I went to the Fikardos winery in Cyprus with a group of friends. We went on this holiday together to celebrate that we’ve known each other for 7 years. Wineries are the perfect place to celebrate friendships, I think. This winery was especially a good choice to celebrate our anniversary. You can find them on this website.
The winery was easy to reach with public transport, although the bus was a bit late and only goes twice a day. So obviously we had to take a taxi back to the place we were staying. Locals were surprised when we said that we didn’t want to drink and drive and that’s surprising to me. Drunk driving is dangerous, so please take a taxi if you go.
The father of the guy who gave us the tour started this winery. Both the father and son are called Fikardos as their first and last name. Originally the father didn’t mean to get so big. He started by making wine for home consumption and slowly the number of grapes he processed increased and the demand also increased. First, his neighbors wanted to have the wine too, followed by the street, then the village and now the father has a factory. The wines he makes are named after family members, close friends or the grapes that are in the wine.
The area where the grapes grow is important for the flavor formation in the grapes and for the types of grapes that can grow. Sommeliers would call this the terroir. The definition of terroir being: “how a particular region’s climate, soils, and aspect (terrain) affect the taste of wine.” (source: winefolly.com)
The Fikardos winery we went to gets the grapes from farmers close by. This area in Cyprus has a 2-month window of grape harvest, this is the time when the grapes are ripe. The grapes are put in a cold room upon arrival. I hadn’t heard this before, but apparently, this results in better juice. The next day the grapes are separated from the branches and pressed to a juice.
This is the first press, the first press is used for the best wines. The second press is a harder press, more pressure is put on the leftovers from the first press. The juice that comes out is used for cheaper wines or vinegar.
The first press is tasted and tried to decide on the next steps. The harvest determines the steps that are taken and the wines that are made. The yeast that matches with the juice is added and the wine is left to ferment. During the fermentation, the wine is tasted a couple of times, to make sure the process is going as expected. After fermentation, the wines are bottled and left to age. Aging adds flavor to the wine.
We tasted 6 wines and they were amazing. I was really focused on recognizing different flavors in the wine. I have been practicing wine tasting and I’m still terrible. However one of the wines tasted so obvious like strawberries, it was crazy. The effect of fermentation on flavors remains mysterious to me. I know technically what happens, and why the wine tastes like strawberries, but still. We also tasted a dessert wine. Dessert wines are typically very sweet. This wine was no exception, to me it really tasted like raisins.