Winemaker’s Tasting of Single Vineyard Range

We invite you for a tasting of our newly launched Single Vineyard Range, hosted by Marcos Zambartas. Marcos has been very passionate about developing his Single Vineyard Range and he is excited to share this passion with you. He wil take you to one of the oldest vineyards in Cyprus, the Margelina Vineyard, followed by a guided tasting of each of the wines. Marcos will explain the philosophy, winemaking techniques and finally enjoy the wines together with you. Each wine will be matched with a home made canapée, with local and mediterranean ingredients.

You will be  tasting the following wines

  • Zambartas Xynisteri 2018 & Zambartas Xynisteri Single Vineyard 2018
  • Maratheftiko Rose Single Vineyard 2018
  • Margelina ‘Field Blend’ Single Vineyard 2017
  • Shiraz Single Vineyard 2016

Date: Sunday 28 July

Program:
9.30 Meeting at Zambartas Wineries for a trip to the Margelina Vineyard in Agios Nikolaos. Marcos will show this unique vineyard and explain about the different varieties. Own transportation by saloon car is needed. The vineyard is a few minutes walk from the main road.
11.00 Return at Zambartas Wineries, short refreshment break.
11.30 Start of Guided Tasting
13.00 Finish

Cost: 20,-Eur p.p. incl VAT. Pre-booking & payment required. Limited seats available only (24 seats). For reservations, please contact Marleen by email: marleen@zambartaswineries.com. Please state in your email the number & names of particpants.

Summer Wine Talks at Jamie’s Italian Nicosia

We are delighted to invite you to a summery tasting of our wines at Jamie’s Italian in Nicosia on Thursday 18 July.

Enjoy our summer wines in the fully blooming garden of Jamie’s Italian, along with some tasty bites. After the tasting you may continue you evening at the restaurant for a dinner accompanied by our wines, which will be on special offer for the night.

Marcos and Marleen will be there to talk about the wines, and enjoy the evening with you.

We hope to see you!

 

Where: Jamie’s Italian Nicosia

When: Thursday 18 July from 19.30-21.30

 

Seasonal Delights ‘Grandma’s Apricot Jam’

The season of the stone fruits has arrived to Cyprus and plums, peaches and nectarines can be found in abundance in all local supermarkets and ‘frouterias’.  They are juicy, sweet and very fresh. They are unloaded in high stacks from open back trucks in colourful crates. A sight that every Cypriot is comfortably familiar with; summer has arrived!

My favorite stone fruits are apricots. They are very tasty on their own, but also prefect for baking delicious cakes (see last years blog) and make great jam. I recently took on the challenge of making my own apricot jam, depsite the fact I am a complete jam making novice. The recipe was a Cypriot classic and very easy, so not much could go wrong…

And it didn’t go wrong… How do I know? Marcos’ comment when he tasted it: ‘Mmmmm….it is good. It reminds me of my grandmother’s apricot jam’. That says it all 🙂

The jam is now served at the winery with our ‘Vineyard & Breakfast Experience‘.

 

Ingredients

1 Kg Apricots
550 Grams of granulated sugar
2 Lemons (Make sure they are juicy lemons)
3 Bay leafs

Method

Halve the apricots, take out the stones and discard them. Place the halved apricot in a big heavy-bottomed pan. Add the sugar, the juice of the two lemons and bay leafs. Give it a good stir and leave it for a couple of hours to soak. The sugar will absord the juices and get thicker.

After 2 hours, remove the bay leafs. Heat up the pan to a low heat and let the sugar dissolve.  Once dissolved, turn the heat a bit higher and cook the jam. Cook until the apricot flesh has broken down in pieces and has cooked down. The jam should have a lovely golden orange colour and have a medium set consistency.

When the jam is ready, leave it to cool down for about 15 minutes. Then spoon the jam into sterilised jars. Close and seal the jars while the jam is still warm. Let the jars cool down completely.

You can keep the jars outside of the fridge, but after opening they need to be stored in the fridge.

Enjoy!

I am Margelina and this my story

Well, I can speak for myself. I was named Margelina, and my life started in the year 1921, on British soil. The weather that year was as usual, cool and rainy in the winter months and warm and dry in the summer. The world was still recovering from a bloody war, which left us in Cyprus unaffected. The Brits that were ruling the island came and went and occasionally you could spot a British officer in the mountains. My care takers were Cypriot, simple and hardworking people, Turkish or Greek, it didn’t matter at that time. They took good care of me. For years and years, they came with a plow pulled by an ox to take care of my soil and harvested me with the help of their donkeys. They were fruitful and youthful years. The joy it brought when my grapes were harvested in their big straw baskets, created happy and precious memories.

