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by Fred McMillin
Happy St. Patrick's Day
The Patron Saint of Ireland got there the hard way. A Roman citizen in Britian, 16-year-old Patricius is captured by pirates and taken to the land of the Irish. There, in slavery, he tends sheep for six years.
The Rest of the Story
Yet, by 460 A.D. he would have baptized over 100,000 converts and founded over 300 churches. So, tonight I toast St. Patrick with a varietal that existed when he lived. What shall it be?
Rome—The Roman Empire was going down the tubes. In fact, only four years after Patricius launched his missionary work in Ireland (432 A.D.), the last Roman troops were withdrawn from Britain. Before long, Rome itself would be sacked by the Vandals. The only good gastronomic development was that the Vandals were introducing the use of butter as they moved south. Thus, no Italian wine tonight. Instead, we turn to a grape that was growing in ancient Persia at that time. In fact, I've visited the historic town of Shiraz, for which the Syrah varietal was named. The land is grape-friendly, even today (pictured). The Syrah evolved in a land with much sunshine, and consequently, does very well in California, too...here's a good one.
'95 Lockwood Syrah, Monterey County, CA.
Last year's St. Patrick's Day WineDay includes additional tidbits about those times. E.g., among the Roman invaders contribution to Britain was the practice of cultivating oysters.
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