On a short break to Cyprus I discovered that this enchanting island is not just the homeland of red jammy alcoholic booze, but a land of ancient tradition as wine has been part of its history for over 4000 years.
The importance of viticulture does not lie solely in the fact that grapes are turned into wine, but also because mountainous and semi-mountainous areas with mainly barren, rocky and steep terrain are utilised. The vineyards are an essential part of the landscape and contribute to its conservation, helping to protect the environment and preventing soil erosion. Also, its soils are among the very few in the world not affected by the vine louse, phylloxera, and in which the original not-engrafted vines are still cultivated.
Today, old tradition and modern technology have combined to create interesting samples of elegant reds and fresh and fragrant whites. I particularly enjoyed an interesting white, Petritis 2012 by Kyperounda Winery, made from the strangely named indigenous grape variety, Xynistery.
With 2200 hectares under cultivation, this is the most widespread white grape variety in Cyprus used in the production of local whites and the most famous Cypriot desert wine when blended with Mavro Commandaria.
Kyperounda Winery, situated in the village of Kyperounda on the southern slopes of the Troodos mountain range is in Limassol region. The four hectares winery at an altitude of 1,400 metres is the highest in Europe with a micro climate similar to that of Bordeaux; in fact Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are also cultivated here. The minerality of the soil and the daily temperature variation are the principal factors in making Petritis (which means “stone”), the top Xynisteri wine in Cyprus.
In comparison to the other whites made from the same variety, Petritis has a darker golden colour and a broader bouquet that displays notes of acacia, ripe peach, oregano and mineral hints with a gentle aroma of butter and vanilla undertones, due to the short oak maturation.
Palate is lingering with rich fruity aromas balanced by a refreshing acidity and a moderate alcohol content of 12.5% abv. It has an intense and long finish.
Personally, I think it is the most interesting dry white wine that Cyprus has to offer at the moment. It is perfectly enjoyable as an aperitif or paired with the Cypriot specialities, such as souvlakia (chicken kebabs), taramosalada (fish roe salad)) and other fish or seafood mezedes.
Available in the best wine shops or on line at:
Approx. £11 per bottle
You must be over 18 years old to purchase wine in the UK. Proof of age and identify may be required.