Wine of Vesuvius


“An old fisherman emerged from the house, and turning toward our friends, who were at the bottom of the orchard, conversing among themselves with a mysterious air, shouted that all was ready. I thought he was referring to supper, and sitting down at a table next to Jack I filled our glasses with wine. The wine was strong and had a delicate flavor, which dissolved into a delicious aroma of wild herbs. I recognized in its flavor and its scent the hot breath of Vesuvius, the tang of the autumnal wind in the vineyards that have arisen from the fields of black lava and the lifeless deserts of gray ashes surrounding Bosco Trecasse, on the barren slopes of the volcano. And I said to Jack: ‘Drink. This wine was squeezed from the grapes of Vesuvius, it has the mysterious flavor of the infernal fires, the scent of the lava and ashes that buried Herculaneum and Pompeii. Drink, Jack — drink this sacred, ancient wine.”

— Curzio Malaparte in The Skin (1948)



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