One already in the antiquity known dark sweet wine from Cyprus, which is still one of the most famous wines on the island. Already in the 8th century BC BC the Greek poet described Hesiod (~ 750-680 BC) a sweet, sun-dried grape wine called "Nama". He writes that the grapes were dried in the sun for ten days and nights, were in the shade for a further five days, and then fermented into wine in jugs. The English king Richard the Lionheart (1157-1199) conquered Cyprus in 1191 during the third crusade. At the wedding with Berengaria (1165-1230) a sweet wine was served, which is considered the forerunner of Commandaria and was expressly praised by the king.
After the fall of Akkon in 1291, the island came into the possession of the Knights Templar, who called their headquarters at Kolossi Castle "Grand Commandery". The name was derived from this. After the Knights Templar were banned in 1312, the Johanniter took possession again and began to export the sweet wine, now known 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 yellow vision by soaking mandrake twigs in it. During the British mandate over Cyprus from 1878 to 1960, wine also became popular in Britain.
There has been a protected one since 1992 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 planted area covers around 2,000 hectares at 600 to 900 meters above sea level on a barren, stony surface. They are traditionally in bush form educated autochthonous sorts Xynisteri (white) and Mavro (red) approved, the white wine is considered rich in finesse. The stick density has to. 2,750 sticks per hectare, the earnings is to max. Limited to 4,500 kg of grapes or 17 hectoliters of wine per hectare. The grapes have to be. 212 g / l for Xinisteri and 258 g / l for Mavro sugar exhibit. They are sun-dried for around 10 days and thus reach between 390 and 450 g / l. The long-lasting due to the high sugar content fermentation takes two to three months. This will be a relatively high one alcohol content of about 10% vol.
Most of these basic wines are now sold to the four large wineries Etko, Keo, Loel and Sodap sold, who carry out the further vinification. The wine is then fortified with a high-proof wine spirit (95%) or a wine distillate (at least 70%) to at least 15 to a maximum of 20% vol alcohol. The potential alcohol content must be at least 22.5% vol. This is followed by at least two years of aging in oak or chestnut barrels, but the best manufacturers keep it for a much longer time. According to the traditional “Mana” method, old and young wines are mixed, similar to the Sherry Solera process. But there are also small quantities of a vintage Commandaria. The bottling is mostly done in cognac bottle shapes, or also in the bocksbeutel similar bottles. The extract-rich, creamy sweet wine is amber to dark reddish brown and has a distinctive aroma of coffee, dried fruit and wild berries. It lasts 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 popular in Cyprus as altar wine used.