But, this doesn’t stop them producing memorable wines. The wine that ancient Romans drank was called "calda." Here at Vincarta, we want to draw attention to these quality producers. It is thought to be the world’s oldest bottle of wine, and itdates back to A.D. 325. The ancient libations has been brewed and enjoyed for thousands of years by the ancient Romans, Greeks, Africans, and Chinese and is still made and served around the world. While the smell that emanates … Ancient Roman tasting notes, baby! She was the first winemaker in Romania to vinify. If the success of South American and Australian wine is anything to go by, we expect Romanian wine may be next. Hayes is a native New Yorker who emerged from the great halls of academia with a useless Philosophy degree and a useful passion for fine beverages. Thanks to viticultural archaeologists like Roberto Mastrobardino and others, many indigenous ancient grape varietals have been resurrected and today we can get an approximation of the wines the ancient Romans produced and drank. for gods sake why do you copy everybody else with your improved quality…….. for more profit probably. It lowers your chances of having a stroke … And we Romanians love meat. A taste of ancient Rome can be had today thanks to the works of today’s Italian winemakers producing wines like their ancestors did 2000 years ago, Salute! If you’re lucky enough to get invited to a Romanian meal, expect to see the table close to collapsing from the weight of food and booze. High-quality wine starts with high-quality grapes. Roman wine tended to be sweet and highly alcoholic because late season grapes were used. But this has created an opportunity to use modern approaches to winemaking. Lead water pipe, Roman, 20-47AD, with owner’s name cast into the pipe - ‘ The most notable lady Valeria Messalina’ (third wife of the Roman Emperor Claudius). Thankfully, some are being imported into the US,. This wine is still not too well known outside wine circles, but like the above mentioned wines, is well worth searching out. These wines feature the best grapes and have the highest care and attention. The Roman dinner party, … Romans added toxic ‘sugar of lead’ to sweeten the god’s preferred drink and suffered toxic results. This was due to the prioritisation of quantity over quality. Instead, an unholy trinity typically comes to mind: Romania is a Latin country, surrounded by Slavic neighbours in Eastern Europe. When I spoke with Aurelia Vișinescu, I asked her about recent trends in Romanian wine. Expansion of The Empire Allowed Vineyards to Be Established in Italy Take the controversy of Super Tuscans versus Chianti for example. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. Despite its current lull, Grasă de Cotnari proves Romania can produce world-class wines. Experimentation on the winemaking style, with modern styles or old world techniques. See the map in fact #4 for an indication of what to look for. The best Roman wine, but it was no longer superior by the... Setinum: hills of Setia, above the Appian forum. They become velvety with age. To Heal and Harm At family meals water to wine … Sounds good if you’ve got a sunburned throat or like your wine real oaky? Access to pre and post accession funds translated to: The last ten years has seen the emergence of quality small Romanian wine producers. Among the lasting legacies of the ancient Roman empire were the viticultural foundations laid by the Romans in lands that would become world-renowned wine regions. This is the lowest in Europe. One I have recently discovered us another Pinot Noir from Timiş. If you only taste the mass market, you’re not going to find the quality you’re looking for. Sure, it may be freezing out with a thick layer of snow on the ground…, Bellinis: a Quick Story of Prosecco Innovation, Bucatini with Pancetta, Pecorino, and Pepper, Bobby Stuckey, Master Somm… in his own words, Drinking Wine Could Help Save Underwater Ecosystems, More than Nebbiolo: A Guide to Piedmont’s Treasure Trove of Grapes, Drink Your Way Through Italy on This Train. This would be a good wine to gift or share with a new wine drinker who doesn’t know or is afraid of reds. The hilly areas in Moldova and Dobrogea (by the Black Sea) also provide good conditions for grape growing. Seriously, everyone was drinking wine all the damn time. Romanian local grape varieties can be very good as well, including: We sometimes drink white wine as an aperitif, but most of the time Romanians like to drink their wine with food. In the last ten years, a new generation of wine makers has broken onto the scene. I am always on the look out for quality. Mead, often called honey wine, is an alcoholic beverage brewed from honey, yeast, and water. In response to the growing demand for quality wine, some of the well-established producers have started to make more premium wine. Some other ancient red wine grape varieties are: Coda di Volpe, Piederosso, Selice Selentino, Sagrantino, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Capuccio. cheap plonk – made its way into the majority of exports. Our family have drunk a bottle of good honest red every night with our meal for 60 years and don’t examine our bellybuttons every time we take a sip! Sainsburys sadly have replaced with a PN from Chile and very very poor substitute. A very good or outstanding bottle will set you back £13-15. But wine is not the first thing most people think of when you mention Romania. Wine production that year was 3.3 million hectolitres, making Romania the fifth largest in Europe. She noted that wine makers experiment in two ways: Those familiar with a traditional style, may find this effervescence may be confusing. Even slaves were legally entitled to a minimum amount of wine each week. So, it made sense to plant a genetic material suitable for this. Interesting Facts About Ancient Roman Food and Drink The government of Rome provided free or cheap grain for the poor called a "grain dole." While