Monday, November 24, 2008

Cyprus: Discover the Oldest Wines of the World December 4

The Cyprus Embassy Trade Center, in collaboration with the Cyprus-US
Chamber of Commerce, cordially invite you to sample the wines of Cyprus at a
wine tasting-event on Thursday, December 4, 2008 (Helen Mills Event Space,
137-139 W 26th Street, New York City) from 3 PM to 7 PM. You will enjoy a
variety of delicious wines from the island of Cyprus, paired with authentic
food and recipes.

Cyprus is one of the first countries where wine production was practiced:
Commandaria, (the oldest named wine in the world) has been produced in
Cyprus since at least 1,000 B.C., and is still being made with the same
ancient methods. Amazingly, grapes have been grown for winemaking in
Cyprus as far back as 5000 B.C. Both Babylonian and Jerusalem Talmuds
specifically mention "Ya' in Kafrisin" (Hebrew for Cypriot wine) as a sacrament
in religious rituals during the time of the First and Second Temple in Jerusalem.

There are approximately fifteen indigenous grape varieties in Cyprus of which
the most largely cultivated are Xynisteri, Mavro, Ofthalmo and Maratheftiko or
Vamvakada. The white grape variety of Cyprus known as Xynisteri,
produces excellent light colored white wine with low alcohol levels(11-11.5%
vol.) with low to medium acidity. It is predominantly found in the regions of
the Akamas Laona, Ambelitis, Vouni Panayias and Pitsilia. This is the only
other grape, along with Mavro, that is used for making Commandaria.
Maratheftiko/Vamvakada is a very rare red variety most densely concentrated
through the mountain regions of Paphos and in Pitsilia, where the variety is
known as Vambakada. It gives high quality wines of intense color and full
body with distinctive fruity aromas of cherries and blackberries with a
character which is truly expressive of the Cypriot terroir. Cypriot producers
are increasingly investing in this variety, enchanted by the wines it produces
and enticed by its potential. Maratheftiko is one of the world's few non-
hermaphroditic vines. Its buds are females and have to be planted in mixed
vineyards to ensure pollination.

Cyprus remains one of the few phylloxera-free wine-producing countries in
the world. Having escaped phylloxera, the Cyprus wines are self-sown plants
of the European Vitis Vinifera retaining their classic organoleptic
characteristics, as well as the potential for a long life. The island's long,
sunny Mediterranean summers are a great asset to winemaking, ripening the
fruit and giving it its full flavor. Winters are mild and the gentle winds and
breezes check the frosts, dispel the fogs and protect the vines and grapes
from fungus diseases. Today, tremendous resources and effort have been
invested into the rediscovering of Cyprus indigenous grape varieties, resulting
not only in the making of superior quality wines, but also products with an
original Cypriot character. These wines constitute truly undiscovered, new
and breathtaking alternatives to the varietals that have dominated the

Lying in the sparkling blue waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, at the
crossroads between Europe, Africa and Asia, Cyprus is a country of alluring
beaches and high mountain peaks with abundant fragrant vineyards, studded
with olive trees, mythical landscape and ancient ruins. The third largest island
in the Mediterranean Sea, Cyprus is also one of the most romantic: according
to mythology, Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, was born in
Cyprus. It is no wonder that, back when the Romans reigned over the
civilized world, Mark Anthony gave Cyprus to Cleopatra, the legendary Queen
of Egypt, as an ultimate token of love. According to Italian Archeologist
Maria-Rosaria Belgiorno, Cyprus was the first producer of wine in the
Mediterranean around 6000 years ago and its wine-drinking culture spread
from there to the rest of Europe. The most ancient drinking horn in pottery
used exclusively for drinking wine was produced in Cyprus and two jugs used
for wine were unearthed in Cyprus containing the seeds of grapes dated
between 3500-3000 BC. All these facts combined point to the conclusion that
there has been a wine industry in Cyprus continuously longer than anywhere
else in the world.!

Do not miss an opportunity to sample and enjoy the flavorful wines of Cyprus
without having to fly there: Taste to believe it! To confirm your attendance,
please contact the event team at 908 803 3809.

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About the Cyprus Embassy Trade Center
The Cyprus Trade Commission is the official trade development and
promotional agency of the Cyprus government. The Cyprus Trade
Commission's general mandate has been to promote, assist and develop
Cyprus' international trade, with particular regard to small and medium

The Cyprus Trade Commissions' institutional functions are:
•Continuous study of the U.S., Canadian and Latin American markets and
challenges related to the internationalization of Cyprus enterprises:
•Assistance to Cyprus companies in entering the U.S. market
•Promotion of Cyprus products abroad and development of economic
•Professional training in international trade for Cypriots and foreigners
•In the United States, the Cyprus Trade Commission has offices in New York

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