At first thought, you may not associate Italian wine with the papacy. Despite the fact that wine makes up an important part of Catholic ceremony, many still see it as something that holy men don’t associate themselves with in the modern age. This is despite the fact that monks were the main producers of wine in ancient times, and that the Christian religion has always placed an emphasis on the importance of wine. The story of Jesus turning water into wine shows us that.
Contrary to what you may think, wine plays an extremely important role in the papacy, and general life in the Vatican. In fact, the Vatican has a higher per capita rate of wine consumption than the vast majority of nations on the planet.
Pope Francis, in particularly, appears to appreciate Italian and global wines more than many of his predecessors. In fact, his respect for the industry is so well-known that he was made an honorary sommelier by the Italian Sommelier Association back in 2015.
So that got us thinking. If Pope Francis is such a connoisseur of wine, he must have a few favourites that we can share with you. Here’s what our research discovered.
Pope Francis Loves Wine
Before we get to the list of some of the pope’s favoured wines, we thought we’d share with you a little quote.
According to Pope Francis, “Without wine, there’s no party.”
Besides showing a more human side that some say the papacy lacks at times, this quote reveals a true passion for Italian wine that few in Pope Francis’ position have shared before.
While it sounds like something that a party animal may say, we believe this quote stretches further than that. Pope Francis is saying that wine plays an important role in life, and that you should choose carefully when selecting the wines you indulge in. He also notes that wine makes up an essential part of a celebration, be that a party, a feast, or a small get together with friends you haven’t seen for a while.
The Holy Communion Wine Rules
If you want more evidence that Pope Francis is a wine enthusiast, you need only look at the rules the papacy have released regarding the wines to be used during Holy Communion.
Despite the wines used in communion generally being made by a select group of producers, the fact is that many of these wines have become more readily available, especially as the Italian wine industry has expended. In fact, many believe that the recent decrees are a direct response to this lack of exclusivity.
Unfortunately, popularity leads to wellspring of copycats, imitators and forgers, which the papacy is wary of. As a result, it says that: “The wine that is used in the most sacred celebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice must be natural, from the fruit of the grape, pure and incorrupt, not mixed with other substances.
“Great care should be taken so that the wine intended for the celebration of the Eucharist is well conserved and has not soured.”
While this certainly has its religious connotations, as only the best and most authentic wines must be used in the celebration of Christ, we can’t help but think there’s a touch of the Pope Francis in this decree. After all, a true wine connoisseur wants others to enjoy the highest quality wines too. In encouraging churches to be vigilant with their wine stocks, the papacy also benefits the Italian wine industry, and ensures the purity of the wines that worshippers consume as part of the Eucharist.
The Pope’s Favourite Wines
So with the Pope’s passion reinforced, we think it’s about time that we look at some of the wines that he has expressed a fondness for, and those that have been made especially for him over the years.
We would be remiss to not mention the fact that Pope Francis’ family has a long-running history in the Italian wine industry, so much so that his father was actually a producer or a great wine that Francis enjoyed.
That wine was Grignolino, which literally translates to “grape seed”. Pope Francis’ father, Giovanni, was reputed to make the best Grignolino in the Asti region and there are many stories about how he would send the latest vintages to his son in Argentina. It is likely the influence of his family and its history that ignited the pope’s love of wine in the first place, so we must class Grignolino as one of his favourites
Is it any surprise that a wine that literally translates to “holy wine” would be anything less than a favourite for Pope Francis? It is likely Vin Santo that the papal decree regarding authenticity referred to, as this is the wine that many churches use as part of the Eucharist.
Traditionally made in Tuscany, though popular throughout Italy, Vin Santo is more a style of wine, rather than a particular make. It’s a technique that usually draws upon white grape varieties to create a sweet dessert wine.
It’s a style that has proven popular in religious communities for centuries, which many believe led to the name in the first place. We’re willing to bet that Pope Francis has consumed, and enjoyed, his fair share of Vin Santo wines over the years.
Though not an Italian wine, we sure that Cabernet Francis must rank among the pope’s favourites. After all, the wine was made especially for him.
Cabernet Francis is a product of Trinitas Cellars, which made the wine to commemorate Francis’ ascension to the papacy. During the company’s visit to the pope in 2014, they presented the wine to him, and were delighted to hear that he had not only enjoyed the wine with his lunch that very day, but that he had asked where he could find more.
When Pope Francis later visited the United States, it was Trinitas Cellars that supplied the wine for him and his visiting party. Best of all, it’s not exclusive to the pope. Anybody can buy their own bottle from Trinitas Cellars to sample the wine made especially for Pope Francis.
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