Cyprus is a largely Greek speaking, independent island country off the southern coast of Turkey and west of Lebanon. As is the case with every large, habitable Mediterranean island, it was conquered and ruled by numerous overlords, but, as the island was originally settled by Greeks, wine has always been made there and been an important part of the culture. It is not too surprising, then, that the oldest named wine in the world, Commandaria, comes from here and won the first known international wine competition when the king of France, Philip Augustus, endeavored to find the best wine in the world in 1223. Cypriot wine was indeed famous throughout medieval Europe but after more than three hundred years under the Ottoman Turks, where wine production was sometimes tolerated but more often prosecuted, the greatness of Cypriot wine was known only there. When control of Cyprus was given to the UK in 1878 after the Ottomans and Russians lost the Crimean War, the wine industry slowly began to restart but, as we Americans know, only so much prosperity is possible in a British colony. Then, after gaining independence in 1960 the troubles between Turkish speaking Cypriots and Greek speaking Cypriots, who favored reunification with Greece (called Enosis), began. In response to an attempted military coup in Greece that had Enosis as its main motivating factor, Turkey invaded in 1974, occupying the north-eastern third of the country. Tens of thousands of Greek speakers were then transferred to the Greek speaking areas in the south and Turkish speakers transferred to the north. Fortunately, the best wine growing regions have always been in the Greek speaking southern part of the island, where the elevation of the Troodos Mountains make high-quality wines possible in this warm climate. The Tsiakkas family (pronounced CHALK-us) have been making wine in the Troodos mountains for generations and focus on indigenous varieties. Xynisteri is the dominant white variety on the island, being part of the recipe for Commandaria, which is, incidentally, a dessert wine, but which also makes lively, fresh dry wines. Organic and sustainable farming practices highlight the character of the vineyards and grapes and cool fermentation retains the fresh pear, ruby grapefruit and nectarine character of the grape. Reminiscent of Sauvignon Blanc but with less acidity (indeed, the name means “without acid” in Greek), it would be fabulous with any seafood based mediterranean foods.