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!

Wild boars, a city girl and a big appetite for learning the craft! – Meet this year’s interns at Zambartas

This year our vintage team is joined by Marie Tabar, 3rd year student of Enology at SupAgro Montpellier and Natalia Kataiftsi, who just finished her masters in Viticulture & Enology in Thessaloniki. Marie will be assisting Marcos in the winery, whereas Natalia’s focus will be mostly on the vineyards, where she helps Christodoulos.

So ladies, let’s introduce you to our readers! Where & how did you grow up?

Marie I have grown up in a little village of south of France, close to Montpellier, hidden in the country side. My father is also winemaker, and I used to help him in the vineyards since I was young but I really started to learn about viticulture and oenology since February in Montpellier SupAgro. We are also cultivating cépages that you find here in Cyprus like Mourvèdre, Syrah and Alicante Bouschet. In the south of France, we have got our own problems in the vineyards; like wild boars eating all the grapes when the harvest season begins and why not also to have a little stroll inside the winery!

Natalia I am from Thessaloniki, the second biggest city of Greece and I have lived there my whole life. So, I’m a city girl!  I live in an apartment with my parents and I ‘love’ how close we are with my neighbours… I am one of twins; please don’t ask me if we look like, because my answer is that ‘all twins are different’!  Living in a big city, I didn’t have any relation with vineyards or wineries, but it’s never too late…

Natalia, coming from a big city, how do you deal with the rural life? Any fears?

Haha! Yes, I have a lot of fears, such as the quietness of the village, the variety of the fauna (like insects, spiders and some other lovely organisms) and the ‘clean’ air!

How did your interest in wine develop?

Marie I have always been interested in agriculture and I started studying agronomy in Clermont-Ferrand first. After some internships in the wine field, I have chosen to follow the viticulture and oenology option in Montpellier to get specialized and be able to work in wineries.

Natalia A lot of people know early what is the purpose of their life; “become a doctor or a professor”. Unfortunately, I wasn’t in this category, it took me some years to understand that I wanted to occupy myself with the wine production. So, it was just in the second year of my undergraduate program when I realised what I wanted. I then followed the Master of Oenology and Viticulture in Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. I love wine and I think that it is a very “elegant” product that every person can find the wine which suits it to him/her. I feel that it also expresses our civilization. If we can produce great wines, it means that we are citizens with great expectations for our life and for our society.

What is your favourite food & wine combination?

Marie I really enjoy having a Sunday lunch in family with a leg of lamb and a Chateau-Neuf-du-Pape!

Natalia A great combination of food and drink means automatically the great experience we lived in a specific day, with the specific people and with your specific feeling or mood. So, when I was in Paris for my brother’s graduation, we went to a supermarket and as we didn’t have a lot of money, we bought a French red dry wine, a French baguette and some French cheeses like Camembert, Roquefort etc, and then we went to the cosy “Airbnb” house which we rented and had our wine. It was nothing ‘special’, but it was something that I kept in my memory.  

What is your first impression of Cyprus vineyards and wines?

Marie The first thing that surprised me in Cyprus is the topography of the vineyards. I am not used to see the vines in terraces like here. I didn’t think either that I would find cépages from France like Sémillon!

Natalia A lot of small scattered plots of vineyards in sometimes ‘desert’ like conditions and the high quality of their wines! It’s just amazing. This shows us that the vineyards are “organisms”, which can adjust to a wide range of environments.

What do you expect to learn during your stay with us?

Marie This is my first real vintage, so I hope to learn as much as possible about how to decide the dates of harvest, how to deal with the grapes arriving in the winery, and of course how to make a good wine with it!

Natalia I hope to learn as much as possible during my short stay in your winery. From viticulture practices to the vinification processes. From wine tourism to contacts with “friends of wine”.  Whatever I learn will be beneficial to me!

Last, but not least; tell us your favourite wine related expression!

Marie Après la soupe un verre de vin évite la visite du médecin!  – ‘After the soup, a glass of wine to prevent us from a doctor’s visit!’

Natalia Τα δικά σου αμπέλια φράξε και τα ξένα μην γυρεύεις – ‘Fence your own vineyards and don’t go around in the other’s’ –  Basically this means that people should mind their own business, before bothering what others do!

Thanks ladies and welcome again to Cyprus!

A Winemaker’s Wife – Australia in our heart!

