Monday, June 11, 2007

A horse called Zinfandel

On 16 June 1904, just a hundred and three years ago a horse called Zinfandel ran at Ascot in England and etched its name into literary history. The real equine hero of the day was actually called Throwaway, who won the race and became the punch line of several puns in the novel Ulysses. James Joyce set his masterpiece on the fictional events of one day, the day in real life when he first walked out with Nora Barnacle, the love of his life. But the fictional action takes place against a background of finely described real events and places.

Zinfandel is as good as any other name for a racehorse, and no doubt it rolled of the tongues of the bookies and touts of the day than if they had called it Crljenak Kastelanski, or even Primitivo.

16 June is a special day for all lovers of modern literature, and for some reason the strange loop in my mind always turns to this rather enigmatic variety at this time of year.

It's popularity in Australia is growing steadily, just over 50 wineries are using it, but I must say with mixed results. See more about Aussie Zin here



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