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The return of local varieties

After coming close to dying out, local varieties are back, and ready to shine.
For many decades, particularly after 1970, winemaking became increasingly international, as vine cultivators in many European countries uprooted local varieties and replaced them with French ones.
Their thinking was simple: Since French wine was popular and well-known, they too would be able to sell. And they were right. Rather than a little-known variety, whether Italian or Greek for example, consumers opted for the better-known ones such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Cyprus followed suit (it was a political decision).
But then the market became saturated and consumers got fed up with the same varieties and started looking for something different, something  original. Not that importing new varieties did us any harm. Wine-making was easier and a good product practically guaranteed, meaning good wines, quickly. But a large number of our local varieties were uprooted and abandoned. And now that the globalization phase is over and today’s well informed and selected consumers want something different, though we produce “local” wine, quantities are much smaller than the “international” ones.
Luckily we have taken steps forward in both improving and promoting our own varieties. With the red Maratheftiko and the white Xynisteri leading the way in terms of quality, we have brought back from neglect and literally rescued other varieties such as Spourtiko, Promara, Yiannou and others which are now used to make some extremely interesting wines.

Vouni Panayias
The Vouni Panayia winery uses vineyards located at an altitude above 1000 metres to cultivate rare, endemic varieties which it uses to make excellent wine. Their white Promara is a poem: With a straw yellow colour, a rich nose with aromas of tropical fruit, lemon blossom and a touch of vanilla it has a full palate with a taste of tropical fruit and citrus and long-lasting aftertaste.
At select wine shops (info: 26722770)

Ayia Mavri
This dessert wine from Moschato (Alexandria) grapes has received many international awards. Though not endemic, it has been cultivated for centuries and is considered a local variety. Sweet, it is balanced by a lively lemony acidity. The nose has aromas of dried apricot, mango, lychee, and orange peel and blossom. The palate has tropical fruit, peach and citrus and a long, sweet aftertaste.
At wine shops and supermarkets

Sweet, semi-sparkling Moschato
Ktima Hadjiantona
The production of a semi-sparkling Moschato is a brilliant idea. It is sweet, but not too much so and its bubbles clear the palate. Despite the sweetness it is not overpowering, but exceptionally refreshing. It is a cool, very fruity dessert wine, with low alcohol content, particularly suitable for  the summer. Perfect for dessert, it is also ideal with seafood, particularly shrimps.
At wine shops and supermarkets

One of the most popular Cyprus wine, it is truly excellent, the result of a ‘marriage’ of  Lefkada and Cabernet Franc. Even though Lefkada is not an endemic varity (it was probably brought to Cyprus by the Venetians from Lefkada) it was “naturalized” and made one of ours. Bright ruby with aromas of cherries, blackberries, rose petals, strawberry and pomegranate, it is lively with a fine acidity and freshness.
In wine shops and supermarkets

Olympos winery
The Hadjipavlou estate of ΕΤΚΟ in Omodos never ceases to surprise with its constantly improving wines. One example is the Xynisteri, light, simple and without sophistication, but with all the Xynisteri characteristics: A light, yellow colour that boosts the feeling of freshness, lively, with the aroma of citrus and fruit such as peach and apple, a superb acidity and a good aftertaste. An honest wine for any occasion.
At wine shops and supermarkets

Tsangarides Winery
A simple, everyday but well produced Xynisteri from Lemona, Paphos, it is fresh, aromatic and very refreshing. Crystal-clear, it has a yellowish, greenish colour. The nose has the range of the Xynisteri, particularly of citrus, it has a superb acidity and a very good fruity aftertaste. You can have it as an aperitif or with dinner, alone, or to accompany fish and light summer dishes.
At select wine shops (Info: 26722777)