by Fred McMillin
Noah, according to the Book of Genesis, was the first winegrower.
—Vintage, by Hugh Johnson
The international symposium on "The Origins... of Wine" was held at the Robert Mondavi Winery during the week of April 30, 1991.
—The Origins and Ancient
History of Wine
by Dr. P.E. McGovern
University of Pennsylvania
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the 1991 symposium. Because the literature doesn't answer the question about Noah's grape, I asked a number of experts. The consensus was that it was one of the MUSCAT family of grapes.
So, if you wish to sip a distant decendant of Noah's grape, here are the best we've tasted from Europe and the USA in my S.F. City College (Ft. Mason campus ) classes. The highest-rated bottle is listed last.
|12th||Muscat Canelli||Los Pinos Winery, Texas, 2004, $11|
|11th||Orange Muscat||St. James Winery, Missouri, NV, $10|
|10th||Dry Muscat||VINI Wines, Bulgaria, 2002, $8|
|9th||Dry Muscat||Bonny Doon Winery, California, 2006, $15|
|8th||Muscat d' Orange||Ventana, California, 2003, $18|
|7th||D'Asti Moscato||Batasido, Italy, 2006, $16|
|6th||Orange Muscat||Sobon, California, NV, $17|
|5th||Electra Red Muscat||Quady, California, 2004, $10|
|4th||Orange Muscat||Sobon, California, 2004, $16|
|3rd||Orange Muscat Port||Deaver, California, NV, $17|
|2nd||Elysium Black Muscat||Quady, California, 2002, $15|
|1st||Orange Muscat||Quady, California, 2002, $15|
While most of these winning muscats are dessert wines, there are some dry ones suitable for fish or foul dishes.
Now let's fast forward from Noah to some other vintners, Christian monks. Where in Rome were the first Christian monks (Greek, mones, "solitary man") located? Answer: NOWHERE! They were in Egypt. They were south of Alexandria, and supported themselves by sending wine and produce down the Nile River for sale in the big city (c.300 AD).
Speaking of the Nile, the most colorful mariner was Abbot Paphnut, "who when he wished to cross a canal would hail a passing crocodile as if it were a taxi and order it to ferry him over on its back..."
From Monks & Wine
by Desmond Seward
Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He was voted one of the U.S.A's 22 Best wine writers by the Academy of Wine Communications. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.
Edgar Vogt and Nora Molabola helped with this article.
Copyright © 2008, Fred McMillin. All rights reserved.
This page created April 2008
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