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by Fred McMillin
The Rest of the Story
Babylon, c.l800 B.C.—The first words have been written about wine. The King Gilgamesh ruled a millennium ago. Since then he became the subject of a new literary device, the epic poem. While the tale grew to include both charming and dangerous gods and goddesses as it is passed from generation to generation orally, it is based on many historical facts.
Of Goddess Siduri's vineyard, clay tablet 10 says,
Lapis lazuli it bore as grape clusters,
Fruit it bore, magnificent to look upon."
Unfortunately for Gilgamesh, Siduri did not believe in letting mortals taste wine and hence, live forever, so he traveled on, finally finding the life-conferring plant at the bottom of the sea! Ecstatically heading home, he lost it to a serpent Dang!
Our Wine of the Day
Historians tell us Siduri's vineyard would have been planted with a domesticated Muscat. Hence, today's wine is a Muscat that always scores well in our tastings. My latest Ft. Mason (S.F. City College) class gave it an enthusiastic HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Here it is...
1998 Black Muscat dessert wine
The use of the artificial hills called Ziggurats for the planting of vines used to make wine was very common in Babylonia. The photo shows my wife in the outdoor kitchen of an ancient Persian ziggurat (east of Babylon) that existed during the reign of Gilgamesh. (See ziggurat discussion in Dionysus by Edward Hyams.)
Further reading—For the latest scholarship on wine origins and related archeology, see:
08/15/00—Big Butter Bombs
08/14/00—Norton's Number One
08/11/00—Win with Wyndham
08/09/00—Stir the Lees, If You Please
08/08/00—A Shark Attack
08/07/00—From Spuds to Buds
08/04/00—High Noon At Continental Air
08/03/00—When Harveys Went Kablooey
08/02/00—A Beautiful Story
This page created August 2000