It is hard to imagine the passover or last supper without wine. Although the bible leaves out varietal information concerning the exact kind of wine Jesus drank at the last supper before he was crucified, regional discoveries have offered many clues. The last supper most likely took place in 30 AD at the end of the passover on a Thursday night. The description of the supper also reveals it was a Seder meal in which wine would have been a staple. Wine had been made in the Middle Eastern region since 4000 BC.
Archeologists have uncovered that around 30 AD, concentrated wines were very popular. An inscription on a jar read "wine made from black raisins". From this finding we can infer that winemakers may have made wine from dried grapes from the vine or grapes dried in the sun. This would have created a very sweet, thick drink. Other jars that were found also read "smoked wine" and "very dark wine". This is consistent with the belief that rich, dark and concentrated wines were popular in Jerusalem around the time of Jesus' crucifixion.
Pomegranates, mandrakes, saffron and cinnamon were fruits and spices commonly used to flavor the wine and tree resins were used to preserve these wines. Amarone, produced in Northern Italy would be an example of this type of wine that is still produced today.
The most popular wines to drink on Easter now are:
- Australian Shiraz
- American Zinfandel
- Oregon Pinot Noir