Agios Nikolaos, or also called ‘Esentepe’ in Turkish (meaning ‘Windy Hill’) was my home and it has been ever since. Facing the majestic peaks of the Troodos mountains and with deep cliffs right next to me, I could say I am quite privileged with my location. The village to which I belong, was thriving, although not big, with about 500 inhabitants. It was lively, especially in the summer when everybody took part in the harvest season. Friendships were strong and the Mosque and school played a central role for mingling and gossiping.

The mosk of Agios Nikolaos

We went through the turmoil of the second world war without a plane flying over me or a man fallen in the village. The rumours of the Cypriot men fighting at the frontline along the Brits, passed us, like whispers in the wind.

As my roots grew stronger and deeper every year, the trouble in my village started only after the Brits left us in 1960. Suddenly the village lost its innocence as lifelong friendships suddenly got estranged. Over the next years the very few Greek speaking men and women of the village slowly started to leave, and in 1973, over the course of one harvest season, the village was left empty.

I remained and in the following years the demand for grapes grew. I was over 50 years old though, getting old. My gnarling arms were producing a fruit that slowly got out of fashion, Mavro, and a little bit of Maratheftiko, Kanella, Yiannoudi and Ofthalmo. Some of my long-time neighbours got uprooted and made place for new plantations with exotic sounding names such as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. We were now harvested in plastic crates and big trucks transported our fruit to the wineries in Limassol. A new era had come, and I seemed to be lucky to survive.

Towards the end of the century, our ‘windy hill’ every year seemed to get a little warmer and less rains passed over us. The nineteen nineties were just dry, year after year. There were summers that my roots had to work so hard to get water, and I produced so little fruit, that being uprooted seemed inevitable. Although I was nearly abandoned, I survived and entered a new century, still standing proudly on top of that hill.

As I got older and older, I was going to give up on life in my crooked arms and tired roots. There was not much interest in my grapes and modern winemaking seemed to be able to do without me.

 

Marcos and Christodoulos in Margelina in 2016

Then one day there came some young men to me and took a real interest in me. They studied my arms, my leaves and soil. They went from plant to plant to see what varieties I had to offer. And then they came again, and after a few months again. For two years they ploughed me, pruned my crooked arms, took some leaves with them and then a few grapes. They did not spray anything on me and allowed the flowers, herbs and bugs to feed on my soil. But when the harvest season came, they left my fruit behind.

In 2017, I started to be a in a good shape again, got rid of my aching arms and produced juicy and flavoursome grapes. I did not believe I was 96 years old, when they finally came with crates and a small truck to harvest my grapes again.

For nearly a century I was a silence witness to all that Cyprus went through. I witnessed the joy, the grief, and the fools of mankind. I saw the society and weather conditions change permanently.

As I was about to give up on life, I got saved. And now, the grapes I bear, are turned into wine again…

 

 

Single Vineyard Margelina 2017 ‘Field Blend’

Available at the winery.
Tasting notes: Single Vineyard Margelina 2017

 

Single Vineyard Range exclusively for sale at the winery

We are excited to present our full Single Vineyard Range of wines. A unique range of wines with very limited number of bottles produced of each label. With this range we focus on the vineyard and its natural habitat. In this way, we believe, we can best express the unique terroir of Cyprus in the bottle.

4 vineyards, 4 different stories

The four vineyards that are expressed in this range of wines each have their own story, characteristics and identity.

Margelina Vineyard

Single Vineyard Margelina, Field Blend 2017

The oldest vineyard, Margelina, was planted in 1921 and classifies as one of Europe’s oldest vineyards. Although unattended for 4 years by the previous owner, Marcos sensed the unique value of this vineyard and its potential to make a style of wine long forgotten on the island. Located in Agios Nicolaos at an altitude 900m facing the Troodos Mountains with a North – West orientation, it is mainly planted with Mavro, but there are Xynisteri, Maratheftiko, Ofthalmo, Kanella and Yiannoudi plants as well.After acquiring the vineyard we tended it organically for 2 years without encouraging crop production to rejuvenate it. We have reshaped the vines, added manure and in 2017 we finally harvested its grapes. A true gem of Cypriot viticulture, which we proudly preserve!

