GEORGE KASSIANOS visits the family-owned vineyard of Oenou Yi

The Vassiliades family – owners of Oinou Yi – and their team believe that winemaking is a form of art and the vision of Anna Maria, who is at the helm of the winery, is focusing on quality and producing fine wines for consumption in Cyprus and abroad. The Domaine Vassiliades Oenou Yi winery combines high-tech equipment with practices suitable for quality winemaking. It is a modern winery with modern vinification equipment, bottling and grand tasting areas; a winery with well-trained staff ready to offer experiences that every faithful friend of wine culture desires.

The reception and hospitality space aims to reflect Omodhos village. The family vineyards dominate at an altitude from 800 to 1,060 metres.

The vineyards are planted in linear ‘shapes’ that facilitate cultivation. The dry stone walls used by the traditional Omodhos house builders prevent the erosion of the soil, while aromatic roses are planted around the vineyards to protect against the spread of disease to the vines, in addition to producing a refreshing rosewater. Stone, roses and vines describe and define the estate.

In the vineyards of the Domaine, which exploit the unique terroir of Omodhos, both Cypriot and international varieties thrive. The local white varieties of Xynisteri, Malaga, Morokanella (Bio vineyards) and Promara as well as the traditional red Maratheftiko, Yiannoudi, Lefkada and Mavro show their identity. In addition, the white international varieties of Assyrtiko, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Semillon are grown as are the international reds Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Grenache, which find new ways to show off their cosmopolitan character.

Already the annual production amounts to an impressive 150,000 bottles, with the potential for half a million. The vines are planted mainly on limestone and volcanic soils and exploit the daily change of temperatures – from hot during the day and cold at night – to produce prime fruit. The winery also undertakes some micro-vinifications always aiming to exploit further the Omodhos terroir. Hungarian and French oak barrels are stacked beautifully in the cellars.

Part of the pleasure of living in Cyprus is eating great food while sampling amazing wines. If you visit the winery try, the extensive menu offered. Inventive food, inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, showcases fresh, seasonal ingredients presented in thoughtful dishes. The 20 suites are not ready yet, but the Spa will be open soon.

Mission? The production of fine wines, offering excellent food and, soon, five-star luxury… well sorry Tom Cruise this is not Mission Impossible

Wines of the week

2023 Oinou Yi, Pente Litharia Xynisteri, Lemesos, ABV 13.5%

It derives its name from the homonymous area in Omodhos with a microclimate that contributes to the unique maturation of Xynisteri grapes from aged vines on top of Afames mountain picked from the largest privately-owned vineyard in Cyprus. Emblematic and fresh, herbaceous with vivid aromas of white flowers, ripe melon, and citrus fruit introducing rich, zesty flavours of pink grapefruit, melon and guava, leading to a long, crisp finish. Irresistible now, this classic Xynisteri will age gracefully for the next three to five years and beautifully accompany seafood, poultry, vegetables and salad dishes. €10.95

2023 Oinou Yi, Regina, Vasilissa PGI Lemesos, ABV 12.5%

The name Vasilissa or Regina comes from the Cypriot variety of the same name. A bright straw colour with greenish reflections. Intense persistent floral – jasmine – and vegetable aromas with notes of white peaches, lime and balsamic, chalky lemon, nectarines and chamomile, beeswax. Medium-bodied, on the palate the vegetable notes dominate, juicy with agile character. Good depth and well-balanced with a long, persistent, mineral and refreshing aftertaste. €16

2022 Oenou Yi Promara ‘Alba Domina’, PGI Lemesos, ABV 12%

Straw yellow colour, fresh on the nose with notes of white blossoms and fruits including apple, lemon zest and exotic fruits in the background. On the palate, the wine gives way to stone fruits and hints of melon before finishing with a zip of refreshing acidity. Oily and medium-bodied, the finish is clean but long and showcases this classic vintage perfectly. €16

2020 Oenou Yi, Yiannoudi Oikade, PGI Lemesos, ABV 14%

Dark and intense blue-black colour with crimson highlights. The bouquet features attractive notes of violets, dark berries and plum supported by hints of liquorice and a floral lift, cinnamon, vanilla, caramel and tobacco. On the palate, red and blue fruits with hints of dark chocolate and peppery spice, finishing long with fine sheets of silky tannins. Can cellar for at least 15 years. €22

2019 Oinou Yi, Geroklima Maratheftiko, PGI Lemesos

Aged in Hungarian oak, dark garnet red with classic Maratheftiko aromas and flavours. The velvet of fine-textured tannins backs expressive red fruit flavours on a complex palate, both sweet and savoury with mocha and minerality, juicy ripe fruit and freshness. €22

N/V Oenou Yi, Commandaria, PDO Commandaria, ABV 11%

This emblematic dessert wine is strictly produced in the traditional way. Bright amber colour, it displays a unique and enviable bouquet of ageing, reminiscent of dried fruit, figs in particular, stewed prunes, toffee, caramel, cocoa, coffee liquor, honey and sweet spices. Dense, smooth and lively in the mouth. An unctuously textured, thick beverage to consume slowly and introspectively after a meal. €29.95