FOOD & WINE
for Kanika Resorts & Hotels
For centuries, Cyprus has been practising viticulture: creating the forerunners of the warm reds, crisp whites and silky rosés for which it is, today, renowned...
Long before the pyramids were built, centuries before Stonehenge was raised, Cyprus was practising viticulture: creating and savouring the forerunners of the warm reds, crisp whites and silky rosés for which it is, today, renowned...
From the ancient vineyards dotted throughout the rambling Troodos foothills to the exquisite boutique wineries of the coastal countryside, Cyprus is the Island Of Wine…
For an island, Cyprus features an abundance of traditional and boutique wineries, and boasts seven official wine routes, many of which are easily accessible from the coastal regions. Nestled into the green foothills, sheltered in sun-kissed valleys, and tucked amongst the silvered olive groves, these routes are a seasonal treasure trove: the vines shifting from jade to gold, crimson to jet with the ageing of the year and the changing of the weather.
Blessed with rich soils, sharp light and sea breezes, Cyprus enjoys a climate that’s paradisiacal – both for its vines and its visitors! According to legend, King Richard the Lionheart of England was so taken with Commandaria (an ancient and local wine variety still in production today) that he pronounced it "the wine of kings and the king of wines”.
Today, royal recommendation has evolved into oenological accolades in the form of global awards. Over 30 local wines were recently commended at the International Decanter Awards and many of the island’s grape varieties have garnered global recognition. And while the island is distinguished as one of the old world in terms of wine-producing countries, the industry has undergone more recent changes which place it on par with the new world. As an influx of modern vintners couple their skills with the timeless expertise of the older generations, Cyprus is becoming more and more of a global oenological contender…
From the most ageless of grape varieties, such as the Mavro (an indigenous and much-planted red, dense in colour yet soft in taste) and the Xynisteri (the white grape of Cyprus; fresh, fruity and pleasantly warm), to the modern Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs and the aromatic Maratheftiko (an indigenous variety recently rediscovered), Cyprus wines are a delight to palates all over the world.
A voyage of discovery through the original wine country allows any visitor to drink in the true Mediterranean experience: traversing a land of softly sun-washed soils to uncover the vintages of kings. Jewelled reds and bright whites on golden afternoons – Accents’ pick of the best wine routes will satisfy your taste for adventure! Let the journey begin…
Guests at the Alexander the Great Beach Hotel and the Olympic Lagoon Resort in Paphos are a stone’s throw from the ancient vales of the Diarizos wine route. A delightful trail which sees Cyprus at its most captivatingly unspoilt, this route takes in honeyed stone villages dotted along fertile valleys, 18 different types of vine and two particularly welcoming wineries.
Beginning just off the main Paphos to Limassol highway, the route climbs skywards towards the villages of Nikokleia and Kouklia, the latter once a centre of adoration for Aphrodite. Today it boasts an archaeological site and museum positioned with sweeping views over miles of Mediterranean – including the birthplace of the goddess: Aphrodite’s Rock.
Onward and upward, with ancient vineyards lining the road, the route passes the Lagria Winery of Salamiou village. Falling within a protected nature area, this convivial family-owned winery is known for its state-of-the-art technology and its four wine labels – three of which are based on the local Mavro (or ‘black’ grape) and the spicy, nutty indigenous white Xynisteri grape.
Towards the apex of the route stands the Tzelefos Bridge, constructed by the Venetians and located deep in the heart of the Paphos forest. Following the river back to the coast the route passes the villages of Ayios Nikolaos and Filousa, and enters Praitori, home of the Nelion Winery. Tours and tastings take place here seven days a week, with the quality of grapes a key factor in the delightful sweet wines for which this boutique winery is renowned. Focused on the production of limited quantities of superior vintages, Nelion uses the rare Moschato grape in a number of its wines, producing fewer than 25 000 bottles a year… Perhaps it’s worth snapping up a bottle or two to evoke the Mediterranean mood when you’re back at home?
THE HEART OF WINE COUNTRY
The Krasochoria route is an ideal day-trip for guests of Limassol’s Elias Beach Hotel and those at both the Alexander the Great Beach Hotel and the Olympic Lagoon Resort in Paphos. Taking in winding trails and tiny hamlets as it heads towards the pine-clad peaks, the trail begins in Erimi with the Cyprus Museum of Wine. From the ancient drinking horns to the museum’s own exclusive wine line it’s the perfect stop to prep your palate…
Route Four takes in 16 distinctive wineries. Between the villages of Vouni (one of the oldest wine-making settlements on the island) and Koilani, drop into the Vlassides Winery, known both for its breath-taking modern architecture and wines which encapsulate the rich soils and sun-washed slopes of the area. The award-winning Cabernet Sauvignons, Merlots, and Sauvignon Blancs are well worth a taste, and their experimental vineyards bode well for the island’s oenological future.
