Friday, February 4, 2011

Chains On, Chains Off

It might be hard to find a better place for a wine tasting in Nicosia than Cava Inon Pnevmata. What makes this cava stand out from the competition is its tastefully decorated, pristine yet inviting first-floor sitting rooms, one room set up with comfortable couches, ornate arm chairs and coffee tables, the other occupied by a long wooden dinning table that can easily sit fourteen people. On each table, one will find obscenely large and delectable cheese and cold cut platters, all stacked with top-shelf products one can exclusively purchase at the shop downstairs. The tastings generally run from noon to nine p.m. on Saturdays, but the place only starts to boom come six or seven p.m. as people walk in for a pre-dinner drink and snack. My guess is some visitors really make themselves at home and stay for an aperitif, appetizer, main course, wine, dessert, digestif, and more wine, the whole lot served of course with a side of drunken conversation. And I really don't think Inon Pnevmata's owners, Stavros and Christina, would want it any other way since this is simply a great way of building customer loyalty and introducing their wines, liqueurs, chocolates, cigars and delicatessen products to as many Nicosians as possible.

A few years ago, The Wife, Ph.D., accompanied by Cousin #2, took her one-and-only wine appreciation course there (believe it or not, her wine education is WAY more advanced than mine.) So given our familiarity with the place and its close proximity to the Whine On The Rocks HQ, we have anointed it our neighborhood wine supplier. Once in a while on Saturdays, whenever The Wife, Ph.D., is free and in a drinking mood, we pay them a visit as a happily married couple. Other times, whenever The Wife, Ph.D., is grounded for disrespecting my rights as an immigrant on The Rock, I chain her to the kitchen sink or toilet or outdoor balcony railing and call up some of our fancy friends to babysit me as I soak away my sorrows in Shiraz. Not really but close. So this past Saturday, with The Wife, Ph.D., in a rather temperamental state of mind and too busy grading biology exams, I sneaked out of the house and rendezvoused with My Zolpidem Supplier, her cousin, and My Life Coach at the cava for a tasting of The Rock's finest.

Stavros, as welcoming, informative and gregarious as usual, started us off with the 2010 Domaine Argyrides Chardonnay, a wine marked by pineapple, grapefruit and kiwi notes, very refreshing and superior to the 2009 I had tried a few months ago. Then, privy to its existence, Stavros offered me a taste of the yet unreleased Domaine Vlassides Merlot (vintage?), a promising wine that emanated aromas of plums, pepper and tomatoes. I followed that with the 2009 Domaine Argyrides Maratheftiko, 2007 Tsiakkas Bambakada (seemed a bit tired and lacking depth to me), the 2007 Domaine Argyrides Mourverdre (thumbs up!) and the 2009 Domaine Vlassides Shiraz (smoother and rounder than the 2008 vintage). Also on offer were the 2007 Domaine Vlassides Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2010 Tsiakkas Rose, both of which I skipped in an effort (usually pointless) of remaining on two feet and not salivating like a Saint Bernard by the end of the escapade.

On our way out, My Zolpidem Supplier, My Life Coach and I bought a few bottles as a token of our appreciation for yet another successful event. Even though I believe other shops have a stronger wine selection than Inon Pnevmata's, Stavros' passion for his products and his emphasis on customer service in an island where this is mostly a lost art makes us keep coming back for more. We said our goodbyes and then I stumbled home to uncuff The Wife, Ph.D., (she begged for forgiveness; I caved in) and drive south where her family was waiting for us with cheap Agiorgitiko, homegrown roasted chickens and lots of lamb.

Whine On The Rocks Rating: 5 out of 5 Sparkling Spatulas


Carol said...

So... are all of these "Domaine" wines specific of the Rock's region?

Mateo Jarrin Cuvi said...

Domaine basically means Estate. And, yes, all of these wines are made in Cyprus. Unfortunately, I don't think they are available in the US.

Jasmine Smith said...

I am unable to read articles online very often, but I'm glad I did today. This is very well written and your points are well-expressed. Please, don't ever stop writing.

Mateo Jarrin Cuvi said...

Hi Jasmine, thanks a ton for your comment. I will keep plugging along and I sure hope you can make it back onto my blog whenever you get a chance. Happy drinking!

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