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Visiting The New Vlassides Winery!

28/12/2014 - by George Kassianos
Hence, the name given to theses villages Krasochoria, which literary means The Wine Villages (CTO wine route number4).  The area there and the villages are well known for their sightseeing locations, its vineyards and views of Troodos high peaks.  When most people talk about Kilani village they will always bring out the fact that the village is home to a wonderful winery.  Pass the village of Agios Amvrosios and then turn right to Vouni and Kilani you will come across to one of the finest wineries on the island, the new Vlassides winery.  

Any wine drinker knows about Kilani village and the name of Vlassides will always comes up in wine conversations, probably with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or Shiraz opened.   It is a small, regional winery that produces some truly fine wines.  Sophocles Vlassides was, still is, the Syrah legend with several successful vintages, but we have tasted in recent years some exquisite Cabernet Sauvignons and Sauvignon Blanc too.  The Xynisteri and Merlot received good reviews and suddenly a well made rose was in the market this year.  

He is a passionate winemaker, and this passion was his main drive to establish Vlassides Winery in 1998.  He holds a Chemical Engineering degree from Imperial College in London, but his lifelong dream was to make his own wine.  This interest let him study Oenology at the University of California Davis (UC Davis) a world renowned institution for research and teaching in the fields of Viticulture and Oenology.

The new building was conceived and constructed by Heracles Papachristou and is situated between the villages of Kilani and Vouni in 50 acres vineyard, called Koloni.  A key to the design was the attention to detail and to the use of space and state of the art machinery.  You just seat and admire the winery; the tasting room itself invites to taste the wine with the full view of the vineyards. 

But, Sophocles is equally proud of his vineyards as he is of his new winery.   You don’t have to be an expert to realize the care he puts in the vineyard.  Sophocles knows that he will only reach his high standards if he is committed to select the finest fruit, aided by useful information from his meteorological station and several friends from abroad, experts in their fields used as consultants. 

He currently produces over 120,000 bottles annually mostly from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Xynisteri.  He always strives to produce wines from indigenous varieties like the red grape varieties of Maratheftiko and Yiannoudi, and the white varieties of Promara and Morokanella.  Watch this space for some exciting tastings.   

Current Tastings

2014 Lefkos Xinisteri – Sauvignon Blanc €6.50

Pale straw colour, and find the wine light-bodied but leaning toward medium-bodied.  The lead aroma is dried herbs, with more subtle suggestions of flowers (especially lavender) and a suggestion of wild fennel or anise.  The fruit flavours are stone fruits, especially peaches or nectarines, a bit tropical with lemon and citrus fresh apricots notes in the finish along with lots of zesty acidity.  

2014 Sauvignon Blanc €9.30

Limestone sub-soils in the vineyard along with warm summers of Cyprus result in a wonderfully vibrant, fruity wine. Sophocles uses temperature-controlled fermentation in stainless steel vats to create a pure expression of the Sauvignon Blanc grape.  A very approachable, bright yellow and green colour, classic I would say Sauvignon Blanc, zesty with a hint of grass as well as white citrus fruit, pineapple and mango on the nose. It is crisp on the palate, with pronounced but well-balanced acidity.

2014 Rosé Shiraz and Sauvignon Blanc €9.00

A sexy light pink colour with lively hues, this is a unique blend for a rosé which is traditionally made from a blend of red grapes. The nose combines aromas of ripe blood-orange, cherry-drops and pomegranate with fragrant rose flower whiffs. The gorgeously weighted palate balances juicy fruit flavours with racy acidity and finishes on a pleasantly persistent, zesty note.

2013 Erythros – Cabernet Franc, Mataro, Grenache and Agiorgitiko €6.50

Vlassides is one of the first to produce Agiorgitiko on the island, an indigenous red grape variety of Greece.  It has great red fruit and a hint of cocoa in the nose, spicy blueberry as the young red wine dances on the palate with flavours of strawberry, cherry, plum, sweet raspberry, with a touch of spiced apple.  A delicious go to red wine that delivers some complexity and style for its price from an excellent combination of grapes.
012 Shiraz €9.60

The 2012 vintage has a concentrated ruby appearance with purple hues, lifted floral aromas of boysenberry, morello cherry and white pepper. 

The coffee, blueberry, spearmint and cranberry flavours that fill the mouth are present in abundance, with succulent fine grained and natural tannins playing a structural role.  Velvety flavoured and intense in a long lasting aftertaste is the trade mark of Sophocles Vlassides.

