For The Love Of Wine.
Is this a guide? Not really. My guess - something in between.
I am referring to the new wine book published on Cyprus wine. The authors are Christiane Stemberg and Marcos Gittis. I do not know much about the authors, Christiane and I met once in Nicosia and what a coincidence…at a book presentation. But there is one thing that I remember from this brief encounter and that is the author’s passion on wine.
The book really steps into the footprints of the wines of Cyprus and it is actually a pleasant reading. At one level the book is an incredibly detailed, practical guide that informs about the “quaint planting rituals and handpicked grapes, about the oldest wine in the world and about the world and about the imagination with which the people of Cyprus make use of the abundance of the vine”.
Simply the book conveys information to the wine buff – practical especially for freshmen to get to know the wine in Cyprus. And this makes it an excellent choice for the tourists visiting the island. Marcos Gittis is an accomplished photographer; the book is beautifully illustrated mostly with his own photos. They are both discerning food and wine writers, but above all they seem to be travellers with an extraordinary ability to engage with places and people.
Whether she is describing vintners and wineries or how the wine gets to the glass, the philosophy of iconic winemaker Dionysius the Abbot of Chrysorogiatissa or soutzioukos under the chapter on wine products call Down to the last drop, what she conveys in her uncluttered, often intimate style a sense of place and personalities that makes you itch to visit now.
The first chapter traces the origins of wine, and then it brings you up to date with the wine regions, grape varieties and planting ritual but still focused a lot on traditional ways. The human element in winemaking come s next, wine producers, harvesting with families and friends, the author is romancing the days when villagers sung songs during harvest. The author then takes back in time and present at the same chapter as she asks pithari or tanks, old versus modern methods of winemaking - this being the main theme of chapter four. The wine for Kings comes next Commandaria along with Zivania in chapter five followed in six by the wine products and an interesting chapter on the comeback of the Cyprus wine. Wine calendar follows mentioning the various festivals, sights, wine routes; an example of a test sheet is presented. And this is the whole idea; there are no “dry explanations” but really a pleasant reading. There are many things about wine, festivities, phrase book on Cyprus wine and pronunciations in Greek too, as well as recipes and menu with wine. And we must not forget the comprehensive map of the wine routes at the back cover. The service chapter as the author states “ensures the initial passion for Cyprus wines shall not only be a mere flash in the pan”
With this excellent background information all potential connoisseurs and wets the appetite of any freshman for the wines of Cyprus.
For the love of Wine, is published by CIPS Ltd and retails €10.50 both in Cyprus bookshops and online (Amazon and www.cips.com.cy)
Wines of the Week
Monograph by Gaia (Imported by Senaga Trading Ltd)
After tasting Thalassitis and Ktima Gaia of Santorini and Nemea vineyards respectively the new wines from Gaia which come under the name Monograph are tested. Gaia introduces three single three single variety wines with a protected geographical indication, from Moscophilero, Roditis and Agiorgitiko grapes. The Monograph series offers consumers great values for money, fruity aromas, elegance and the characteristic palettes of these three Greek indigenous, grape varieties
2012 Monograph by Gaia Roditis, Protected Geographical Indication Peloponnese, Abv 12%, €7
A dry wine made from the 100% Roditis grapes. Pale silver straw colour, with a kind of cheese, leesy aromas then the nose is packed with red appley, ripe pair and citrus as well as herbs On the palate the wine has a medium bodied, with high acidity and creamy pear, lemony citrus and grapefruit peel. There was a slightly nutty, roasted hazelnut kind of flavour as well, though it wasn’t very pronounced. The acidity really kept this wine alive despite its relatively advanced age. It is characterized by a long refreshing aftertaste
For the money, it's a nice white wine that would be good with light chicken dishes or grilled fish or anything you might pair a unoaked or lightly oaked Chardonnay with.
2012 Monograph by Gaia Moschofilero, Protected Geographical Indication Peloponnese, Abv 12%, €7
A 100% Moschofilero wine yellowish in colour, with shimmy silvery highlights. A fresh wine with a characteristic bouquet of intense floral with hints of rose petals, melon and citrus aromas. This is a well balanced with crunchy acidity, intense flavours on the palate with intense flavour and long aromatic aftertaste (orange blossom, grapefruit) and a long fruity aftertaste. It pairs well with Fish soup, spring rolls, and asparagus with lemongrass cappuccino or Falafel with tabbouleh.
2012 Monograph By Gaia Agiorgitiko, Protected Geographical Indication Peloponnese, Abv13%, €7
Agiorgitiko can be grown successfully in hot climates and is fashioned into varying styles of wine, from soft, low-acid, easy-going examples through to full-bore wines capable of great ageing. Also known as St George, Agiorgitiko - or Aghiorghitiko - is the most widely planted red variety in Greece.
This dry red wine by Agiorgitiko grapes has a medium deep purple-tinted ruby colour. The nose has a medium intensity aroma but a particular purity and refinement. Good aromas include nut paste and dry spice and berry-ish - almost pastille-like - black cherry fruit. There is something of the biscuit tin here, as well as a slightly smoky meatiness. Relatively complex, for this young age, meanders between blackcurrant, caramel, butter and distinctive wood. It is very soft with round tannins that highlight a relatively rich structured body. Excellent with veal stew with onions, chicken yakitori, green peppercorn steak with rosemary butter or lamb stuffed based vegetables.