Just a few kilometres further lies the Ayia Mavri Winery, in the very heart of wine country. So it’s no surprise that it boasts an impressive selection of award-winning vintages, replete with the flavours and aromas of the Mediterranean terroir. An afternoon glass of the Ayia Mavri Moschato, a deliciously golden semi-sweet dessert wine, is top of every connoisseur’s to-do list!
Up into the shaded forests, the Krasochoria Route passes through the village of Platres: blessed with cool mountain breezes and rushing streams; home to the soaring Caledonian Falls. Back down the parallel valley, stop into the Argyrides Winery in Vasa. Home to four generations of winemakers, this winery is noted for its local Xynisteri and Maratheftiko varieties, and is considered one of the most beautiful wineries on the island with its bleached stone walls cradling endless vineyards.
THE RICHEST ROUTE
Wine Route Five is a journey through history, and a must for guests of the Elias Beach Hotel. Circling through Limassol town and taking in four notable wineries en route, it incorporates both the Sanctuary of Apollo and the Kourion Amphitheatre: captivating pit stops on the roads of yesteryear.
Ages old, and with a flavour as rich as history itself, Commandaria is unique to the island of Cyprus. This sweet dessert wine is believed to have won the first ever wine-tasting competition; evidence of its production dates back to 5000 BC! Its current name, however, came a little later, bestowed by Knights of St John who planned their crusades from a ‘command’ centre at Kolossi in the Limassol region…
The route officially begins at the imposing Kolossi Castle, set amongst the valley vineyards and built in 1454 by the Knights Hospitaller. Running through the protected wetlands of the Kouris Dam, the route first takes in the Menargos Winery in Monagri (offering a variety of excellent table wines in addition to its traditional Commandaria) and the village of Doros, site of the community-run Panayiotis Karseras Winery.
Set amongst the sun-bleached stones of Ayias Mamas is the Revecca Traditional Winery, whose restored farmhouse boasts a wine museum. Known for its excellent Commandaria, the village also produces an exquisite zivania. Heading east, the route passes through Zoopigi (home of the award-winning Anama Concept Commandaria and the Commandaria Historical Museum), before making its penultimate stop in Kalo Chorio (or the ‘good village’) at the Co-operative Vinegrowers Company.
Situated between the ancient cities of Amathus and Kourion, Limassol’s past is inextricably linked with the nectar of the gods. The island’s major wine companies are based in the city, and each September sees the town host one of the most sensational wine festivals in the world!
COAST TO CAPITAL
Route Seven, the Mountainous Larnaca-Lefkosia Route, crosses the hilltops before plunging into the hotter, drier central plains – a short hop for guests of Ayia Napa’s Olympic Lagoon Resort and Olympic Bay. Starting at Skarinou, the first stop is Lefkara – known worldwide for its intricate lace and exquisite silverware. The village is also home to the Ktima Dafermou Winery, which joins new and old world aesthetics in a blend of oaky reds and bright whites and hosts an enchanting visitor centre.
Heading up into the hills, the Ktima Christoudia Winery is situated just outside the village of Vavla. Offering vineyard tours, a peek at the wine cellar and wine tastings throughout the year, the winery is lauded for its excellent Maratheftiko rosé, and also produces its own sujuko – a must-try local dessert made from grape juice and almonds.
Still climbing, the road travels through a host of charmingly timeworn villages, including Fikardou: a medieval settlement which is now a protected World Heritage Site. Route Seven often mimics the network of ancient Roman roads in the area: Odou village takes its name from the word for road, and is a picturesque break in the itinerary. Just a few miles on lies Kalo Chorio Orinis, site of the Aes Ambelis Winery, which may lie beyond the borders of traditional wine country but nonetheless produces a wide variety of unique quality blends.
Ending in Nicosia (beware the spelling: the city is also referred to as Lefkosia), Route Seven traverses the sun-soaked sedimentary plains to end in the capital. And while the city has been far less involved in the wine trade than its coastal cousins, it does feature a plethora of well-known wine bars. The perfect place to taste the fruits of your journey!