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Cyprus Commandaria: The wine of kings!

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Cyprus is home to the oldest wine produced in the world.


The wine has a rich history, it said to date back to the time of the ancient Greeks, where it was a popular drink at festivals.
Commandaria is a dessert wine that tastes like a sweet liqueur, rich in flavor and history.
It is supposed that it took its name from the Crusaders knights of the 13th century, but it appears that it was discovered much earlier, around 2000 BC.

A dried grape wine from Cyprus was first described in 800 BC by the Greek poet Hesiod and became known, much later, as the Cypriot Manna.
Commandaria also holds the record for the oldest “designation of origin” product.
In 1223, King Philip of France called Commandaria the “Apostle of wines” and it has since become known throughout Europe as “Commandaria,” which derives from the region where it was produced in the southwestern part of the island, named “Grande Commandarie” during the Crusades.


During the crusades, Commandaria was served at the wedding of King Richard the Lionheart with Berengaria of Navarre, in the town of Limassol; it was during the wedding that King Richard pronounced Commandaria “the wine of kings and the king of wines” .

​When the knights began producing large quantities of the wine for export to Europe’s royal courts, the wine assumed the name of the region. Thus it has the distinction of being the world’s oldest named wine still in production.
Over the years, the production of Commandaria has increased, while in 1879, British explorer Sir Samuel White Baker noted that Cyprus exported about 230,000 liters annually of the wine to Austria.


Commandaria is made exclusively from two types of indigenous Cyprus grapes: Xynisteri and Mavro. The grapes are left to overripe on the vine and when sugar content reaches acceptable levels they are harvested.
Commandaria, by law, is aged for at least four years in oak Barrels. As the years pass, the liquid takes on an amber color and its sweet taste and thick consistency are intensified.


                                          © Lato,
Het Griekse Taal– & CultuurCentrum van Amsterdam

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