It has been called the “King of wines”, “Apostle of wines”, “royal wine” and “mellow nama”. However you decide to call it, Commandaria – the dessert wine – justifies any wine lover’s desire to taste history in a glass. It’s a wine with long history and the world’s oldest Protected Designation of Origin, with flavours still maintaining the aromas, traditions and stories of Cyprus.

It has been the creation of the Knights Templar, who bought Cyprus over from Richard the Lionheart and split the island in three commanding units, known as Commanderies. The largest one was that of Limassol, with Colossi as its base, where exceptional quality vineyards were cultivated. As the Knights were excellent connoisseurs of wine making, they created this mellow wine that was named after their commanding unit and made Cyprus famous and sought after in European salons.

Nowadays, the fourteen Commandaria-producing villages are strictly situated in the Commandaria district: Ayios Georgios, Ayios Constantinos, Ayios Mamas, Ayios Pavlos, Apsiou, Gerasa, Doros, Zoopigi, Kalo Chorio, Kapilio, Lania, Louvaras, Monagri, Silikou. Due to the relevant law that states that no more than 450 kilos of per decare can be produced, the grapes are rich in aromas and flavours, thus giving a product of exceptional quality. From medieval times until today, Commandaria is the result of mixing the varieties of Xynisteri and Mavro.


It is a “sundried wine”, as its ancient practice of winemaking indicates. Harvest starts in mid-September, during the grape maturing period. Grapes are then let exposed to the sun for about ten days in order to dehydrate and thus concentrate more in sugar levels, gushing out their distinct aromas. Then, with fermentation, the sugar fungi metabolise the sugar they have created and the wine that’s produced remains sweet.

According to the law, Commandaria has to age for at least two years. During this time, its aromas are enriched by those of the oak and oxidation, creating a rich and harmonious whole with notes of vanilla, pepper and coffee. The resulting bouquet emerged through grape hyper-maturation at the vineyard, sun drying, fermentation and aging in the barrel.

Food pairing

When Commandaria is being aged for more than ten years, the tastes become even sweeter, reminiscent of caramel and fruit. Its texture becomes thick and velvet, and it acquires a long aftertaste. Oenou Yi – Ktima Vassiliades Commandaria is standing out not only because of its aromas, but also because of its particular sweet tastes. It gives raisin-like tastes on the palette, like dates, figs and roasted nuts, such as hazelnuts and walnuts.

As a sweet wine, Commandaria can easily be consumed without any side dish. It can, however, greatly accompany aged cheese platters, such as kefalotyri, aged halloumi cheese, parmesan, and sweet gorgonzola, cheddar and goat’s cheese. At the same time, it harmoniously blends with chocolate desserts, tarts, such as apple pie, and caramel sweets, such as crème brûlée and crème caramel.