Xynisteri Vineyard

Single Vineyard Xynisteri 2018

Our Xynisteri is a beautiful 30+ years old vineyard at an elevation of 950 meters altitude. This west-facing vineyard has been masterfully shaped by the previous owner, it is farmed organically and it is naturally combating fungus and harmful insects. The grapes ripe beautifully each year due to its elevation and sufficient sun exposure, giving a wine with such an aroma and flavour concentration that has put Xynisteri in the grape varieties that can produce age-worth white wines. It is a novel style of wine that places Xynisteri among the varieties that can yield high quality white wines.

Maratheftiko vineyard in 2016

Single Vineyard Marathéftiko Rose 2018

Akis Zambartas always fostered a strong belief in the superiority of Maratheftiko compared to other Cypriot red varieties. It was natural that the first vineyard planted by the Zambartas family back into 2006 would be Maratheftiko. Located in Pachna village,  it is partly goblet shaped and partly on a trellis and has been coming of age remarkably well, despite the inherent pollination difficulties of the Maratheftiko variety. As we mostly use Maratheftiko to produce red wine since the inception of the winery, we took on the challenge to produce an elegant, lightly barrel matured Rose with a signature.

Goblet shaped Shiraz

Single Vineyard Shiraz 2016

Shiraz is a story of micro climate and extreme weather. Located in Pachna Village, this goblet shaped 18 year old vineyard was hit by hail early in the growing season in 2016. Approximately 40% of the grape production was destroyed. The remaining grapes benefited and turned out to be the best grapes that Marcos witnessed in his life as a winemaker in Cyprus. The decision to make a Single Vineyard varietal Shiraz was taken with instinct and a critical mind. Something unique could come out of this unexpected cloud burst and it was well worth exploring!

Organic practices and respect for nature

We believe in limited intervention to nature’s ways therefore we farm our vines organically, emphasizing the ‘sense of place’ in our wines. Herbicides are not used at all and we do the extra mile to protect our vines  with naturally occurring substanses when it is necessary, and not proactively, hence significantly reducing spraying. We analyse the soil to decide if and which fertilization is necessary and we plant cover crops to negate deficiencies. Despite that phylloxera might enter the Cypriot ecosystem in the future, we take the risk to plant our new vineyards on their own roots to get the full expression of our terroir.

Limited interventions in winemaking

While crafting the wines in this range, Marcos continues the philosophy of limited intervention aiming full expression of the terroir in the final product. To this means, he uses natural yeasts despite the risks for the Margelina and Xynisteri labels, limits filtrations and stabilisation processes on all the wines to the minimum needed and avoids dominant oak aroma’s. The winemaking is centred around the idea that the winemaker enables and allows the wine to speak for itself.

A modern look and closure

Old Vineyards with a long story deserve a label that honours them. That’s why we have asked Marleen’s father, who has a talent for art, to draw one of those beautiful old and gnarling bush vines to feature on the label of this range. The result is a modern label with a gorgeous age defying vine in the spotlight.

We choose to bottle the wines under screwcap, that is where old and modern ultimately cross paths. High quality wines deserve a closure that preserves their precious, but sensitive aroma and allows them to age without oxidising. High quality modern screwcaps do this better that any other closure nowadays. The choice of a winemaker with heart for both tradition and science.

The full range is now available at the winery.

Tasting notes & Technical Information

Single Vineyard Xynisteri 2018

Single Vineyard Maratheftiko Rosé 2018

Single Vineyard Shiraz 2016

Single Vineyard Margelina 2017

Job Position: Assistant Winemaker

Zambartas Wineries is looking for an Assistant Winemaker to join our team.

Please find position details and requirements here in Greek (PDF): Job Position – Εργοδότηση βοηθού υπεύθυνου παραγωγής

 

Open during holiday Pentecost weekend 15-17 June

The winery will welcome visitors during the upcoming long weekend of 15-17 June, in which we celebrate the Orthodox Pentecost (Whit Monday).

Working hours are as follows:

Saturday 15 June 10.00AM -4.30PM

Sunday 16 June 10.00AM – 4.30PM

Monday 17 June 10.00AM – 4.30PM

You are welcome for a tour & tasting!

Vegetarian Orzo Bake & Mataro Yiannoudi 2017

Food & Wine

Vegetarian Orzo Bake & Mataro Yiannoudi 2017

Weekday dinners can be stressful at the Zambartas Family. Cooking while the kids are tired and hungry from a long day. Having to juggle chopping veggies and be peacekeeper between two stubborn toddlers. However, I do like to put something on the table that is not only wholesome and healthy for the kids, but also enjoyable for the parents with a well-deserved glass of wine.

Lately, one of my favourites is an Orzo & Vegetable bake. It is very easy, wholesome, tasty (even to the kids likings!) and perfect with a glass of Mataro -Yiannoudi on a breezy summer evening!

