© Kathryn Rathke
This year Herbert Lom died. Now, some of you may be wondering who Herbert Lom was, and what the hell he has to do with wine. The answer to the first part is that he was a longtime character actor, probably best known for playing Peter Sellers’s boss in the Pink Panther movies. The answer to the second—a somewhat oblique answer—is that Herbert Lom’s given name was Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru.
For some reason, this rather surprising fact made me think about grapes (it also made me think that any actor with a name like Herbert Charles Angelo Kuchacevich ze Schluderpacheru would do well to change it as soon as humanly possible if he hopes to be cast in anything). The truth about wine grapes is that they rarely have one name—Pinot Noir, for instance, may be Pinot Noir to you and me (and to the French), but to the Austrians it’s Blauburgunder, to the Italians it’s Pinot Nero and to the Croatians it’s either Burgundac Crni or Modra Klevanyka, though I’m a bit vague on why it’s sometimes one and sometimes the other.
In any case, here’s a handy guide to some of the more common of wine’s identical twins: