WINE O’CLOCK: Little holiday island with some nice, big wines
THE island of Gozo lies between Sicily and Malta. Politically it is part of Malta, but it is very different from the bigger island with its traffic jams and crowded urban centres.
Malta always seems in a hurry. On Gozo they don’t know what the word means. It’s a gem of a place with sandy beaches and little rocky coves round every turn. Most of its friendly people work in agriculture and it supplies much of the food for Malta.
It also has some very nice wines, but the quantity produced is small and they are rarely exported further than the island next door. I have never seen them in Ireland.
If you are holidaying on any of the Maltese islands (Comino is the tiny third one) you should give them a try. The best have their own quality designation, Gozo DOK, and you should also look for IGT, which identifies a wine produced entirely from grapes grown on Gozo.
They are not among the world’s great wines but they are very pleasant and you probably won’t get a chance to drink them anywhere else.
Several of the whites are of a chardonnay type (Aris, Marsamena) while the reds tend towards merlot (Arion), cabernet sauvigon (Sciroc) and the Nero d’Avola of neighbouring Sicily (Garb).
But I am generalising wildly here. There are many varieties and they are not expensive, so give them a try.
They are produced by two vineyards – Ta Mena, near Xhara, and Tal-Massar near Gharb. Both do tours which end in a wine tasting. These are informal affairs which, if the company is good, can develop into bit of a party. Make sure you have a designated driver to get you home.