Personally, before Monday morning, I hadn’t. I’m assuming most of you out there are in the same boat. I mean, short of going Cyprus for your holidays, why would you have? It’s not like the corner shop’s full to the brim of them is it? So why is there a point in even writing anything about them?
One of the reasons most of us won’t have heard of them before is that pre EU-membership wines of Cyprus went one of two ways. Firstly to the local market, both locals and tourists. And secondly in cheap bulk to go and make Glühwein in Germany or somewhere like that. The wineries were down on the coast, it was all about volume and subsidized by the state. Doesn’t sound like we were missing out on much, does it?
So what changed? Well in 2004 Cyprus became part of the EU. This meant that state subsidies had to go out of the window. The wineries had a choice, either shut up shop, or move inland and uphill, and try and make some serious wines. Fast forward 12 years to me stood in the Vintners’ Hall in London tasting my way through premium Cypriot grapes. Didn’t take long did it?
Where We Can Get Them
I’ll have a quick talk about the wines tomorrow, but it hasn’t taken long for the changes to have effect. Top importers such as Berry Brothers and Rudd have swooped in for Kyperounda, Amathus for Tsiakkas, and for anyone who doesn’t have a clue who they are, our very own Marks and Spencers is stocking a Cypriot local Maratheftiko from the winery at Kamanterena.
Ok, they’re not everywhere yet, but given the importers at the tasting on Monday it surely can’t be long. It’s something very new coming to a wine list near you soon!