The Spice Merchant: Chateau Musar and the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayam

I was going to put down a simple tasting note of Chateau Musar’s spectacular 2005 eponymous wine, but then I was distracted.

Chateau Musar 2005 bewitches, as ever with its complexity and enveloping exotic spice. It’s a great wine, and magnums I just will have to find…The Wine Society has now sold out.

Continuing that Middle Eastern theme, my sister lent me a copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Kayam. To be brief, it is an ode to wine by a twelfth century Persian mathematician, philosopher and astronomer. Translated from a original version in the Bodleian Library by the Victorian dilettante Edward Fitzgerald in what I can only describe as a jaunty style it is eminently readable and dare I say it, rather soothing.

It was printed up in 1970 by The Folio Society, but other additions must exist. I read it aloud in my hospital bed, so the staff must think me very odd. But I think on a Sunday evening with a glass of Don Nuno or a Shiraz (for Omar, like Shiraz was from Iran) it would be a great way to end a weekend.

And here’s a little taste,

Ah, fill the cup – what boots it to repeat
Now time is slipping underneath our Feet
Unborn TOMORROW and dead YESTERDAY
Why fret about them if TODAY be sweet?
 
Our Moment in Annihilation’s Waste, 
One Moment, of the Well of Life to taste –
The Stars are setting and the Caravan
Starts for the Dawn of Nothing -Oh, make Haste!
 
How long, how long, in infinite Pursuit
Of  This and That endeavour and dispute?
Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.
and
 
Ah, with the Grape my fading Life provide,
And wash my Body whence the Life has died,
And in a Winding sheet of Vine-leaf wrapt,
So bury me by some sweet Garden-side.

About matthewhayesbrognon

Wine Merchant
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