An august tale of three Caesars

Here’s a conundrum. September (septus) should really be the seventh month, October (octo) the eighth, etcetera, etcetera. On that basis, I hear you ask, why is the eighth month called ‘August’? Well, as you might expect, it’s all to do with the Romans – generally a sensible bunch of chaps, but a bit off piste when it comes to calendars.

Augustus Ceasar (well, perhaps)

Augustus Ceasar (well, perhaps)

Actually August was originally called Sextilis until, sometime around 700 BC, the Romans shoe-horned in January (after two faced Janus) and February.  This meant all the subsequent months were booted back down the calendar 59 days (60 in a leap year).

In turn poor old Sextilis had a name change in 8BC in honour of a ‘most August’ Caesar. Caesars got two bites of the cherry as they named July in honour of Julius in 44BC.

Noble, venerable, impressive, eminent, illustrious…

The dictionary defines ‘August’ with a whole heap of eulogistic words – and without doubt we think they are words that could easily apply to le Papillon! They also apply to our local Burgundian wines.

As you can tell by the long straight roads back in the day the Romans were all over Burgundy and to the north, in the Yonne region around Irancy, even today Caesar is present in the form of an ancient grape variety known as César.


Vineyards at Irancy

Vineyards at Irancy

Thought to have been brought to the area by the Romans, César makes dark red tannic wines that, whilst indeed venerable, are perhaps not quite as illustrious as the wines of the Pinot Noir.  However they are definitely to be ‘sniffed at’ and sampled, even if only as a taste of history.

A most August time to cruise

Whatever your taste in ‘Caesars’ now is the ‘season’ to cruise, as August is the most august time to take to the waterways of Burgundy. It’s picture perfect with early morning mist over the canals and dew on the long grasses, blue sky mornings, lunches al fresco with crisp white wine from the chiller, mellow afternoons, fabulous sunsets and sumptuous suppers with equally sumptuous pinot noirs.

This is our last August as stewards of Le Papillon – we plan to make the most of it. There’s still time to come and join us – simply drop us a mail or give us a call.

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