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"The Flood, The Vine and Noah"

  by Fred McMillin

 

Prologue

Muscat of Alexandria Leaf

Muscat of Alexandria Leaf from Sutter Home Winery.

"He is given advance warning of the flood and told to build a boat. He builds a boat and loads it with food and animals and birds. Through this means he is saved while the rest of the world perishes."

...The Stones Cry Out, Dr. Randall Price, 1997

 

The Rest of the Story

Of course, Dr. Price is talking about Noah. Right? WRONG! In 1956 British scholar Alan Millard was studying stone tablets in the basement of the British museum, where they had been stored for over a century. Suddenly, it occurred to him "that the wording sounded strangely like the book of Genesis." But the boatbuilder was named Atrahasis, not Noah, and the account was Babylonian, written centuries before the Biblical version.

The actual flood occurred around 2400 B.C. It left a body of water some 400 miles long and 100 miles wide. Atrahasis does not tell us about planting the vineyard after the deluge, so we turn to Noah. I've scoured many sources and the clues indicated that the vines were about five years old when the first harvest occurred in the month of January. As yet undiscovered scrolls and/or tablets may tell us more some day.

There's less uncertainty about what grape made the first wine after the flood. Most scholars agree that the Muscat family is man's oldest winemaker. There are a number of models available. The Black Muscat has done well in some of my tastings, the Muscat of Alexandria can make better dessert wines than many wine books indicate, and the Muscat Canelli (alias Muscat Blanc) is the most highly regarded. Here are the best my panel has tasted in recent years. All are dessert types.

 

Decendants of that First Winemaking Grape

Rank
of the Muscats
  The Wine
8th   Sutter Home Moscato, Inexpensive
7th   Moscato Bianco, La Famiglia Robert Mondavi, Medium price
6th   Ceretto Moscato d'Asti, Italy, Medium price (Palace Brands)
5th   Muscat Vin Doux. Naturel, Clos du Lac, Medium price
4th   Muscat de Beaumes del Venise, Domaine de Coyeux,France,Med price
3rd   Moscato d'Asti, Michele Chiarlo, Italy, Medium price(Kobrand)
2nd   Muscat of Alexandria, Charles Mitchell, Medium price
Winner   Electra (Orange Muscat), Quady, Inexpensive
 

Postscript

Some of my other sources say the workers who built the ark were given generous amounts of both white and red wine, indicating Noah was not the first winemaker. Readers may send in contradictory views and we'll be delighted to publish them with full credit in a later article.

 

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