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by Fred McMillin
for March 22, 2000

 

Tears


Prologue

18th Century— "If Italy had anything approaching a five-star wine in international eyes, it was Lachryma Christi of Vesuvius ('tear of Christ').

...Vintage, Hugh Johnson

20th Century—The Campania region of Italy, dominated by Mt. Vesuvius, is one of the most beautiful spots on earth. The vine is cultivated intensely, for the area is limited and the demand worldwide. Falernum wine, prized by the Romans, has fallen from popularity. In its stead rules Lachryma Christi.

...Grossman's Guide, Harriet Lembeck


The Rest of the Story ...as told by Alexis Lichine

Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, Italy When Lucifer fell from grace, he and his retinue landed with such a crash that the land beneath them collapsed, to form the Bay of Naples. Lucifer soon realized he was in the place nearest to his lost Paradise, so he populated the area of Naples with his demons. The result was that Naples became a citadel of wickedness. The Savior, looking down one day, grieved to see the terrestrial paradise so steeped in sin and He wept, His tear falling on Mount Vesuvius. From the tear a vine sprang up, and it multiplied into a vineyard.

With such a pedigree, you must try our...


Wine of the Day

1988 Lacryma Christi del Vesuvio, Italy
"Dry White Wine" "I bought mine at Fred Foster's Jug Shop in S.F."
Characteristics—Light, not harsh, trace of the volcanic soil in the flavors.
Service—I like to serve it before the meal, since my guests are always interested in the story. Avoid powerful appetizers, as this is a delicate, not a powerful wine such as a heavily-oaked $30 Chardonnay.
Importer—Wine Wave, Inc.
Contact—Office of Marketing Director Doreen Riviutso, phone (516) 433-1121, FAX (516) 433-1207
Price—$16 range


Postscript—More Tears

Sonoma's first commercial vintner was General Mariano Vallejo. The name of his vineyard? Lachryma Montis. You see, the Spanish claim that they had the name first, the wine being called Lagrima ('tears') Christi, but that's a story for another day.

 
About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.

 
 


This page created March 2000

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