Xynisteri in depth
Background of the Cypriot Wine trade
Following the tragic events related to the Turkish invasion of 1974, it took some years for both the Cypriot society and its economy to fully recover. It took a toll as well on the development of the viticulture and winemaking sectors, which needed about 1-2 decades to catch up with the global growth.
While the world turned away from oxidized, rustic and generally sweeter wines in the 70's and 80's, the Cypriot market began to follow that trend only in the early 90's.
Today, Cypriot winemaking has reached a very good level and our wines, and our grape varieties can stand on the international wine scene and demands. The new generations are following the global wine scene where some are experimenting with organic farming practices, some are 'playing' with new ways of vinification (orange wine, natural wines) and others are observing and tes8ng the concept of regionalism with different wine results from different sub-regions. of Cyprus.
The legal framework of the Cypriot wine industry follows the European framework where the levels of quality are divided as follows:
- PDO - Protected Designation of Origin (PDO - Protected Designation of Origin)
- PGI - Protected Geographical Indication (PGI)
- Table Wines
The only wines currently in circulation bearing the PDO mark (with a few ‘Xynisteri’ exceptions) are the Commandaria PDO wines. The rest of the wines with Xynisteri indication are simply PGI or otherwise with Geographical indication. In most of Europe where there are activated PDO zones, the criteria to produce these wines are always usually than those with simple geographical indications.
What few people know is that there are approved vineyards for the production of quality PDO with the Xynisteri variety and they are shaped as follows
- PDO Laona-Akamas - min 85%, min 11% alc.
- PDO Vouni Panagias - Ambelitis - min 85%, min 11% alc.
- PDO Krasochoria Limassol - min 85%, min 11% alc.
- PDO Pitsilias - min 85%, min 11% alc.
Let's take a look at the parameters that determine the quality of wine, where these are the character and quality and where our lighthouses should be in the creation and development of such zones (PDO).
The general climate (the average weather or bearer the average weather of an area, which results from the long-term observations of the various meteorological data) but also the soil of each area is what determines the general character of the wine and is something that cannot be altered, or at least cannot be easily altered by human intervention.
The climate in relation to wine, therefore, will determine the following: acidity, aromatic character, phenols and generally the productivity of the plant. Thus, for Xynisteri, the climate is a determining factor since it affects the character of the wine depending on its origin.
- In the wines produced from the warmer areas - PDO Laona-Akama - PGI Paphos - with low altitude), the fermentation characteristics prevail.
- In the wines produced in the milder areas - POP Vouni Panagias-Ambelitis / PGI Paphos and Limassol at an altitude of over 600 meters and POP Krasochoria Limassol - a more metallic and richer character prevail.
- In the cooler areas (PDO Pitsilias and PGI Limassol with high altitude) wines with finer aromas and character.
One of the biggest debates in the wine world is about the role that soil plays in the character of wine. Even if this relationship has not been proven scientifically, everyone in the trade acknowledges it, such as the mineralogy of the wines of Santorini, Chablis, Sancerre, Mosel and many more.
Cyprus is essentially divided into four types of terroirs, but before we look at them in more details, what we all need to understand is that the most important weapon we have in our possession to promote our lands and wines is the story of the birth of the goddess Aphrodite, which is intertwined with the geological birth of Cyprus from the depths of the sea of TeΘys.
Ofiolithos Troodos dominates the central part of the island and is the geological core of Cyprus. It emerged 90 million years ago at the bottom of the TeΘys Sea, which then extended from today's Pyrenees (via the Alps) to the Himalayas. It was created during the complex process of ocean expansion and ocean crust formation through complex tectonic processes, delimited by the two converging lithospheric plates: Eurasian and African. (Birth of Venus)
Ofiolithos Troodos dominates the central part of the island and is the geological core of Cyprus. It emerged 90 million years ago at the bottom of the TeΘys Sea, which then extended from today's Pyrenees (via the Alps) to the Himalayas. It was created during the complex process of ocean expansion and ocean crust formation through complex tectonic processes, delimited.
The Mammoth Complex is a separate and tectonically complex concentration of explosive, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, whose age ranges from 230-75 million years. They are found only in the southern part of Cyprus and mainly in the southwestern part of the province of Paphos.
Despite the intense masonry of the rocks of the Mamonia Zone, the following stratigraphic series are distinct:
- The series of explosions of lava and sedimentary rocks of the Diarizos Group.
- The series of pelagic sedimentary rocks of the Agios Fotios Group.
- These are the highest quality rocks found in some of the best wine production areas on the planet.
Sedimentary Troodos Sequence
PDO Laona Akamas - Formation I sat down characterized by sedimentation on the ophiolite Troodos and Mamonia (65cm)
- PDO Krasohoria Lemesou - Thick Formation consisting mainly of subcutaneous marls and flakes.
- PDO areas are at altitudes greater than 600 meters (23-7cm)
- Sub-areas of Afamis and Laona with an altitude of more than 750 meters
What the future holds for the Cypriot Xynisteri? Well, probably for the first time in its history it has the option of having international career.
With almost 20 years in the wine field under our belt and following the developments of the wine industry around the world, in 2019, we made the decision to proceed with our first winemaking. For us, we could not begin producing wine from another variety than the than the Xynisteri one.
Our first idea was to go to the village of our mothers, Trimiklini, in the Krasochoria area of Limassol and that has a very long tradition in viticulture. Some of the most carefree and happy memories of our childhood come from the time when our blessed grandfather (a huge patriarchal figure) used to gather the whole family every August for the grape harvest!
In the village, we discovered an incredible vineyard, almost forty years old that one of our uncles agreed to work together to produce this wine.
The vineyard is located in the area of Limnarka with an altitude of 600 meters northwest of the village to the border and with Moniatis and with a south-southeast orientation. The area lays at the foot of Troodos mountains. Right after the village the change in the morphology of the soil is obvious. In the area of Limnarka we observe the intense limestone soils, and which can give a different dimension to the wine depending of course and on the way of vinification.
We made the bold decision to follow a winemaking method used in many white varieties on the planet where the producer wants to give the most natural an expressive character to his wine. This method is none other than the aging of the wine together with the so-called noble wine lees for a period of 6 - 8 months.
We brought to Cyprus the first concrete egg-type tank from Frnace, from, the most famous producer of this type of tanks on the planet from France: the Nomblot company. Everything then was ready for our first harvest.
On September 9, at 3 o'clock in the morning, the team of Vino Cultura and the restaurant Rous left in full force with a lot of coffee to reach for the vineyard before dawn, that’s where we started our wine path.
We chose to harvest very early to get the grapes to the winery as cool as possible to retain as much freshness as possible in the juice and therefore in the wine.
The fermentation was completed by the end of September and after the first thawing, the process of maturation in the egg began, which was completed in mid-March.
The 2000 bottles of 75cl and 100 bottles of 150cl.
Very characteristic is the presence of minerality in the wine typical quality wines from vineyards to limestone soils.