The legend of the Italian wine Est! Est!! Est!!!

Est! Est!! Est!!! - photo by fdwijnwinkel.nl
Est! Est!! Est!!! – photo by fdwijnwinkel.nl

In 1111 P.C. Henry V of Germany planned to conquer Rome with his army, to receive the crown of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from Pope Pasquale II. In his entourage, there was also a special figure: the bishop Johannes Defuk, who was a wine specialist.

Label of Est! Est!! Est!!!
Label of Est! Est!! Est!!! – photo by epicuvin.com

In order to satisfy his passion, the bishop always traveled together with his butler, Martin, who had the target to precede him on the way, to taste and choose the best wines in the placed he visited. The two agreed on a code signal: when Martin found a good wine, he wrote Est! (the meaning is “here it is”) on the door of the tavern, Est! Est!! if the wine was very good.

Once arrived in Montefiascone he tasted the local wine but he did not find a way to communicate the exceptional quality of the product, therefore he decided to write three times the signal, to reinforce the message and make it clearer: Est! Est!! Est!!!

Door of Est! Est!! Est!!! - photo by ristorantealbergodante.it
Door of Est! Est!! Est!!! – photo by ristorantealbergodante.it

When he arrived in the Country, the bishop agreed with his butler on the special quality of the wine and decided to stay in Montefiascone three more days. At the end of the mission, he came back to taste again the wine but… he got drunk and died! He was buried in the church of St. Flaviano, in fact on the tombstone is still possible to read the inscription: “For too much EST! here dead my boss Johannes Defuk”.

Bottle of Est! Est!! Est!!!
Bottle of Est! Est!! Est!!! – photo by enoicheillusioni.com

To thank for the hospitality received, the bishop left the citizens of Montefiascone a legacy of 24,000 coins, asking that every anniversary of his death a barrel of wine was poured on the tomb: the tradition was repeated for several centuries.

Tomb of bishop Johannes Defuk - photo by xoomer.virgilio.it
Tomb of bishop Johannes Defuk – photo by xoomer.virgilio.it

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