Viva Il Papa… And The Wine To Match

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As a Filipina who grew up in the 90s, I know that there is such a frenzied adoration during papal visits. I remember (then pope, now saint) John Paul II’s World Youth Day in 1995… Daily practicing of the song “Tell The World Of His Love” in our Catholic school, our family having hosted a nun from Iloilo who needed to attend the event, and attending loads of masses.

What on earth is a beverage writer doing, writing about the Pope’s visit?

At the risk of sounding blasphemous, you cannot omit the fact that there is wine in the bible, and during the celebration of mass. Jesus’ first miracle involved turning water into wine (Wedding at Cana). During the last supper, Jesus used wine to symbolize His blood.

Therefore, there is an undeniable correlation between Christianity and wine.

That being said, there is nothing evil about consuming alcohol in the Christian sense… It’s the OVER-consumption of alcohol that is advised against.

Ok, before I start sounding too preachy, let me get to a more interesting point: What wine is used during Holy Communion?

The wines are generally classified under “Sacramental Wine”. There are many variations on the stuff, depending on the Christian denomination. Some allow only red grapes, some do not allow any additives, and some do not even allow alcohol to begin with (instead, grape juice is consumed). By and large, Sacramental Wine makes use of grapes that are only intended for Holy Communion.

In the Philippines, we traditionally use Mompo. It’s cheap, sweet, amber in color, and some altar boys I know (my cousin included) have had naughty moments and consumed a little too much of this behind closed doors (tsk tsk).

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Vin Santo Wine Tasting (photo courtesy of Jocen Villongco) 

One of my friends and I had the Italian counterpart one time during a tasting event. The Vin Santo (or “Holy Wine”) is a more refined, elegant, and varied version of the Mompo. Technically classified as a dessert wine and served after espresso, this native of Tuscany can be bone dry to brutally sweet. It is also served during Tuscan wedding ceremonies, which the bride and groom drink.

Let me end this entry by telling you why I like Pope Francis enough to actually write a wine blog in relation to his visit. I like that he embodies the spirit of what being a religious leader (Christianity or otherwise) is all about: Love. We’re not only told, but we are shown that we should love one another, no matter what our beliefs and religions are.

I am free to choose my religion, make informed opinions on each religion that I know of, and express my beliefs. I am free to talk about my love of lechon with a mid-range Pinot Noir and make no apologies about it. I’m free to be a woman and travel halfway across the globe, discover new things (and new wine), then write about it. I’m free to be a Pinay blogger writing about beverages, alcoholic or otherwise, grammar fiends’ and wine snobs’ opinions be damned. I’m free to be spiritual as opposed to being observant of every sacrament. I’m free to love, and upon doing so, show you what (and Who), I believe in.

What we shouldn’t be free to do is harm, kill, hate, and scare others into silence. We shouldn’t be free to insult another person and/or his beliefs, religious or otherwise.

Phew! This is getting too heavy. With that, I am off to dinner… With wine of course! Cheers!

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