Commandaria is a dessert wine which is only produced in Cyprus and has held a protected designation of origin since 1990. Some say that it is the most ancient wine in the world.
Commanadria is exclusively made from two varieties of Cypriot grapes: Xynisteri and Mavro. The grapes are left to ripen on the vines until September and following their harvesting they are sundried for one to two weeks in order to increase their sugar content. The grapes are then pressed, the wine is fortified and then aged for at least two years in oak barrels before being bottled.
Interesting facts about Commandaria wine:
● Euripides named it the Cypriot Nama, which means “the nectar of the gods”.
● During the Byzantine period, when Christianity had prevailed on the island, it became the wine of the Holy Communion.
● Richard the Lionheart, on his way to Jerusalem in the Third Crusade, conquered Cyprus and during his wedding to Berengaria, he celebrated his marriage with the Cypriot Nama and named it “the king of wines and wine of kings.”
● Later on, the Cypriot Nama was renamed as Commandaria, which derives from the region where it was produced in the southwestern part of the island, named “La Grande Commanderie”.
● During the 12th century, King Philip of France called Commandaria the “Apostle of wines” after it won the first international competition. The competition was mentioned in Henri d’Adèli’s poem “The Battle of the wines.”
● The reputation of Commandaria continued to improve throughout the Middle Ages and another legend says that Cyprus was conquered by the Ottoman sultan Selim II in 1570 because “There is a great treasure on this island that only The King of Kings can enjoy” meaning the Commandaria wine.
● The 14 designated villages that lie in the Commandaria Region are: Agios Georgios, Doros, Laneia, Agios Mamas, Kapileio, Zoopigi, Kalo Chorio, Agios Pavlos, Agios Konstantinos, Louvaras, Gerasa, Apsiou, Monagri and Silikou.
Indulge yourself with a road trip through the Commandaria wine route and discover the history of the most ancient and famous Commandaria wine.