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Wine is also an expression of the land where the plants are rooted
25 Apr 2020

I often find myself around meeting tables with decision makers whether to form a collaboration and an association with certain new companies and/or products and quite often I am asked for an opinion, hence I’m called a consultant. It was this scenario when more salesmen came to introduce new bottles of wines, yet from another winery, with new labels, new ideas, …words like ‘but our wines are better because… and our labels and our grapes and our….’ Same salesmen jargon! However, as I switched off and I was ready to leave the room for my next meeting, I have listened to a voice explaining a question on Xinisteri or perhaps Mavron grapes and I stopped! I turned around and saw the hands moving in an explanatory manner and talking about it in such an intense and absolute manner declaring a definite passion! I was drawn to his passion. I sat down and met Christos Vasiliades, the young and dynamic entrepreneur behind Ekfraseis winery! He was full of intensity, proud, knowledgeable and there’s was a romantic dream and a vision to express elegance and take the Cyprus wines at a higher level.

 

Christos has been helping out in all stages of wine production while visiting his grandfather, who played a huge role in shaping his love and passion for wine.The vineyards in Chandria Village at the Limassol wine region, are 1200 meters above sea level with a unique ‘terroir’ of rocky soil. It is believed that Troodos mountain area was formed after an earthquake where the mountains were formed pushed out from the bottom of the sea. Perhaps the highest vineyards in Europe and Christos is aware of the various factors of slope gradients, elevation and aspect and what each vineyard enjoys due to its location in terms of sun, rainfall, humidity and frost. Sauvignon Blanc vineyard sits at a breathtaking 14-hundred meters above sea level. His Pinot Noir vines, at 13-hundred meters above sea level,… woah!

 

We met Christos and talked about wine experiences and got enthusiastic and passionate with him! If you don’t declare passion on wines you will not be his friend!Here are some  answers we got from the wine maker himself.

 

Why did you name the Winery’s label EKFRASEIS ?

 

Wine is undoubtedly an expression—an artistic and scientific interpretation of the personality of the vigneron. Wine is also an expression of the land where the plants are rooted.

 

 

Which wine or wines you are mostly proud of and why?

 

 

I am committed to every label we produce at the winery. Each of our wine and vintage has its story and its distinctiveness. Its a bit tricky for me to try to distinguish any of our labels. We produce premium wine, with high standards and a desire to evolve continuously.

 

Pinot Noir in Cyprus? 

 

Pinot Noir is a difficult grape that loves cold weather and is very "terroir" connected. It was a challenge from the beginning. Our altitude, the composition of our soils there at Madari mountain, and the yearly weather conditions with the cool summers and the cold winters help as to decide to plant and cultivate this grape. It was a successful step, we had already planted a second vineyard, and every year we try hard to develop a better understanding of the variety. We look forward to work on several styles of wine. 

 

Here is from a recent post of yours on facebook which I love and stole! (excuse the Greek!)

‘Αγαπώ το Pinot Noir. Ατίθασο φυτό, βιαστικό κάποτε... Δαμάζεται όμως. Με το που το φέρεις στα μέτρα σου, γίνεται ένα με τη Γή που του χαρίζει ζωή.

 

Στιγμιότυπο από 2 ετών αμπέλι Pinot Noir. Υψόμετρο 4200 πόδια, δυτικά των Χανδριών’.

 

How do you see the future of wine production in Cyprus?

 

The agriculture factor in Cyprus declines year after year. Amateur growers abandon vineyards, and new plantings are rare. Fortunately, a lot of wineries keep the flag up, and they try to keep the viticulture on the island alive. They plant new vineyards, try new varieties, try to understand better, and evolve the indigenous varieties, and they put a lot of knowledge behind all these actions. Most of the wineries employ oenologists, young persons who are ambitious and educated. This fact, in combination with the development of modern viticulture, is a good sign that Cypriot wine can reaches higher levels of recognition. A drawback is an elevated average temperature due to global warming. It is something that will cause problems in the future, especially for low altitude vineyards.