The visit of our Australian friends last week to Cyprus, threw Marcos and I back in time 10 years (!), to the place where our story started.  Down under, between the vines and kangaroos, Marcos became a winemaker and I entered the Zambartas story.

Australia is really at the heart of our winery and family in many ways. It was Marcos bold decision to study winemaking there, instead of in Europe, and fly to the other side of the world for almost 2 years to learn the craft. He got accepted at Adelaide University and spend many hours studying with his class mates from all corners of the world. He learned that making good wine is a science and at the same time acquired his no-nonsense approach to the job. Hands-on, hardworking and not losing focus, are what I believe are the trademarks Australian trained winemakers.

Marcos and I met there, as I enrolled in an exchange semester studying History and lived in Adelaide for 6 months. We first met over a few beers along with our friends, but I soon turned to wine and a whole new world opened for me. At that time, the winery here in Cyprus was nothing yet, but an architectual drawing. I also still remember the one picture decorating Marcos’ student room; a print out of a bottle of ‘Zambartas Rose’; to remind himself from time to time what he was spending all his hours studying for.

Besides the many hours of studying Marcos did (I did much less to be honest), we got the time to visit some fantastic wineries in McLaren Vale, the Adelaide Hills and of course in the famous Barossa Valley. From the famous big boys such as Penfolds to exciting small boutique wineries such as Samuel’s Gorge.

One day a group of ‘winemakers-to-be’ and friends gathered at 5 AM in the morning, to visit a winery called ‘Noon’, which only opens 1 weekend per year and sells all its production in that weekend. Yes… people were queuing at 5AM to get their hands on maximum 12 bottles of wine per person. Not only that, when the gate opened, people started running and we saw people pushing…. In my down-to-earth Dutch approach I thought this was bit too much, but I nevertheless enjoyed the day out, especially the BBQ breakfast (with sausages, bacon & sparkling shiraz) in the vineyard at 6 AM.

We also got introduced to Australian wine packaging standards, where 150 dollar bottles are put under screwcap and Marcos’ secret preference for screwcaps was created. We ran into wine labels with names such as ‘bitch’ and ‘my father in law’, unthinkable in Cyprus back then and even now. Marcos was even daring (or stupid?) enough to order a wine called ‘dirty girls’ on one of our first dates. It turned out to be a great Semillon and a fun date!

On the many BYO BBQ’s (stands for Bring Your Own Barbeques) there was a lot of beer (‘It takes a lot of beer to make good wine’ the Australian winemakers say), fantastic wine, kangaroo meat and strong humour. Friendships were created and we are now blessed to have winemaking friends all over the world.

A fantastic time, when lasting memories were made. A time that brought Marcos his knowledge and experience to build the Zambartas brand.  A time also, that was the beginning of our family. Funny enough, Sebastian, up to last week had no favourite teddy to sleep with. Until he was given a kangaroo as a present. ‘Skippy’ now goes everywhere with him; as if he knows his ‘roots’ and maybe his future?

Cheers to that!

Love a winemaker’s wife,

Summer Salad with Dades and Almonds paired with Zambartas Rose

I discovered this salad a few years ago in one of my favorite cooking books* and it quickly became a ‘regular’ on the Zambartas’ family table.  It is a perfect side dish or starter for a bbq party, but also delicious on its own for a light summer lunch or dinner wit a glass of Rose.  The mix of dades and almonds, which give the salad a sweet note, is perfectly balanced by the vinegard and lemon.

The great thing is that all ingredients are readily available in Cyprus, as they are essentials in the local cuisine!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbspoon of white vinegar
  • half midsize red onion, thinly sliced
  • 100gr dades, pits removed, cut in quarters in the length
  • 30 gr butter
  • 2 tbspoons olive oil
  • 2 small pita breads, appr. 100gr, torn apart in pieces of 4 cm
  • 75gr whole unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
  • 2 tspoons of Sumak
  • 0.5 tspoon  dried chili flakes
  • 150 gr young fresh spinach, washed
  • 2 tbspoons lemon juice
  • salt

Put the vinegar, onion, and dates in a small bowl. Add a pinch of salt and mix well with your hands. Leave to marinate for 20 minutes, then drain away any residual vinegar and discard.

Meanwhile, heat the butter and half of the olive oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the pita and almonds and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring all of the time, until the pita is crunchy and golden brown. Remove from the heat and mix in the sumac, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Set aside to cool.

