On one of the most important days of the year, balance your feast with a local bottle says GEORGE KASSIANOS

Good value wines from Cyprus will give a fresh take on Easter celebrations. The foods eaten at Greek Orthodox Easter – lamb, flaounes – make perfect fare for a spring feast. After all, Easter in Cyprus is the biggest holiday of the year.

Lamb is the main dish, and the dark red and spicy wines made from Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Maratheftiko or Yiannoudi grapes vinified in Cyprus are ideal. Another great match would be oaky white wines made from the local Xynisteri or Promara grapes. The wonderfully sweet and aromatic and fruity Muscat of the island will complete this wonderful lunch. Easter is in early May, the weather is forecast to be hot, therefore, no one will blame us if we start our Easter lunch feast with a refreshing rosé.

 

2023 Kathikas Winery Omma Sauvignon Blanc, Pafos Regional, ABV 13%

For the second year, Vasilikon winery released a Sauvignon Blanc varietal. Straw yellow colour with green tints, aromas of melon and passion fruit, supported by freshly cut grass and herbs. The wine ends with mouthwatering acidity that will leave you wanting more. €12.50

2021 Kalamos Winery Allios, Pafos Regional, ABV 12%

Classically styled Xynisteri aged in acacia and oak. Bright yellow colour, ripe stone fruit, yellow apple, passion fruit and acacia flower with a whiff of savoury spice and vanilla, grass and herbs. Full body with a fresh, crisp feel. Age shows throughout with some dry fruit in the background, but it will be an alternative to the reds with its body acidity and flavours matching lamb well. €10

2023 Zambartas Winery Promara, Varietal, ABV 13%

A 100% Promara – the indigenous grape variety of Cyprus from Lasa Village in Paphos. Promara is a long-forgotten white grape variety but is gaining in popularity. Pale straw with green highlights, the 2023 Promara is savoury and floral with aromatics of fresh herbs, grapefruit rind, beeswax and soft floral notes as well as delicate oak spice. Medium-bodied, it has an elegant, supple texture, ripe notes of quince, wet stones, preserved citrus and lifted saline. This is an exquisite wine to drink over Easter while waiting for the lamb to cook. €12

2022 Tsangarides Winery Angels, Organic, PGI Pafos, ABV 14%

A new rosé from the collaboration between Angela Muir MW and Angelos Tsangarides, a classic blend of red and white varieties. Approximately 80% Maratheftiko and 20% Xynisteri. Dry, warm climate rosé profile, the winemakers’ goal is to find the delicate balance between the two varieties, the balance between floral and herbal, wild red fruit (not overly ripe), stone fruit and acid. Enticing aromatics of peach, white cherry and wild raspberry balanced by summer flowers and Cyprus Montagne herbs. €10

2019 Ayia Mavri Winery Lefkada, Lemesos Regional, ABV 13.5%, €12

When you read on the label Ayia Mavri winery, your mind goes to the award-winning sweet Muscat they have produced for many years. However, they produce some excellent wines, both white and red. The dry red is bright and sassy despite its age. This enjoyable Lefkada spends one year in oak and offers notes of rose and violet florals, cranberry, strawberry, rhubarb, fennel, cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of wood. Excellent elevated acidity ensures freshness from start to finish, while medium tannins gently coat the rich and concentrated mineral palate.

2022 Askon Art Wines Black Widow, Yiannoudi – Maratheftiko, ABV 14%

There is a theme similar to Black Widow red (Mavri Hira), the blend of two indigenous varieties Yiannoudi and Maratheftiko. This is the newest vintage. A thrill to experience, intense and elegant, beautifully articulated to age. Ruby red colour, aromas of blackberry, dark cherry, plum and cassis leap from the glass with an underscore of dark earth. The palate is muscular, yet refined, rich with focussed core of fresh, dark fruit enveloped in polished tannins that lend a weighty grip without overpowering. Notes of berry jam run through the finish, interplaying with hints of cedar, fresh leather and sage that echo long on the finish. €20

2021 Kyperinos Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon – Merlot, Lemesos Regional, ABV 14%

The 2021 Kyperinos Winery Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot is kept in oak for almost a year. It has dark royal ruby in colour with a bright purple glow at its edge. Immediate classical aromas of walnut and polished cedar shimmer among wild blackberry, currants, marzipan, herbs and dusty sunbaked gravel. On the palate, red and black summer fruits entwine with brilliant red roses, high notes of vanilla, and silky dark-chocolate tannin. Savoury, bright, and sumptuous. €7

2018 Evangelou Commandaria, PDO Commandaria, ABV 13%

Sourced from Ayios Constantinos, this Commandaria has a chestnut, copper colour core with a light golden rim. Rich, elegant and delicate aromas. Notes of rum and raisin, clove, nutmeg and a hint of cracked black pepper. Prunes, quince, apricots and figs plus the zest of lemon and orange deliver a freshness to balance the richness of the wine. Notes of scorched pineapple, passion fruit and carob syrup balance beautifully with the butterscotch. Finishes bright, fresh and poised. The wine lingers, enticing you in for more. €40 (50cl)