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Commandaria – A legendary wine

Every sip of Commandaria is a journey through time with a flavour as rich as its history. This luscious amber dessert wine boasts a remarkable lineage, dating all the way back to 800 BC. Known then as “Cypriot Nama,” the forerunner of Commandaria, it holds the prestigious title of the world’s oldest named wine still in production.

It was during the Lusignans reign in 1192 with the creation of the feud of “La Grande Commanderie”, that the Knights Hospitaller settled in Kolossi. They took the Cypriot Nama tradition to new heights, refining the recipe and bestowing upon it the name we know today: Commandaria.

Commandaria’s history is filled with tales of its excellence. King Richard the Lionheard of England pronounced it “the wine of Kings and the King of wines” at his wedding to Berengaria of Navarre on May 12, 1191 in the castle of Lemesos. Years later, King Philippe Augustus of France was equally astonished by Commandaria who declared it to be “the Apostle of wines” at the wine tasting competition (La battaille des Vins) in 1224.

Only 14 villages lying on the southern slopes of Troodos Mountain range are entitled to craft Commandaria. This exclusivity stems from Commandaria’s status as a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) product. Commandaria is made from two local grapes, mavro and xynisteri. Mavro is of moderate production capacity with mild acidity and taste, while Xynisteri grapes do not have an intense aroma but yield complex flavours with notes of minerality.

Commandaria’s distinctive character unfolds with its unique production governed by strict regulations. The grapes are harvested at peak ripeness, thus very rich in sugar. They are then exposed to the Mediterranean sun for about ten days to dehydrate and further increase the density of their sugars. The grapes are then pressed and fermented in large pots, often lasting 2-3 months. After vinification, Commandaria embarks on a journey of maturation within oak barrels for a minimum of two years. The alcohol content is usually around 15%.

More than just a drink, Commandaria is a cultural treasure. It can be enjoyed either as an aperitif or a dessert wine. Furthermore, elevate your cooking experience with the unique flavour of Commandaria. Use it to create sauces, glazes or even into marinades for a touch of sophisticated sweetness.

Commandaria holds a special place in our Orthodox religion. It is used in Holy Communion, symbolizing the blood of Jesus Christ. The priest carefully blends Commandaria with lukewarm water. This practice reflects two key aspects: firstly, it honors the scripture in John 19:34, where a soldier pierced Jesus’ side, resulting in the flow of both blood and water. Secondly, the lukewarm temperature aims to symbolically match the temperature of human blood.

Treat yourself to a true taste of a legend. Discover in every bottle a legacy that transcends time.

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