HISTORY ETHNOGRAPHY NATURE WINE-MAKING SITE MAP
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GIOVANNI MARITI
Travels in the Island of Cyprus
page 119

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like that of our Chianti. It is put into jars or vessels, pointed below, each of which contains from 15 to 20 of our Tuscan barrels : these are buried up to the middle in the earth, and pitched within to prevent the earth from drawing the wine, hence Cypriot wine commonly tastes of pitch. After a year it begins to lose its redness, and to incline to yellow, and the older it gets the lighter it becomes, so that wine of eight or ten years old resembles in colour our muscadine. During the change the lees (called in Cyprus the mother of the wine) settle in great quantity. These give body to the wine, and are never taken out, unless it be to transfer them from one jar to another. Bargains are struck in the villages, at so much the load, each load being composed of sixteen κοΰζαι, and each κονζα of five Florentine flasks. When the wine comes from the country into the town it should be run into casks in which are lees : and provided it stay at least a year in each cask, it gains by being transferred from cask to cask. The casks may be nearly full or half full, and the wine will not suffer, but a space of half a palm should be left empty at the top. The villager who sells the wine must see that it maintains its condition, whether it remains in his hands or is stored by the purchaser, up to August 15 (O.S.) next after the vintage. On that day it is examined, if it is spoiled the seller must take it back, if it is good it is charged to the buyer, for after the first year it is not subject to deterioration. The island produces annually 40,000 couzai of wine. The whole crop takes its name from the " Commandery," which hardly supplies 10,000 couzai, but of the best quality. The rest comes from different parts of the island. Most of it is exported to Venice, where, even in the cafés, it is largely drunk. But the Venetians are not very particular about the quality, never buying wine more than 18 months old, and paying only a piastre the couza. The older or finer quality is sent to France, Holland and Tuscany, and costs from г\ to xxi] Island of Cyprus 115 8—2

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