Lambrusco in Spain

Xavier Domingo writes in La cocina española antes del descubrimiento in Cultura, identidad y cocina en el Perú (1996) that Augustus Caesar signed protectionist decrees prohibiting the planting of new vines in his Spanish provinces of Tarraconensis and Lusitania, where the import of Italian wines was encouraged, permitting it only in Baetica, and even encouraging it in the limy fields of Jerez. There Phoenician viticulturists had reproduced a Carthaginian wine much favoured by the Romans, passum, which is still made, ahem, in Moriles and Montilla under the Pedro Ximénez brand.

Many Barcelona “Pakistanis” have dropped Catalan cava from their selection and now sell Italian lambrusco. I am told this is because of the latter’s superior price/quality relationship and more romantic image. AC Nielsen says its Spanish sales have risen by 43% in the past year. It would be amusing if Lahoris succeeded in promoting Italian plonk where Latins failed.

(Passum wasn’t banned during the Caliphate because of its low alcohol content. Muslim shopkeepers in contemporary Barcelona couldn’t give a toss.)

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