Wine tastings in February are different this year. Usually, we would have been tasting the new 2020 vintage in whites and rosés and new vintages for reds. However, due to the pandemic our wineries still have some stocks left and I took the opportunity to taste wines from three Paphos wineries. The good news is that the 2019 wines still taste great and interesting, and older vintages on the reds show their mature characters.
2019 Fikardos Xynisteri, P.G.I. Pafos, Abv 12%
Characteristic pale yellow colour with green nuances, vibrant notes of honeysuckle flowers, stone fruit as in white peaches, lime, and lemons that lead to richer notes of mandarins, passion fruit, pineapple and a hint of dried herbs. On the palate, good concentration and structure with nuances of citrus fruits emerge in the mouth, rounding out the crisp flavours of stone fruit. This wine displays exquisite balance in its weight and texture, providing a soft mouthfeel and lively acidity with a dry finish. Great with a range of light dining, tempura battered seafood, stir fries, lightly creamy cheeses and goat cheese and tomato based green salads. Ideal serving temperature 7-9C and drink until 2022. €8
2016 Fikardos Shiraz, P.G.I. Pafos, Abv 13.5%,
This classic red has a deep colour with an expansive nose of fragrant dark cherry fruits, flowers, pepper and hints of meat with lots of spice notes from 10 months in second-use oak barrels. The palate is a showcase of pure Med, warm climate Shiraz – medium to full bodied with dark berry flavours, some fruit sweetness and savoury tannins. This is the perfect wine to accompany that roast rib of beef on Sunday, beef cheeks or traditional lamb souvla. €12
2019 Tsalapatis Winery, 46 Rigena, PGI Pafos, Abv12.5%,
A wine that is sponsored by famous Cypriot footballer Aloneftis, who played most of his career at Apoel. Rigena is a 100% Xynisteri sourced from Polemi, Letymbou and Arodes. Straw yellow colour, the nose reveals bright pear and white peach aromas, citrus lemon and some notes of tropical aromatic herbs, and freshly cut flowers. Best served at 7-9C with penne with pesto sauce or arugula salad with grilled halloumi cheese or grilled fish steaks. Drink now. €8
2017 Tsalapatis Winery, Rigas Red Blend, P.G.I. Pafos, Abv 13.5%
Rigas is a blend of four red varieties. The local Lefkadha and the international Mataro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc sourced from vineyards around Polemi village in Paphos. Bright ruby colour, it shows deep layers of fruit with levels of crunchiness that makes it memorable. The nose has crushed boysenberries and blueberries, red cherry and some earthen notes, spicy character, nutmeg and clove along with Mataro botanic aromas and Cabernet Sauvignon green bell pepper. Shows muscle with some dry tannins, smooth acidity, medium to full body, with beautiful red cherry, licorice, and spice to the finish.
When thinking of what to pair this wine Sheftalia kept coming to mind, the spicy ones with onion and parsley too. In fact, try with pork kebabs or beef and pork donner, Pepperoni pizza and pasta with tomato and meatballs. Versatile and powerful, the grapes are like four musketeers fighting for your pleasure. Good value entry line wine. Serve at 16C and if stored in a cool place can be enjoyed for a couple of years. €8.50
Tsalapatis Winery Tel: 70006664, [email protected]. Distributed by ACM Christophides
2019 Makkas Winery Chardonnay, P.G.I. Pafos, Abv 13%,
Made exclusively from Chardonnay grapes, ageing for a few months in oak barrels. Lively and fresh, the bright varietal character shines through, light gold colour. The nose has a spicy, yellow apple aroma with hints of citrus blossoms, lemon zest, cream and vanilla. Silky textured with fine acidity, it has delicate flavours of fresh fennel, pear and ripe apple. Try it paired at 9-10C with aged cheeses, such as Gouda, Kefalotyri or Manchego, or with delegate seafood dishes soups and creamy pasta recipes. €9.50
2014 Makkas Winery, Maratheftiko, P.G.I. Pafos, Abv 14.5%,
The Maratheftiko fruit was sourced from vineyards of the region, but mainly from Ambelitis and Vouni Panayia. After undergoing red wine vinification, it is aged for 12 months in 85% French oak and 15% in Acacia oak.
Ruby red colour with some violet hue, the nose opens with juicy, aromas of cherry and plum, blackcurrant and with spicy notes of black pepper, toffee, toast and leather, cinnamon, and nutmeg interlacing through the nose. The palate is soft and focused, with a core of black cherry, and dried herb flavours. Tannins are dry and lead to a balanced and round finish. The wine is unfiltered, so expect sediment at the bottom of the. Perfect with full-flavoured pasta dishes or light meat stews, grills like lamb or pork Souvla, as well as sautéed beef with vegetables and with medium-aged cheeses. This is an excellent Maratheftiko indeed. Ideal serving temperature 16-18C and can keep until end of 2022. €13.50