Sunday, 5 February 2017

Sangue di Giuda

Image result for blood of judas

Fake News is nothing new. In the wine world, 'Sangue di Giuda' is a good example. Various fake news items have been invented to market this sweet sparkling red from Oltrepò Pavese,

Despite the Spanish label, Sangue di Giuda is Italian.
This name according to two of the legends was intentionally invented to discourage the drinking of this wine.

Legend No. 1.

The name "Sangue di Giuda" was given to the wine by monks in Lombardy who disapproved of its stimulating and "aphrodisiac" effects.


Legend No. 2.

The friars used to make the wine and nuns would break into the cellar and have a good time. The monks grew tired of this and marked the barrels with the terrifying phrase "Sangue di Giuda" so they would not have as much disappearing wine.

We don't buy either of these silly stories. No other wine has a name designed to put you off drinking it. (OK, maybe 'Inferno'?)

Legend No. 3.

This tells that Judas wandered this world - a sad example of impiety (according to Bishop Papias of Hierapolis). He had bitterly repented of having betrayed Jesus, and Jesus, as a sign of forgiveness caused him to be resurrected in Oltrepò, precisely at Broni, a province of Pavia. Recognizing him, the citizens of that place decided to kill him for his role in the Passion of Christ. Judah was saved thanks to a gift he made to the local wine growers: he healed their vines from a disease which at that time had affected them. To thank him, the winemakers dedicated to him the name of this wine.

Oh, sure! Fake News indeed.

No, we reckon you can expect the name to have been adopted in more literally bloodthirsty days as a positive incentive. Who wouldn't want to drink the blood of the traitor, Judas?

Leaving the moniker aside, the wine belongs to the basket of other sparkling reds to be found in Italy including Lambrusco of course but also Gragnano, Brachetto, Buttafuoco etc.

This last-named, Buttafuoco is almost identical to Sangue di Giuda and comes from the same area which includes Broni by the way. Croatina vivo or frizzante is one of our favourites also from the Oltrepo Pavese. In Sangue di Giuda and Buttafuoco the Croatina is always blended with Barbera and nearly always with Uva Rara and Ughetta (Vespolina). Buttafuoco has its own legends but we won't bore you with those.

Victor Hazan: Did anyone mention Gutturnio?
There is a sparkling version of Gutturnio, another Barbera/Croatina blend. Pleasant though the wine is, Gutturnio was cast into utter oblivion by Victor Hazan who found the name just too ugly to contemplate. We suggest one shouldn't be put off either by this name or 'Sangue di Giuda'. The wines are perfectly attractive in their way although the latter can be rather sweet.

Like Lambrusco amabile, Sangue di Giuda 'dulce' is popular in Spain

Spanis supermarkets are strangely strong in sweet red sparklers. In one ('Supersol') there were no less that four kinds of Lambrusco Amabile

Might there be a story behind the popularity of all this sweet Italian sparkling wine and why don't the spanish make it for themselves? Just let's not make it a fake one.

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