GEORGE KASSIANOS takes a tour of the Chatzicharalampous winery, and tastes its bottles

A few years ago, I was invited to a wine tasting organised by Kyperounda Winery. After a vineyard tour with the chief oenologists, we went back to the winery for the customary wine tasting. As soon as we entered, I could hear Metallica’s famous ballad Nothing Else Matters. I thought, how lucky the wines at Kyperounda were, ageing to the sounds of rock ballads. The music though was more to entertain the young oenologist, an apprentice to the winery, testing the acid and sugar levels of the wines Argyro Chatzicharamapous.

A couple of years after our exchange of rock music vs wine varieties, Argyro and her father Marios now own the Chatzicharalampous Winery in Koilani village. They are the definition of a family-owned winery. It was in early 60s when the grandfather of the family Michalis (Takis) began to envision and finally undertook to implement an ambitious project. The first vineyard was planted and in 1975 a small winery was created, initially in his home and later in the center of the village. In 2023 the winery expanded to the adjacent area. The love of vines and winemaking was passed on to Marios, becoming a winemaker and viticulturalist after leaving the fire service was an easy decision.

Together with his Argyro (master’s degree in oenology at the Athens Agricultural University) and son Michalis (mechanical engineer), the third generation of winemakers, are trying to keep the family tradition and at the same time develop modern techniques. The winery is one of the few that is female-led.

Today the winery vineyards are located around the village from 650 meters next to the river Kryos and the highest at 1,050 meters on the famous Afames mountain. Marios is still in charge of cultivating these vines. The winery’s output is 7,500 bottles, after starting with just 3,500. Three labels are available on the market: a white from the native Xynisteri, a rosé from blending Grenache Noir and Syrah (60% – 40% respectively) and a red from Cabernet Sauvignon that is aged for a year in oak barrels.  

Argyro is in love with the Greek variety of Xinomavro. It is not a surprise to me that it is the first winery that is experimenting with this exceptional red grape variety. Xinomavro will be the first label to be released in limited quantity. It won’t be long before there will be a review of the wine.   

What about the design of the logo on the label? The inspiration for the winery’s logo came from time spent working in the vineyards, a twist on the vineyards’ circle of life. Looking from afar you could detect a skull, which symbolises winter when the vine is bare and when you see it at this stage, stripped of its leaves, you think it is dead. Then you notice a closed and then an open rose, showing the coming of spring and blossoming of the wine, while the butterfly symbolises the fertilisation of the vine. Wines tell many stories…this is one of them. This is an ode to the fertilisation of the vineyard.

You can visit the winery and enjoy the tour as well as experience the wines on a guided tasting organised by Argyro. The wines can be found mainly in Limassol at selected shops and wine bars, or from the winery or ordering them online. 

2023 Chatzicharalampous Winery, Xynisteri, ABV 13%

A 100% Xynisteri from owned vineyards, it has a clear light straw yellow colour. Elegant and complex bouquet on the nose with nice ripe flowery, herbal and fruity aromas of citrus peel and lemon, stone fruit, pear, apricot, honey notes and a pleasant mineral note. On the palate it is dry, elegant, with a lively acidity, lemon peel, quince and grapefruit; it has a nice structure and balance. Pure, refreshing and zingy. Pair with seafood salad, fresh, young cheeses and baked or grilled fish. €10

2022 Chatzicharalampous Winery, Rosé, ABV 13.5%

If you expect a Provence style and colour rosé, then you are mistaken. This is ‘light red’ type rosé with a clear ruby red colour. A blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Shiraz, it has rich aromas of red and black fruits, such as strawberries, cherries, blackberries and blackcurrants, lilac, over a citrus background and fine vegetal notes. Pair with appetizers, hors d’oeuvres, mild and semi-cured cheeses, shellfish, fish, rice, pulses, pasta, cold meats and white meat. €10

2021 Chatzicharalampous Winery, Cabernet Sauvignon, ABV 14%

This typical Krasochoria Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine of great complexity, intricacy and sophistication, a result of one year in oak. In the glass, the wine is deep purple with ruby highlights, and offers intense, concentrated aromas of cassis, green pepper, black pepper, tobacco, graphite and discreet vanilla. Flavours of black cherry wash over the palate, with complex layers of cacao, cedar and tobacco. Full, with soft but present tannins complete the profile with lingering notes of herbs and spice. This wine is drinking well in its youth but will improve over the next eight plus years. Pair it with a rare slice of prime rib or oven baked rack of lamb or with some vegetarian dishes like roast vegetables, mushroom risotto and ratatouille. €12

Chatzicharalampous Winery Grigori Afxentiou 42, Koilani 4776 Limassol. Tel: 99839839