The Death of Shiraz
"They pour freshly squeezed grape juice into clay pots, which are then placed in freshly dug ditches before being covered with sheep droppings to aid fermentation."
It was not always this way. In this place, Khollar, they once grew an abundance of grapes that were harvested and taken to the town of….Shiraz…..where they were turned into wine that carried a reputation throughout the Middle East. Now, this Iranian town supports a mere 250 residents who furtively bury crushed grapes under sheep dung.
Robert Tait of the Guardian newspaper offers a poignant account of how far this one-time vine growing village with a millenniums-old winemaking history has declined since the Iranian Revolution of the late 1970s.
I know only enough about the Iranian Revolution to get myself in trouble in commenting about it. So, it would be somewhat crass of me to suggest the demise of a thriving and historic winemaking community for the sake of a popular religious uprising that has led to little more than instability, deaths destruction is nothing less than disgusting.
So, why not leave it at that.
The article is quite good. Don’t miss.
At least he doesn’t make the assumption that the town of Shiraz is the source of the grape’s name, though I think it’s more credibly debunked than he suggests. Shiraz as an alternate name for Syrah is only within the last century, if memory serves (maybe slightly further back).
Regardless of the nature of the name, Shiraz was once an important wine region. The Ayatollahs’ revolution has waged warfare on Persian culture in much the same way our own evangelical right would like to do here. Let’s not forget that Hafiz was writing about Persian wine before the Benedictines had begun to keep serious records.