2011 Cabenret Sauvignon €10.85

From Cabernet Sauvignon and a small percentage of Cabernet Franc, dark in colour, this polished, suave, approachable style of Vlassides Cabernet is filled with layers of ripe, plush, sweet, black and blue fruits, licorice, vanilla, cocoa and cigar box. It will continue to improve with age, the 14 months in small French oak will ensure for its longevity.  It is an excellent choice for Christmas with the roast turkey.

(Main image: Ch. Demetracopoulos)
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  • 13/06/2014 - by Alison Porter

    I purchased a Silver Ring from your shop on 22/05/14 and I have noticed that a few crystals have come out.

    I have only worn the ring on a couple of occasions.  I am not very pleased as the ring is only a couple of months old.

    Please can you advise.


    Alison Porter


    Silver Ring purchased on 22/05/14

  • 03/04/2014 - by George Kassianos

    Michael Constantinides is now working in co-operation with Othon Ghalanos Distributors. In his late 30s he is a father of two.  This is the man who actually started out as chemical engineer working at the Environmental Service of the Cyprus government.  But he left it behind to enter the wine business.

    Is he part of a family tradition?  Indeed, grandfather and father were making wine but not for commercial use, a mere hobby.  I still remember the first day that he walked into my office holding bottles of his first vintage (2003) of Ayios Chrysostomos and asked to try and rate.  It was good, an honest Xynisteri, but almost as good as his contemporaries at the time.  To me, Michalis is something of a pioneer when it comes in a certain style of his Xynisteri nowadays.  He simply wanted to make a more complex and new world, easy drinking style wine by catching its fruitiness and producing  a combination of forward tropical fruit,  green almond, and green beans flavours and aromas.  

    What is his philosophy then?  He wants to make fruit-forward wines that are balanced and complex, and that finish with harmony on the palate. Balance is the word he keeps coming back to. He doesn’t want anything to stick out. He also wants to capture the aromatics of the terroir, the character of the vineyard. But it's not a complicated thing. It comes down to making wine that enhances a meal, and that people enjoy.  No wonder he puts so much emphasis on his 5.5 hectares of owned vineyards.

    What are the biggest changes since he started then?  One of the biggest changes is just the overall awareness of how to handle each varietal. This starts, obviously, with planting the right varietal in the right place, but now it goes far beyond that, and winemakers now have a lot of innovative equipment to go with our knowledge, and the possibilities to fine-tune things are endless. Back when he started, people treated Shiraz like Cabernet. They beat it up.  Now he makes a classic Shiraz, and he can be as gentle and selective as possible. It's just an evolution, and it's exciting to have experienced it, and to still be a part of it.    

    Asked about the most aspect of making wine he said the most difficult aspect of making wine is the capriciousness of it and those times when you don't have control over the process. The weather is the one thing we don't have any control over and when making the wine problems can arise for seemingly no reason. Wine is a living entity and it can sometimes veer off into unplanned directions for inexplicable reasons. They don't always behave the same throughout the process, including growing the grape

    2011 Ayios Chrysostomos, Pafos Regional Abv 12% €7

    This vibrant, Xinisteri is by no means classically styled.  It presents a brilliant lemon-lime colour. The nose is complex with an array of tropical fruit, some ripe figs, melon and gooseberries turning into green beans and green almonds.  These crisp flavours repeat in the mouth, along with a mineral character followed by a long fruity finish. And the freshness of the acidity is present with the green lemon and lime flavours.  The distinctive aromas support a wonderfully balanced palate, presenting purity of ripe fruit, coupled with a lingering harmonious finish.  Enjoy while summer lasts this Xinisteri fares well with foods that are a bit aromatic, a touch spicy and include citrus flavours. The flavours in Thai cuisine, such as light chilli and lime are sensational with Ayios Chrysostomos. Use fresh herbs whenever possible with this Xinisteri as they help complement the natural herbal quality in the wine. Try a Thai green chicken curry, pad Thai noodles or spring rolls with a sweet chilli dip. Mediterranean salads are a great match – either simply with green leaves and tomatoes, onions and olives or something more substantial such as chicken. Sauvignon Blanc is the best white wine choice for many salads, soups, and green vegetables including asparagus.

