Global Drink Wine Day: Spotlight on Cyprus’ Wine Scene
British travel and food writer, Deborah Cater, famously said that you have to taste a culture in order to understand it.
Well, in honour of Global Drink Wine Day – celebrated annually on February 18 – we are shining a spotlight on Cyprus’ wine scene in a bid to inspire our guests to explore this ancient though oft overlooked oenological landscape: savour every sip in getting to know the heart of Cyprus!
Fun Facts: Did you know?
- Bordeaux it is not, but Cyprus is home to winemaking practices that can be traced back to 5,500 BC!
- Cyprus boasts a wealth of indigenous grape varieties – some tally the figure to 15 – with the most prominent two being the red Maratheftiko and the white Xynisteri.
- The warm and hearty Maratheftiko is matured in oak barrels and praised for its profound aromas. It pairs particularly well with red meat dishes due to its rich tannins.
- Meanwhile, Xynisteri is fresh and acidic with a golden hue. A key variety used in the creation of many of Cyprus’ most popular white wines, Xynisteri is ideally paired with seafood dishes and pastas.
- There are seven designated wine routes around Cyprus upon which visitors may embark in discovering home-grown wineries with a lot of history and a lot of flavour! Many wineries are being taken over by second or even third generation family oenologists who have travelled abroad in enhancing their knowledge and practical know-how, returning to Cyprus to introduce modernised techniques. All wineries offer wine tours and tastings (upon request) and many even feature humble museums displaying ancient tools and artefacts once employed in the traditional winemaking process.
- Cyprus boasts ownership of what some claim is the oldest named wine still in production today: Commandaria. When King Richard the Lionheart landed in Cyprus during the Crusades, he savoured this sweet, amber-hued dessert wine and proclaimed it as being the “wine of kings, and the king of wines”. Commandaria was first described by the Greek poet Hesiod in 800 BC, with its production methods cemented during the Frankish rule of the island in the Middle Ages. Xynisteri and the red indigenous variety of Mavro are employed for its production, with Commandaria now holding a Protected Designation of Origin label from the EU, with many depicting it as being akin to tasting ‘Cyprus in a glass’.
If feeling inspired and desiring of a break from the sun and sea, venture into the lush green hills of Cyprus along one (or more!) of the seven designated wine routes. Our Guest Services team is always on hand to help in organising your day!
This month we have an exclusive wine offering from Kthma Keo, a Chardonnay – Xynisteri, available at all our bars and restaurants!