June 21 is the longest day of the year and it is also Father’s day in the United States. While my dad loves Amarone, Brunello and many French wines, his real fondness is for dessert wines. I often try to ply him with different wines to gauge his interest. One I know he likes and thus it will be making an appearance after dinner is Commandaria, reputed to be the oldest wine in the world, from Cyprus. This sweet, deep amber colored wine is delicious. Generally about 15% alcohol, it is made with indigenous grapes grown on the hills of the Troodos mountains, Mavro and Xynisteri. There are a number of brands available in the United States and I have tried most of them. I like all of them and even the easy ones to get I find are enjoyable.
The wine is made from grapes that have been allowed to raisin on the vine and are then picked and dried out in the sun before being crushed and pressed. Fermentation stops relatively quickly because of the over ripe grapes which translates into high alcohol. The wine is aged for four years in oak barrels.
This wine has been famous for centuries and is associated with the ancient Greeks, the crusades in the middle ages, and Richard the Lionheart. My father is a historian by training and a great lover of all things related both to ancient Greece and to England. I think it is a perfect pairing.
Did I fail to mention that is it also fabulously rich and delicious with dried apricot, nuts, spice and oak notes. I love this wine and will happily drink it as opposed to eating dessert any day of the week.