Friday, September 09, 2005

It Gladdens the Heart of Man

He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate— bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.
-Psalm 104:14,15

After two thousand years of hibernation, the vineyards on the slopes of Mt. Vesuvius - the volcano that destroyed the entire region- have now been resuscitated by some brilliant Italians. I got to enjoy a wine and olive oil tasting with four different wines at a special event during the Pompeii exhibit. Just think, the Apostles who went to Italy probably enjoyed this famous wine. One Vesuvian wine, called "Lacryma Christi" (Tears of Christ) was a very dry red. The story behind the name is a typical example of Mediterranean pagan-Catholic myth. This excerpt is from
"Tradition has it that, when Lucifer was cast down from Heaven, he descended to Vesuvius. Once there, he began to destroy everything.
At the sight Christ began to weep. One of his tears fell on the lava and caused a vine to grow. This vine produced the grapes from which the wine is created. Another version of the tale states that when Jesus ascended into heaven moved by the beauty of the Bay of Naples beneath him and cried.
A third version of the story states, that when Lucifer was expelled from Heaven, he grabbed a chunk of Paradise and carried it with him as he fell. He dropped it on the coast of Italy at the foot of Vesuvius, where it framed the bay of Naples. Vesuvian wine has been enjoyed since ancient times. Evidence of the area's delight in wine was preserved by Vesuvius' lava. It is said that even the god Bacchus found pleasure in the abundant wine and the company of those who lived at the foot of the volcano. Ironically, while Vesuvius destroyed towns, its lava made the soil fertile. It produces dry and sweet white wines and a prized red (Terzigno). There are many wonderful wines produced with the same loving care as the ancient Romans. Montesole Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio Bianco DOC is produced from the Coda di Volpe. This refers to the foxtail shape of the grape bunshes. This Lacryma Christi is a pale straw color with green tints. It has an abunance of fruit on the nose, with aromas of peaches and lemons."
Anyway, the white wine was probably the best white I've ever had.