Commandaria is a sweet wine produced in the island of Cyprus since 4000 years ago. It is produced by two types of indigenous Cyprus grapes, the local red "mavro" and "xinisteri". The initial references about Commandaria are going back to ancient Greek poet Homer who mentions a sweet wine produced in Cyprus.
The production recipe remains unaltered throughout all these years. The grapes are layed under the sun from twelve to seventeen days.
Commandaria is made exclusively from two types of indigenous Cyprus grapes: Xynisteri and Mavro. Only grapes from vineyards that have been planted for at least 4 years are allowed while watering is prohibited. The grapes are left to overripe on the vine and when sugar content reaches acceptable levels (high degree baume) they are harvested. More specifically, Xynisteri is picked when at around 12 baume and Mavro at 15-16 baume.
The grapes are then laid out in the sun to further increase the sugar density through evaporation. When the baume reaches 22 the juice is extracted thorough crushing and pressing.
Fermentation has to take place within the confines of the 14 designated villages that lie in the Commandaria Region and the levels of alcohol achieved is up to 15%.
Commandaria, by law is aged for at least two years in Oak Barrels but this can take place outside the above designated area within Cyprus under strict control and under the conditions laid down in Cypriot legislation.
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