You often wonder how winemakers choose the names for their wineries. Wine lovers tend to remember grape varieties, regions and countries but not the names of the wineries. Germany and France are countries with difficult names to pronounce, let alone remember the château, domains or weingut. This applies to many countries and Cyprus is no exemption. There are several examples of wineries using names not easy to pronounce or remember, especially to non Greek speakers. Add to that the pronunciation of the local varieties too and the problem gets bigger.
Wineries are usually named after their founder or family origins, after geographical names, after some symbol of the area, and, of course, after saints (monks in monasteries do that). It is also widely acknowledged that the most difficult thing about buying wine is remembering the name of the producer.
Owner of the Monolithos winery in Cyprus, Charalambos Pericleous was inspired, as he put it “with a notion which embraces commitment and devotion to Cyprus heritage combined with a memorable name, a name that means something to us”. Monolithos has a story, there is a legend, the secrets of the perforated monolithic stones of Cyprus. Charalambos continued, “the name Monolithos is intended to bring to mind the local myths surrounding these magical stones, standing with their strange stature in various parts of the island and particularly near the region of Pachna where our winery is located”. There is a story to tell.
Charalambos established the winery in 1999 in Pachna. The location of the winery was changed in 2014 and the new, two-storey building sits at the exit of the village, towards Ayios Amvrosios and Omodhos. It is fully stocked with state-of-the-art equipment and has the capacity to produce 40,000 bottles. Currently it produces 25,000.
2019 Monolithos Winery, Xynisteri, P.G.I Lemesos, Abv 12.5%
Typical Xynisteri with straw yellow colour, the nose highlights those aromatics that define Xynisteri, freshly cut grass, white flowers dominated by jasmine, then the tropical fruits with melon and mango with a cracking orange peel, citrusy element. The palate features white peach and nashi pear, lime and lemon complete the flavours, the acid line cleans up the back end giving beautiful, crispy finish. Perfect for thirst quenching summer white with raw and marinated shellfish, fish carpaccio, pasta with pesto, or frito misto mare dishes. The wine was a gold medal winner at Lyon International Wine Competition. €8
2018 Monolithos Winery Premium Chardonnay, P.G.I. Lemesos, Abv 13.5%
The Chardonnay grape is responsible for Monolithos flagship wine. Awarded the 2020 Selection at 101 Dégustasion competition that took place in France. The fermented juice is kept for three months in American and French oak. Pale yellow colour with light golden hue. On the nose, the toasted oak frames the ripe pear, citrus and green apple flavours. The Chardonnay was aged sur lies, hence the herbal notes. With more aeration we can detect some more tropical fruit and spicy notes. Medium-bodied, good depth and fruit concentration, with green apple, guava and tropical flavour, minerality and vanilla along with bright acidity adds more complexity. The barrel fermentation imparts a creamy, luscious mouthfeel with a sleek and refreshing finish. €10
2017 Monolithos Winery Rosé, P.G.I Lemesos, Abv 14.5%
The blend is Cabernet Sauvignon 70% and Shiraz 30%. Delicate pink colour, on the nose some floral notes with hints of rose petals and raspberry. The palate has bright acidity, smooth and refreshing with strawberry and black pepper. Alcohol is slightly high, which makes it a bold wine, however, you will enjoy layers of dry apricot, red fruit and a twist of blood orange which reminds of an Italian aperitif. Age has created more complexity on the aromas and flavours of this rosé, with some natural evolution evident. Perfect for sipping solo but it is delightful to pair with grilled foods, salads, cheese plates, charcuterie and spiced-layered cuisines such as BBQ, Asian, and Mexican. €7
2018 Monolithos Winery Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon, P.G.I. Lemesos, Abv 14.5%
A blend of Shiraz (70%) and Cabernet (30%). The wine is aged for 12 months in oak barrels. Dark, garnet red colour, this is a good interaction of the two grape varieties blended together. Ripe plum berries with fresh, cool country cherries, blackcurrant with a good integration of oak with wood, dried rosemary, vanilla and black tea. The wine caresses the palate with a structure that is exceeded only in its width, grainy tannins and length and there is an abundance of red and dark berries, plums and chocolate. Still a young creature, this wine will age for four more years. Enjoy with medium rare rib eye, Provençale butter, crisp onion rings and rocket, basil and flat leaf parsley greens. €10
2018 Monolithos Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, P.G.I Lemesos, Abv 14.5%
Kept in oak barrels for 12 months, it has deep garnet, purple colour, well made with effusive aromas of blackberry, black cherry, freshly turned earth and subtly warm toasty oak notes. The palate is dense and richly concentrated with fine grained tannin and good length. Flavours of dark chocolate, dark berry compote and hints of warm spice and aromatic herbs in abundance. Enjoy it with oven roast prime rib or should pair superbly with rosemary-infused oven baked Porchetta. Bacon cheeseburger is great as well as brie or aged kefalotyri cheese. €10