Europe

The oldest wine in the world?

Published 0404 GMT (1204 HKT) December 13, 2013
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Commandaria wine from Cyprus is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest named wine in the world. According to legend, King Richard the Lionheart of England was so taken with commandaria that at his wedding in 1191 he pronounced it "the wine of kings and the king of wines". Arion McNicoll/CNN
Winemaker Lefteris Mohianakis is attempting to bring new life to Cyprus's wine culture. His award-winning Anama Concept wine, looks to the prehistory of Cypriot viniculture, to create a new wine inspired by 'nama', the 5,000-year-old predecessor of commandaria. Arion McNicoll/CNN
Commandaria is comprised of red Mavro grapes (pictured) and white Xynisteri grapes, which are often both grown together in the same vineyard. The first recorded description of the wine comes from the Ancient Greek poet Hesiod who wrote about nama in 800 BC. Arion McNicoll/CNN
To produce commandaria, grapes are left in the sun for 10 days after they are picked, which increases the density of their sugars. Courtesy The Anama Concept
The grapes are then pressed, the wine is fortified (usually with a high percentage grape-based alcohol) and then it is aged for at least two years in oak barrels before being bottled. Courtesy The Anama Concept
The most successful brand of commandaria is KEO St. John, which has been produced according to the legally enforced appellation for 100 years. The company still has a small amount of the first commandaria they produced. While it is not for sale, enthusiasts enjoy the 1985 vintage, which has a similar viscosity and sweetness. Arion McNicoll/CNN
KEO's senior winemaker George Metochis (left), and Antoniou Dimitris, the senior oenologist oversee production of 100,000 litres of commandaria every year. Arion McNicoll/CNN
The Anama Concept is steadily building a name for itself, and has won numerous awards including a silver award for the 2008 vintage at the Decanter World Wine Awards and a bronze award for the 2010 vintage. Courtesy The Anama Concept