Mavro is an indigenous grape variety which is used in the preparation of red wine in Cypria. This red wine grape is known for its dark coloured skin and also known for the role it plays in making the idiosyncratic dessert wine which goes by the name Commandaria.
Mavro is a Greek word which means black, and hence it appears in a large number of unrelated grape varieties like Mavrodaphne or Xynomavro.
This grape is commonly known with names like Cipro Nero (Italy), Cypro Nero (Italy), Cyperntraube Blaue (Germany), Korithi Mavro (mainland Greece), Kriti/ Crete (Greece), Kritiko Mavro, Kypriotiko, Kypreico Mavro, Irakleio, Mavro Kyproy, Heraklion on Kriti, Skuro Mavro, Staphili Mavro.
This grape is mistaken with other grape varieties like MavroudiArachovis (Greece) and Mavrud (Bulgaria).
Origin and Parentage of Mavro
Mavro, which basically means black was first cited under the name Cipro Nero which literally translates to Black of Cyprus.
This citing was given to this Cyprus grape by the Italian ampelographer Giuseppe di Rovasenda in the year 1877 and then by the French ampelographer Mouillefert in the year 1893 under the name of Mavro or Staphili Mavro.
When it comes to the birth place of this grape, it is very difficult to identify it. Lefort and Roubelakis Angelakis in the year 2001 have shown through DNA profiling that Karithi Mavro, which is also known as black Corinthian from the central part of Greece and Peloponnisos (known as Peloponnese) and Kritiko Mavro (known as Black Cretan) from Kriti and Kyklades (Cyclades) work as clones of same variety.
The comparison of the DNA profile of these grapes with Mavro (Hadjinicoli, Hvarleva et al. 2005) revealed that they were identical. And therefore, it is not known if this grape variety, referred to in the ancient Greek texts, originates from Kriti, Mainland Greece or Cyprus.
Vine and Viticulture of Mavro Grape
It is a productive Grape, with mid budding, having a mid to a late ripening season. This gape usually grows in large berries and can be highly susceptible to botrytis bunch rot and powdery mildew.
When it comes to the climate, this grape prefers the hot climate, explaining the reason, why this grape grows so well in Cyprus.
Region where Mavro grape is grown
Mavro grape is the most widely planted grape variety in Cyprus with the total area under cultivation of this grape being 4550 hectares or 11243 acres.
According to the data compiled in 2010, this grape accounted for nearly 46 percent of the total area occupied by the vineyard.
And though this number appears large, it should be noted that this area has come down from 80 percent, because of the shrinkage in the area of the vineyard.
Characteristics of Mavro Grape
In Cyprus, Mavro occupies nearly 70 percent of the total grapes under cultivation. And due to the ancient rootstock of this grape, which being well suited and local to the Cyprus soil, managed to escape the phylloxera epidemic, which affected most of the grapes of European origin.
However, despite having a long history, Mavro grape remains an undistinguished grape which when produced as a varietal wine.
Characteristics of Mavro Grape wines
In the region of Commandaria, Mavro grape is allowed to harvest till it gets semi dry and becomes concentrated. It is then allowed to be blended with the white grape variety Xynisteri and subsequently fortified with a spirit of neutral grape to arrest the process of fermentation.
In some cases, Commandaria wines age in the Solera, which gives them a pan-European identity. In Commandaria region, the area under Mavro cultivation typically lies at 289 hectares or 714 acres.
When it comes to the mavro grapes, the berries can be used as table grapes as well as for making varietal wines.
The varietal wines are typically light in flavour and colour, simple, low in acidity level, and best drunk when young. The tannins very rarely tend to ripen fully.
Mavro grapes are mostly used in the production of many local (predominantly red) wines and also used in the making of Zivania spirit.
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