Wine Column by George Kassianos, President, Cyprus Sommelier Association
Letymbou Village, in a nutshell.
Makarounas Paphos Winery is a boutique winery in Letymbou, a very small but pretty village of just 290 inhabitants, situated just 12km from Paphos. Like most villages in Cyprus, there are many churches. The two most noteworthy, mainly for their preserved icons, are Ayios Kyriakos and Ayia Loulitti, dating back to the 15th century. In the village square, there is an olive press, a restored fountain and the Heroes Monument, which all add to the flavour of the village. The now disused quarry at Letymbou is used to produce marble slabs for the floors of the traditional houses.
Makarounas Boutique Winery, a family business.
Over the last three years, there is now a new attraction; a boutique winery built by the Makarounas family. Theodoros Makarounas entered the scene of winemaking in 2017 with two labels, his white and rosé. His red wine followed in 2018. He is young and independent and wants to make wine the way he loves to, by integrating old tradition with a fresh new approach.
This is the youngest winery registered in a long list of wineries that were created since the early 80s. Letymbou village is famous for its vineyards, which is something that inspired Theodoros to build his small, modern, boutique winery found just outside the village. Makarounas Winery is built very close to his family vineyards and, in most cases, the inspiration and drive derived from his family. He is the fourth generation of the family to make wine, but the first who dared to promote the wines on a commercial basis!
As a young Cypriot winemaker, he understands the island’s geographical terroir and is using his specialised knowledge and enthusiasm to develop the production of the vineyards. A distance learning student of Davies University in California, he works skillfully with the widely differing altitudes and soils, and handles the microclimate to produce some remarkable wines. Despite the intense local competition, he has already achieved some very impressive results for a newcomer. He is especially proud of the area’s terroir, unique in Cyprus with crystal gypsum soil, evidence that Letymbou was once under the sea.
Brushing the Dust Off Old Winemaking Traditions …
Xynisteri and Vasilissa white wines (it used to be called Morokanella but DNA tests proved that it is a different grape) Lefkada, Maratheftiko and Yiannoudi dominate the 170 hectares of his vineyards, along with the cosmopolitan Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. Theodoros is a firm believer that the balance of all good wine starts in the vineyard, and the secret is in the grapes and the terroir. The winery currently produces 30,000 bottles a year.
The upcoming new generation of Cypriot winemakers have renewed their technique in aspects of facilities; brushing the dust off old traditions to bring a new light on Cyprus wine. Theodoros belongs to this “Club of Winemakers”. Together, these winemakers are united in their passion for making great wine!