The Winemaker’s Story of the Xynisteri Single Vineyard 2017

The Vineyard

The vineyard was planted in Spring of 1989; at a moment that I was a young boy, probably not too eager to return to primary school in Nicosia after the Easter holidays. I could have never imagined that skipping 25 years, the vineyard was purchased by our winery and the vision of a Xynisteri Single Vineyard label would start to morph.

The vineyard is unique in many ways. Its south-west orientation allows for enough sunshine hours to ripen the grapes and thus expressing their aromatic potential. Indeed, apart from the characteristic citrus aroma of the variety, this wine exhibits floral scents which are only achieved when Xynisteri grapes are fully ripe and produced in moderate yields (Both these conditions are difficult to meet when a Xynisteri wine is made in tens of thousands of liters from different vineyards).

For the fact that we can cultivate this vineyard with organic practices, I must praise the previous owner’s ability to shape the vines in an ‘open’ goblet style. This allows the wind to pass through the canopy of the vines and curb the built-up of population of fungus and other ailments of the vine due to reduced humidity. Therefore, spraying is scarcely needed in the vineyard, which allows the full expression of the Xynisteri gape variety.

The winemaking

As we use organic practices in the vineyard, I also decided to ferment the wine naturally. I believe the full expression of the Xynisteri grape variety can only be achieved by using its indigenous yeast rather than industrially propagated yeast. Indigenous yeast of many different strains lives on grape berries. Once fermentation starts, they produce a unique complex aroma of different citrus fruit and white flowers. Using only indigenous yeast is a risky endeavor since the yeast can also produce off-flavours that cannot be ‘blended away’, since Zambartas Single Vineyard Xynisteri is produced in just 2000L yearly. The following 6-month aging in big oak barrels enriches the wine with body and length.

The wine style

The Zambartas Single Vineyard Xynisteri is an innovative wine style for the Cyprus wine scene. It exhibits a very complex and unique aroma of citrus, white flowers and sweet spice. Much fuller and fresher than the typical Xynisteri wine, it pairs very well with big grilled fish and white meat.

The Screw cap

No, it is not just my ‘Australian’ training, which guided the choice for screwcap! The whole Zambartas team worked really hard for the whole year to reach the high quality and complexity of the aroma of this wine. I would not leave anything to chance to compromise it. Even the best corks have a chance of allowing too much oxygen to pass through to the wine thus developing the wine too fast. Hence the choice of using a screw cap from one of the leading manufacturers in Austria was imperative. And in any case, you might find yourself at a picnic site without a corkscrew!

Marcos Zambartas,

Winemaker

 

The grapes at harvest

Hand harvesting with our team of local people from the wine villages

Transporting the grapes in small crates protects them from damages

Xynisteri Single Vineyard 2017

Winemaker’s Wife – The story of the New Single Vineyard label

A modern and easily distinguishable label. Different from the Zambartas Range, and at the same time in line with our characteristic style. Something that expresses the vineyard. The soil. The vines. The beauty of its age. The typical way it is cultivated. The robust character of a vine in a hot climate.  Something that touches on the essence of a Single Vineyard Range. And finally, something that makes the label ‘ours’.

All of the above sum up pretty well what we looked for when we decided to give our Xynisteri Single Vineyard (and the Single Vineyard range to follow) a new jacket. Not an easy task to express that in a label and how to find the artist?

Things fell into place relatively quickly once we decided that this could be another unique ‘family’ project. We have always cherished the fact that our family created the winery and wines, so why not extend this to the labels also? My father (and Marcos’ father-in-law), Gerard, always had a big talent for sketching and painting. Since his retirement, he has picked up the pencil more frequently  and recently graduated from the Arendonk Art Academy in Belgium. He has an inherent love for nature and very much enjoys helping out at the winery during his stays in Cyprus. Bingo, one plus one is two!

