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Commandaria: the oldest wine in the world

03 January 2014 / 16:01:26  GRReporter
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Cyprus is known for its sun, sea, ancient culture and its delicious white cheese 'haloumi'. A little known fact is that Cyprus is also the homeland of the oldest wine in the world, according to The Guinness World Records.

Commandaria is a type of dessert wine, as sweet as liqueur, with a rich taste, flavour and history. They say that it received its name from the Crusaders in the 13th century, but was discovered much earlier, around 2000 BC., again according to The Guinness World Records.

This wine also holds the record for the oldest product "with a protected designation of origin" In 1223, King Philip of France called Commandaria "an apostle of guilt" and since then the wine has become known in Europe by the name "Commandaria", derived from the area where it is produced during the Crusades, "Grande Commandarie".

According to other legends, however, King of England Richard the Lionheart loved the wine very much. At his wedding, he called it "the wine of kings and the king of wines."

Over time, the production of Commandaria increased, and in 1879 British explorer Sir Samuel White Baker noted that Cyprus exported around 230,000 litres per year to Austria.

Commandaria is produced in the coastal town of Limassol according to a special production method and has a protected designation worldwide as a unique Cypriot product.

The wine’s ingredients include honey, herbs, vanilla, spices, dried fruit, and it has a rich sweet taste. A special moment in the production of Commandaria is that once harvested, the grapes from which it is prepared are left in the sun for 10 days, so that their sugar can be released.

The wine produced is kept in oak barrels for nearly two years and only then bottled. Over the years, the wine’s colour becomes amber and its sweet and rich taste becomes stronger.

Many believe that Cyprus is the place where the oldest wines in Europe are produced, talking about a period of 5,000 years ago. And since each region and soil has its own qualities which give a special flavour and taste of each wine, Cyprus has a special subsoil, and plenty of sun and light, which probably create an unbeatable combination for the production of unique sweet wines.

Tags: Commandaria wine Cyprus The Guinness World Records crusades
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