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Copyright © 2015
Forkmedia LLC

by Fred McMillin
for December 14, 2000


The Bishop's Fate

The New Roman Times
(All the Latin That's Fit to Print)
Fails to Arrive
For Audience with Pope
Written by Food & Wine Editor
Ben Bacchus


1111 A.D.—Bishop Johannes De Fuger left his church in the Bavarian town of Augsburg several weeks ago. He was to realize a lifelong ambition of traveling to Rome for an audience with the Pope, a difficult trip of hundreds of miles.

Bishop's Tomb

The Bishop's tomb is housed in the Tempio di St. Flaviano Church, built before the time of Christ.

Mrs. McMillin in the Church

Mrs. McMillin in the church discussing the story of Est! Est!! Est!!! with local producers. The tomb is chained off at their feet.

It is well known that the Bishop is a man of discriminating taste. Consequently, he had his valet, Martin, leave a day early. His mission was to determine which inn had the best food and wine at each scheduled stop. He was to indicate his selection by writing on its wall with chalk the word "EST," meaning "it is" or "this is it."

The whereabouts of Bishop De Fuger and Martin is unknown. (End of article by Bacchus).

The Rest of the Story—The Bishop's Fate

The trip started well, with Martin, a mobile Michelin Guide, inscribing EST on his recommendations. However, when only 60 miles from Rome, at the ancient Etruscan site of Montefiascone (MOWN-tuh-fee-as-KOHN-ee), the wine was so good, Martin wrote EST! EST!! EST!!! The Bishop arrived the next day, totally agreed, and paid the wine the ultimate tribute. He abandoned the trip to the Vatican, settled down in the village, and lived happily ever after. When he passed away, Martin prepared his tomb in a local church (photos), sadly concluding that his boss may have overindulged a bit...for, one can still see at the foot of the tomb the words he inscribed in Latin:

It is, it is, it is.
And through too much "IT IS,"
My Master Johannes De Fuger,
Dead is.

I cannot think of a better conversation piece to serve your guests as they arrive for your holiday feast than...

Our Wine of the Day

Graffiti EST! EST!! EST!!! di Montefiascone , 1999
Bottled by Bigi in their cellars at Orvieto, Italy
Tasting Notes—A typical light, dry white wine of central Italy...a modest 12% alcohol...attractive pale Montefiascone they told us to always drink it young.
Food—The producers served a wonderfully light pasta in an herbed cream sauce with the EST!
Importer—Opici Import Co., Glen Rock, N.J.
Contact—Carl Camasta (201) 689-1200, FAX (201) 251-8081 e-mail:, URL:
Price—$8 range

Postscript—You Can't Take It with You??

The good Bishop gave it his best shot. He left money in his will for...once a year having a cask of the wine poured over his tomb.


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers. For information about the wine courses he teaches every month at either San Francisco State University or San Francisco City College (Fort Mason Division), please fax him at (415) 567-4468.



This page created December 2000