Sunday, February 2, 2014

Nice work if you can get it

It wasn’t actually Nice. 

It was Avignon.

Roman Catholic clergy have for centuries indulged themselves in the finest wines the world can produce.

While you and I work with vin or-dee-naire, the Pope takes a vow of poverty and drinks the good stuff in private.

Then Pope Gregory came to his senses and tried to make appearances a bit more respectable. 

Here’s the back story:

It was 1305 and Clement the Fifth, a French Archbishop from Bordeaux, was elected Pope. But he had just planted acres of vineyards and refused to move to Rome.


Four years later he moved his entire court out of Rome and into France, beginning almost 70 years of Papal living amongst the vineyards.

This did a lot for the production of fine wine in the region.

You can imagine. 

From Wikipedia:

Clement's successor Pope John doubled down and built a glorious castle within the vineyards, a more appropriate place for the Pope to live. 

And presumably drink.

But by this time things were getting out of hand. 

A local wine had been named for the “Pope’s New Castle” and the faithful were getting suspicious.

So in 1378 Pope Gregory acknowledged there was a problem, abandoned Avignon and returned the court to Rome.

Back to good Barolo! 

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