When you are ready to serve, toss the spinach leaves with the pita mix in a large mixing bowl. Add the dates and red onion, the remaining olive oil, the lemon juice, and another pinch of salt. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately.

Enjoy it with a glass of Zambartas Rose!

From: ‘Jerusalem’- Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi ISBN:978-0091943745

 

Open Cellar Doors Saturday& Sunday 20-21 May

On Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 May we open our doors from 11.00 AM until 5.00 PM.

We welcome you to visit our winery and experience Cyprus’ wine culture. Get a tour around the winery, taste our full arnge of wines and meet Marcos and Marleen; who will be happy to explain you all about their wines!

We hope to see you!

The Open Doors weekend is co-hosted by: Argyrides Winery, Tsiakkas Winery, Vlassides Winery, Santa Irene Winery, Kyperounta Winery and Aes Ambelis Winery.

A Winemaker’s Wife – Flaouna day, delving into true Cyprus tradition

Today I experienced my first real ‘baptism’ into the tradition of Easter Flaounes. Yes, during my years in Cyprus, I ate them, both homemade and from the bakery. There is no way to escape them during Easter time in Cyprus. The oven baked pastries, stuffed with a mixture of halloumi, anari, herbs, raisins and eggs, are a good savoury snack.

However, I never developed a real liking for them. Until today. Today I learned that Flaounes are not just an Easter pastry. They encompass a lot more.

Kiria Toulla, a family friend for many years, invited me over to her ‘koumera’s’ house up in Amiantos village to experience the Flaouna tradition. Thus, I drove up the mountains with Sebastian on a rainy Holy Thursday to see what the baking of Flaounes is all about.

Upon arriving I was warmly greeted by a whole group of people, koumeres, koumbari, nieces, aunts, cousins and so on. A big stone oven was being heated with charcoal by the men, as the women were inside preparing the dough and stuffing for the Flaounes.
A huge bowl with a huge engine driven mixer was mixing the dough (‘we got it from Syria, pio ftinó – cheaper) and different batches of dough were preped for different breads. A house in full action, with everybody at hers / his own task.

 

Once I went into the living room, I fully comprehended the size of the whole operation. Every flat surface of the living room was covered with white sheets and on them were laying tens of breads and Flaounes. On the floor, there were big plastic bowls with dough inside, slowly rising (fermentation!). And all the meanwhile, more was being prepared in the kitchen. One question immediately popped up in my mind: Who is going to eat ALL this??

I asked Toulla if they were preparing for the whole village and she laughed and said: No of course not, just for us and the extended family. But we will put most of them in the freezer and eat all year round. So, then I understood; one day of almost industrial bread and Flaounes making, will provide them with homemade bread for the rest of the year.

Once the oven was hot, the charcoal was carefully removed, keeping women and kids at a safe distance. And then the first batch went in the huge oven; about 20 breads and even more Flaounes. Time for everybody to have a short break with Cyprus coffee and homemade olive bread and tsourekia (Apparently made yesterday; otherwise there would not be enough time). But only a short break… because the last batches of dough were still to be prepared.

So everybody went back to the kitchen, which was a noisy and warm place, as the discussions about ‘how many with or without raisins’ and ‘what shapes’ went on. Each person attending to their own task in an efficient way.  In the meantime, the first batch almost finished baking and the oven was opened frequently to see the colour of the bread and Flaounes.

Once they finally came out, a lovely smell filled up the back yard. Together with the heat of the oven, it made everybody forget that the rain was getting stronger and the fog thicker. Under the veranda on a big table, the first golden baked breads and Flaounes were cooling down.

Unfortunately I had to reject the invitation to stay for lunch (besides the bread, one of the husbands was cooking Octopodia for lunch) as little Sebastian was getting tired. Toulla immediately started packing me a bag of freshly baked Flaounes and bread to take home. As we got in the car, her koumera came with a chocolate tsoureki for Sebastian. And, so we drove home through the thick fog and heavy rain; a car smelling of fresh bread, Sebastian in a deep sleep digesting all his new experiences and me with a big smile on my face.

I realized that Flaouna is a delicious Easter snack. But it encompasses so much more. It is family bonding. It is village life. It is the joy of homemade food. It is hospitality. It is strong tradition. And most of all it is something to cherish.

Kalo Pascha, Happy Easter!

Love,

A Winemaker’s Wife