TSIAKKAS WINERY | Limassol wine Villages, Cyprus - June 27th, 2015
posted on 22/09/2015

You can read Part I here

 

We continue our wine exploration in beautiful Cyprus! From Kilani village we head northern to Pelendri and Tsiakkas Winery. We go higher in both altitude and wine quality, as Tsiakkas is one of the top wine producers of the Island, as we found out later during the tasting. Their winery is located at a mountain slope at 1.000 meters between pine trees and vineyards, while their higher vineyard stands at 1.500 meters above sea level. This makes Tsiakkas one of the highest wineries of Europe!

 

Arriving at Tsiakkas Winery, in Pelendri Limassol


Nature is also different here, with a cooler climate, denser vegetation and woods around. As about the view, I will leave any comments to you and will only publish the following pictures that can barely capture the charm of the landscape that brings in mind the mythical vineyards of Douro in Portugal.

 

Terraced mountainous vineyards; a breathtaking view!

 

 

Enjoying the view

 

The small balcony from where one can admire the beautiful vineyard

 

Another view of the vineyard


Right after we met the winery founder, Mr. Costas Tsiakkas, who started it all in 1988 along with his wife, Ms. Marina Tsiakkas. They moved in today’s winery in 1994, six years after their first vinification. It is worth mentioning that Mr. Costas was working in the Banking sector before taking a turn in his career to come closer to nature, vines, wines and gastronomy!

 

 

Red wine vinification tanks. The door in the front allows the removal of red grape skins after the fermentation is over

 

The barrel cellar into the winery

 

 

Getting to know top Cypriot winemaker Mr. Costas Tsiakkas

 

At the backyard of the Winery


He offers to guide us around the winery and we follow. The beautiful winery is like a shelter with its porch, roof tiles and yard. We visit the barrel cellar and the tanks room and end up in the central hall where, together with Mr. Costas, get to taste eight revolutional wines, as well as an aged Zivania! Below are my notes:

 

 

Mr. Tsiakkas serving us his exceptional aged Zivania!

 

Taking notes in a memorable tasting!

 


  • Tsiakkas Xynisteri 2014 (99,5% Xynisteri, 0,5% Muscat) – A wine from a quite colder region that offers the consequential finesse on the nose: lime, green apple, herbs, florality and beautiful mineral notes. The marzipan notes make me guess the wine was left to mature on fine lees with the whole result being ultimately elegant. The high acidity and moderate alcohol (12,5%) complete its ethereal and fine style. The wine is bottled in a pretty dressed bottle featuring a rabbit on the label, denoting the neighboring woods. Great stuff right from the start! Annual production of 30.000 bottles.


  • Tsiakkas Chardonnay 2014 (100% Chardonnay) – Nose of stone fruits (peach, apricot), dry nuts, hazelnuts, dried herbs and a charming, mushroomy, earthy note reminiscent of Pinot Gris. Medium+ acidity and medium+ alcohol (13,5%). Short pre-fermentation skin-contact for 6 hours and maturation on fine lees. Controlled oak feel with the use of inner staves. Annual production: 10.000 bottles.

  • Tsiakkas Chardonnay oak 2012 (100% Chardonnay) – Single vineyard version with only 600 bottles released. A wine of almost three years of age that has developed great complexity: dried apricots, peach, smoke, tobacco, vanilla, hazelnuts, earth. The high acidity, medium+ alcohol (13,5%) and full body make up an exuberant yet elegant wine.

  • Tsiakkas Sauvignon Blanc oak 2012 (100% Chardonnay) – A single vineyard wine of limited production (600 bottles annually) with nose of herbs, lime, hay, grass, chamomile and lavender and perfectly oily texture on the palate, medium+ acidity and a long, persistent finish. Fantastic!

  • Tsiakkas Rodinos rose 2014 (100% Grenache) – Classic rose vinification with dark rose color and nose of candies, caramels and sweet cherries. Full body on the palate with medium+ alcohol (13,5%) and medium+ body. A very sound wine that however lacks the finesse, aromatic delicacy and character of the unforgettable white wines we tried just before.

