The Bishop of Norwich

The Bishop of Norwich
Cape Late Bottled Vintage 2012

Technical Information:

Producer: Muratie
The Wine: Tinta Barocca
Tinta Roriz
Tinta Francesca
Vintage: Cape Late Bottled Vintage 2012
Wine of Origin: Simonsberg – Stellenbosch
Alcohol: 21.5%
Bottles: 510 bottles
Released: August 2020

Do you know the Bishop of Norwich…?

The Bishop of Norwich has become something of a seasonal offering.

Produced from a vineyard planted on Muratie back in 1965, this field blend includes a selection of classic Portuguese grape varieties. This Cape Late Bottled Vintage ‘Port’ was aged for an unprecedented eight years in cask on the farm. Rick happened on the barrels on his annual catch-up with his old friend Rijk in March 2020. Freshened-up with a few litres of the 2018 Vintage, it was bottled that June.

A typically British initiative, the tradition of ‘passing the Port’ dates back centuries and comes with its own particular etiquette. It dictates that once a diner has poured a glass for his neighbour on the right, the decanter should be passed immediately to the left, with the vessel not halting from its clockwise progression around the table until such time as the decanter is emptied.

If someone is seen to be failing in their duties, the breach is brought to their attention by enquiring, ‘Do you know the Bishop of Norwich?’ For those who know the true meaning of this euphemism, it serves as a timely reminder, while for those who don’t, they are politely informed ‘He’s a terribly good chap, but he always forgets to pass the Port…’

The origin of the saying is attributed to one Henry Bathurst, who was the Bishop of Norwich from 1805 to 1837. Bishop Bathurst lived to the age of 93 but had a tendency in his later years to fall asleep at the end of his dinner. As a result, decanters would often accumulate around him, much to the consternation of others seated further along the table. As a bon vivant and with a prodigious capacity for wine consumption, some claimed that he was using his frailty to his own advantage.

Some authorities claim, however, that the saying originated with Bishop John Sheepshanks – the protagonist featured on The Liberator label. He held the position from 1893 to 1910 and although the most plausible origin lies with Bishop Bathurst, it appears that the Bishop Sheepshank did much to perpetuate the myth.

So, raise a glass to Post-Brexit Britain, when we might once again align ourselves with the former colonies to welcome back both Australian ‘Sherry’ and South African ‘Port’.

Rick is sure the Bishop would approve. Now, pass the Port…