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Cyprus tasting notes

text and photographs © 2007 Tom Cannavan

These notes accompany our in-depth feature on Cyprus and its wines.


Tsiakkas Xynisteri 2008
All grapes for this wine are bought in from a very old - 50 years plus - vineyard. The nose is clean, bright, though fairly neutral. There's a background touch of herbs and a gentle touch of pear. The palate has a heavier, oilier mouthfeel, with pretty good fruit on the mid-palate. I find this a touch phenolic in the finish, but it has tang and a bit of style. 86/100

Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Until their own vineyards come on stream, Tsiakkas buys Sauvignon Blanc grown at relatively low altitude. There's an apple and lemon fruitiness here, though it is fairly subdued, with just a hint of something nettly in the background. The palate has a little phenolic astringency, though some god acidity and lemony fruit pierces through. 86/100

Tsiakkas Chardonnay 2008
Creamy, nicely herbal and vegetal notes to orchard fruits. Fresh and zippy, lots of apple and melon and tangy lemon acidity. Commercial but drinking well. 86/100

Tsiakkas Merlot 2006
Tomato leaf greenness. Maybe even hinting at chrysanthemum. Decent wine on palate, with a bit of juiciness, but I'm not really keen on this. 85/100

Tsiakkas Vamvakada 2005
Vamvakada is another name for Maratheftiko. Quite earthy, though quite solid red fruit on the nose. A nice fleshy roundness on the palate, with one year in barrel giving some weight and softness to rather herbal fruit. Not huge length, but dense and chewy tannins, freshening acidity and a bit of substance. 86/100

Tsiakkas Vamvakada 2006
Served cold from the cellar, which helps sharpen it up slightly, but I still find this rather dusty and baked, with a dullish, slightly herbal palate. 85/100

Tsiakkas Vamvakada 2007
Has a slightly gamier nose, with still a slightly cooked quality. Leathery. The palate is big-boned and dense, with a sweetness to the fruit that adds a level of complexity (and enjoyment) to the slightly tough, leathery, herbal quality. A touch longer too. 88/100

Tsiakkas Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
The cherry and blackcurrant nose is fruity and pastille-like. Very open and flattering. The palate is simple and fruity too, though with a hefty tannic background and the sweetness playing nicely against acidity. Subtle oak. 87/100

Tsiakkas Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Quite tight, with tightly-wound black fruit showing a little kirsch and a little minerality. The oak is pretty dominant on the palate at this stage (only weeks out of barrel) adding a resinous vanillin note to quite firm fruit. This seems firmer and more savoury than the 2005. 88/100

Tsiakkas Commandaria style
Not a commercial product, this is a Commanderia lookalike aged in two to three year old barriques or 300-litre barrels. Unlike the traditional Commandaria stsyle, the barrels are topped up regularly so the wine does not oxidise. "A very different style from Commandaria," says Costas Tsiakkas. Lovely rich, thick, toffee and raisin nose. Unctuous, rich palate, with a touch of tannin, fudge and nuts and lovely lemony twist and good acidity. 90/100

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