What does that mean? At family meals water to wine â¦ it is believed to have been brought from Greece to Calabria in the centuries before Christ. Some of them even hire oenologists from France and Germany to help them express the best of the terroir. Required fields are marked *. 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. See the map in fact #4 for an indication of what to look for. His special interests include pottery, architecture, world mythology and discovering the ideas that all civilizations share in common. OIV statistics place Romania fifth in â¦ 6 Traditional Romanian Drinks to Order in Bucharest, investments in technology for wine making. In the whites, look for Greco Bianco, Falanghina, Moscato di Siracusa. The hilly areas in Moldova and Dobrogea (by the Black Sea) also provide good conditions for grape growing. From this point on following Romaâs history gets interesting. Italy still produces the most wine in the world and its citizens are still some of the thirstiest in history: your average Italian consumes about 11 gallons of wine each year. Take the controversy of Super Tuscans versus Chianti for example. Even slaves were legally entitled to a minimum amount of wine each week. Sainsburys sadly have replaced with a PN from Chile and very very poor substitute. This was due to the prioritisation of quantity over quality. By the height of the empire, wine drinking was well established throughout Roman society, with a variety of wines available for blending or drinking straight. It’s like watching a Master Chef competition. The insane vino-lust that caught like wildfire on the Italian Peninsula never died out. Wine was always the Romanâs alcoholic drink of choice. But just how classic is the bottle? Red Wines are well attributed to positive health benefits. One of the coolest things about Italian wine is the staggering diversity of the stuff. A wine Augustus is said to have enjoyed, the top wine â¦ 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. “Adulteration” of wine was pretty much expected. Here at Vincarta, we want to draw attention to these quality producers. Wine is such an old tradition on the territory of present day Romania, that it almost blends in the history of this region. Romania produced one wine that was famous across Europe in the 19th century: Grasă de Cotnari. 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. Noroc! The Romans and Alcohol. This is reminiscent of how Romanian started using internet banking and mobiles phones. Roman always mixed wine with water before drinking, undiluted wine (which was called â Merum â) was considered a bad habit attributed to peasants and barbarians. When it comes to Romanian wine, Jancis Robinson calls my home country ‘the land of hope‘. While other countries went though intermediary steps, Romania jumped in head first. Interesting Facts About Ancient Roman Food and Drink The government of Rome provided free or cheap grain for the poor called a "grain dole." 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. 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. Through trade, military campaigns and settlements, Romans brought with them a taste for wine and the impetus to plant vines. It’s a tourist cliché. OIV statistics place Romania fifth in Europe overall and tenth in the world for the area under vine. I spent a year in Romania in 1992 and learnt to love some amazing red wines. 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. Sometimes, they would drink wine sweetened with honey called "mulsum," and no one drank straight wine. With that in mind, I know the latest generation is set to propel the country back onto the world stage. Many winemakers fermented their wines for multiple years. These have a completely different approach to wine making than the volume producers. Lead water pipe, Roman, 20-47AD, with ownerâs name cast into the pipe - â The most notable lady Valeria Messalinaâ (third wife of the Roman Emperor Claudius). When I spoke with Aurelia Vișinescu, I asked her about recent trends in Romanian wine. Romans added toxic âsugar of leadâ to sweeten the godâs preferred drink and suffered toxic results. vitis vinifera) were introduced into China and Chinese grape wine (called putao jiu in Chinese) was first produced. It is also one of the largest wine producers in the world with a growing number of high-quality wine makers. The list is not exhaustive, but provides a good example of what to look for on the label. Romanian autumns are long and gentle, allowing grapes to ripen slower, concentrating flavours. Access to pre and post accession funds translated to: The last ten years has seen the emergence of quality small Romanian wine producers. We always put the best things we have in the house on the table. Experimentation on the winemaking style, with modern styles or old world techniques. And we Romanians love meat. Viticulture was established long before the Greekâs had any influence over Roman culture. Like the majority of Romanians, the wine industry suffered as a result. Thankfully, some are being imported into the US,. âThe history of wine in Burgundy began with the start of trade between the Gauls and Romans in the fourth century BC, when the Romans were shipping wine into the beer-drinking area [of the Gauls].