    2010 Diomedes, Pafos Regional Abv13%, €6

    Two varietals.  Endless superlatives.  Meet Diomedes the everyday blend of Ezousa, an indulgent red blend sourced from some of the region’s vineyards.  Opaque and onyx coloured, Diomedes offers fruit forward, polished Cabernet Sauvignon and Mourvèdre.   Medium bodied, feisty though this red blend opens with a fragrant ripe blackberry bouquet, dark cherry and brown spice. On the palate, this wine is full bodied, ripe, and very fruit forward. The flavour profile is a very tasty extracted blackberry with notes boysenberry and gently integrated oak. The finish is dry and its fruit flavours and well managed at tannins are nicely prolonged. Melding three celebrated varietals means countless food options: think spicy pizza, baby back ribs or marinated flank steak      

    2011 Eros Rosé Pafos Regional, Abv 13.5%, €8.50

    Why rosé isn't more popular is really a mystery to me, especially during the warm summer months, but it does seems things are changing a bit. I'm a big fan of Maratheftiko and particular rosé, which is exactly what we have here today from Cyprus, a region that is really producing some amazing wines for under €10.

    The 2011 Eros Maratheftiko Rosé begins with very enticing aromas of cherry, strawberries, raspberries, a little watermelon and some really pleasant floral notes in wild roses. Tasting the wine shows nice juicy fruit plus some really good minerality. I could easily and happily sip this all summer and autumn. The finish is dry and leaves a lingering hint of berries and sea salt. You can't help but take another sip. Not super complex, but oh so good. Seriously at €6 buy this wine by the case - it's absolutely perfect for sipping still on a hot summer day plus it'll pair with just about anything you throw at it, like chicken Satay, spring rolls with chilli dipping sauce, herb roast turkey, ratatouille or prosciutto wrapped peaches.

    2008 Metharme Maratheftiko, Pafos Regional Abv 14% €17.50

    The colour of this lovely Maratheftiko is ruby-like, bright in colour. Fruit forward with red, spicy plum and varietal characteristics of dark cherry and blackcurrant. Dry, medium body, with refreshing acidity, once you take a sip you feel a soft entry of ripe plum and raspberry in the forefront supported by background flavours of spice and caramel, which add complexity to this imminently drinkable wine.   The wine is silky texture, harmonious, building momentum as it crosses the palate to a lingering finish.  As for food pairing partnered this superb red wine complements the heartiest foods, especially red meats, barbeque, savoury pasta dishes, and pizza.  This is probably one of the finest Maratheftiko of this particular vintage.  Stunning!!!

    2009 Shiraz, Pafos Regional, Abv14%, €17.50

    The first ever Syrah venture of Michalis, and what a success.  First we have a wine with a stylish package (still rare in Cyprus wines), an attractive shape bottle and simple label.  Deep garnet in colour, aromas of mocha, chocolate and wild dark berries, black cherries and black pepper  waft from the glass with background hints of leather, earthy baking spices (oh those spices) and toasted oak.  Juicy flavors of blackberries and chocolate truffles are enhanced by subtle notes of cardamom, cinnamon, and cocoa powder.  Crisp and a medium level of rounded tannins, lend support to those flavours.  This wine has bold flavors that integrate seamlessly with velvety smooth tannins. The 2009 Ezousa Syrah is polished yet intensely bold and will pair nicely with the strong flavors of lamb, venison or prime rib topped with a dollop of blue cheese.  Delicious now it could be kept easy until 2017

    Ezousa Winery Re-visited.

  • 07/06/2011 - by Zambartas Wineries

    4 Decanter World Wine Awards Medals for Zambartas Wineries

    Zambartas Wineries was awarded with 4 medals at the Decanter World Wine
    Awards. The awards are given by Decanter Magazine, a London based
    international wine magazine, which organises a world wide competition
    every year.

    Two Bronze medals were awarded to Zambartas Rose 2010
    and Zambartas Shiraz-Lefkada 2009. The Zambartas Xynisteri 2010 and
    Zambartas Semillon - Sauvignon Blanc were commended.

    The wines were judged by a tasting panel specialised on wines from the Eastern Mediterranean.

    are happy with the successful participation in the competition, which
    makes it the third year in a row that Decanter has awarded us with
    medals. This shows that our wines can compete successfully, not only on
    local, but also on international level!

    For more information about the competition, please visit:


    4 Decanter World Wine Awards Medals fo...


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