Marcos Zambartas is the owner and oenologist of Zambartas Wineries, located in the region of Krasochoria, in the District of Limasol, in Cyprus. Marcos studied chemistry and then did a master’s degree in oenology at the University of Adelaide in Australia.
GZ: Marcos, I want to ask you about the region where your winery is located: Krasochoria. What are their characteristics?
MZ: Krasochoria are two words and it means wine villages. It is the oldest region of wine production in Cyprus. We are about 20 to 50 kilometers from the coast. The elevation of the area of the vineyards begins at 550 masl and the highest are around 1050 masl. Twelve villages integrate the whole region. Cypriot varieties are traditionally planted: Xinisteri, Maratheftiko, Yiannoudi, Canella, and a bit of Morocanella as well. These days, after the 60s, we also have some Greek varieties such as: Lefkada, Agiorgitiko, which has also been in the area for ten years and something from Assyrtico. We also have French varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Mouvèdre. The Bordeaux varieties do not grow very well here because it is too hot and most of the vineyards here have no irrigation. So the French varieties are those of the Mediterranean, that are better adapted to the climate. Regarding to the soil, we have two different types. One is very brown and is found in the highest parts of the region. This soil is more volcanic and fertile. In the lower parts it is white. We have a lot of calcium which can be a problem at times. They are not very poor soils. There is very low precipitation. We do not have rains in Cyprus in general, but especially in Krasochoria, then nature tells us that we have to produce concentrated wines, of more quality than wines for every day of very productive vineyards. We do not have vineyards of high yields in the area. In the west of the island there are such vineyards but not here.
GZ: If you had to tell someone who knows nothing about Cyprus wines, what would you tell them about them?
MZ: First you have to come to the island to taste the best wines. Exports are not many. And the good wines are consumed here. When someone comes here, I think they should try the indigenous varieties and the different styles of wines that we make. If someone is looking for light red wines they will not find them here. The reds have good extraction and are concentrated. We also do not produce such aromatic white wines. They are white wines for food more than to have them in a bar, like an aromatic Sauvignon Blanc, for example. We are talking about flavuors and concentration.
GZ: Could you describe the Zambartas Rosé wine?
MZ: It’s a blend of Cabernet Franc and Lefkada. The choice of the blend was made because we like the aromas of Cabernet but, at the same time, to obtain the pleasant aromas we need to leave it in the vineyard for a complete maturation. Which can lead to high alcohol levels. We then introduce the Lefkada variety which tends to be botanical. It has aroma of bubble gum with very intense aromatic profile and a relatively low Bome, which is the sugar content. The resulting aroma is complementary of the two varieties. It has aromas of rose petals, pomegranate, something botanical, pleasant green aroma, clean and refreshing. It has an intense red color. It is not our intention to produce a light pink style that is on the fashion. We prefer to make rosé wines for red wine drinkers. There is some tannin in this wine. Some people appreciate that because drinking red wine is not very simple in this hot weather. It is a rosé wine with flavor, with aroma, with some tannins that makes it a wine for food. We are very happy that this wine is appreciated by many people. We export it to UK, Switzerland, a little to Germany.
Zambartas Wineries website: www.zambartaswineries.com