Wine in Lord of the Rings
Wine is shown in many key scenes of Lord of the Rings - and always with the characters who are the wisest and most knowledgeable about the world in which they live.
While Bilbo serves the masses of family regular beer in steins, when his best friend Gandalf arrives, Bilbo is quick to offer something much more valuable.
Bilbo says, even as Gandalf is still taking off his hat, "... tea - or maybe something a little stronger? I've got a few bottles of the old Wineyard left! 1296, very good year - almost as old as I am! It was laid down by my father. What say we open one?"
By Laid Down, Bilbo means that after the wine was bottled and then set aside to age in the bottle for many years. Bilbo is turning 111, so the wine is over a hundred years old! That's certainly a feat that not many modern wines can boast of!
Soon, Gandalf goes to talk to the head of the Wizards, Saruman. As the two talk in Saruman's study, they are drinking red wine out of cut-crystal goblets. Cut crystal is strong and sturdy, much like the carved tower of Orthanc in which they work.
Next, after some difficulty, Gandalf escapes to the sanctuary of Rivendell, home of the elves. The elves have been perfecting metalcraft and glassworks for thousands of years. Elrond himself has been a leader of the elves for over a millenium. It is no surprise that as Elrond and Gandalf talk about the situation, Elrond pours out a glass of red wine. The glassware used by the elves is tall, thin, and smooth, almost liquid in form. There are no sharp, harsh edges here - only the smooth curves of nature.
The last occurrence of wine happens in another Elven retreat - Lothlorien. Legolas walks somberly across the ground carrying a pitcher of red wine for the meal they are about to share. He tells the hobbits that his grief for Gandalf is still strong.
If you're looking to share in wines of Lord of the Rings - be sure to choose some red wines from New Zealand! With all of the wines being red and very long aging, look for some Pinot Noir. These are some of the best aging wines, and are considered by many to be the ultimate expression of wine. Certainly this is something that wizards and elves would know about!
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