 

How would you describe the taste and any insides to the Sauvignon Blanc? REVIEW 

 

The excellent adaptation of the variety to the low temperatures of the Madari region and its unproductive, dry soil leads to the high-quality production of the plant and the expression of the varietal character. We have adopted international cultivation practices to the particularities of the ecosystem, in order to showcase a combination of varietal dynamic and the potential of the microclimate. The fruit reaches perfect maturity while maintaining all varietal parameters which lead to its successful vinification. Harvesting is split into two phases of technological maturing: an early and a late stage, which are completed toward the beginning of September. We aim to add a larger complexity and intense aroma to the wine while maintaining the distinctive, varietal acidity. We take the varietal characteristics into consideration and combine them with a light, limited duration maturity of part of the wine in oak barrels.

 

 

Rich, balanced profile, with a special concentration and depth. Tropical fruit aromas, botanical notes, and a fresh acidity framed by a mineral aftertaste.

 

How would you describe the taste and would you give us some insides on ONAR?  

 

For us, Onar is an intense expression of a rich red wine made of fruit from high altitude vineyards. The Cabernet Franc variety, adjusted greatly to the mesoclimate and in combination with diligent vinification processes, brings wines with depth, aromatic intensity, and maturity potentials in the bottle. Maturity is prolonged to late autumn when harvest takes place. Following careful extractions and slow fermentation processes, the wine is moved to French oak barrels to mature for 12 months. Bottling takes place, and the wine stays in our cellars for some months for it to develop the characteristic varietal bouquet. The variety’s needs are in sync with the ecosystem which makes viniculture fascinating. The herbaceous character of the variety declines through the appropriate practices, while the phenolic index potential matures sufficiently and the acidity remains at high levels, taking advantage of the cool autumnal evenings. The poor, dry soils secure the necessary concentration, and the vineyard’s exposure contributes to the maximum in creating wines with the right ABV, aromatic intensity, and body.

 

 

Herbaceous aromas framed by black fruit. Vanilla, tobacco, and peppery notes. Rich, deep, and decadent. Delicate acidity, rich texture, and long finish.

 

And what about this very special wine ΗΩ?

 

The island is ideal for the production of sweet wines. Increased sunlight, high temperatures, dry climate and the overall effects of the Mediterranean climate contribute to the cultivation of grapes for this purpose. Io is a special innovation of the winery which is the result of the wide range of possibilities offered by the position of the vines of the Xynisteri variety where the grapes come from, on the Madari mountain. Grapes are left for an extended period on the plant (until the beginning of December) in order to become over-mature slowly under mild circumstances while developing a noble rot which offers the characteristic bouquet and aromatic distinctiveness to Io. Harvest follows when we select the grapes which have developed some traits (over-mature, noble rot). The vinification processes take place during the winter months when a remarkably slow fermentation leads to a rich, sweet wine, of beautiful complexity and aromatic intension with a unique texture. The uniqueness of Io is a result of the extremely rare conditions found at a single vineyard where the grapes come from. This vineyard is situated at an altitude of 1500 m, facing south, with an unusually small production which is the result of the granular soil and its structure which is mainly rocky, as well as of the old age of the vines. The above, combined with the vineyard’s capacity to develop and spread a noble rot to the biggest part of the grapes during the latest part of its maturity, provide the opportunity to direct the annual production of the vineyard toward harvesting grapes with the traits demanded the production of overly mature, noble rot grapes. We aim to secure the already sensitive character of the grape through careful practices, providing aid especially during the final stages, so that it develops according to our demands and gets the necessary uniformity. The extremely limited production of grapes doesn’t allow for mistakes and oversights.

 

 

Seductive nose, make, and complexity. Apricot, honey, orange notes, tastes of delicious, spicy peach and bergamot jams. An aftertaste which together with the wine’s special acidity, is unforgettable.

 

Thank you Christos for the experience of knowing you, speakeasyhacker will be watching your winery and look forward to your passionate wine productions definitely upgrading the Cyprus wines to another level! Best!

 

 

More reading on EKFRASEIS WINERY

https://winescribble.com/vassiliades-ekfraseis-winery-cyprus/

https://cyprusinstyle.com/2020/02/19/ekfraseis-winery-wine-column-by-george-kassianos-for-cyprus-in-style-magazine/

 

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