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What Is Commandaria
What Is Commandaria
What Is Commandaria
What Is Commandaria
 
What Is Commandaria?
16/01/2019
It is a staple of the local wine list—Commandaria, an appellation unique to Cyprus. But what exactly is it? The legendary dessert wine has been produced for centuries in the foothills of the Troodos mountains. Here vineyards are planted with two indigenous grape varieties—the white xynisteri and the red mavro. The altitude (500 to 900 metres), climate (hot, dry, and sunny), and soil (limestone and volcanic sand with high levels of calcium carbonate) yield the distinctive flavour and aroma associated with Commandaria. During the September harvest season, growers allow the grapes to over-ripen on the vine to increase their sugar content. After they have been picked, the grapes are dried in full sunlight for five to 20 days. Then the grapes are pressed, and their juice is left to ferment for two or three months before being stored in immense oaken casks for a minimum of two years. The wine is often fortified before bottling. Usually served cold, the wine has a cloudy honey colour (it darkens with age), a complex nose (think caramel, raisins, and coffee), and a sweet taste (with hints of dried dates and figs). It can stand alone as an after-dinner drink or be complemented with dried fruits or blue cheeses. The wine’s name derives from the Middle Ages, when the Order of the Knights of St. John centred their “Grand Commanderie” in the nearby castle in Kolossi—though the wine was undoubtedly made in like manner long before then. Many consider Commandaria the oldest named wine in the world.