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Xynisteri grapes

by | May 5, 2017

Xynisteri is a native white grape cultivated in Cyprus. It is considered as the most suggested grape variety for the production of dessert wines in the Cyprus Island by custom.

The Cyrpus grape covers a big part of the vineyard of the island nation. Xynisteri is the most cultivated variety of white grape in the island.

Since the prehistoric times, the Cypriots have made a sweet wine by the traditional methods from the xynisteri white wine grapes that are sun-dried.

Wine grape varieties

Regions where Xynisteri grape is grown

On the southern hills of the mountain range of Troodos facing the sun in the south, wineries such as Kyperounda have produced immensely smooth dry white wine varieties from this old grape variety.

It is also hugely utilized for several white wines in the local regions and areas. This white wine grape variety is also cultivated in few highest ranges known as the Pitsilia.

There were eleven villages having a historic business in wine and were situated below 3 huge mountaintops: Olympus at 6391 feet (1950 metres), Madari at 5249 feet (1600 metres) and Papoutsa at 4593 feet (1400 metres).

Remember to read the Wine Tasting guide…


Origin and History of Xynisteri grape

As per some estimates, nearly 13% of the vineyards on Cyprus or 500 acres on the southern hills of the mountain range of Trodos are cultivated with this white grape variety, the reason behind the popularity of Xynisteri on Cyprus as the prime white grape.

Xynisteri is also a secondary partner in Commandria wines, which are generally dominated by Mavro – the red skinned variety.

Traditionally, these wines were produced by drying grapes on roofs to enhance the concentration of sugar and are mostly fortified. There are separate Protected Designation of Origin of Commanderia wines since 1993.

Synonyms for Xynisteri grape

The synonyms of Xynisteri grape include Xynistery and Xinisteri.


The limestone-rich and dry terroir of Cyprus has provided to grape variety a favorable environment and the ideal Xynisteri wines are cultivated at higher elevations where low temperatures improve the grape quality.

The grape variety, here is at its taut, best in minerals and produces wines with enhanced aromas of nuts and fruits and flavors of peach, white plum and lemon.

Sometimes, the aging of Xynisteri wines is done in oak which brings nuttier and spicier tones to the forefront and are blended with some other white-wines occasionally such as Sauvignon Blanc or Riesling.

There are some winemakers and wine experts who have conducted a trial with these grapes to undergo more barrel maturation.

Additional taste of cinnamon can be added to the wine by doing this. As this process makes the wine a lot more complicated.

Characteristics of Xynisteri Grape

The Xynisteri grape is loosely packed and medium sized clusters and berries of medium size.

The grape is very well familiarized to the climatic forms of Cyprus vineyards and its calcareous soils. This grape variety is also very resistant to the powdery mildew vine disease.

Characteristics of Xynisteri Grape Wine

Xynisteri is a Multipurpose Cypriot grape variety. The wines produced from Xynisteri grapes are generally light-bodied and have very low alcohol content.

The wine exhibits fruity fragrance reminiscent of peach, citrus and apple. It has a pale color with refreshing and rich taste and perfect balance.

The wine has intense clarity with long scented aftertaste and pleasant acidity. The wine is very crisp and should be used early while it is young.

Even, if it is drunk after the very release it is perfect. The wine is sweet on the palate with complex flavors hovering over while the basic acidity gives out a dry finish.

The dry finish is rich, harmonious and persistently long. These grapes are more in demand when we talk about the winemakers of Cyprus.

In general, the Xynisteri wines should also be served chilled before consuming. It can be ideally blended with the Mavro grapes to make pleasant dessert wines.

These two varieties can be used for the manufacture of the traditional Zivania spirit and the Commandaria wine.

Food pairing with wine

This wine can have some very nice food combinations such as it can be paired with Linguine with black pepper and lemon (dry), Baklava (sweet), pasta or as a refreshing aperitif.


Michael Bredahl

Michael Bredahl

Wine Writer

I have been online since it all began, with blogging and creating websites. Drinking wine, and writing about them, are one of my passions. Remember to drink responsibly 🙂

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