As a Knight Templar, this featured wine has special meaning…
Commandaría is believed to be the oldest “named” wine in production today, dating back to 800 B.C. The wine, which is a sweet dessert wine, is made on the island of Cyprus. The wine was originally served by the Greeks as a festival wine, recorded by the poet Hesiod, along with the wine-making process. Commandaría is made from the Xynisteri and Mavro grapes. The grapes, which are often very ripe at harvest, are then further concentrated by sun-drying. While often a fortified wine, through its production method using ripened, sun-dried grapes, the wine often reaches high alcohol levels, around 15%, even before fortification.
The name Commandaría derives from the region where the wine is made. The area, at the foothills of the Troödos mountains, was once home to several Templar military bases, or Commanderies. After the arrest of the Templars in 1307 by King Philip the Fair, the region was subsumed by the Hospitallers, who produced and exported the wine in large quantities.
The wine achieved its greatest notoriety when King Richard the Lionhearted served the wine at his wedding to Berengaria of Navarre on May 12, 1191 in the chapel at Limassol on Cyprus. At the ceremony the king was credited with exclaiming that the wine was “the wine of kings and the king of wines.”
Today, the wine is legally allowed to be made in (14) neighboring villages: Agios Georgios, Agios Konstantinos, Agios Mamas, Agios Pavlos, Apsiou, Gerasa, Doros, Zoopigi, Kalo Chorio, Kapilio, Laneia, Louvaras, Monagri and Silikou. The designated area has assumed the name of the Commandaría Region and is located on the south facing slopes of the Troödos Mountains at an altitude of 1,500 to 2,700 feet. The region is within the larger Limassol District. Only grapes from vineyards with vines that are at least four years old are allowed. All vines are pruned in the goblet method and supplemental irrigation is prohibited. The grape harvest may only commence after the Vine Products Commission of Cyprus has given the green light, which is based on the average sugar content of the grapes.
Spes Mea in Deo Est