Commandaria is an amber-colored dessert wine produced ln the island of Cyprus.
It is recognized as the world’s oldest named wine and has been produced for over 4000 years. It is produced by local Cyprus grapes Mavro (black) and Xinisteri (a fruity white grape).
The initial references to Commandaria date all the way back to the ancient Greek poet Homer, who mentions a sweet wine produced in Cyprus.
The wine has been enjoyed by many notable individuals throughout history.
In fact, in the 12th century, Richard the Lionheart pronounced Commandaria as the “wine of the kings and the king of the wines,” and the wine was widely enjoyed by the Knights Templar.
Commandaria Alasia Review
This is a unique wine and is as much a piece of history as it is a tasty adult nightcap.
It is similar to other fortified dessert wines such as Port or Sherry but definitely deserves to be considered a unique experience.
Commandaria Alasia Summary
- Brand: Alasia
- Country: Cyprus
- Region: Commandaria
- Wine Type: Fortified Wine
- Varietals: Mavro and Xinisteri
- ABV: 15%
The wine is a sort of ruddy amber color in the glass, showing a bit of oxidation. It is rich and dense, with hefty legs which form and fall quickly, akin to a Tawny Port.
Incredibly dense, rich aromatics come streaming out of the glass immediately. Dried figs, plums, honey, and macerated dark berries make up the majority of the smells.
Black cherry, oak, and hints of spice are sprinkled in there as well, really rounding out the aroma.
The wine sits heavily on the palate and could easily be called hedonistic in flavor. Rich black cherry, blackberries, and raisins come through nicely.
There are flavors of roasted almonds and walnuts present as well. These flavors are supported by baking spices, raw honey, and molasses.
It is a richly complex wine that reveals more and more flavor with each sip you take and lingers long and heavy on the tongue.
What Does Commandaria Alasia Pair With?
Preserved dark fruits are a great option here. I really enjoy cheesecake with blackberry compote drizzled on top when I am enjoying this bottle.
I would also recommend dark chocolate and walnut crepes for something a bit lighter.
You could also try to match this wine with particularly powerful cheeses. Aged gruyere and manchego work well to bring out the nuttiness and slightly earthy tones in the wine.
More pungent blue cheeses also work well and are one of my favorite pairings when I am doing incredibly rich dessert wines.
The sweetness of the wine helps cover up the funkiness of the cheese and allows you to really enjoy the flavor pairing.
What Wines Are Similar to Commandaria Alasia?
Simply put, there is nothing else quite like this wine. If you want to get into the same ballpark, I recommend trying Ruby and Tawny Port wines with a decent bit of age on them.
Shoot for at least a 10-year or 20-year age statement if you can. You could also go for a good, high-quality solera Sherry, which will have a ton of oxidative notes, nuttiness, and rich complexity.
If you are just in the market for fantastic dessert wine, try Sauternes from Bordeaux over in France. They taste more like honeyed fruit, pineapple, and apricots but are equally rich and complex.
They also tend to pair with many of the same foods and make for a particularly fun addition if you plan a wine and food pairing party.
This wine definitely is not for everyone. It is intense, incredibly sweet, and heavy on the palate, which can be off-putting for some.
But if you are interested in trying a dessert wine that doubles as a piece of history, there is no better bottle in my mind.