Friday, October 22, 2010

Wedding Wines Among Enemies

A few weeks ago, The Boy Who's Marrying The Enemy and his future wife, The Enemy, invited us over to their place to sample the red and white wines they intend on serving at their upcoming wedding dinner. Obviously, since I am their main "whino" friend, I offered to buy two of the three bottles we would taste, a 2009 Kolios Persefoni (Xynisteri) and Tsangarides Agios Efrem (Mataro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blend). The Boy Who's Marrying The Enemy provided a bottle of 2006 Shoufas Red Dry Wine (Maratheftiko, Oftalmo, Mavro and Cabernet Sauvignon blend), a wine of legendary proportions among our group of fancy friends. You see, not too long ago, I received a bottle of Shoufas as a Christmas gift and, well aware of its mediocrity, opted to re-gift it and give it to The French Connoisseur as a token of my gratitude for his connoisseurship. Of course, he caught up with the joke, re-wrapped the bottle himself and gave it to the Disney-obsessed man-child one night we all went over to his and Minnie Mouse's apartment to partake in a drunken dart tournament. A few days later, the man-child, probably worried about Nemo's fate or pretending to be Ratatouille with a set of skewers and a lit grill, dropped the bottle on the kitchen floor. That night we all said a silent prayer for our fallen Shoufas comrade, who if still with us would have been bravely changing domicile every few weeks.

City weddings on The Rock are of epic proportions. Almost like an autograph signing by your [enter favorite celebrity crush] and (occasionally) followed by an invitation to a V.I.P. dinner party. Thousands of people (yes, you read correctly) are invited to a cocktail in which the married couple (many times bored to death) stands on a short stage for two-to-three hours shaking their guests' hands and receiving small envelopes jam-packed with $$$ as gifts. Sometimes the wedding is open to the public; an invitation is placed as an ad in the local newspaper just to make sure one does not bruise people's feelings by somehow forgetting to personally invite them. Finger food is served, average champagne is drank, the line to greet the merry marriage stretches for a couple hundred meters. Invitees hang around for a bit and then head on out forty-to-sixty Euros poorer to the next cocktail. Given the size of such events, it is quite common for a family to be invited to three or four of these on the same day. To be honest with you, if "wedding hopping" and "wedding crashing" were an Olympic sport, The Rock would have a boatload of gold medals by now and Marcos Baghdatis would feel less guilty about downing his fair share of souvla and halloumopittes.

Those of us close enough to the couple are then invited to a "private" dinner that can reach up to six hundred guests. The decor is classy and people are dressed appropriately. The buffet is generous and scrumptious; salads, cold cuts, pastas, rices, roasted meats, vegetables, stews and a large assortment of desserts crowd several long tables. The whiskey-fueled dancing can be entertaining and even include that of the table variety (no, not of the Spearmint Rhino kind, you perverts). But the wine, oh, the wine. Generally local, generally average, generally not served at the right temperatures. Many people do not care about the wine but I do, so it is quite depressing to pair a plate stacked to the brink with tasty foods with a mediocre wine. Olympus (Etko) Salera, you've been warned. I am just kidding...kind of.

The Boy Who's Marrying The Enemy had six wine choices (three red and three white) provided to him by the hotel in Agia Napa that will host the party. Considering my pseudo-expertise in The Rock's wines, I told him to pick either Aes Ambelis (Xynisteri-Semillon blend) or Persefoni as his white and Tsangarides Agios Efrem as his red. Since he had previously drank the Aes Ambelis White, he chose to go with something new just like his marital status. As for the reds, he found a bottle of the oh-so-ever-elusive Shoufas and included it in the tasting. The Enemy contributed to the evening by preparing a luscious zucchini soup and red lentil kisir, a Turkish dish based on bulgur wheat and tomato paste.

2009 Kolios Persefoni (Xynisteri) - Bouquet of fresh-cut apples, lemons, roses and grass. Soft, very pale yellow color, almost like hay. Medium-bodied wine, quite short and simple, but thoroughly enjoyable. According to The Boy Who's Marrying The Enemy, "not too innocent." 85/100.

2006 Shoufas Red Dry Wine (Maratheftiko, Oftalmo, Mavro and Cabernet Sauvignon blend) - The Boy Who's Marrying The Enemy said this is a "classic Cyprus wine." Not classic in a positive sense but in the "this-is-your-typical-Cyprus-table-wine" sense. Bouquet of coffee beans, red berries, plums, some smokiness. Very short, light-bodied, basic wine. Nothing outstanding about it but neither undrinkable. 80/100.

Tsangarides Agios Efrem (Mataro, Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz blend) - Much more complex and with a fuller body than the Shoufas. This should have been expected given the varietals involved. Pleasant nose of berries, coffee and lots of pepper. 84/100.

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