|Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Sisi was a most beautiful woman and was greatly admired by her subjects. She had every luxury she could want - riches, palaces, jewels, the works - yet she was not content.
Sisi was a young bride, only 15 when she was engaged to Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph. Her husband, though loving, was quite conservative (read: boring). Life at court was stuffy, rigid and altogether dreadful. And her mother-in-law was a dominating harpy bent on making Sisi's life miserable. I mean, the wench took the poor girl's children away from her and raised them herself, the way she felt it should be done. For many years, Sisi felt trapped, depressed and lonely.
Determined to escape the clutches of this sadness, she composed poetry, spent hours riding horses and even longer working out (girlfriend had to maintain that 19-inch waist somehow), and kept up a meticulous beauty regime.
She also travelled a great deal, often on her own, to far-off places and exotic locales. She was emboldened by the freedom these trips afforded her beyond the confines of royalty.
Sadly, it was on one of these trips that Sisi met her untimely demise. She and her lady-in-waiting were travelling incognito in Geneva; they had just stepped out of the hotel to catch the ferry to Montreux. At that very moment, an anarchist, bitter at having missed his chance to assassinate the Duke of Orléans and seeking royal blood, stabbed the empress in the heart as she walked by. She died in agony an hour later.
Austria's Empress Elisabeth is immortalized in La Cave de Genève's 2012 L'Impératrice Pinot Blanc (Geneva, Switzerland; 13% abv) Deep golden colour in the glass, with a complex nose dominated by tropical fruit, bubble gum and those marshmallow banana candies you get at the corner store. The slippery, viscous texture gets sliced through by a bracing streak of acidity. More exotic fruit flavours and floral notes on the palate, with an airy, light finish.
This wine is part of a series put out by La Cave de Genève that pays tribute to several of Switzerland's prominent historical figures, among them Henri Durant, founder of the Red Cross (a chasselas called Le Bienfaiteur); physicist Horace-Bénédict de Saussure (Le Savant, a sauvignon gris); and Emilie Gourd, a feminist and suffragette (La Rebelle, a pinot noir.)
Thanks to my world-traveller Hubby for bringing this treat home for me!
With notes from Vienna: More Than Sisi, Sachertorte and St. Stephen's, the Sisi Museum, and good ol' Wikipedia.