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One of the Cyprus top wineries uses most varieties available October 7, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Food Cyprus, Wine And Spirits.
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Aes Ambelis Winery > It was always obvious that the Aes Ambelis winery would progress. Since the late eighties, when it was founded, the aim was set: unique wines of premium quality.

George Tripatsas, the Director, said that the winery’s whites and reds were the house wines at many od the leading hotels in Cyprus since late 90’s. The Xynisteri-based dry white had a refreshing tropical fruit taste and the Chardonnay a strong, pink grapefruit flavour. Cretan Savvas Fakoukakis, partner and winemaker, puts emphasis on achieving aromatic complexity and rich, full flavours. For the reds in particular, ageing in fine, new, French oak barrels and cellaring the bottles in their underground cellars contributes extensively to the rich and unique character of his wines.

This modern winery is distinct in architectural style, and the estate is located on the slopes of Kalo Chorio Orinis in the Nicosia district, just 28 km from the capital. Vineyard management is the key phrase that George repeats time after time. And he has actually confessed that he believes the status his wines have achieved is down to this practice.

The winery uses most of the grape varieties available on the island, a combination of local and international varieties. Xynisteri and Semillon are used for the Aes Ambelis dry white, while the red Aes Ambelis is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvadre and Maratheftiko. The cosmopolitan Chardonnay, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon form the elite of the varietals. Recently, Aes Ambelis launched Liastos, a dessert wine made with Muscat of Alexandria and the Grand Gold Medalist medium dry rose.

Talking about medals, Aes Ambelis has won awards for wines other than the rose: three gold medals and a silver medal at the Cyprus Wine Competition, a competition that only began last year. No wonder I call this winery the “awards winner”.

2006 Aes Ambelis Chardonnay, Paphos Regional, Alcohol Volume 13.5% > The batonage method was applied, a technique where the wine while ageing on the lees is hand stirred weekly to promote depth and longevity, using new oak barrels for maturing the wine for at least six months. Clear light gold colour, the hue has a bright gold colour on the rim. The wine opens with a touch of creamy aromas of citrus, orange blossoms, ripe peach and red apples on a tropical background and vanilla. The medium body mouthfeel features sweet citrus, ripe peach, lemon/lime and a touch creamy on the finish. Balanced acidity and fruit and toast. Serve not too cold at 11 degrC enjoyed with salad and grilled chicken, scallops in white wine and spinach, pastas with salmon in creamy sauce.

2003 Aes Ambelis Cabernet Sauvignon, Limassol Regional, Alcohol Volume 14% > A silver medal winner at both the International Thessaloniki Wine Competition and the 2006 Cyprus Wine Contest. This wine aged for twelve months in new French oak barrels, and subsequently in the bottle. What we have is probably one of the best Cabs on the island, with a robust, deep red colour. Layers of scent and flavour escape on take off, blackcurrant, cherry, black pepper, tobacco and cedar. A velvety feel seduces your mouth with ripe fruit character and chocolate, leading right to a slightly rustic herbaceous landing. Surprisingly the tannins are smooth in this full-bodied wine. Pair it with rich meats like lamb, grilled steak or salmon or with strong cheese like cheddar at 18 degrC.

2006 Aes Ambelis Shiraz, Limassol Regional, Alcohol Volume 14% > Yet another medal winner, silver in Thessaloniki and gold last year in Cyprus. This Shiraz is aged for 14 months in new, French oak barrels. It is a dense, red-purple wine. The nose reeks of sweet, over-ripe, warm climate Shiraz fruit of black plums and blueberries in particular along with white pepper, dried date and hints of oak. A big, soft, sweet, cloying wine on the palate loaded with herby plum fruit and with very appealing ripe, slightly spicy tannins and fairly soft acidity. Oven roasted leg of lamb, rare roast beef, barbecue steak and mature cheese at 17 degrC. Limited.

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