Wine bars on The Rock are as common as surfable waves on its beaches. A few haphazard ripples will have most Cypriots complaining that the sea is too rough and that it is impossible for them to swim. And by swim, they generally mean getting their torsos wet and floating around for five minutes before making their way back to their sunbeds, iced coffees, magazines and newspapers, and loud beach-side bickering. The only stroke you might come across on a Cypriot beach is the heat stroke. I keep telling The Wife, Ph.D., though, that if The Rock was regularly rocked (no pun intended) by waves, she probably wouldn't see me on weekends; I would be somewhere, as playful and cheerful as a baby dolphin in the Pacific, getting pummeled with my body-board by the whitewash surf. But life is never perfect and so I am stuck with water that moves less than a stiff.
Last night, along with The Wife, Ph.D., My Life Coach, My Zolpidem Supplier and her cousin, I checked out the new-and-improved Blue Wine Bar & Lounge at the Classic Hotel in old Nicosia. In its previous incarnation, the joint was nice enough but lacked seating and lighting, and the back-end couches seemed to have been recycled from a gentleman's club. The new place is a long, bright and welcoming room with plenty of tables (both low and high), a few couches, a modern and well-stocked bar, and a pretty comprehensive menu including platters, salads, grilled meats and sandwiches. Also on offer was a 10 Euro antipasto buffet that included smoked salmon, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, grilled vegetables, and other finger foods. The wine list, though not mind-blowing, has a few good Old World and New World options for local oenophiles. The music, basically old school rock as part of their Thursday Forty-Plus Night, included classics by The Doors, The Rolling Stones, The Animals, Phil Collins, 1980s U2, Pink Floyd and others, all thoroughly enjoyable yet played at a deafening volume for the kind of establishment. Overall, however, I was feeling it as a pleasant place to kickback and sip on some wine.
We ordered a bountiful cheese and charcuterie platter, which included four types of cheese, dried fruit, salami, prosciutto and roast beef, and a red berry coulis, and a well-made salad with fresh mozzarella, sun-dried tomatoes and greens. To accompany it all, we received white sesame bread, served warm and drizzled with olive oil and poppy seeds, and an assortment of crackers that arrived only after My Zolpidem Supplier found the right words in Greek to voice to the bar's manager her desire for crunchy goodness. Assuming we would only consume one bottle of wine (it was a school night after all), I started us off with the 2003 Felsina Berardenga Chianti Classico Riserva, a short, round and smooth wine with hints of sour cherries, raspberries, vanilla and cinnamon. I found it a bit flat in the mid-palate and with bitter tannins but the ladies enjoyed it.
Surprisingly enough, the ladies wanted more, more and more. So for the sake of the blog, I went with the 2006 Villa Maria Reserve Pinot Noir (Marlborough, New Zealand), fully aware that it made no sense whatsoever to have it follow the Tuscan wine. But I really wanted the ladies to smell some earth, drop their noses to the ground and soak up some stink. Yes, it was earthy (mulch and hay) but well-complemented by red fruit, as well as some chocolate and coffee. Its alcohol spiked a bit too much towards the end, yet the ladies, except for My Zolpidem Supplier's cousin, preferred it to the Chianti Classico.
All in all, it was an excellent night in good company with plenty of juice. As we left the place, the manager, a very personable older man, jokingly asked me to call him for backup next time I was out with four pretty, successful and distinguished women. If only there were waves in Cyprus, I thought, he could entertain the ladies (albeit not The Wife, Ph.D., she be mine) while I surfed and no longer felt blue come summertime. But wine, rocks and words are what life have set on my plate so...chin-chin.
Whine On The Rocks Rating: 4 out of 5 Sparkling Spatulas