So, Gerard got his sketchbook and headed to the vineyard on a cool autumn afternoon and started sketching the different shapes of vines. Old bush vines can have beautiful artistic shapes and none of them are the same. Each one of them grows in a unique way. After a study, some photographs and a few aquarelles he came to his final sketch which is now on the new label.

We immediately loved it and ask our graphic designer to blend it in with our modern labels. The result is, in our modest opinion 😉, very refined and yet modern. We are very proud that we yet again managed to include a family member’s talent in our product and especially Marleen is excited to see her proud dad!

Family.Creation.Nature.Synergy.

These are the four words that we choose to feature on the new label. I think the story of the evolution of the label fits these four words perfectly.

We love it. We hope you do as well!

 

Love,

A winemaker’s Wife

 

Ps: Yes, it is under screwcap! We decided to go against prevailing opinions and attitudes in Cyprus, because we believe screwcap is a very good closure for quality wines. Marcos will explain in his winemaker’s notes why.

Gerard and Marcos during a visit to the Xynisteri Vineyard in December

Harvesting the Xynisteri Single Vineyard together with Theo in 2016

Winemaker’s wife -‘Apricot Walnut Lavender Cake’

The season of stonefruits started in Cyprus, a mark for the start of summer! I personally love all stone fruits; apricots, plums, peaches, nectarines… They are a source of antioxidants, the kids adore them and their full sweet taste and balanced acidity make them perfect for baking and cooking desserts.

In Cyprus they are grown in abundance. Our local grocery store stacks full crates of them as soon as you enter the door. Even the petrol station in our village sells them by the bag, for a few euros only, brought by locals in their open pick-up trucks.

Last week, we had 20 journalists over to see our newly renovated winery.  After an abundant lunch of local Cypriot food and wine, we offered them a barrel sample taste of our 2011 Commandaria. I had to think of a cake, preferably seasonal, that would go nicely with the sweet dessert wine. I immediately thought of my ‘always-a-winner-recipe’, which I baked many times for the winery team during the harvest. The Apricot Walnut Lavender Cake. The cake is perfectly combined with a sweet wine or just very tasty with a cup of coffee or tea.

All ingredients are readily available in Cyprus, and you can even find most of them from local producers.

Ingredients:

185g unsalted butter, diced and at room temperature
2 tbsp walnut oil
220g caster sugar
120g ground almonds
4 medium eggs, beaten
120g ground walnuts
90g plain flour
½ tsp vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1½ tsp picked lavender flowers, fresh or dry
Salt
600g (gross) apricots, halved and stones removed

For the icing
50g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Heat the oven to 170C/335F/gas mark 3. Put the butter, oil, sugar and almonds in the bowl of a mixer and beat on a medium-high speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs bit by bit, making sure each addition is well incorporated before beginning the next, then fold in the walnuts, flour, vanilla, lemon zest, a teaspoon of lavender flowers and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt.

Line the base and sides of a 23cm cake tin with greaseproof paper. Pour in the cake mix and use a palette knife to level it out. Arrange the apricot halves skin side down and slightly overlapping all over the top of the cake, taking them right to the edge.

Bake for 70-80 minutes – cover with foil if the top starts to brown too much; also, note that when you insert a skewer to test for doneness, it will come out a little sticky because of all the moisture in the apricots.

While the cake is baking, whisk together the icing sugar and lemon juice until you have a light, pourable icing (adjust the amount of sugar or juice slightly, to suit your tastes). As soon as the cake is cooked, remove from the oven and brush the icing all over the top. Sprinkle over the remaining lavender flowers and set aside to cool.

Recipe from: Plenty More by Yotam Ottolenghi

Enjoy!

Love,

A Winemaker’s Wife

Annual Open Doors 9-10 June

We welcome you to our annual Open Doors event on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 June. We are especially excited this time, as we will be receiving you in our new tastingroom!

