A Contemporary Take On The Oldest Wine In The World
A naturally-sweet, aged wine, Anama of ‘The Palate Project’ bridges the gap between Cypriot history and new horizons.
High away in the hills behind Limassol, 1100m up to be precise, two young aesthetes are working on their passion project to ‘produce refined & contemporary Authentic Cypriot Products’.
It is not easy being a wine producer in Cyprus at the best of times. Being one with a new vision and a single product is even harder. Cypriot wine export is not high, most wine gets drunk within the country, and what does get exported is really thanks to the stalwart incumbent greats such as Zambartas.
Anama wants to change that with an aged sweet wine designed for collecting. Combining new age thinking with 5000-year-old Cypriot winemaking foundations of the oldest recorded wine in the world, Kyprion Nama, and its successor Commandaria, Anama was born. Couple Lefteros and Kristina started their passion project with conviction in 2009, since winning international awards including a Silver Decanter badge for their 2008 vintage.
To look at, the product is pretty striking. Jewellery designer Kristina has designed a superb looking bottle more akin to a cult spirit that you’d see in a Mayfair bar. The couple say “each & every bottle is labeled using precious materials and bares a unique hand-punched number, thus completing the product’s collectable profile.”
But anyone knows if it doesn’t taste good inside, it won’t sell. Amid the throng of wine fair attendees we tasted the light tawny coloured 2011 vintage, designed to be served slightly chilled, with some thin slices of cypriot cheese. Subtle, fruity, delicate and with an oak taste, the wine should always be served on the child side.
The contents of the bottle are left to Oenologist Lefteros, who has spent time in Australasia and Europe honing his craft. He combines traditional historical methods with modern production, growing his two grape varieties on five acres of plot high in the breezy hills above the Limassol coast. Mavro (70% of the plot) and Xynisteri vines grow here on ancient rootstock, and in the drying process the grapes are sun baked in the early autumn sun before being picked between 40 to 60 days later, meanwhile the excess leaves are hand picked to ensure direct sunlight can do its magic.
With 34 months in oak barrel, and only 2000 or so bottles made, it has a 13% only alcohol, very low for a collectible sweet wine, and something quite different.