It supposedly got its name from the Crusaders knights of the 13th century, but it appears that it was discovered much earlier, around 2000 BC.
Commandaria also holds the record for the older “designation of origin” product. In 1223, King Philip of France called Commandaria the “Apostle of wines” and it has since become known throughout Europe as “Commandaria,” which derives from the region where it was produced in the southwestern part of the island, named “Grande Commandarie” during the Crusades.
Other legends believe King Richard of England was drinking Commandaria at his wedding and calling it “the wine of kings and the king of wines.”
Over the years, the production of Commandaria has increased, while in 1879, British explorer Sir Samuel White Baker noted that Cyprus exported about 230,000 liters annually of the wine to Austria.
In Limassol, Commandaria is produced with a particular recipe and its name is protected as a unique product of Cyprus worldwide.
The recipe includes honey, herbs, vanilla, spices, dried fruits and a complex, sweet flavor. The distinctive element in the production of Commandaria is, that after harvesting the grapes, the producers leave them in the sun to dry for 10 days in order for them to lose their sugar.
The wine produced is then aged for two years in oak barrels and bottled. As the years pass, the liquid takes on an amber color and its sweet taste and thick consistency are intensified.