Maratheftiko is an indigenous grape variety that has only recently been cultivated to produce premium wines. Traditionally, this variety was grown within vineyards of mostly mavro grapes to improve the tint and body of the mavro. In the days when grapes were sold by weight, maratheftiko was out of favour because it produces small, light fruit. Yet many winemakers now consider it the top red variety of Cyprus and are seeking to harness its potential. A maratheftiko wine usually has a shimmering dark red colouring with a hint of blue. Often likened to merlot, the wine exhibits delicate flowery aromas and rich flavourings of cherry and dark chocolate. It is a challenge to produce it. The vine is prone to intense flowering and uneven ripening, yielding bunches of differently sized berries. Unlike most grape varieties, maratheftiko cannot self-pollinate. Consequently, most growers plant maratheftiko with spurtiko, a white variety that flowers at the same time and helps with the pollination of the maratheftiko. Once harvested, the grapes can be used to form an array of wines, from delightful rosés to mature reds. Maratheftiko responds well to aging in oak barrels and in the bottle, too. According to George Kassianos, sommelier for Annabelle, ‘Maratheftiko pairs well with a variety of foods, including lamb kleftiko, roast turkey, mild to medium-hard cheeses, baked pasta dishes like lasagne, and spaghetti and meatballs.’ The wine list of Mediterraneo, recently re-launched to emphasise Cypriot and Greek wines, offers several worthy selections of maratheftiko.