Participate in a guided tour of the winery and taste our wines on our beautiful veranda. We will offer a sneak-peek taste our newly bottled Xynisteri Single Vineyard 2017.

Got hungry after the tasting? No problem! We made special BYO ( Bring Your Own) arrangements with Stou Kyr Yianni Restaurant, To Katoi Restaurant in Omodos and Ariadne Taverna in Vasa. You may take your Zambartas bottle there to drink during your lunch if you order Mezedes. Reservations required, please mention ‘Open Doors Zambartas’ when making the reservation. Enjoy 🙂

Free Entrance; Children welcome! (Baby changing facilities/colouring books and snacks)

This event is co-hosted by our colleague wineries: Argirides Winery in Vasa, Vlassides Winery in Koilani, Tsiakkas Winery in Pelendri and Kyperounta Winery in Kyperounta.

-GREEK-

Τα οινοποιεία Αργυρίδη, Βλασσίδη, Ζαμπάρτα, Κυπερούντα και Τσιάκκα σας καλωσορίζουν στην ετήσια εκδήλωση «Ανοιχτές Πόρτες». Γνωρίστε την Κυπριακή οινοποιία μέσα από τις ξεναγήσεις στα οινοποιεία και τις γευστικές δοκιμές των κρασιών τους.

Είσοδος ελεύθερη

New Tasting Room Open!

We are very excited to announce that our new tasting room is officially open! After a long process of planning and executing the renovation, we have now turned the winery’s top floor in a state-of-the-art modern tasting area. We have a beautiful bar, a fireplace for the winter and a lovely open veranda overlooking the valley of Agios Amvrosios.

The winery’s tastingroom is open 7 days per week for visits during the summer season. We are happy to host individuals and groups, and offer different types of experiences. We can sit up to 25 people for seated tastings and up to 35-40 for informal non-seated tasting sessions.

Please visit our ‘Visit Us’ section for more details on the different tasting experiences and packages that we offer.

We hope to welcome you soon!

The Zambartas Family & Hospitality Team

Distribution Partnership with Vassos Eliades Ltd.

We would like to announce that our wines are now distributed throughout Cyprus by Vassos Eliades Ltd. We have entered into a longterm partnership, whereby Vassos Eliades Ltd will carry out the distribution and sales of Zambartas Wines to Hotels, Restaurants, Wineshops and other Retailers. 

Vassos Eliades Ltd is one of the biggest trading companies in Cyprus. Its main activities are the importation, sale and distribution of consumer goods through all the trade channels of the market. The range of products distributed is wide, ranging from foodstuffs, wines, spirits and coffees, to luxury watches and  jewellery.

Our wines will be part of  Vassos Eliades Ltd’s respectable wine and spirits’ portfolio, which among others also includes Nico Lazaridi wines, Domaine Papagiannakos, Miraval Provence and Champagne Jacquart.

Vassos Eliades Ltd bears the name of its founder, the late Vassos K. Eliades who founded the company in 1933, after being employed by Nestlé as their representative for the Cyprus market. Vassos Eliades Ltd is today a third generation family owned company, which very much adheres to the same family and business values as Zambartas Wineries.

Vassos Eliades Ltd. also offers a ‘Home& Office Service’, which takes care of private orders and can deliver our wines at your doorstep. For orders and information, please contact: Anna Constantinou – Tel: 97 850 000

Cyprus Wine Tasting at Vintners’ Hall London

On Monday 12 March we successfully participated in a Cyprus Wine Tasting at Vintners’ Hall in London organised by the Cyprus High Commission in the UK. The tasting showcased 15 Cypriot wine producers and was focussed on people in the winetrade, journalists, buyers and informed consumers. Caroline Gilby MW and Demetri Walters MW held masterclasses highlighting Cypriot indigenous grape varieties, which gave those interested a really in depth introduction to the Cypriot wineworld.

We are very pleased with this opportunity to reach out to the London wine public.

