Ktima Gerolemo, the winery with a strong personality

Much of the wine experience, especially when visiting a winery, is the atmosphere and the people. Meeting the winemaker and hearing his or her thoughts behind the wine adds an extra dimension. Charis at Ktima Gerolemo certainly adds an extra spice and you can’t help but be charmed by both him and his wines.

In Cyprus, it was long common for each family to have its own vineyards, and, of course, press its own wine. There were usually just enough bottles for the family’s needs. And if you had more, you might give it away or sell it to neighbours and friends. It was a far cry from today’s carefully documented production, where the winemaker can often account for acidity, sugar, alcohol content and other of the many components found in wine at every stage. Instead, it was experience and feeling that decided. Which is undeniably, still the case today, even if the skilful oenologist has the help of tables and figures.

This was also somehow the case with Ktima Gerolemo. 1987 it was the first year of official bottling. 2001 Charis and his brother took over the winery from their father and then it went very fast.
Today it produces 120,000 bottles per year and is responsible for about 30 Ha of vineyards.
It is an impressive list of grapes cultivated under their auspices. Everything from the local grapes Xynisteri, Morokanella, Sportiko, Maratheftiko, Yannoudi and Mavro to international favourites such as Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. The vineyards range between 800 – 1050 metres above sea level.

It’s a gloriously sunny day when we get there. But I wonder if Charis isn’t shining more than the Mediterranean sun! His pride in the winery is palpable as he points to the impressive wall of various medals they have won over the years. When we get to taste them, it’s easy to see why.
Their 2023 Xinisteri is by no means a typical Xinisteri but has a distinct character of its own, some of it having spent 3 months in contact with oak, giving it a round full-bodied aroma. The classic Xinisteri flavours are there, but more rounded and also accompanied by vanilla and candied oranges.

If the Xinisteri was characterised by round, full-bodied flavours, the Morokanella of 2023 is clear and pure. The aroma is full of fruit, with an emphasis on apples. The flavour is fresh, clean and clear. Apples, pink grapefruit, lime and lemon balm. It has a clear minerality that gives structure and body.
I am not surprised that this is Ktima Gerolemo’s flag ship wine as it is both easy to drink and of good quality. A wine that satisfies both the connoisseur as well as those who just want ”a glass of wine”

They also produce Zivania, the traditional Cypriot pomace brandy. But to give it at twist they let it mature 3-4 years in oak barrels previously used for Commandaria. The result is a strong (43% alcohol) but smooth Zivania with aromas of vanilla. The flavour is clean and clear with notes of toffee, apricot and almond.

I can highly recommend a visit to Ktima Gerolemo. Both to try their wines and to enjoy the wonderful view. It is a winery that has a clear vision of where they want to go and is willing to think outside the lines. It will be a pleasure to follow them on that journey.

Maria Scharffenberg
Sommelier and Teacher