wine was used for trade, Roman winemaking was also introduced to other countries when vineyards were set up throughout the growing Roman Empire to keep a steady supply of wine for the soldiers and colonists who were living there. All rights reserved.Registered in the UK 10307216. Romania produced one wine that was famous across Europe in the 19th century: Grasă de Cotnari. A standard glass of white wine will have 110 calories. The historic beginning of Rome was in 753BC, when Romulus founded the city of Rome. The Carpathians Mountains are Romania’s greatest natural gift. That’s why the red wines need to have tannin, to cut through the richness traditional dishes. As the Romans conquered the lands around them, they planted vineyards and cultivated wine regions. It has an affinity to oak, and can produce outstanding wines in smaller yields. Many top producers replanted their vineyards with high-quality clones, usually French. When it comes to Romanian wine, Jancis Robinson calls my home country ‘the land of hope‘. Before the travels of Zhang Qian in the 2nd century BC, wild mountain grapes were used to make wine, notably Vitis thunbergii and Vitis filifolia des… Yes,we started making wine about 6000 years ago.And 5000 years later we learned to build homes…joking!“ Proudly Romanian. As it turns out, Pliny offered up one of the best damn definitions of terroir we’ve ever come across, despite most definitely being tanked on a big old flagon of Falernian: “These illustrations, if I am not greatly mistaken, will go far to prove that it is the land and the soil that is of primary importance, and not the grape, and that it is quite superfluous to attempt to enumerate all the varieties of every kind, seeing that the same vine, transplanted to several places, is productive of features and characteristics of quite opposite natures.”. They’re a bit hard to find, which is a good thing, meaning they’re reasonably priced for the most part. These have a completely different approach to wine making than the volume producers. It is undeniable that Ancient Rome changed the wine world drastically, introducing the drink, and the practices of producing it, to several areas throughout Europe. Calda was a mixture of warm water, wine and spices, which was usually consumed during the winter months. The insane vino-lust that caught like wildfire on the Italian Peninsula never died out. Labels to look for are Ippolito, Librandi and Zito. […], Your email address will not be published. Pour out some Falernian for Pliny, and be forever grateful that wine has come as far as it has. Following the Han Dynasty (202 BC – AD 220) emissary Zhang Qian's exploration of the Western Regions in the 2nd century BC and contact with Hellenistic kingdoms such as Fergana, Bactria, and the Indo-Greek Kingdom, high quality grapes (i.e. Viticulture was established long before the Greek’s had any influence over Roman culture. In the Rome of old, wine drinking was seen as a fundamental human right. Roman Empire Wine Regions in History Wine was a part of daily life in Ancient Rome. Exact same is present in a glass of dry red … The natural potential for the wine industry is clear and well-understood by investors. Without the stringent, often silly rules of a regional appellation, wine can be anything you want it to be. Noroc! Fetească Neagra – delicious dry red wines which are full-bodied and with medium tannins. (CC BY 4.0) Top Image: Bacchus was the Roman god of wine. The Greek citizens became so angry that they began using pine resin to add a bitter aroma to their wine. Unfortunately can’t fine your romanian product anymore, […] is the fifth-largest producer of wine in Europe, a tradition that the country prides itself on. There are already a few great producers, but give Romania another ten years and see what happens. Fortunately, Pliny the Elder, an old Roman naturalist, total boozehound (and the inspiration for an epic double IPA) went around sampling and recording information about all the wines in the empire. This winery is aged to 4100 BC and had an evidence of wine jars, press, fermentation vats, and cups. Required fields are marked *. There were Pinot Noirs from Dealul Mare in England in the 1990’s that were on a par with the very best burgundies. A wine Augustus is said to have enjoyed, the top wine … A “cork-tease” is someone who constantly talks about the wine he or she will open but never does. However, only fifty percent of Greek and Italian vineyards are dedicated to high quality production. Look out for the following small producers in your next shop: We visited one of them in March 2017, Domeniile Săhăteni, and decided to bring four of their top wines to the UK market. Bacchus was adapted from the Greek, Dionysus, and shared mythology with the Roman god, Liber. They experiment with the winemaking style, taking a new world approach to the process. Trade was the first and farthest-reaching arm of their influence, and Roman wine merchants were eager to trade with enemy and ally alike—from the Carthaginians and peoples of southern Spain to the Celtic tribesin Gaul … Fetească – makes dry, fresh, perfumed white wines. It was often watered down for daily consumption. The modern word wine comes from the Roman word for that drink, vinum. They replant older vines with better quality clones. This wine is still made today around Porto Marina in Calabria, the toe of Italy. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. 10 Party Facts about the Roman God of Wine February 28, 2017 He had a few names: The Romans called him Bacchus. The smell that emanates from young wine is referred to as “aroma”. 