Mavro is a black grape* with a not completely clear origin.
Mavro is not picky about where it is planted, it has the ability to thrive regardless of soil. It prefers hot climates but has to be picked early in order to retain reasonable acidity levels. It is highly susceptible to botrytis bunch rot and powdery mildew
When Mavro is used to produce dry varietal wines the result often is an undistinguished wine made for early consumption. However, if you manage to find a wine from Pitsilia, Laona of Limassol or Afames, you stand a good chance of having a wine with more body, colour and nose that also can be stored for a couple of years.
The variety is also used to produce Cyprus’ fortified wine Commandaria, as well as for the production of a spirit called Zivania. Furthermore, it can also appear as a table grape.
Food pairing for a dry varietal Mavro wine will have to be something light, such as a not too heavily seasoned chicken based dish. Best served at 12-14°C/54-57°F.
If you’re having a glass of Commandaria, the recommended pairing will be biscuits or pastry. Best served at 8-10°C/46-50°F.
Where is it grown?
Mavro is reported to be grown only on Cyprus where it held an acreage of 3.575 ha/8,834 ac in 2010. In spite of a decrease of close to seventy percent in ten years, this still made it the most planted grape in Cyprus.
Most likely the decrease is a reflection of a change of drinking habits, e.g. that fortified wines are less popular today compared to what they have been earlier.
It is not clear from exactly where Mavro has originated, although it is quite likely that the birthplace is somewhere in the area of the Aegean Sea, be it on Greece’s mainland or an island.
*The name Mavro is also used as synonyms for three other grape varieties (Agiorgitiko, Mavrud, and Xinemavro), which have no known connections to the grape presented here.