by Fred McMillin
for September 16, 1998


The Origin of Wine According to Aristotle


While living in Iran I hired a local scholar to search the archives of the University of Teheran for ancient wine information. Among Firooz' finds was the story of the discovery of wine attributed to Aristotle, which has not appeared in Western wine literature. Here it is.

From the book: "Clamaity of Life", complied by Doctor Azarakhsh

The following paragraph is said by Aristotle, the famous philosophy of ancient Greece.

"Jamshid, the ancient king of Persia, is the first one who comes to the vine accidentally. One day when he goes out for hunting he sees a vine with riped fruits on it in a mountainous place. They think it is a poisonous plant. They pick its fruits and put inside a small jar and the king orders to keep them in a safe place. After a long time, there was a guilty who was sentenced to death so the king asked of that jar.

After drinking the juice of the fruits, the guilty went to a heavy sleep and they imagined he was passing the last minutes of his life, but he woke up and was full of gay. So anybody were interested to drink of it; finally the king himself, who also became happy. Then order to plant this tree everywhere."

Today's Wine

Rey SolTo accompany this tale of the legendary King Jamshid, we nominate the legendary grape of ancient Persia. It's the Syrah, named after the Persian city of Shiraz. The best California Syrah we've encountered so far this year is...

1995 Syrah, Temecula, CA.
Rey Sol Brand by Mt. Palomar Winery
Winemaking—When we last checked, part of the grapes were fermented uncrushed, increasing the rich berry flavors that charmed my tasters.
Rating—EXCELLENT (and ready to drink today with robust fare)
Vineyards—President Peter Poole advises me they are very happy with the success of the Syrah and their other Mediteranean-style wines and are expanding the acreage.
Contact—(909) 676-5047
Price—$16 range


I'm looking forward to some comments about the Jamshid legend from the winery's brilliant winemaker Etienne Paul Cowper...his first degree was in Cultural Anthropology. There are several other versions of the Persian discovery, and I expect that he knows several of them.

Note—For more about the winery, see the 3/27/98 WineDay titled," All-Star Palomar".

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 and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.



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