The new Boundaries of Xinisteri

Xinisteri is the most important and most planted white grape in Cyprus.
But first, let´s have a look at the historic timeline of viticulture and winemaking in Cyprus. By 2300 BC a
shipwreck reveled around 2500 amphorae that must have served for wine storage and transport. The
Bronze era is rich in testimonies about vine cultivation and winemaking, with some traces going back as
far as 5500 years, with old vessels certifying wine production.
The medieval period starts with the Lusignan rule, when the Battle of wine commanded by Philippe
Auguste, King of France in 1224 is attested with Commandaria being crowned the Apostol of wines.
After a brief period as a colony of powerful Venice, Ottoman rule unfortunately brought a steep decline
in wine production between 1571 and 1878, followed by the British era that brought new development
to the state, revitalizing the industry. It is also the period when the “Big Four” were founded among
other developments: (1844 ETKO, 1928 KEO, 1943 LOEL, 1947 SODAP). Cyprus had never been touched
by phylloxera thanks to strict quarantine, thus preserving some of its old grape varieties. From 1980
onwards new varieties have been introduced, new small regional wineries have joined the big historic
wine producers. In 2007 PDOs have been launched and harmonized with European regulations.
Cyprus PDOs:
PDO Laona – Akamas
PDO Vouni- Panayias Ambelitis
PDO Pitsilia
PDO Wine villages of Lemesos with 2 regions Afamas and Laona having PDO status too
PDO Commandaria
There are also 4 PGIs in the country: Pafos, Lemesos, Larnaca and Lefkosia.
The Cyprus terroir was created by the kinetics of the African and European plates moving towards one
to the other around 92 million years ago. By that time, the Troodos range was below the sea level and
the chain come out 2 million years ago. This volcanic bedrock was mostly covered by limestone and
gypsum on clay beds.
The climate is of a dry and hot Mediterranean nature, with most of the vineyards situated on the south-
facing slopes of the Troodos mountains and thus regulated by altitude (up to 1500 m) and the presence
of valleys where some rain might fall especially during winter- time (up to 500- 600 mm annual level).
Drip- irrigation is permitted, except for certain PDOs regulations but it is limited because of the low
availability of water supply.
Red grape varieties include Mavro, by far the most planted on the island, then Maratheftiko (also called
Vamvakada in Pitsilia), Yiannoudi, Ophtalmo while white grapes are led by Xinisteri, followed by obscure
varieties such as Promara, Morokanella, Vasilissa etc. International and some Greek varieties appeared
in the late 70s on the island passing by a very strict quarantine before being planted in the Cypriote soil.
Xinisteri represents 33% of the plantings in the country. Here are some of its main characteristics:

Julia Scavo DipWSET© p. 2
– Very vigorous and productive;
– Low requirements in water;
– Mid- late ripening to late depending on altitude;
– Only white grape variety allowed in PDOs (at the height of 85%);
– One of the 2 varieties allowed in Commandaria;
– Can be either on the Terpenes or on the Thiols side;
– Crispy wine with medium acidity;
– Alcohol 12-13,5% abv.
Xinisteri “Esouza” 2020 Ezousa Winery 100% Xinisteri – Paphos, Ezousa Valley, calcareous and volcanic
3,2ph 24 h cold maceration, low temperature fermenting in stainless steel, lees maturing for 3 months
without batonnage
Fresh nose displaying citrus, some pomelo, passion fruit, pawpaw, tropical thiols. Dry, crispy medium
acidity, slightly leesy texture with citrusy finish, pleasant and zesty.
2. Xinisteri “Anatoli” Kyperounda Winery 2020 – in the Pitsilia PDO, Kyperounda area, Gabbro soil, with
silt and clay from the Troodos mountains, sandy texture. Vines are planted in 1965, on east facing slopes
of 70%
pH 3,18 9 months on lees, no batonnage, 620 bottles produced
Herbal, botanical terpenes, with bready glints, displaying citrus, apple, it also has some blossom notes.
Dry with supple attack, silky texture, medium to plus acidity, preserving a fresh feel, it has leesy texture,
with a crispy zesty finish and salty, savoury aftertaste, with a dense touch.
3. Xinisteri Vassilicon Winery 2016 Xinisteri 100% – Paphos in Laona Akama PDO area, limestone, and
gypsum clay beds. Vines from different plots ranging from 20 to 100 years old, at 600- 700 m altitude,
non-irrigated, bush vines
pH 3,19, 50% cold maceration stainless steel, lees maturation.
Very youthful appearance. Terpenic development, with oily hints, displaying essential oils, also some
botanicals, wax, honey, citron fruit. Dry, mild acidity, but fresh feel, juicy with elegant texture, with
terpenes and a very smooth texture, zesty finish with an oily, waxy touch, with citron fruit peel glints.
4. Xinisteri “Alates” Vlassides Winery – Limassol, Wine villages of Lemesos PDO area at Afamis
Mountain; 50% Sand, 25% Clay and 25% Silt at 900 m
pH 3,17 maturation takes place in 2000 l untoasted oak vats.
Delicate, discreet, lactic mingling with citrus, the palate is lean, silky, very dense leesy texture framed by
zesty phenolics, with a crispy twist.
5. Xinisteri “Rkaes 758” Single Vineyard Nelion Winery 2020 Limestone, young vines, planted in 2004,
with trellis supporting bush-vines
pH 3,14 stainless steel, with 4 months in acacia oak.

Julia Scavo DipWSET© p. 3
Goldish colour. Very aromatic, peachy, fresh with some herbal notes of laurel, the palate is dry, crispy,
fresh acidity with medium plus level, leesy texture but without lees impact on aromas, it is citrusy, with
balsamic notes.
Orange Xinisteri Tsiakkas Winery 2019 Soil is volcanic sand, at high altitude, VSP training
pH 3,3 40-days skin contact on Commandaria grape skins in open oak, spontaneous fermentation,
Golden colour, displaying blossoms, rose sherbet, wax, and honey, with some raisins. Dry and deep
palate with structure led by the tannins, tight texture imbued with spices, caramel, finishing with a nice
sapid bite and juicy aftertaste.