Special thanks to:

Costas Dafos – Cyprus High Commission in London

Caroline Gilby MW

Demetris Walters MW

Caroline Gilby MW, Costas Tsiakkas, Marcos Zambartas, Demetri Walters MW

Tasting in preparation

Our Corporate Christmas Gift Catalogue 2017

Zambartas Wineries has the full range of wines available for Corporate Christmas Gifts. We offer different size and type of packaging and can deliver the wines within 3 working days to your premises.

We invite you to have a look at our catalogue for more information and different options: Corporate Gifts Zambartas Wineries 2017 – Christmas

Please contact us at 25 94 24 24 or marleen@zambartaswineries.com

 

Zambartas Wine Dinner at Vrakas Restaurant in Pissouri – 15 December

We invite you to join us for an evening of culinary delight on Friday 15 December at Vrakas Restaurant in Pissouri. Experience our wines paired with a 5-course dinner, especially designed by the chef and sommelier to match our wines perfectly.

A fanatastic opportunity for a night out with great food and wine to get in the Christmas spirit! We hope to see you there!

For more information, the menu and to make your reservation, please visit here: http://ovrakas.com/o-vrakas-zambartas-wine-dinner/

Or call at Vrakas Restaurant: +357 25 221 940  or +357 99 312 443

Winemaker’s Wife, “Winemaker’s Widow?”

August started and it seems the whole of Europe is on holidays. I receive pictures from all my friends on the beach, sightseeing and relaxing… From the moment I met Marcos, and we decided things would get ‘serious’, I knew that I would never be going for holidays anymore in August! Instead I would be either working hard or be at home waiting for him while he is busy with the harvest.

Over the years I got used to the idea that August to October are our peak months; grape sampling early in the morning, harvesting, sorting, fermenting, filling and emptying barrels, laboratory work, blending… The most crucial months of the year for a winery and therefore also the most intense and stressful for the winemaker. These are the months the wines need to be made and it is key to avoid mistakes and stay focused at all times.

Some years ago, Akis told me that during a harvest he and Marcos did in New Zealand, he heard of a club of women that called themselves the ‘Winemakers’ Widows’. Some strong Kiwi humour! They gathered up for drinks as winemakers’ spouses during harvest, because what to do when you hardly see your husband for 2 months? Right…you find women alike and you drink away your misery ?

The truth is that they can be tough months as Marcos gets up before dawn (and usually wakes me and Sebastian up without meaning to) and most evenings only comes back when Sebastian is deep asleep and I am trying to keep my eyes open for him. He comes home, either dusty from the vineyards or with a t-shirt full of juice stains, smelling of fermentations; but above all usually exhausted.

Did you know that during vintage the winemaker does rounds, 2x per day, just like a doctor sees his patients in the hospital? Instead of patients, the winemaker sees each of his tanks and ferments to measure their progress on fermentation, temperature, colour extraction and tannins. If you find out during your evening round that something is not going as planned you need to ‘fix’ it as soon as possible. I remember nights where Marcos worked all around the clock, because during the evening round it became clear they could not wait another 12 hours before pressing off a red wine from its skins, because it would get too tannic…

They are decisions that have to be made quickly, but well thought of and can have an irreversible impact on the final quality of the wine. During these months, there is only one focus and that is to make the best wine possible. Marcos lives in his own world and always jokes he only answers the phone to me, his mom and our viticulturalist Christodoulos. Well…at least I am still first in his list!

Don’t think though that I am suffering too much from all of this. Of course I also ‘live the excitement’ of the harvest as new wines are being made and energy levels at the winery are high! I make my contribution by bringing the team some homemade cakes and snacks to keep going or take Sebastian to ‘help’ his dad for a couple of hours. He already fills up buckets with water if needed!

When the end of October comes, the evenings get cooler and the last grapes are processed, I slowly get back my husband and our family life. That is always satisfying, especially when we can have a first taste of the new wines together and cheer to a successful vintage!