Rome, Italy — Est! Est! Est! A wine so nice, they had to name it thrice. That’s the Lazio quaffer from the village of Montefiascone near Lake Bolsena. This wine is not to be confused, nor is it affiliated with a movement from the 70’s known as est (Erheard Seminar Training). This faddish mind altering organization taught its practitioners how not to be pushed around any more and how to deal with “it” — whatever “it” is. Soon, adherents to this human potential training were knowable by their standoffishedness and obnoxiousness. The organization dried up mid 80’s when the head guru Wener Erhard, fled the US.
No, the Est! Est! Est! Being discussed here is is the white wine made from Trebbiano and sometimes with the addition of a little Malavasia. It gets its odd name from the legend of the gluttonous bishop. (Skip ahead if you’ve heard this one before.)
(Best read to the accompaniment of a lute.)
It was in the year of our Lord, 1111 and Bavarian bishop Johannes Defuc was en route to Rome to visit the pope. Like most bishops he had a hearty appetite, in Defuc’s case for food & wine. To make sure that his self-same Eminence should not want for either he sent his servant, Martin, ahead to seek out accommodations that were comfortable enough for his bishop’s holiness and that served the best food and wine. When Martin should happen upon a decent lodge he was told to mark the door with the word “Est,” which means, “it is” in Latin and, if the wine was as good as the food he was told to write, “Est. Est.” When faithful Martin reached the osteria in Montefiascone he found wine so delicious he could barely contain himself and in accordance to his master’s wishes emphatically scratched “Est! Est! Est!” thrice on the innkeeper’s door. Along his journey Martin’s blessed Bishop Defuc was able to repose in commodious accommodation and maintain his girth while on his way to the pope’s house with his orders from King Henry V.
The rest of legend states that, once his duties at the Vatican were completed the bishop raced back for more Est! Est! Est! He stayed on for months and there he died. He was buried in San Flaviano. Devoted Martin wrote on the bishop’s tombstone, “Here lays my lord, as a result of the many Ests.” In Defuc’s will he left all his property to the town of Montefiascone with the stipulation that on the anniversaries of his death a barrel of muscat wine should be emptied at his grave. So doth end the tale of the Servant and his Bishop. (Lute fades…)
Is the wine as charming as the story? Yay and nay. First the nay. The Est! Est! Est!s sampled were remarkably uniform. They’re simple, green apple-ish, crisp, not overly complicated wines that are ideal for summer and can even be chilled to near slushiness and be okay. For the very same reasons are the yays.
Read the review of Native Food & Wine by Providence Wine Examiner Lisa Magnuson.
Visit Atlanta Wine Exmainer Jacqueline Chambliss’ site The European Wine Table. Prose and educational entires from the producer of wine gelee. Her products are available for purchase.
The Tuscan wineries series:
Badia a Coltibuono Monteraponi
Il Cole Poggio Antico Poderi Boscarelli
Biondi-Santi Gianni Brunelli Soldera