Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Aussie Shiraz and a Nobel Prize
Its always cause for celebration when a Nobel Prize is won by Australian Scientists but the recent presentation of the 2005 prize for Physiology or Medicine to Professor Barry Marshall and Dr Robin Warren is of interest to this wine blog for several reasons. As Professor Staffan Normark said in the Presentation Speech of Marshall and Warren “Against prevailing dogmas, you discovered that one of the most common and important diseases of mankind, peptic ulcer disease, is caused by a bacterial infection of the stomach. Your discovery has meant that this frequently chronic and disabling condition can now be permanently cured by antibiotics to the benefit of millions of patients. Your pioneering work has also stimulated research all around the world to better understand the link between chronic infections and diseases such as cancer.”

I attended a scientific meeting in the mid-1980’s where data from the studies of Marshall and Warren was presented and I witnessed the dogma that was hurled at the idea that bacteria cause ulcers. It was not a pretty picture, certainly not a glowing indictment of the acceptance of innovative scientific investigation.

One other item stands out among the celebrations following the award of the 2005 prize to Marshall and Warren – the menu. Three wines were served. The Pommery Grand Cru Vintage 1995 Champagne, Le Dauphin de Guiraud 2002 Sauternes, and Penfolds RWT 2001 Barossa Valley. An Aussie Shiraz gets to share the celebrations! I’m sure that would have added to the pleasure of the two prize winners.

To my knowledge this is the first time that an Australian wine has been served at a Nobel Banquet, and it ends up being a Shiraz.

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