Archive for April, 2009


April 15, 2009
 darwin_monoIn 2009 we celebrate Charles Darwin´s 200th birthday the 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species.  This got me thinking about Darwinism, natural selection, and the survival of the fittest.  If it works for apes it should work for grapes.

According to Julian Jeffs in The Wines of Spain “the forty or so varieties that were planted in the eighteenth century (in la Rioja) have been reduced to seven”.  Some of the 33 MIA´s are no doubt alive and well outside la Rioja.  But others no doubt share the fate of Calagrano.  Now prohibited in the la (more…)

Rabelais and A.C. Chinon

April 13, 2009

Pantagruel has a snack and a little glass of wine

“Drink constantly.  You will never die”—Francois Rabelais

I really want to like the wines from Chinon, one of the only Loire Valley villages specializing in red wine.  This has less to do with wine per se than with Francois Rabelais. This bawdy 16th century Franciscan monk and extravagant humorist is Chinon’s favorite son and he dedicated his great satirical novel Gargantua and Pentagruel to the “most noble and illustrious drinkers”.  Legend has it that his father made his own wine on Clos de l’Echo.  This property, widely considered the best plot in Chinon, now yields the single-vineyard flagship wine at Couly-Dutheil, perhaps Chinon’s most prestigious name.
In English the adjective Rabelaisian has come to mean crudely humorous; “gusty and exuberant with the pleasures of life—food, drink, and lovemaking”; “grotesquely exaggerated satirical”. Gargantuan means huge, prodigious, gigantic. (more…)

Rabelais’s wine wisdom

April 13, 2009


“I drink no more than a sponge”

“When I think, I drink.  When I drink I think.”

“No clock is more regular than the belly.”

And my personal favorite, “There are more old drunkards than old physicians”