Italy may be the global champion in creative naming of grape varietals and wines. The Campania region (located on Italy's shin) seems to have a special flair for creative vino names. Take two of its grape varietals - Coda di Volpe and Piedirosso. According to legend, Coda do Volpe, which means 'tail of the fox,' was named by the famous Roman elder, Pliny. Apparently DdV's clusters have a fox tail-like appearance. Piedirosso (literally, 'red feet') refers to this grape's red-colored root-ends.
However, when it comes to Campania and creative names, the hands down winner is, "Lacrima Christi del Vesuvio." First, let's find out about the name, and then move onto the wine. There are numerous tales regarding the origins of, "the tears of Christ from Vesuvius." The most fanciful goes something like this (via Babbo):
When Archangel Lucifer was cast out of heaven, he grasped a small divine chunk of heaven while falling to earth. Lucifer placed this chunk in what is now the bay of Naples - Campania's capitol. Missing this little chunk of heaven, the Lord cried over it and his tears rained down on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. From these 'Lacrima Christi' sprang vines that later produced the grapes for this fancifully-named DOC wine.
Lacrima Christi is produced in white, rose and red versions. These wines are generally blends of local grape varietals such as 'foxtail' or 'red feet.' Lacrimas are quite unique and normally well-priced. Red Lacrima is the perfect accompaniment to a hearty autumn pasta dish like fettuccine with sausage and kale.
A red Lacrima to try: De Angelis Lacrima Christi del Vesuvio Rosso 2004 ($17; 13% alcohol; 60% Piedirosso & 40% Aglianico; imported by Vin Divino). This ruby red wine is a unique scent collection for your sniffer - cranberry, blood orange, clove and dried herb. In the mouth Lacrima initially offers intense fruit flavors followed by light tannins and a long, earthy finish. Very nice - not moved-to-tears nice, but nice nonetheless. Try this wine - we don't want the Lord to have cried for no good reason (and you don't even want to know what happens when god gets mad - think of the kittens).