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An already in the antiquity known dark sweet wine Cyprus, which still counts today among the most famous wines of the island. Already in the 8th century BC Chr. Described the Greek poet Hesiod (~ 750-680 BC) a sweet, sun-dried grapes, called "Nama". He writes that the grapes were dried in the sun for ten days and nights, and then shaded for another five days and then fermented in jars to wine. The English king Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) conquered Cyprus in 1191 during the Third Crusade. At the wedding with Berengaria (1165-1230), such a sweet wine was served, which is considered the precursor of the Commandaria and was praised by the king expressly.

After the fall of Akkon in 1291, the island became the property of the Knights Templar, who named their headquarters at Kolossi Castle "Grand Commandery". The name derived from this. After the prohibition of the Knights Templar in 1312, the Knights of St. John took over the possessions and began to export the sweet wine already designated as "Commandaria" to many European rulers. Especially to the Habsburg House in Wien (Austria) large quantities were delivered annually. The Commandaria was also used as a medicine against yellowing by soaking Alraunzweige in it. During the British Mandate over Cyprus from 1878 to 1960, the wine also became popular in Britain.

Winegrowing region & production

Since 1992 there is a protected designation of origin Commandaria. The wine must come from one of the 14 defined communities in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains north of the port city of Lemesos (Limassol) in the south of the island. The best wines come from Ayios Constantinos, Ayios Pavlos, Kalo Horio, Louvaras and Zoopigi. The bestockte surface covers approximately 2,000 hectares in 600 to 900 meters sea-level on barren, rocky underground. They are traditionally in bush form educated autochthonous sorts Xynisteri (white) and Mavro (red) approved, the white wine is considered more finesse. The density of the pile must be. 2,750 sticks per hectare, the earnings is at max. 4,500 kg of grapes or 17 hl of wine per hectare. The grapes need to. 212 g / L for Xinisteri and 258 g / L for Mavro sugar respectively. They are sun-dried for about 10 days, reaching between 390 and 450 g / l. The long-lasting because of the high sugar content fermentation lasts two to three months. This is a relatively high alcohol content reached about 10% vol.

Commandaria - area and wine label

Vinification of basic wines

Mostly, these base wines are now at the four large wineries Etko, Keo, Loel and Sodap, which carry out the further vinification. The wine is now with high-percentage alcohol (95%) or a wine distillate (at least 70%) aufgespritet to at least 15 to a maximum of 20% vol alcohol content. However, the potential alcohol content must be at least 22.5% vol. This is followed by at least two years maturing in oak or chestnut barrels, but the best producers store it much longer. According to the traditional method "mana", old ones are mixed with young wines, similar to the sherry-solera method. But there are also small quantities of a vintage Commandaria. The bottling is usually in cognac bottle shapes, or in the bocksbeutel similar bottles. The extract rich, creamy sweet wine is amber To dark reddish brown and has a pronounced aroma of coffee, dried fruit and wild berries. It is durable for decades and resembles one Montilla-Moriles or sherry and should be drunk as cool as possible. Commandaria, also known as the "Apostle of Wines", is also fond of Cyprus altar wine used.

Picture left: From Scops - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Link
Picture right: From Greencolander - flickr photo , CC BY 2.0 , link

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