Thursday, 13 November 2008

Ivy and Wine – Chateau Pessan

Bacchus, the Roman God of wine, traditionally wears the leaves of the grape vine as a garland on his head but this is only his summer attire. In winter he wears the ivy. Ivy was thought to bring good luck and joy. Like other evergreens, ivy was seen as a symbol of eternal life. Growing the plant on the outside walls of a house was believed to be a deterrent against misfortune. However, if it died, it was thought that financial trouble was approaching.

I don't know what Bacchus's favourite wine was but I am guessing it was red. If he had the chance to sample Château Pessan 2005 £12.99 I think he would have loved it! It's a sumptuous and sensuous red which ages very well indeed – if you can resist the urge to drink it straight away! It is a velvety wine, deep and dense, perfectly balanced with hints of black fruits, spice, coffee, smoke, eucalyptus, pepper and oak. Perfect for Christmas! (You can save £3.50 off the recommended price at

Ironically perhaps, despite being the symbol of Bacchus, ivy did manage to find its way into church buildings where holly and mistletoe didn't. Look carefully at decorative leaf patterns in churches - you are more likely to find ivy than any of the other evergreen varieties.

Westminster Abbey is home to a fine example, as is Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire where visitors can see a stone goat tucking in to an ivy leaf lunch.

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