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The Tears of Ovid

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Along with Virgil and Horace, Ovid is traditionally considered one of the three titans of Latin literature. So important is this revered and seemingly melancholic poet, that his life per se is a snapshot of Roman history, which heavily influenced Romanian history.
Born into an equestrian family in Sulmo (now Sulmona) in 43 BC, his infancy coincided with the civil war between the Liberators and the Second Triumvirate. After the defeat of Caesar’s assassins, notably Brutus and Cassius, by his protégés Octavian, Mark Anthony and Lepidus, Pax Romana had to come. During his adolescence, the republic was plunged into yet another civil war, between Octavian and Mark Anthony.
Educated by orator Arellius Fuscus and rhetorician Marcus Porcius Latro, Ovid was destined to become a lawyer, or so planned his father. Oratory and rhetoric he did learn, but it was in the emotional instead of argumentative style, observed Seneca the Younger.
He quickly rose to prominence as a poet. However, at the height of his popularity in AD 8, under obscure circumstances, he was sent into exile on order of Augustus, who circumvented the Senate and judges, to Tomis (now Constanța) along the Black Sea coast, where he remained until his death. Explaining cryptically that the reason of his exile was “carmen et error” (a poem and a mistake), the real reasons are still unknown.
Ovid’s opus magnus, The Metamorphoses, catalogues Greco-Roman mythology from Chaos and Cosmos to the deification of Julius Caesar; today, it is still one of the most important sources of classical mythology. Meanwhile, his numerous other works, especially the elegies, remained highly regarded – and much imitated – during Late Antiquity, the Middle Ages and unto Renaissance.
Whereas Mozart re-told The Metamorphoses in his 1767 opera Apollo et Hyacinthus (K. 38), the poet was variously depicted and written by Turner, Delacroix and Baudelaire et al. Commanding a special place in Romanian memory, Ovid’s continued existence can also be found in the form of fortified wine.

Lacrima lui Ovidiu 5 Alb
Literally “tears of Ovid”. Luminous amber-gold with light saffron rim, the fragrant nose reveals yuzu, persimmon, dried apricot, Stollen and white clover honey, adorned with hints of osmanthus. Possessing lively acidity, the fleshy palate supplies nectarine, fig, dried mango, cinnamon, sweet ginger and sweet sherry. Medium-bodied at 15%, the ripe entry evolves into a spicy mid-palate, leading to an exotic finish. This innovative blend of Muscat Ottonel, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris was matured in Romanian oak barrels for ca. 5 years; best served at 5 degrees Celsius.

Lacrima lui Ovidiu 5 Rosu
Inky garnet with deep auburn-cardinal rim, the aromatic nose offers brandy-soaked cherries, prune, liquorice, marzipan and caramelised oak, decorated by hints of geranium. Providing ample acidity and chunky tannins, the rich palate delivers cassis, port-poached pears, dried lime, dried plum, raisin and port. Medium-full bodied at 15%, the luscious entry carries onto a succulent mid-palate, leading to a flamboyant finish. This inventive blend of Fetească Neagră, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir was matured in Romanian oak barrels for ca. 5 years; best served at 17 degrees Celsius with a slice of lemon (optional).

Lacrima lui Ovidiu 12
Lustrous mahogany-tawny with glossy copper-tangelo reflex, the alluring nose radiates dried peach, almond, nutmeg, rich rancio, osmanthus sweet and manuka honey. Boasting juicy acidity and fleshy entry, the beguiling palate exudes dried fig, crystalised mandarin, sweet ginger, roasted walnut and butterscotch, embellished by hints of chamomile. Medium-bodied at 15%, the juicy entry continues through a luxurious mid-palate, leading to an ornate finish. This imaginative blend of Muscat Ottonel, Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot Gris was matured in Romanian oak barrels for ca. 12 years; best served at 5 degrees Celsius.

To discover the hidden treasures of Romania, contact Ms Emily Lam of Goya HK Ltd; W: www.goyahk.com; E: emilylam@goyahk.com; T: +852 2377 9099

Jacky I.F. Cheong is a legal professional by day and columnist by night. Having spent his formative years in Britain, France, and Germany, he regularly writes about wine, fine arts, classical music, and politics in several languages.

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