Cyprus Mail
Life & Style

Xynisteri 2017: a variety of wines to welcome summer

With summer now almost in full swing it’s time to talk about summer wines. Summer of course is warmer so the big, tannic red wines aren’t always your first choice, though I’m still happy to open a chunky Cabernet when the grill is revved up and the steaks are sizzling. On the whole though, summer leans toward lighter, fresher varietals, often whites and to many, Rosé.

We are turning our attention today to the most planted white grape variety of the island. It is medium sized, with loosely packed clusters and medium sized berries. Very well adapted to the calcareous soils and the climatic conditions of Cypriot vineyard, it is also a variety with great resistance against the vine disease of powdery mildew. Xynisteri grapes are cultivated in high altitude vineyards and give wines floral and fruity aromas, minerality and satisfactory acidity. It is also, along with Ntopio Mavro, one of the two varieties used for the production of Commandaria and the traditional spirit of Zivania.

2016 Kathikas Winery, Vasilikon, P.D.O. Laona

After some time at last a white wine awarded with Protected Denomination of Origin title. More on that soon. Light yellow colour with greenish tints, it is fresh and textural Xynisteri with lime zest, tree fruit and a touch of tropical mango or guava. The palate displays fresh and lively flavours of lemon and white stone fruit with juicy acidity and minerality on the finish. It is slightly restrained on the palate but with a good mouth feel and light lees suggestion with some herbal characters. The wine is overall intense and exceptionally well done with an enticing grapefruit finish, its purity striking. €6

2016 Vouni Panayias Winery, Alina, P.G.I. Pafos

Straw yellow colour, vivid and grassy up front, Vouni Panayias Xynisteri was long accepted as the benchmark for Cyprus and you don’t have to go past the bouquet to figure out why: just about every tropical fruit you can imagine is on display from custard apple at one extreme, kiwi fruit and green pineapple at the other. It all adds up to a complete wine made to be enjoyed until the queue forms for the next release. Intense on the long juicy finish. €6.50

2016 Kolios Winery, Persephone, Xynisteri P.G.I. Pafos

Persephone has a light golden colour, it is light, energetic and vibrant and offers an elegant perfume with aromatic notes in harmony with the distinct fruit with sliced apple, pear and lime aromas and flavours. Lots of subtle grapefruit, some mineral and lime character. White roses, too. Beautiful length. It has a light structure and balanced body, supported by perfectly integrated acidity. Mint, green pear and white flowers add nuance on the chiseled, precise finish. €6.20

2016 Tsangarides Winey, Xynisteri, P.G.I. Pafos

Bright and lightly floral with a myriad of primary fruits that include white peach, green melon, just plucked passion fruit, lime zest and lemon curd. Nuances of a touch of nettle, vanilla and cardamom pod creates both depth and complexity. Finely focused, the palate opens to a soft and supple middle and is underpinned by a taught and fresh finish. Layers of lemon, lime, guava, fig, quince and green apple feature throughout with delicate floral and savoury notes laced between. Overall a youthful and vibrant blend. €6

2016 Ezousa Winery, Xynisteri, P.G.I. Pafos

If you are thinking what best with calamari, try this fresh Xynisteri from Ezousa Winery. Limpid, green-tinged straw with lifted passion fruit and tropical fruit aromas with hints of citrus fruit. A vibrant blend with fresh, crunchy fruit flavours of tropical and citrus fruits. Some complexity and texture to the palate, the flavours spun together in a continuum between herb/snow pea/grass on the one hand, passion fruit and grapefruit on the other, fresh acidity a constant from start to finish with a clean, crisp, natural acidity. €7.50

2016 Makkas Winery, Xynisteri, P.G.I. Pafos

A wine that is full of excitement, Makkas winery’s Xynisteri has a straw green colour showing an array of varietal fruit. There is some flint for some reason with light floral notes complemented by some exotic tropical fruit of guava aromas, melon, lemon and lime but also some grapefruit too with gentle nettly herbal notes, really fresh. On the palate we have some mineral backbone, soft lingering acidity, textural palate, strong citrus core. Like most Xynisteris, this wine pairs well with shell fish, especially mussels and oysters, white meats and soft cheeses. €6

2016 Fikardos Winery, Amalthia, P.G.I. Pafos

The colour is bright, greenish, pale, slightly yellow. It has a very intense character, exuberant, freshness and touch of mineral. A bit of complexity here. This wine has a nice combination between herbs, lime and grapefruit. With different layers of fruits, sweet ripeness, sea and salty notes, mineral, citrus, lemon curd, and herbal hints. Deep and lingering finish. Well balanced, juicy and crisp acidity. €6

2016 Zambartas Winery Xynisteri, P.G.I. Lemesos

Fresh, ripe and fairly complex on the nose with a temperate but incisive streak of herbs and grass working in consort with its ample, very continuous fruit of fragrant lime blossom, stone fruit and orange peel with tangy green apple. This lovely effort puts its cards face up on the table for all to see. While impeccably balanced and sure to provide delicious drinking for many years, it is an outgoing and wonderfully polished Xynisteri with immense immediate appeal, and it demonstrates the range and layered interest that well-made examples of the variety are capable of achieving. An opulent, textured mouth feel with racy acidity framing a brightly focused wine with pleasing southern Troodos minerality and a lingering finish. €8.75

2016 Vlassides Winery Grifos, P.G.I. Lemesos

Generous tropical and stone fruit aromas: pineapple, mango, peach and green pear, braced with racier notes of grapefruit, orange-citrus and kiwi. Floral notes of apple blossom mingle with subtle grassy tones. It is steely and racy up front, yielding to a surprisingly supple mid-palate and polished finish. It shows honey-crisp apple, cantaloupe, peach and lemon-zest flavours ending subtly and lingering on mineral-toned finish. Its palatal fullness is balanced by underlying fruit energy, and its youthful acidity is part and parcel of its long finish. €7

2016 Tsiakkas Winery Xynisteri, P.G.I. Lemesos

Always a solid performer, the silvery green, new wine colour implies vitality and youth. Primary fruit aromas of fresh and lightly poached citrus are gently spiced with vanilla bean and perfumed with lemon myrtle and blackcurrant. The palate’s meld of many fruit flavours is enriched with a lemon curd richness and textured with a lime zest and chalk like minerality to finish. I loved its dried herbs, zesty high acidity and the crisp finish with texture and juiciness too. It pairs, like most, with poached salmon drizzled with a caper and lemon infused olive oil on zucchini roast. €7.20