5. Even reputable magazines such as Decanter rarely include these new producers in their annual tastings. In the Rome of old, wine drinking was seen as a fundamental human right. Great things arise when you use the grapes you want and in the proportions you like. Every so often a Romanian wine just knocks all others for six. The last five years saw the emergence of Romanian premium wine using international grape varieties. It’s pretty clear that ancient wine wasn’t so refined… it was strong, grating and overly sweet. Conversations about fine wine often revolve around Italy, France and Spain, but Germany also produces many fantastic wines. It is also one of the largest wine producers in the world with a growing number of high-quality wine makers. These niche producers dedicate a percentage of their produce to premium, high-quality wine. The insane vino-lust that caught like wildfire on the Italian Peninsula never died out. This doesn’t surprise me, as the Romanians started improving quite late. “Wine is perhaps the closest thing the planet has to the elixir of life.” Wine from the history – Wine Facts. From this point on following Roma’s history gets interesting. Ancient Grape DNA Tells the Prolific History of Wine Grape seeds dating back to medieval and Roman periods share many similarities with the wine grapes we enjoy today Important tip: avoid wine bottles that feature images of Dracula. They usually mixed one part of wine with two parts of hot water or sea water to thin down the sweetness in the wine. Romanian wine production is the largest in Eastern Europe. At the time, athletes from all over the Greek world were allowed to compete in the games, not just Greeks from mainland Greece, so thus Greek colonists from Magna Graecia competed. A newspaper article from the Lodi News Sentinel reports the sale of Roma Wines to Guild Wineries & Distilleries at the end of 1970. Wine is such an old tradition on the territory of present day Romania, that it almost blends in the history of this region. We always put the best things we have in the house on the table. This is reminiscent of how Romanian started using internet banking and mobiles phones. These small, craft producers have taken advantage of EU funds to invest in new winemaking technology. In the whites, look for Greco Bianco, Falanghina, Moscato di Siracusa. No matter what time of day it was, the wine was always watered down. We hope this article will change some perceptions. Of his beloved Falernian, Pliny writes “There is now no wine known that ranks higher than the Falernian; it is the only one, too, among all the wines that takes fire on the application of flame.”. I spent a year in Romania in 1992 and learnt to love some amazing red wines. Evolving from the large Bronze Age pithoi vessels, which the Minoans and Mycenaeans used for storage purposes, the amphora became perhaps the most common ancient pottery shape. Strabo and the Choicest Wines Caecubu: from poplar swamps by the Gulf of Amyclae, in Latium. The most popular international white grapes are: But you don’t stick with familiar names. This is an addendum to my above posting regarding ancient Roman wines and wine grape varieties. That said, there is still a lot of low-quality, high-volume production. Red Wines are well attributed to positive health benefits. Romanians are very hospitable. Murfatlar was one I still remember. Copyright © 2014—2020. At Vincarta, we’re champions of Romanian wine. Eurostat reported that only one-third of Romanian vineyards used high quality grapes. Romans were wine drinkers too, and we know this for a fact because a bottle of wine was found near the town of Speyer, Germany, buried in the tomb of a Roman noble. I firmly believe that barbecuing should become a national sport. Think of this as the ‘Bordeaux’ of Romanian wine. In spite of all this, Pliny’s writings show that even back then, winemakers understood the importance of terroir: the profound influence of climate, soil, rainfall and place on a wine. Red wines made today from Aglianico, a corruption of ‘Hellenic’ referring that this grape might have been brought to Southern Italy by the Greek colonists who annexed ‘Magna Graecia’ starting in the 8th century BC are being produced in Campania, Basilicata, Puglia and Calabria today. I love red wine blends and Feteasca Neagra from from Tohani Domain is a favorite! Here are a few fantastic wine facts we learned from Pliny the Elder’s Natural History: Forget ice cubes. The list is not exhaustive, but provides a good example of what to look for on the label. The sub-regions are also interesting, as they are the ones given DOC status. replanting vineyards with better genetic material. Unfortunately, the UK wine retailers sell a lot of average quality, low-priced wine. In fact, they’re the biggest winos of world history. The following is a guest post by Emily Kate from the History of Wine Channel on YouTube.. You may also visit her website, The Wine Historian.Please see the end of this post for her full bio. Some of them even hire oenologists from France and Germany to help them express the best of the terroir. In the autumn, I attended a Roman wine tasting event hosted by London’s Guildhall Library where we were not only able to enjoy an excellent variety of wines, but we were also given a glimpse into the history of Roman wine: flavours, social status, and production, by wine expert, Neil McKenzie of Ellis of Richmond.. It’s no wonder British, German, Austrian, French and Italian companies dominate Romanian wine. The Roman invaders would try one sip of this distinctive wine, taste the bitterness and assume it was spoiled. At a price below £10 per bottle (including £2.50 in taxes), these wines are unlikely to become a revelation. One of the coolest things about Italian wine is the staggering diversity of the stuff. The mountains also give shelter to the hills, moderating the temperature – much like the Vosges mountains protect Alsace. Many winemakers fermented their wines for multiple years. Even slaves were legally entitled to a minimum amount of wine each week. Situated on the same latitude as Bordeaux, the climate is drier and more continental. Vincarta is a trademark of Vincarta Ltd. Explore the world of wine and find hidden treasures. While other countries went though intermediary steps, Romania jumped in head first.