Alex Rowell is Online Editor at New Lines magazine. A journalist and translator based in Lebanon, he is the author of “Vintage Humour: The Islamic Wine Poetry of Abu Nuwas” and co-author of “Tears of Bacchus: A History of Wine in the Arab World.” His latest book, a history of the Gamal Abdel Nasser era, is forthcoming in 2023.
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The language used by early Arab poets to appraise wine shows striking parallels to the style of wine criticism we know today. Arab and Muslim poets writing hundreds of years ago used a vocabulary to evaluate wine that would only become current in the West in the late 20th century.