When Marcos Zambartas decided to experiment with Xynisteri, one of the best Cypriot indigenous varieties, the result was Zambartas Single Vineyard Xynisteri – by Maria Th. Massoura
One of the most important periods for the wine is the harvest season. As many winemakers say, wine is ‘ made ‘ in the vineyard.
At the end of September, Marcos invited me, in order to live the harvest experience on the spot and visit the new privately owned vineyard by Zambartas Wineries. From this vineyard, comes the new addition to the winery’s range of wines, the Single Vineyard Xynisteri.
At first, passing by the winery at Ayios Amvrosios, in Limassol district, I met Marleen, Marcos’ wife and the marketing & communications manager of Zamabrtas Wineries and drove together up to Mandria village where the vineyard is. In half an hour we were there.
Marcos, Christodoulos Karaolis the agronomist and the workers were there from early morning, harvesting the vineyard.
The vineyard was gorgeous. An 28 years old vineyard, located at an altitude of 900 metres. When they bought it, a few years ago, they seemed very lucky since the vineyard – the vast majority of the vines already planted therem were Xynisteri – was in a good condition. So, it was a good opportunity for Marcos to start a new project and create a wine from one of the most important indigenous Cypriot varieties coming from a single vineyard. Thus, Zambartas Single Vineyard Xynisteri was born with the first one produced in 2014.
Walking in the vineyards with Troodos forest at the backround , Marcos and I were chatting. He explained that they take special attention on the processes and the way this specific project is handled and as they want to showcase the specific vineyard.
This, among other things, means that no mineral/chemical fertilizers are added. “If I have to sacrifice a bit of the grape quality without using chemical additives, I’ll do it. We’re not talking about chemicals that harm humans, but, they do leave a ‘mark’ on the grapes. And, this is not what we want, ” he says.
Vineyards monitoring is continuous. The evolution is observed and it is decided accordingly. They let nature take its course. For example, if the vine is infected by fungi, they wait for the weather to change and become dry and warm so as fungi disappear without any further action. It’s a risk, but this means that no chemicals are used to kill them. In case there is the need to spray, only organic products are used.
The particular vineyard, is in a period of readjustment, from conventional to organic viticulture. According to the regulations, this takes three years and, now, it is the first one.
When grapes are ripe, harvest takes place at around the end of September, and, as Marcos says, this is the ideal time and conditions for this area. The harvest is carried out only by hands, without any equipment and only the best grapes are picked.
Next, the grapes are taken to the winery, where they are crashed and the peel is left with the juice for a few hours. The next stage is a careful fermentation in stainless steel tanks and oak barrels. This stage lasts for about 4-5 months. This year, however, Marcos decided that he will experiment, letting the wine in barrels and tanks a bit more before bottling until next June, that is 11 months after the harvest.
When we talk about wine being fermented and/ or aged in barrels, especially white, the final result is very interesting, particularly as regards the tasting experience.
However, let’s see all the characteristics of Zambartas Single Vineyard Xynisteri.
On the nose: Apart from citrus and white florals aromas, characteristics of a variety properly cured, the barrel in this wine imparts extra flavors of sponge cake, sweet bread and dried apricot. This is a Xynisteri with a complexity and evolution.
In the mouth: Again, due to the barrel, apart from the aromatic characteristics identified, Single Vineyard Xynisteri is a wine with notable body, medium plus acidity and a very pleasant and long aftertaste. Here, it is worth mentioning that, generally, Xynisteri is not a wine that bears the above two features.
Additionally, when you buy this wine it is benefited by 1-2 more years of aging in the bottle.
Single Vineyard Xynisteri by Zambartas Wineries, is an innovative expression of this remarkable Cyprus variety. At the same time it seems that there are very good prospects of experimentation, testing, and development.
Every year less than 3.000 Zambartas Single Vineyard Xynisteri are produced.
As wine is best enjoyed with a good company and good food, having tried this 2015 Single Vineyard Xynisteri , I consider it as an ideal wine to accompany food. Try it with grilled fish , chicken with a light sauce and of course a cheese platter.
How will the 2016 Single Vineyard Xynisteri be, though? As Marcos mentioned the reduced production of this year would result to a greater density in perfumes. Interesting and we look forward to it!
Time had passed and it was already noon when we made our way back. On the way back to the winery, when chatting with Marcos, he revealed that the Zambartas Single Vineyard Xynisteri is the beginning of a series of wines coming from privately owned vineyards. “These vines, are grown without the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides. We respect nature. “
At the same time it is the beginning of the evolution of Zambartas Wineries. In the future they will focus more on indigenous Cypriot varieties, helping in this way the development and dissemination of them but also the development and enhancement of “Cyprus wine”. I could not find a more consistent decision!
Zambartas Single Vineyard Xynisteri is available at selected wine shops. You can also enjoy it at featured wine bars and restaurants.
On December 5, 2016, Zambartas Single Vineyard Xynisteri was awarded by the Gastronomos Magazine Awards in Cyprus, as the Best Wine from Xynisteri Variety for 2016.
Photos: Panayiotis Minas.
To learn more about the whole range of Zambartas Wineries, visit the website here.