Maratheftiko is a red wine grape variety that is indigenous to Cyprus yet accounts for only 5% of the islands vineyards. Also known locally as Vamvakada.
The name derives from the Greek for ‘cotton’ and its use refers to Maratheftiko’s young leaves, which are downy, greenish white with a fluffy underside and looks like cotton.
Traditionally, it was planted in vineyards of mostly mavro grapes to improve the tiny and body of Mavro. Today, Maratheftiko which is now one of the top Cypriot varieties adored by winemakers, is grown mostly in the Pitsilia region and Vouni Panayias & Ambelitis regions of Paphos.
Maratheftiko is the only indigenous variety that does not have hermaphrodite flowers, (meaning it cannot self pollinate), so therefore it requires co-planting with other varieties (commonly planted with Spourtiko – a white grape variety that flowers at the same time of year) in order for it to achieve fertilisation and develop its fruits. Prone to intense flowering and uneven ripening, this variety often yield bunches of different sized berries. Because of this, although widely planted, the fruits from each vine can be lesser than other local varieties meaning less wine will be produced compared to other vineyards.
Once harvested, Maratheftiko can be used in a variety of wines from single varietal to blended, Rosé to Red Wine, as it responds well to aging in oak barrels and bottle aging too.
Maratheftiko produces wines that are balanced, strong bodied, aromas of fruits such as cherries and plum with added coffee, chocolate, violet and oak flavours as it is often aged in oak before being bottled. Oak aging can vary from a few months to years depending on the winemakers preference. Dry, medium tannins & acidity and ranging from 13.5-15% ABV are typical of great Maratheftiko Red Wine.
Food pairings for this wine include Stifado, Lamb Kleftiko, Lasagne, Meatballs and even vegetarian dishes consisting of Eggplant with tomatoes
Celebrate National Maratheftiko Day on December 1st