The original base recipe comes from ‘The unlikely Staples of Summer’, by Martha Rose Shulman, but I replaced and adjusted, to include only local Cypriot vegetables and cheeses.

It became a real Cypriot dish, with the added bonus that it is vegetarian and thus better for our planet 😉

 

Ingredients:

  • 300 gr orzo
  • 1 large roasted red pepper, diced
  • 5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium sized zucchini, sliced about 0.5cm thick
  • 1 aubergine, chopped in cubes of appr. 2 cm.
  • 300 gram cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 400 grams canned diced tomatoes, with juice
  • 2-3 plump garlic cloves (to taste), minced
  • 100 grams crumbled feta cheese
  • Fresh oregano or basil (to taste)
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 40 grams finely crated aged anari cheese (to taste)

 

Cooking Instructions:

  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil and add the orzo. Cook eight minutes, or until it is cooked through but still firm to the bite. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with the diced roasted pepper and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.

 

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius. Oil a pirex baking dish. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, wide skillet. Add the zucchini and cook — stirring and turning over the slices, or tossing them in the pan — until just cooked through and lightly colored, about five minutes. Scrape into the bowl with the orzo.

 

  • Return the pan to the heat, use some olive oil and  add the aubergine cubes and bake on a medium-high heat until they start to soften and turn golden baked. Add the halved cherry tomatoes and bake very short until slightly soft. Add salt & pepper to taste and scrape into the bowl with the orzo.

 

  • In the same pan, add the final tablespoon of oil and the garlic. Cook just until fragrant, 20 to 30 seconds, and add the diced tomatoes. You may add fresh herbs, such as Basil or Cyprus Oregano to taste. Stir from time to time, until the tomatoes and herbs smell fragrant. Taste and adjust seasoning. Scrape into the bowl with the orzo, add the crumbled Feta cheese, and mix everything together.

 

  • Transfer to the baking dish and sprinkle over the crated Anari on top. Bake 30 to 40 minutes, until the top is just beginning to colour. Serve hot or warm.

Enjoy with Mataro- Yiannoudi 2017, a real summer red, which matches very well with the Cypriot cheeses and acidity of the tomato sauce.

Mataro – Yiannoudi 2017

 

ZAMBARTAS WINES X NIKKEI CUISINE AT PATIO

We are very excited to have teamed up with Patio Bar- Restaurant in Nicosia for a unique wine dinner on Wednesday 12 June.

Our wines will be paired with flavours of the gastronomical Nikkei cuisine, a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian flavours.

The Head Chef of this superb food and wine pairing dinner, will be Thanos Stasinos, who will come from Greece, especially for this event. Chef Stasinos is best known as the person who introduced Nikkei cuisine to the Greek and the Cypriot restaurant scene. Chef Stasinos is also the consultant chef at Patio, creating its new menu based on the Nikkei cuisine and philosophy.

For this gastronomic wine dinner, he has created some new exciting dishes to match the wines of Zambartas Wineries.

Marcos Zambartas will be present to introduce our wines and Maria Th. Massoura, wine specialist at Vassos Eliades Ltd will guide us through the food and wine pairing process.

 

   THE MENU

Aperitif with Edinburgh Gin Liqueurs

 

Bun with mackerel, smoked mussels, chili apple marmalade

Zambartas Xynisteri 2018

 

Gyoza with smoked eel and matcha tea cream

Zambartas Rosé 2018

 

Veal nigiri estofado

Zambartas Mataro – Yiannoudi 2017

      

A different take on shieftalia

Zambartas Shiraz-Lefkada 2017

 

Avocado cream with grapefruit and green apple sorbet

Zambartas Koukouvagia Rosé 2018

 

The event will begin at 8.30 pm

Price per person: 60 euros

For reservations please call 22 664488. Limited availability.

 

Nikkei, a Fusion of Japanese and Peruvian Flavours

The climate is changing; Cypriot varieties could be key to sustainable Australian viticulture.

Climate change is here and instead of waiting for the effects to get worse, pro-active scientific research is needed. Alexander Copper, an old classmate of Marcos at the University of Adelaide back in 2008, is currently doing a PhD research at the same university into the suitability of Cypriot grape varieties for Australian viticulture & winemaking. A promising and interesting subject, which will hopefully have a commercial outcome in the future.

It all started when Marcos and Alex met in Adelaide and became friends while doing lab work and sharing a bottle of wine afterwards. In 2010 Alex joined us in Cyprus for a harvest and immediately developed a liking for Cypriot wine and especially the indigenous varieties of Cyprus. He learned about Akis Zambartas groundbreaking research into the indigenous varieties and saw the similarities in climate and weather conditions between Cyprus and South Australia.

