GREEK CYPRIOT PARLIAMENT SPEAKER'S SHAME, Milliyet DailyNews, Greek Cypriot Parliament Speaker Marios Karoyian, returned the new year gift basket sent by the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) Mehmet Ali Talat. Karoyian sent the gift basket back because a label on one of the wines in the basket reads it was produced in TRNC.
Saint Hilarion, FINE WINE PRODUCED IN NORTHERN CYPRUS
Although Cyprus has some 5000 years history of winemaking there is no doubt that amongst wine-lovers, the perceptions of the quality of the island’s wines is generally very low. Indeed, in Northern Cyprus there has never been a quality wine producer. Many said that it was not possible to make fine wine in the north. Until present day.
Geçitköy is perhaps not the prettiest village in the area, but after years of detailed research and advice from international wine consultants, this was the site chosen by Mustafa and Sengul Seyfi brothers to be the home for the wine registered as Chateau St. Hilarion.
Although the island has several indigenous grape varieties, including Mavro and Xynisteri, they are not suitable for high quality wine. So the vines chosen for Chateau St. Hilarion are the finest clones of international varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz.
The vines have been planted according to the latest viticulture practices, and the annual cultivation programme is built around restricting yield and enhancing quality. A new state of the art winery has been built, and equipped to the highest specification. Top quality temperature controlled fermentation vats were imported from Italy, along with every necessary piece of high specification equipment. But the most important import has been: Knowledge.
Mustafa has studied accredited wine courses, and has travelled to many of the world’s classic wine regions to learn how they achieve individuality and excellence. He is ably assisted by expert consultants from UK and South Africa, but Mustafa is the first to admit that producing high quality wine in a country that has no history of production poses serious challenges. For example, all winery equipment, spares, yeasts and agents have had to be imported, and there are no experienced, qualified technicians available. The project has taken 12 years to come to fruition and has involved considerable investment in both capital and time. But brothers wanted to show that this glorious island could be home to a world beating wine.
Last note for my readers, One bottle (red or white) of St.Hilarion costs 27.50 TL in the local Lemar supermarket, whereby you will be charged 35 TL in Niazi's Kebap House in Girne. Winery is closed in wintertime.