  • Tsiakkas Vamvakada 2012 (100% Vamvakada) – According to Mr. Costas ‘Vamvakada’ is a clone of Maratheftiko variety with a more spicy tasting profile. Some people disagree however, promoting the opinion that the differences are due to different soils. Very dense purple color (with blue hues) and a complex nose reminiscent of ink, berries and black cherries. The palate is extremely complex with high acidity, moderate alcohol (13%) and high, ideally marginally mature tannins. Great job, once more.

  • Tsiakkas Giannoudi 2014 (100% Giannoudi) – We are told some vineyard facts before trying a sample right from the barrel: Giannoudi has a pollination problem (the calyptra doesn’t fall easily) and this is why its cultivation was abandoned by many grape growers. The sample we taste is even purpler than the last one with aromas reminiscent of ink, smoke, black forest fruits, spices and lovely oak notes. High acidity on the palate, high but round, sweet and mature tannins and full body. It has been matured in the barrels for nine months and it will remain there for five more months until a 14-month total maturation. An explosive wine of great pedigree with serious ageing potential.

  • Tsiakkas Commandaria 2008 (95% Xynisteri, 5% Mavro) – Tsiakkas Winery is one of the producers that has returned to producing the historic dessert Commandaria with natural fermentation, without fortification. After harvesting the white Xynisteri and the red Mavro, the grapes are sun-dried and vinified in small barriques used three times. Great nose of crème brulee, coffee, roasted dry nuts, quince paste and sky-high acidity! This last element makes it an ideal pairing with ‘sour’ desserts: cheesecake, lemon pies, ravani. A great aftertaste with long, great finish. With this wine Mr. Tsiakkas justifies the long history of Commandaria and places the wine among the best dessert wines of the Mediterranean!

  • Tsiakkas Zivania – Zivania is the Cypriot name of Tsipouro (grape marc), the spirit resulting from the distillation of grape pomace from the vinification process. This zivania has been produced from distillation of white grape pomace –with Xynisteri being the major component- and is aged in oak barrels, hence its charming, honeyed color! Nose of vanilla, dry nuts, grape, raisins, dried nuts. A great warm sensation on the palate with mild textured alcohol, vanilla and a long finish. An excellent winter companion that can replace French Cognac for memorable pairings with chocolate, dry nuts and delightful cigars!
 

Tsiakkas Xynisteri 2014 and Tsiakkas Chardonnay

 

Mr. Costas Tsiakkas

 

The whole range we sampled from bottles (right to left): Xynisteri 2014, Chardonnay 2014, Chardonnay oak 2012,  Sauvignon Blanc oak 2012, Rodinos rose 2014, Vamvakada 2012, Commandaria  2008, Zivania

 

The legendary Commandaria at its best!

 

Aged Zivania, similar to our Tsipouro. The ideal glasses indicate the winemaker's respect towards his work.

 

With Mr. Costas Tsiakkas, Ms. Marina Tsiakkas and our guide Mr. Alexandros Alexandrou

 

Tsiakkas Winery is the answer to those believing Cyprus is not capable of producing great wines. With an annual production of 150.000 bottles and exports to USA, Belgium, Switzerland, Netherlands and Germany the extremely hospitable producer must be very proud for his wine achievements.


We farewell Mr. Costas and Ms. Marina Tsiakkas and return with Alexandros to Limassol. After a 3-hours’ rest we met again with Alexandros at the impressive new Limassol Marina, where we enjoyed together some great dishes, paired with fantastic Cypriot wines!

 

 

Salmon carpaccio with caper leaves, capers and fresh pepper!

 

Fresh shellfish... Ideal sea meze that fills the mouth with iodine and salty aromas!

 

 

Bike ride at the Limassol waterfront...

 

...with stops at beautiful parks!

 

This post is dedicated to our new friend Alexandros Alexandrou who unveiled for us the well hidden wine treasures of Cyprus, while introducing us to the best imaginable Cypriot hospitality! This is to you Alexandros, thank you for everything!!

 

Photos: Stavroula Mariamou

 

 

 

 

Gregory Kontos, DipWSET


Wine writer and taster, sommelier graduate and WSET Diploma holder, with an appreciation for food, traveling, music, friends and bon vivant things in general. Co-partner at Aegean Food Exports and founder of Aegean Wine Selections, a Company focused in Greek wine exports. He is married to Stavroula Mariamou and they have a son. 

 

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