Monthly Archives: April 2017

MWWC #32: Translation

The Wine Raconteur

After Virgil Sollozzo offers a potential salary to Luca Brasi at the bar, Luca Brasi replies “Menge.” The translation on the screen read “Really.”
If you speak Italian, my apologies for the language, but since I am starting off with a movie scene, or sometimes with a song, or both; it must be time for the Monthly Wine Writers Challenge, and the theme for this challenge was picked by the last winner Nesli of Wi.Nes and she chose “translation.” Another poser, at least for me, and trying to figure out how it would relate to wine. After all, don’t all things end up relating to wine? Even though I am not Roman Catholic, this article should be dedicated to St. Jerome, the scholar who translated the Old Testament from Hebrew to Latin in the version known as the Vulgate. St. Jerome is considered the patron saint of translators. I am…

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Found in Translation: A Grape By Any Other Name (Monthly Wine Writing Challenge 32 #MWWC32)


The theme is “translation” for this, the thirty second Monthly Wine Writing Challenge.

Luckily, my Aunt surprised me recently.

She hosts near-monthly dinners, cooks great food, and pours copious amounts of sparkling wine.  I bring good bottles that survived my workweek.  Well, at our last powwow she had something new from Oregon.

Now, most American wine is an act of translation.  Why?  Because we try to conjugate European grapes with American soil, climate, and palates.  Results taste familiar but different: like speaking French with a Texan accent.  But with today’s wine, America forgot the encyclopedia.

My Aunt’s wine comes from Dundee, Oregon.  There, by 1975, 15 acres of red clay-loam and volcanic soil got planted with what they thought was Pinot Blanc.  Erm…nope!

The mistranslation dates back to 1939, when Georges de Latour first planted a white grape at Beaulieu Vineyards (BV) in California.  BV called it “Pinot Blanc”, “Melon”, and even “Chablis”.  Even David Lett, founding father of Oregon’s Eyrie Vineyards, fell into the Pinot Blanc trap.  It took until 1980 for French ampelographer Dr. Pierre…

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