The Cyprus Experience
Just returned from six days vacation in Cyprus. We stayed in two different
places there. Both five-stars resort hotels that are really very nice.
"Aeneas" Hotel in Ayia Napa and "Coral Beach" near Paphos. Ayia Napa is a
tourist resort in the south-eastern part of the island, while Paphos is a small
fishing village that lies on the western tip of the island.
The people, the scenery, the food, the wine and the overall atmosphere is
easy-going and very pleasant. As we stayed in luxury resort hotels, surrounded
by tourists, we did our best to get out - visit the local countryside, eat the
best local food and sample whatever good wines we could get our hands on.
No doubt the best way to sample the local kitchen is to be served a
top-quality 'Mezeh', an endless procession of small plates that can last two
or three hours. From "Hores d'Ouvres" like salad, tahini, tsatsiki, grilled
Haloumi cheese, potatoes etc., through grilled and/or deep fried calamari,
octopus, Barbunias, Cattle-fish, Sword-fish, to pork and lamb delicacies...
Following are a few notes I took of the different wines we sampled in the
order we tasted them.
Non-vintage very aromatic dry white wine made of the local Xinesteri grape.
Light, almost watery in color. Nose is dry and surprisingly sherry-like. Full
bodied and quite pleasant on the palate. Looses its freshness and its aroma
after about 30 minutes.
KEO is the largest and most diverse winery in Cyprus. This non-vintage 'Hock'
has similar characteristics to the Arsinoe 62. It has darker color, but the
nose as well as the taste are really coarse. The worst wine we've tasted
Dry red wine made from a mixture of local grapes. Dark Bordeaux-like color. Soft
and warm fruity aroma, not unlike Merlot. Discernible wood aging. Rich, full and
really tasty. Soft tannins but weak acidity. Very good wine.
Classic dry red wine made from choice local Mavro grapes. Medium dark ruby
color, a little bit fading. Soft and mature fruity aroma with no wood
detected. Full, pleasant and very smooth taste. Good acidity, soft tannins and
silky texture. Perhaps a year or two beyond its peak but still an excellent
1986 GAVA - GRAND RESERVE
The 'top-of-the-line' KEO red wine of which less than 1300 cases are made. I
am told the 1989 vintage was the best in the last 20 years. The wine is made
from rare indigenous Pambakina grape and aged in new wood. Impressive dark
opaque color. Black fruit, pepper and spices on the nose. Aroma that reminded
me of a good Chateauneuf du Pape. Rich elegant and mouthfilling taste.
Extremely long dry-prunes aftertaste. Exquisite balance. Superb wine worth
Non-vintage young light and pleasant white wine. Light color. Fresh acidic
aroma. Crisp, very pleasant uncomplicated taste. Very refreshing and extremely
suitable to accompany the local seafood.
Simple light karaf red wine. Fresh and surprisingly tasty quaff. Unpretentious
yet extremely pleasant nose and taste.
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Jacob "Yak" Shaya.