Cyprus is at the tipping point of a wine revolution. Wine quality has never been higher, nor its unique vine material better understood. Whilst overall production and exports are significantly smaller than they were 30 years ago, Cypriots and tourists alike are drinking better, and more widely, than ever before. The future looks bright on the island.
So, what makes Cypriot wine so unique and compelling? A number of elements are pretty persuasive: Cyprus is home to the highest vineyards in Europe and can produce wines from a given given grape or blend across a myriad terroir-based styles. The island possesses many unique red and white indigenous grape varieties that are characterful and, in the context of an Hellenic eating and drinking culture, extremely food-friendly. International grapes varieties are also finding new expression here.
The resulting wines therefore offer the enthusiast and experimenter alike something totally new, albeit with ancient associations. It is in the context of this age-old story, influenced and referred tob y the Classical Greeks, Romans, Byzantines, Crusading Lusignans, Venetians and British alike, that we hear a new voice; something self-confident and fresh, but also born out of a very timeworn landscape.
This same combination of a history, individuality, quality and value has reinvigorated wine producing countries all around the Mediterranean in recent years. Now it is Cyprus`s time to introduce itself to the Swiss wine scene. My take is that the on-trade will find particularly use for these most interesting of wines, whether unctuous Commandaria, summer-quaffing rosés, or refreshingly different dry wines and reds that are born out of a culture that understands and celebrates the relationship between food, wine and life.