Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Best. White. Period.

Red & White
And so I've found the best white wine produced on The Rock. By goleada as a South American football fan would exclaim.

Kyperounda Winery recently launched a line of high-end wines under the label Epos. These wines, a red and a white, are made from Kyperounda's own vineyards, which allows the oenology team to monitor the grapes' development and release products that closely mirror the winery's terroir. Each bottle costs about 18 Euros, and the white, for Radio Free Cyprus' and my amateurish wine sampling skills, is simply superb.

2011 Kyperounda Epos White (Chardonnay) - Beautiful, rounded nose of pears, green apples, a hint of citrus fruits and oak. Fullish on the palate with notes of citrus, pears and white pepper. Quite long and with good acidity for a Chardonnay. 91/100.

2009 Kyperounda Epos Red (Cabernet Sauvignon & Shiraz) - Nice red fruit, black pepper, some dark cherry, coffee and oak on the nose.What is most attractive about this wine is a subtle note of licorice, mint and/or eucalyptus that sings throughout. Medium bodied with smooth tannins. 89/100.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wino Ref Nicosia: Battle Cypriot Lager

A billboard is to blame. I first caught its eye on Paralimni's main road, standing tall and proud, announcing to whomever paid attention that Leon, The Rock's afterthought of a beer, had received one Golden Star for "Notable Taste" from the Belgium-based International Taste & Quality Institute Superior Taste Award. My curiosity piqued, I decided it was an opportune time to stage the blog's second ever blind tasting, this time around with Cyprus' three lagers, KEO, Carlsberg and Leon, as our secret ingredient. The first, if you're late to the party, was an infamous horizontal tasting of 2007 Cypriot Shiraz.

Before KEO's and Leon's Facelifts
When there are no American IPAs lying around and push comes to shove, I always choose KEO. It's fuller and hoppier, and does a better job quenching one's thirst thanks to the blessing of the Orthodox Church of Cyprus, the company's largest shareholder. Carlsberg, on the other hand, I find blander than Little Miss Despot's salt-less brown vegetable purees. To label it "probably the best beer in the world" is akin to calling Miley Cyrus' fondness for sledgehammers "cute." Besides its fierce name, Leon was (up until the night of our tasting) an enigma. I think I tried one five years ago, but at the time my senses and judgement were clouded by the glorious view of Fig Tree Bay from Zefkas Restaurant, the summer heat and the four or five KEOs that had preceded it.

Coming into the tasting, our venerable panel of judges (The Disney-Obsessed Man Child, The Father-in-Law, Cousin #1 and me) was fairly confident it could single out KEO, the beer each member considered the best of the lot. To give you an idea of this belief, The Disney-Obsessed Man Child, who, I must mention for the purpose of full disclosure, owns a weekend retreat in Never Never Land, thinks KEO is God's gift to earth. Plus, his marriage to KEO is longer than that to his wife Minnie Mouse; his first, albeit indirect, taste of the beer was while splashing around amniotic fluid. As the sole alien foreigner in our panel, I was at an obvious disadvantage; my inaugural KEO happened only eight years ago and my preference for hoppy beers was bound to throw my palate for a loop. Still, I had ample faith in my abilities as a taster.

Herein are the results:

Tasting #1 - Friday Night
(Beers ranked in order of *blind* preference)

Mateo: Leon, Carlsberg, KEO
DOMC: KEO, Carlsberg, Leon
Father-in-Law: Leon, KEO, Carlsberg

Tasting #2 -Saturday Night
(Beers ranked in order of *blind* preference)

Mateo: Carlsberg, KEO, Leon
DOMC: KEO, Carlsberg, Leon
Cousin #1: KEO, Carlsberg, Leon

In conclusion, I don't know shit about lagers.