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By Peter Stevenson MEMBERS of Volunteer Doctors Cyprus have treated around 350 people at their free clinic in Nicosia since it opened three months ago, while two more, one in Paphos and one in Polis are due to open today. Limassol also has a free clinic, which was opened only last month, and plans have been drawn ...
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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Wines with George Kassianos ]

Wines with George Kassianos

Harvest at Anoyira

Helping pick the grapes makes an oenophile more conscious of what has gone into producing wine

Wine is undeniably the result of a series of chemical phenomena, the result of a series of complex processes and to make a good wine, it is indispensable to have, first of all, quality grapes. When quality grapes are available, the only preoccupation is to process them properly.

If it is true a quality grape can only be ruined, the opposite it is not true: a bad quality grape cannot be improved and you cannot expect to make a good wine from it. The old saying ‘wine is made first of all in the vineyard’ represents an indisputable truth. Moreover, having quality grapes not only means obtaining a better wine, but also making a limited use of the oenologist involved.

These thoughts were going through my mind one early morning last month in the picturesque Anoyira village. We were harvesting Chardonnay at Domaine Nicolaides small Chardonnay vineyard just outside the village. It was the first day of harvesting and about 30 people turned up.

What determines the harvesting period though? The integrity of the grapes and the type of wine to be made. The moment of harvesting is usually determined when the grape is considered to be sufficiently ripe or when it reaches its highest level of ripeness expressed by its sugar content. The control of grape ripeness is complex, especially in Cyprus with the excessive heat - as it is necessary to analyse the quantity of the main components in relation to the type of wine to be made.

At the time of harvesting, it is important the grape has the best balance of sugar, acids and colouring substances. During the ripening process the sugar increases, the acid decreases and colouring substances and aromas increase. A taste of the freshly picked Chardonnay certainly proved this point.

We were all taught the best way to harvest grapes at the beginning and how not to damage them. After all, the rule “a good wine is obtained from a good grape” must be scrupulously followed during the operation of harvesting. This means the grape must arrive at the winery sound and undamaged after attention has been paid to not crushing the clusters at the stem and gently laying them in a small harvesting basket. The basket is then emptied into small cases containing about 15-17kg so the clusters at the bottom are not crushed by those on top.

Nicos’ father transported the empty boxes to the winery by tractor. The total production of the day was 2.8 tones, enough for 3,000 bottles. The berries were de-stemmed and then gently crushed and piped to a stainless steel tank to allow an overnight contact with the skin. The temperature was dropped to 8-10°C; a long cold night awaited the grapes. The maceration process was due to start the following day, with cold maceration ensuring high retention of aromas. Let the grapes be cold then, just what we would have wished for as it was close to midday and the August heat was unbearable. This did not prevent us from enjoying our stuffed vine leaves, village salad and kleftiko that was served afterwards with the refreshing Domaine Nicolaides Ros? and a slightly chilled 2003 Maratheftiko – one of the last six bottles.

The result of our efforts – Domaine Nicolaides’ Chardonnay 2009 will be featured sometime in January. What was most important was the fact that 30 oenophiles will appreciate this Chardonnay, in fact any wine, thinking of the troubles and hardships the winemaker, the oenologist has to go through so that they can enjoy this precious liquid.

Domaine Nicolaides, Anoyira, Tel: 25 333821, 25 221709

Wines of the Week

Non Vintage Ayioklima, Constantinou Winery, Pera Pedi, Lemesos Regional, abv 12.5%

This is the medium dry version of the dry Xinisteri based Ayioklima (honeysuckle) from Costas Constantinou. It is presented in a stylish blue bottle, its lemon yellow colour once poured in the glass, soon erases the blue memory. The aroma opens up once warmed a bit to reveal classic grassy, lime and herbal notes mixed with some tropical - particularly passion fruit and melon. Mellower on the palate with some generous weight, with more citrus notes and sweet fruit that blend well with crispy, apple acidity, the aftertaste is dryer than the label suggests. €3.75

Non Vintage Constantinou Medium Dry red, Constantinou Winery, Pera Pedi, Lemesos Regional, abv 13%

This is a blend of red grape varieties (Grenache, Mataro and Cabernet Sauvignon), bright ruby colour with velvet notes. Intense red fruit aromas on the nose - maraschino cherry and red plums, roses and raisin with warm, sweet spice in the background. This light to medium body red has a palate that shows some spicy fruit with herbal notes and some dusty tannin, medium acidity and a sweet spice finish. Cool for a while before serving. €3.75

2006 Velvet, Constantinou Winery, Pera Pedi, Lemesos Regional, abv 13%

Velvet has a similar blend of grapes to the medium dry red, the colour vibrant red with some purple tints. This is a stunning, complex wine, still a young red that exudes the powerful characteristics of all three varietals. On the nose, raspberry fruit with a hint of rose petals and violets, some toffee apple and caramel. The palate is fleshy and round, complemented by soft tannins and rich spices. A lingering finish allows you to continue enjoying the wine well after it has gone. €3.75

2007 Shiraz, Constantinou Winery, Pera Pedi, Lemesos Regional, abv 13.5 %

The silver-medal winner Shiraz, intense cherry red colour, the bouquet is lifted with notes of smoked meat, bacon, game, garrique, blackberries, cherries, pepper, dark chocolate and a hint of lavender. On the palate the wine has good acidity and fine tannin structure. It is dry and medium bodied with medium alcohol, a touch hot on the finish, with peppery cherry notes and a hint of chocolate. €6.90

Constantinou Winery, Tel: 25 470370

(Source: Cyprus Mail)
Copyright © Cyprus Mail 2008 Please contact Cyprus Mail for the copyright terms of this article.

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