The Winemaker’s Story of the Xynisteri Single Vineyard 2017
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.
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!