The Little Country That Could: Cyprus Sees Growing Wine Sector

Great things can come from little places.


Earlier this fall 27 Cypriot wines received medals at the 2014 Decanter World Wines, marking an emerging wine producers as well as –  according to the International Organisation for Vine and Wine statistics – a country whose wine consumers or on the rebound after a lull in recent years.


The crown jewel of the country’s wineries is its Aes Ambelis Commandaria, which won a gold medal at the international competition. 


Tasting notes for the 75 percent Mavro, 25 percent Xynisteri blend were glowing.


“Wet rocks, crème brulee, orange glaze, hazelnuts, dried mango, papaya, spice all feature on the intense nose,” the competition notes read. “The sweet, complex flavours really dance all over the palate while the underlying acidity implies a dry finish which is persistently long, rich and harmonious. Outstanding.”


Aes Ambelis’ star was the first gold for the tiny island country.

“Our winery was founded  in the early ’90s with the vision to produce wines of unique character and premium quality,” Aes Ambelis’ Facebook page reads. 


A fortified wine, Ambelis’ Commandaria has a long history in the country.


“Since ancient times the Cypriots produced a sweet wine from sun-dried grapes, observing traditional methods,” the Cyprus Trade Center says on their website. “This wine acquired great renown in the west through the Crusaders themselves, while Cyprus was still under Byzantine rule.”


Commandaria wowed ancient wine drinkers as much as it does at international competitions in the current age. 


The Knights of St. John perfected the production of the sweet wine, so much so that ancient travelers, religious leaders and political figures wrote about the drink.


“One product of the island has been up to this time fostered with great zeal and care an dis still oen fhte chief articles of export – this is its delicious wine,” the site says. “The fragrant nectar of Zeus, expressed and flowing from the vines which are abound in this shrine of his beloved son Bacchus, is drawn from an island called Comanderia.”


Cyprus’ current state of wine production and wine production is modest. However, this past year the country’s wine consumption numbers appeared on the OIV’s yearly global wine consumption report. Cypriots consumed 174,000 liters of wine in 2011, a mere .06 percent of the world consumption numbers. However, those numbers are up from statistics gathered from the early 2000’s, when Cyprus’ wine drinkers consumed 165,000 liters of wine.


Origin: Snooth – Articles


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