Alex returned several times to Cyprus over the years and built his network of contacts in the Cyprus winemaking industry. In 2017 he applied and received a scholarship from the University of Adelaide, Wine Australia and the Australian Government and started his PhD at The University of Adelaide School of Argriculture.

Alex, your research focusses on the suitability of Maratheftiko and Xynisteri for Australian viticulture and winemaking. Climate change plays a big role in the choice for this subject. Can you explain how and why?

Australian wineries have traditionally focused on grape varieties that come from regions such as France and Germany that have high rainfalls and their vineyards do not require irrigation. When these varieties are grown in Australia, they must be irrigated to survive. Cypriot varieties have been grown in vineyards in Cyprus for thousands of years without irrigation, surviving only on rainfall. The Australian and Cypriot climates are very similar with each year becoming hotter and drier. We hope that the drought tolerant Cypriot varieties can perform equally well in Australia with little or no irrigation, therefore reducing the need for valuable water resources to be used for irrigation.

Your first paper, focussing on the commercial potential of Cypriot varieties among Australian consumers has been published in a Scientific Journal LINK. How did Australian consumers judge the Cypriot wines?

Overall the Cypriot wines performed well. An Australian Shiraz, Pinot Gris and unwooded Chardonnay were compared with 5 Xynisteri, 3 Maratheftiko and 1 Giannoudi. The Australians mostly favoured the Australian wines, but the Cypriot wines were very close. Some groups of people preferred the Cypriot wines to the Australian wines. I think the Cypriot varieties have great potential in Australia, especially if they are made in a style that Australians like. Fresh, fruity Xynisteri on a Summers day is perfect and a lightly oaked, slightly aged Maratheftiko would be ideal for an Australian “barbie” BBQ.

The fact that Cypriot varieties are drought and heat resistant is key to your research. You are currently doing a number of measurements and trials with Xynisteri and Maratheftiko vines. Any outcomes yet?

We have 2 years of data investigating the level of stress the plants have during the season comparing French and Cypriot varieties. This year we will collect more of the same data and will also include some “droughting” trials which will tell us how little water we can give the vines before they become stressed. I will be starting this year’s measurements very soon, but the data from 2017 and 2018 shows us that Xynisteri in particular, is much better than French red and white varieties in dealing with hot dry summers.

Xynisteri flowering in May

This summer you will release cuttings of the two varieties from quarantine in Australia. What is next for those humble cuttings? How long will it take before you see a vineyard planted with them?

The cuttings will be released in July and we will prepare them for another trial at the University of Adelaide starting in November 2019. More cuttings will be propagated in 2020 and we hope we can start a vineyard trial in 2021.

Do you see a real commercial potential for Cypriot varieties in Australia? Will we be seeing Xynisteri wines from McLaren Vale in 10 years from now?

That is my goal, the real test is to ensure that consumers like the wine and will buy it. The early consumer trial was promising, and I think with the right marketing and good wine making, the Cypriot varieties can make an impact. Australians like trying new wines, especially the younger consumers. Greek wines are starting to make an impact in Australia, so I hope Cypriot varieties can be the next big thing in Australia. Our trials will help determine the best places for them to grow, but we think that McLaren Vale and the Barossa Valley could be good places for the Cypriot varieties as well as some other areas that are not currently big wine growing regions.


 

Associate Professor of Viticulture at the University of Adelaide,  Casandra Collins and Tony Hoare, viticulturalist at the Australian Wine Research Institute (AWRI) will be coming to Cyprus in June to assist Alex in his research and conduct a seminar for the members of the Cypriot wine industry. Alex first paper  will be presented at the Giesco Viticulture Conference in Thassaloniki late June.

His research will continue over the next 2 years and we will keep you posted on the progress.


 

About Alexander Copper

Alexander Copper is an Australian winemaker and PhD research student at the University of Adelaide. He started studying an Oenology degree part-time in 2001 after moving to a 70 hectare property in the Barossa Valley, South Australia. After graduating in 2010 he relocated to the Huon Valley in Tasmania and started researching less common grape varieties. He has worked in Cyprus as a flying winemaker since 2010. In 2012 he worked at the Staatliche Lehr- und Versuchsanstalt für Wein- und Obstbau Weinsberg, Baden-Wurtemberg, Germany, before deciding to focus on hot climate grape varieties from Cyprus and Greece in 2016.

https://www.facebook.com/AlexanderWillemWines/

Alex and Marcos