Lefkada Wine Tasting
Hey Tasters! Today is a very, very special day for me personally and for WineScribble because we are at Vasilikon Winery and I am here not just to taste the wines but to speak with one of my favourite wine personalities on the island of Cyprus. This is Aphroditi Constanti, one of a handful of women oenologists on the island. Aphroditi mou, it is such a pleasure to finally get to sit here and have a chat with you. Well, welcome to the winery. It’s a pleasure having you here, for sure. So, you’re in oenologist and er… yes, it’s… usually they don’t let ladies play with wines. So… They should, more and more. They should, absolutely, I agree with that. So, how did you get into oenology. I started my studies in Chemistry in Greece and at the end of it, I realised I wanted to do something more exciting, something with my hands, maybe something more creative. And at the point I visited a winery in Greece where a friend was working, and I kind of had it on the back of my mind, the wine and the idea more of the wine actually. And when I visited the winery, I kind of fell in love and I felt that I… that was the place for me. I liked the idea that it combined nature, for sure. I mean you’re… you’re outside, you’re in a different environment. You’re not locked up in an office or a laboratory. And you do get dirty and you do create something from… from em… like a first material, to a completely different final product ,that is still alive and is still changing and is still evolving. And I think I mostly fell in love of the idea of the wine first and all these… like the aromas and all these senses behind it. Than the science for first. So at this point you had a chemistry degree. Yes. Yes. So, what did you decide to do next? So then for finishing my degree, I… decided that I wanted to study this and I want to learn more and more about wine and understanding more and more. So I said, okay so, which is the best way to learn about wine? Well, France was a good answer, so I decided to go to France. I learned the language for first, because I didn’t speak French. You didn’t speak French? So you went to study oenology in France with zero French? Yes! Yes! I was brave once! And, then I applied for the universities there, and I was accepted at National Diploma of Oenology in Bordeaux. I continued my studies there. Fabulous! And how long does it take to study oenology? It was a two-year course, with two harvest involved also, during that time. I mean for that degree. So, I did it was a lot of knowledge compact in these two years actually. And the experience, two French harvests…? Yes, two French harvests and during my studies, and then I stayed in France for another one, and I continued… yeah, I continued, then I went to New Zealand for a harvest, Santorini for a harvest and then I returned back home. Ok. Yes. Those are… fabulous wine producing locations. Yeah, very, different between them, yeah. You collected this wealth of experience and you came to Cyprus and… Did you work in many wineries? Did you…? No, actually, this is my first and only winery in Cyprus, I worked. I’ve been… actually I’m at Vasilikon for ten years. So it’s like anniversary… year for me. So it’s my tenth harvest, because actually I count them in harvest period and not in years. There you go. #womeninwine #vasilikonwinery Forward-thinking! Excellent. So you’ve been here for ten years. Ten years, yes. Creating this lovely wines for us. And I remember you once told me that this particular wine is a favourite. You have a soft spot for it. Yeah, it’s one of the favourites. Of course… I love all the wines that we make, all the labels, set labels that we have for the moment, but yeah, this one did like… hit a spot, yes. In a way, this variety and this… the production of this wine. What do you particularly love about it? I liked it that it was a different variety, was a challenging variety… er… It was… it wasn’t… I liked that for first, the challenge that it had. It wasn’t easy variety, you had to figure out what it needed, you had to spend a lot of time with it, you had to understand it and I like it, that’s a unique variety that not a lot of people want to work with it because it’s aggressive and it’s hard and… and I like that. I like the challenge of understanding what you can do with it and it was because we were working for Lefkada for “Ayios Onoufrios” and of course it was always vinified separately and It was one year that… I mean it kind of struck me that when it was fermenting, the whole winery was smelling like flowers and roses, and then… and then with aging and with the finishing of the fermentation process, it has all this unique like thyme, and oregano and all this like… Cyprus herbs? Cyprus herbs, exactly. This herbal… And what I like with this variety, it was so different from all the other varieties! It has like a very truly different expression and yes, I mean, if you vinify it correctly, it’s not as harsh, it’s not as difficult and it’s not as tannic. And it is a love-and-hate relationship. Some people really like it. Some people don’t like it and I also like that. I like that it creates this It’s unique, it’s er… yeah it’s a black sheep maybe, I don’t know. Lefkada is quite a scandalous grape because of course some people believe that it’s from Greece and some people believe that it’s an indigenous Cyprus variety. I think it doesn’t matter. But, please, if you feel very strongly about this, leave a strongly worded comment below! So this is Aphroditi’s favourite variety! So, let’s… Oh yes! Such a rich nose! Yes! So how did you… how did you tame the… the tannins? This is…this is velvety soft now! I think it was another one of the misunderstanding of this variety. I think people were accusing it wrongly. And if you… if you find a way to vinify it correctly, it’s very smooth and it’s very velvety and it’s not tannic at all. But for me, it smells more Cyprus than any other variety. It really smells like a stroll in the mountains of Cyprus, really there has this… Yes. It brings out all these childhood memories walking on the hills and the mountains. And all these herb aromas and even the… even the rose that it comes out, really reminds of… For me, it’s like a flashback of my childhood. I had a rural childhood as well, so I get this thyme and the… and the savoury herbs that you find growing wild, but also lemon clovers? Xinithkia? Right? Yes? That green taste but and it’s… it’s so refreshing. And… and you don’t often get it in a red wine, and it’s… it’s such a bright note! People, really people when they smell this wine they, it’s more like a memory game. They try to… it reminds me… reminds them of stuff. That’s what I like about wine also. It may brings out memories, it brings out images, it brings out so many things. So for me, Lefkada, it does smell like Cyprus. So yes, that’s enough for me. And, yes, the… the wild character of this grape. I guess it just needed a woman’s touch. Looks like it! So you are the oenologist at this winery and you’re in charge of the wines. You’re in charge of what happens next. So what can we expect from Aphroditi and from Vasilikon Winery? So for sure, we want to work more and more with indigenous varieties and to reveal Cyprus more and more. And the different varieties that is very unique. You can surely expect us continuing the hard work, working with new stuff and trying new stuff. Yeah, revealing more and more of this, what this island can offer for sure. I can’t wait to taste anything that you’ve created Aphroditi… I have to say it’s a team of people, of course, behind everything. Absolutely. It takes a team to make a great wine. We are a great team, actually. I’m very happy. So Tasters! I have enjoyed chatting to a representative of women in wine, the oenologist Aphroditi Constanti. And I’ve tasted one of her favourite wine varietals, this Lefkada wine. I have had a marvellous time! If you have enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs-up! If you have any opinions about Lefkada, please let us know in the comments below. And subscribe. I will see you on the next video!