Where were you in 1989? What about 800 B.C.? This elegant dessert wine has been aging for you for over 20 years, but it’s origin dates back over 20 centuries, to the isle of Cyprus.
Commandaria is an ancient hearty red dessert wine made with sun dried indigenous grapes, Mavro and Xinisteri, that are aged in oak barrels for three years and then in the bottle for many more.
Served with a dessert from an equally archaic place. Jerusalem.
The Wine: Commandaria Alasia, 1989, VQPRD (Vino di Qualità Prodotto in Regioni Determinate) $$
The Food: Yotam Ottolenghi's Clementine and Almond cake that I made, savored after a feast from his Jerusalem and Plenty cookbooks.
The Place: A pretty party at home with a few friends
Yotam Ottolenghi's clementine and almond cake
Photograph: Jonathan Lovekin The Guardian
This is a beautiful wine that can pair well with many desserts or cheeses. We discovered it at Magnolia’s Wines in Upper Montclair. It is like a port, but has more breadth of flavor and complexity.
It was favored by the Crusaders in the eleven hundreds, but it dates back to to the time of the ancient Greeks, where it was enjoyed at festivals. In 800 BC the Greek poet Hesiod described this wine as “Cypriot Manna.”
The wine critics rave:
A rich, sweet, supple red, with mincemeat, dark fig and plenty of glazed citrus flavors reminiscent of tawny Port. Finishes with good grip and plenty of spicy notes. Drink now through 2015. 50,000 cases made. Score: 89. —Kim Marcus, 2010.
The dried fruit, chocolate and apricot layers of this Commandaria are both spicy and smooth, sweet and savory. Rich but not heavy, the wine has an earthy, herbal character that adds dimension. An historic sip great as an apéritif, on the rocks. Score: 87. —Susan Kostrzewa, April 01, 2010.
Lovingly made on the tiny island of Cyprus which has “a long tradition in winemaking that goes back over 4,000 years. In ancient times wine was a major source of wealth for the island. The island supplied the Pharaohs of Egypt and Cyprus wines were in great demand amongst the ancient Greeks and Romans. One very old sweet wine, Commandaria, is acknowledged to be one of the oldest named wines in the world.” Cyprus Travel
Buy it at Magnolia Wines