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Makarounas, the new kid on the block

Boutique winery in Letymbou produces some great bottles by combining old and new techniques

Letymbou is a small village of about 290 inhabitants, situated 12km from Paphos, and like most villages in Cyprus, there are many churches. The two noteworthy, mainly for their preserved icons, are Ayios Kyriakos and Ayia Ioulitti, dating back to the 15th century. Being a small village, Letymbou has only one taverna, four coffee shops and one small minimarket. In the village square there is an olive press, a restored fountain and the Heroes Monument, adding to the flavour of the village. The now disused quarry at Letymbou used to produce marble slabs for the floors of traditional houses.

There is now a new attraction, a boutique winery built by the Makarounas family. Theodoros Makarounas entered the winemaking scene in 2017 with two labels, a white and a rosé. The red followed in 2018. He is young and independent and wants to make wine the way by integrating old tradition with a fresh new approach.

This is the youngest winery registered in a long list of wineries created since the early 80s. Letymbou is famous for its vineyards, which is something that inspired Makarounas to build his small, modern, boutique winery found just outside the village. And as in most cases, the inspiration and drive derived from his family. He is the fourth generation of the family to make wine, but the first who dared to promote the wines on a commercial basis.

As a young Cypriot winemaker, he understands the island’s geographical terroir and is using his specialised knowledge and enthusiasm to develop the production of the vineyards. A distance learning student of Davies University in California, he works skillfully with the widely differing altitudes and soils. He handles microclimate to produce some remarkable wines. Despite strong local competition, he has already achieved some very impressive results for a newcomer

Xynisteri and Morokanella white wines and Lefkada, Maratheftiko and Yiannoudi dominate the 170 hectare vineyards along with the cosmopolitan Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Theodoros is a firm believer that the balance of all good wine starts in the vineyard and the secret is in the grapes and the terroir.

The upcoming new generation of Cypriot wine makers have renewed their technique in respect of facilities, brushing the dust off old traditions to bring new lights on Cyprus wine. Theodoros belongs to this club of winemakers, who together are united in their passion to make great wine! That’s why their motto is ‘Together uphill’.

2018 Aerides, Xynisteri-Chardonay, PGI Pafos, Abv 12.5%, €8.90

I consider blending Xynisteri with Chardonnay as a different proposal to the more typical 100% Xynisteri.  Chardonnay may add more aromatic complexity, but it is the backbone, the structure on the palate that is important.  The Xynisteri is sourced from 35 year old vineyard in the Kakodia area which belongs to the village and the Chardonnay from a vineyard in the area of Konnos.

In the glass, our 2018 Xynisteri – Chardonnay displays a pale-yellow hue. Its aromas are reminiscent of walking through a flower garden in spring—with redolent white flower, honeysuckle and orange blossom with crashed citrus, tangerine and herbal tea.  On the palate the wine is lean and focused, with rich warmth and unifying acidity. Hints of minerality reveal themselves over a finish of incredible depth and length.  Super food friendly. A great pairing with grilled fish and stone fruit salad.

2018 Minthy Rosé, Cabernet Franc-Lefkada, PGI Pafos, Abv 13.5%

The Cabernet Franc is sourced from a 30-year-old vineyard perched on the edge of a cliff in an area called Limni. The Lefkada grapes are sourced from 22-year-old bush-trained vines in the district of Panayia. They are harvested simultaneously with Cabernet Franc, usually at the end of August.

Fruity and fresh, with its delectable salmon pink hues and intense aromas, expressive red berry fruit remains the essence of this rosé. Minthy has a beautiful concentration, with strawberry and raspberry flavours taking center stage, rose petals and spice, balanced by fresh acidity and leading to a sumptuous finish with notes of redcurrant. A perfect aperitif for an alfresco moment, it’s also great with flavoursome food, or drink it as we do in Cyprus, anytime and with almost anything! Pair with salads, grilled meats and seafood, curries, sushi, other Asian cuisine, pasta dishes and even dessert. €9.50

2018 Sauvignon Blanc, Single Vineyard, PGI Pafos, Abv 12.50%

Sourced from a single vineyard in the area of Ftena, I found this masterful white to be one of the best Sauvignon Blancs I have tasted this year. By using a small vineyard parcel, this winery has crafted a wine that spoke to me of sunshine, rocky-clay and limestone soil, and exceptional fruit. Aromas of green apple, citrus chamomile and pineapple, while hints of lime create a sensuousness that works well with grassy notes followed by just-ripe peach and mango. Tinges of sunflower linger on the tongue through the finish. This wine is primarily fermented in stainless steel. The mid-palate shows a lively acidity and soft floral notes leading to a pleasingly persistent finish that would wrap nicely around a lemon-accented and herb dusted roast chicken and make a tremendously good pairing. €10.50

2018 Morokanella, Single Vineyard, PGI Pafos, Abv 12.50%

Produced from a single vineyard too, from young vines in the area of Katapani on a clay-limestone slope. The wine is sleek and nicely balanced surpassingly fresh with vivid aromas of white flowers, ripe melon and citrus fruit introduce rich, zesty flavours of pink grapefruit, melon and guava leading to a long, crisp finish buoyed by bright acidity and refreshing citrus and mineral tones. Irresistible now, this beautiful Morokanella will age gracefully for the next three to five years and beautifully accompany seafood, poultry, vegetables, and salad dishes. €11.90

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