The Event: Cyprus Wine and Food Pairing, sponsored by the Cyprus Wine
Association and the Republic of Cyprus.
The Venue: LCBO Scrivener Square Kitchen Event Room.
The Target Audience: Wine Writers' Circle of Canada.
The Availability/Catalogue: two of the wines will be here by August, and one
of the Commandaria will be here in April.
The Quote/Background: Christine Cushing, well known hostess of diverse TV
food programs and author of several cookbooks, prepared the lunch pairings.
As well, she did two appetizers with the Commandaria liqueur.
The Wines: Harriet Lembeck, CWE, and New York wine writer and book author
took us through the tasting. ETKO, KEO, LOEL, and SODAP comprise 86% of
Cyprus' wine exports. There are 15 indigenous grape varieties on the island.
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-SODAP Kamanterena Xynisteri 2008
-SODAP Maratheftiko 2005
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 - 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-ETKO Xynisteri 2008 (with 15% Chardonnay)
-Vouni Panayia Plakta Mavro & Maratheftiko 2005
*** Three Stars (85 - 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-KEO Coeur de Lion Opthalmo and Grenache Rosé NV
-Vouni Panayia Alina Xynisteri 2008
-Tsangarides Xynisteri 2007
-LOEL Maratheftiko 2008
-Tsangarides Ayios Efram Mataro, Shiraz & Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
The Food: we began with crisp Bourbon vanilla pork belly and reverse grilled
halloumi cheese on brioche with tomato relish. These were accompanied by a
Commandaria Cooler made with Bourbon. Then we moved on to the sit-down food
portion tasting menu. There was KEO Coeur de Lion Opthalmo and Grenache Rosé
NV served with roasted Commandaria pears wrapped in Serrano ham with a fried
sage leaf. This was followed by Vouni Panayia Alina Xynisteri 2008 and
Tsangarides Xynisteri 2007 served with a creamy wild mushroom Commandaria
soup, with tarragon and potato. Next up were ETKO Xynisteri 2008 and SODAP
Kamanterena Xynisteri 2008 with mixed baby greens and beets with halloumi
croutons served with citrus vinaigrette. The main course was thyme roasted
muscovy duck breast with tamari blood orange glaze and sauteed cabbage, with
LOEL Maratheftiko 2008, Tsangarides Ayios Efram Mataro, Shiraz & Cabernet
Sauvignon 2006, Vouni Panayia Plakta Mavro & Maratheftiko 2005 and SODAP
Maratheftiko 2005. The dessert was a blend of drunken kumquats with
chocolate silk mousse and phyllo honey cigars, with four Commandarias: SODAP
St. Barnabas 2005, ETKO St. Nicholas 2001, ETKO Centurion 30 Year Old Solera
and KEO St. John 1967. In my case, older was better, and I really enjoyed
the 1967 vintage.
The Downside: I had just arrived from my usual massive Friday LCBO Vintages
tasting, and I needed to re-boot my palate.
The Upside: a terrific food pairing, everything worked except the soup (too
sweet, from the added Commandaria).
The Contact Person: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Marketing Effectiveness (numerical grade): 90.