense ruby red with subtle purplish highlights. Alluring aromas of black cherry and dark chocolate are complemented by savoury notes and subtle hints of smoke. Graceful and velvety, this wine glides across the palate with beautifully balanced acidity and tannins underscoring lush layers of fruit. Perfect with full-flavoured pasta dishes or light meat stews as well as sautéed beef with vegetables and medium-aged cheeses €12.90 (CavaCentro Paphos, Cavaway Larnaca)

2010 Tsantali, Rapsani Reserve, PDO Rapsani, Abv13.5%
There is no Greek Easter without the Xinomavro grape. Aged for 12 months in oak, dense purple colour in the glass with a good viscosity and on the nose expressive aromas of cherry, blackberry, black currant (cassis). Modest tones of forest floor, smokey bacon, cocoa and vanilla. Gentle flavours of raspberry, blackberry. A dash of black olive, clove and cedar. Balanced on the palate with a matured body and a smooth texture. Appealing finish. Still some years to improve but exquisite with barbecued lamb, rich game dishes and mature cheese. €19.80 (Ghalanos)

2009 Pavlides Estate, Emphasis Syrah PGI Drama, Abv 14%
This wine will delight lovers of this variety. Deep purple in colour with violet sheens. The nose is dominated by an intense bouquet of fruity aromas: cherry, raspberry, blackberry, spice, thyme and basil and oaky hints of vanilla with some coffee characters. Rich and tasteful on the palate with velvety tannins, pleasing texture, robust structure that gives great durability and long, captivating fruity-spicy aftertaste. A concentrated, lively, complex and age worthy wine. Excellent for hard smoked cheese, game, lamb or beef cooked in spicy sauce plus anything meaty on Easter Sunday. €27 (Senaga)

2011 Château Nico Lazaridi dry red, PGI Drama, Abv 14.5%
From an area called The Small Bordeaux, this wine has the classical blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Dense red colour, ruby red, on the nose pleasant and rich aromatic bouquet with a mix of spices, ripe red fruits, mocha and violet. Mouth with volume, greasiness with angles, well structured, with elegant and delicious tannins quite fruity and with clear stability in time. The aftertaste is long and with flavours of sugared fruits and mint. This fruity and spicy blend is the result of 12 months ageing in oak barrels. Excellent with roast duck, barbecued grilled chicken with BBQ sauce, beef Bordeaux style, grilled lamb chops and with our souvla. €16.50 (Vassos Eliades)

2009 Katsaros Estate PGI Kranias, Abv 13.5%
Another Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Katsaros Estate is beyond any doubt one of the most quality oriented wineries in Greece. Maturation in new oak new barrels for 12 months and additional two year maturation in the bottle. Sorrel, black reddish colour. Dense, ripe and generous. On the nose explosive aromas of currant jam, black cherry, apple burned and chocolate. The mouth thick and velvety, tannins are well integrated with a sweetness given by then alcohol. Excellent quality and tannins, which become stronger at the finish. Excellent with braised lamb shoulder, roast chicken with spicy flavours, pan-grilled halibut, spicy pad-Thai as well as a variety of French cheeses. €27 (La Maison du Vin)

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