Monday, September 14, 2015

Bull's Blood, Suleiman the Magnificent, and NoPo Libations

 So, I'll tell you this: there is arguably no better city in North America to sample world-class coffee, beer, and wine than Portland, Oregon.  I have spared hyperbole, here.  Theses are true words.  As the good ol boy says, "I kid you not".

Last night I had a hot date...sizzlin' if you will.  I took a risk and visited unfamiliar ground for the start to our evening.  The venue: a highly rated wine bar, TeSoAria, in North Portland (aka NoPo).  Beyond simply dropping the four letter up down up down capitalization schema for gentrifying neighborhoods, I flag you (the imagined reader) to this for future reference.  Largely, you should go there or imagine going there.  They have great wine and fine curation.  The envrions are cool, hence you'd be in situ cool to boot.  But, I digress.

In the course of the evening, we ran across the winery's, relatively famed, Bull's Blood.  Admit it, this is linguistically enticing.  But, I'll cut to the chase, this was not the best wine...the Pinot Verdot was. 

That said, the Bull's Blood held better story.  In fact, I have been consumed by the narrative for the last 24 hours.  I thought the wine steward was "bullsh*tt*ing" me if you will with the story.  But, alas, he was not.  To turn you on to the power of history and tannins I offer up this excerpt:

Bulls Blood is a Hungarian tradition dating back hundreds of years. Legend has it that when the Ottoman Empire attempted to invade Hungary, they chose to invade the isolated region of Eger, where they outnumbered the Hungarian military ten-to-one. The Hungarians of Eger locked themselves in the castle and tried to develop of strategy to defeat the Ottoman Empire, but they couldn’t think of anything!  Defeated, they decided to break into the wine cellar and drink as much wine as they possibly could. For days they drank, becoming more and more delirious and soaking themselves and each other in wine. They became so incoherent that instead of fighting the Ottomans, they started fighting each other.  However, what the Ottomans saw was an army apparently covered in blood, fighting each other—they had sacrificed their bulls, drunk the blood, and now they Hungarians were demigods! The Ottomans were so frightened by the prospect, after a few skirmishes, they just left. Eger avoided conquest! Hungary celebrates their victory every year with a Bulls Blood Festival.

I have corroborated this narrative with reliable sources, namely Wikipedia and Savoj Zizek (who might be one in the same).  I'm spellbound, stupified by such a narrative.  Are there others?  It's curious.  What wine bars do I visit to unearth such narratives?

If you've read this far, I will gladly drink a flight of vino with you at TeSoAria.   Eat, drink, and be merry.