Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A Case of Questions with Yiannis Karakasis MW

During the past few months, Yiannis Karakasis, one of two Masters of Wine in South Eastern Europe, has been quite outspoken about Cyprus' wine. Following a visit to The Rock (which I've already written about), Karakasis penned a series of articles praising the work being done by Cypriot winemakers. He covered his initial impressions of the island's wines, his visit to Vouni Panayia to sample the Kyriakides clan's promising Promara, and an exclusive tasting of some of Zambartas' best. Karakasis even took the time to send Elizabeth Gabay, an MW who resides in Provence, several bottles of Cypriot rosé to review. Karakasis, who consults, writes and teaches about wine and also works as a judge for Decanter and wine consultant for the Greek TV wine show "Taste and Wine," sat down with the blog and tackled its dirty dozen.

Why wine?

Yiannis Karakasis (YK): I guess no other proper question was put on the table.

First wine that really captured your attention? How old were you?

YK: I think it was a big Greek brand (maybe a white or could be a rosé but I will not admit it openly for the latter), and this was back in the late 80s, good rock n' roll times.

All-time favorite bottle of wine?

YK: A Naoussa 69, very much like a Barolo from the 60's. In an international context, it has to be Giacomo Conterno’s Monfortino.

Favourite wine-producing region? Why?

YK: There are many. In Greece, Santorini and Naoussa. Worldwide, Barolo. California is very exciting, Yarra Valley too. I also love Tokaj and many Spanish regions. Finally, Burgundy and Champagne!

Your favourite food-and-wine pairing?

YK: One minute grilled fresh tuna with lightly chilled Mavrotragano, which is a Greek red up-and-coming variety with a savoury character.

What is Cyprus missing when it comes to wine?

YK: The big picture perhaps but you will get there for sure.

Karakasis Left Impressed by Vouni Panayia's Promara...
And Yiannoudi.

What do you foresee for Cyprus's wine industry?

YK: I am very optimistic about the wines, the producers and the future. Like I say in such cases where things are at a crossroads, it depends on you.

What do you enjoy most about your work in the food & wine world?

YK: People, food and wine! Please don't ask me what I dislike...

What is your "Five Year Plan" for your career/business?

YK: I have no idea at the moment. I try to think about the near future, which is now.

Who is your favorite wine personality? Why?

YK: Superwineman Gerard Basset! For what he has achieved (MW, MS and best Sommelier in the world), of course.

Any embarrassing episodes involving spilled wine, corkscrews, sommeliers or drunken behavior?

YK: Spilling some wine on a couple of Masters of Wine during an IMW trip in Santorini. At that point, I was just entering the programme...

Of course, your all-time favourite island wine?

YK: Bordeaux’s Pichon Longueville, a wine that has given me tremendous feelings as this is the wine I first enjoyed with Elli.

You can reach Yiannis on TwitterFacebook or his personal website.

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