Blood & Wine

I would be remiss as a wine aficionado and faithful Halloween celebrant if I did not discuss the link between blood and wine.  Below is a brief exploration of that theme.

blood and wine

The blood is life…and it shall be mine!

Bram Stoker, Dracula

The association of blood with life force lies deep within the human psyche. Blood is seen as the physical manifestation of that life force. As such, it has been endowed with magical or even supernatural properties such as: strength, fertility, youth, life, and power.  There is no better example of this than in the vampire legends where drinking the blood of a living victim confers vitality and everlasting life. In fact, often after feasting on a victim the vampire is said to be drunk or experiencing a heightened reality.  Wine has also been said to offer the same or similar boon to the drinker.  Drinking wine not only satiates thirst, provides nutrients and loosens inhibitions but it can also induce visions and has played a vital role in ancient rites and rituals.  Wine and blood were seen as ways to expand our physical and psychic selves beyond everyday life.

Sangre de Toro

So far, we’ve talked about human blood but animal blood was often considered a more potent life force.  Bull (and cow) worship ran deep in ancient mediterranean societies, the Iberians, Phoenicians and Celts all worshiped and sacrificed them to appease the gods, mark important seasonal events or celebrate victories. Bulls have been intimately connected to wine, so deep is this connection that Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, is the son of a bull.  One Spanish winemaker went so far as to name his delicious, ruby red cariñena and garnache blend Sangre de Toro.  

For many, the wine and blood connection is obvious but not necessarily conscious. Halloween offers us a great opportunity to remember this profound and ancient connection. So raise a glass of bloody red wine to this pagan celebration!

Come join us this Monday, 31 October as we get creepy with our classy Halloween celebration.  We will taste three, delicious organic wines paired with holiday treats and tarot cards.

Click here to sign up.

 

 

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Until the beautiful death

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Some wines gradually lose their structure and density with age in much the same way we lose muscle and bone density as we grow older. Wine, like our bodies, becomes more fragile and delicate.  Of course, we know that with exercise this doesn’t have to happen to us.  In wine, however, there is an elusive, beautiful point of perfection when the wine is said to achieve a perfect balance.  Perhaps this is what the great wine connoisseurs are pursuing in their search for the ultimate wine.  It comes as no shock to learn that this point is nearly impossible to find but that doesn’t stop us from trying. In fact, that improbability is the thrill of the hunt. What we do know is, once found, it still does not guarantee a good quality wine.

Wines change and evolve until they die and, hopefully, so do we.

La uva de las brujas/The Witches Grape

 

The witches grape also known as  Jacque or Jaquet grape aka hails from Cataluyña where red grapes are called black grapes.  The grape´s nickname, the witches grape, comes from Inquisition.  During that time, a woman was condemned for being a witch because she was found with various herbs and other unusual things, among them the jacque grape.  It was a time when you could be condemned for being female and living alone in the woods with herbs and stuff.   In reality, this grape is a wild grape, one of only a handful of European grapes known to have survived the devastating phylloxera plague. This wild grape was cultivated by poor folk who foraged the forest for food.  Because of it’s association with witches and witchcraft, the grape was collected only at night, which, only added to its mystery and infamy.

This grape´s controversy continues as many claim it is merely a hybrid US grape that was used to fend off the phylloxera plague.  In fact, you do find it in the states, in Texas it is known as the Texas black Spanish grape. However, a group of traditional winemakers in Catalyuña (Girona, D.O. Calonge) whose families have been cultivating and making wine with this grape well before the infestation, some as early as the 14th century,  insist it is not a hybrid. They say it is part of a variety of wild grapes whose vines are called “grec” which are used to make witches wine.  To this day, their grape stalks are grafted onto other local varieties to boost their resistance to insects.

There is very little written on this grape.  Like witches,  the jacque grape exists in a shroud of mystery and suspicion.

Wanna know more? Then check out this article on a Mas Molla, a delightful Calogne winery where I was first introduced to the jacque grape and the traditional methods used to create the witches wine.

It´s not too late to sign up for our Hallowine Tasting Party, Monday 31 October 20-21,30 at V. Manneken.  Three spooky wines and Halloween treats.  Costumes encouraged!