Tuesday, 26 August 2014

King Richard III, Luxury Wine Enthusiast?

Fascinatingly, Ideal Wine Company has learned that tests have revealed that 15th Century English King Richard III had a penchant for luxury wine. 

What Happened When Scientists Tested the Body of Richard III? 
Recently, CNN reported that scientists at the British Geological Survey carried out tests on the recently recovered skeleton of Richard III. Thought lost until discovered in a Leicester parking lot back in 2012, scientists took to testing the skeleton to measure the body for isotopes.  

What they discovered was astonishing – although probably not that surprising. The final Plantagenet monarch had a penchant for the finer things in life. This included a taste for the sumptuously rich foods of the day, such as swan, heron and even peacock, as well as most notably, luxury wine.  

A Meal Fit for a King 
Angela Lamb, an isotope specialist who led the study commented on its finding to CNN. Lamb said that "obviously, Richard was a nobleman beforehand, and so his diet would be reasonably rich already," and further said that "once he became king we would expect him to be wining and dining more, banqueting more. Food was a real mark of status in the medieval period. 

Lamb went on to elaborate, saying that: "we have the menu from his coronation banquet and it was very elaborate -- lots of wildfowl, including real 'delicacies' such as peacock and swan, and fish -- carp, pike and so on, which were cultivated in special fishponds." 

The History of Luxury Wine 
This is just absolutely fascinating isn’t it? Looking at that coronation menu, and knowing the monarch had a taste for fine vintages, we’re dying to know which types of wine the Plantagenet king set off his dishes with. Obviously, it wouldn’t be anything we would be likely to recognise in the modern day, but such information could tell us so much about the history of luxury wine.  

Lamb indeed went on to talk a little about the King’s wine habit. The specialist said that given the discrepancy in oxygen isotopes in Richard’s body, it was clear he was drinking something other than water and that "we needed something that would tie in with the luxury food he would have been eating." Lamb went on to conclude that "back then wine was very much the preserve of the upper classes -- it was imported, expensive and only the very wealthy could afford it." 

For Ideal Wine Company, This News is Fascinating 
For wine enthusiasts like Ideal Wine Company, this news is fascinating. Although not unexpected – kings tended to drink the best of the best when it came to wine – it certainly gets us wondering!