â 17; Third and Second Centuries B.C. The modern word wine comes from the Roman word for that drink, vinum. Share your experience in the comments below. Hangover central. Though there are obstacles; invention, talent and high-quality ingredients create amazing results. The oldest known possible evidence for the use of grapes as part of a wine recipe with fermented rice and honey comes from China, about 9,000 years ago. Here are a few fantastic wine facts we learned from Pliny the Elder’s Natural History: Forget ice cubes. No matter what time of day it was, the wine was always watered down. These include: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, and some local grape varieties. After the fall of communism, the country dealt with hyperinflation and hard economic times. At a price below £10 per bottle (including £2.50 in taxes), these wines are unlikely to become a revelation. A variety of soil compositions form in their foothills, which suit vines well. 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. The wine imported from Greece sold for a much higher price than the wine made in Italy. In the autumn, I attended a Roman wine tasting event hosted by Londonâs 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 is thought to be the worldâs oldest bottle of wine, and itdates back to A.D. 325. I am always on the look out for quality. Mark is a history writer based in Italy. While the smell that emanates â¦ This caused wine to be produced in countries such as France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Germany, which reâ¦ Great things arise when you use the grapes you want and in the proportions you like. Old Pliny writes of one winery in Gallia Narbonensis “where they give a dark hue to their wines by the agency of smoke” and are “even known to use aloes for the purpose of heightening the flavour and improving the colour of their wines.”. Instead, an unholy trinity typically comes to mind: Romania is a Latin country, surrounded by Slavic neighbours 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. The mountains also give shelter to the hills, moderating the temperature – much like the Vosges mountains protect Alsace. Seriously, everyone was drinking wine all the damn time. Anybody who paid attention for at least fifteen minutes in 5th grade history will recall that the Ancient Greeks and the Ancient Romans had a thing for wine. The Black Sea does not have the same influence over Romania as the Atlantic Ocean does in Bordeaux. 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. Mead, often called honey wine, is an alcoholic beverage brewed from honey, yeast, and water. It’s no wonder British, German, Austrian, French and Italian companies dominate Romanian wine. The last five years saw the emergence of Romanian premium wine using international grape varieties. It comes from the Cotnari region and, while it’s still sold there, it needs a bit of a facelift and revival in quality. So, it made sense to plant a genetic material suitable for this. She was the first winemaker in Romania to vinify. Ancient Roman tasting notes, baby! Strabo and the Choicest Wines Caecubu: from poplar swamps by the Gulf of Amyclae, in Latium. Sounds good if you’ve got a sunburned throat or like your wine real oaky? In the last ten years, a new generation of wine makers has broken onto the scene. The Roman dinner party, â¦ This might sound like a lot, but, for similar quality French wine, you may pay four times as much. In the Rome of old, wine drinking was seen as a fundamental human right. You can find most of them in the Dealu Mare sub-region. Vincarta is a trademark of Vincarta Ltd. 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. In the Rome of old, wine drinking was seen as a fundamental human right. Romanian wine now has to battle its past reputation of low quality. Every so often a Romanian wine just knocks all others for six. These niche producers dedicate a percentage of their produce to premium, high-quality wine. 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 desâ¦ Your email address will not be published. If the success of South American and Australian wine is anything to go by, we expect Romanian wine may be next. It may not come as a surprise that people cut their wine with water, considering how boozy the stuff was. The most popular international white grapes are: But you don’t stick with familiar names. However, only fifty percent of Greek and Italian vineyards are dedicated to high quality production. The Carpathians Mountains are Romania’s greatest natural gift. Roman Empire Wine Regions in History Wine was a part of daily life in Ancient Rome. These wines feature the best grapes and have the highest care and attention. This would be a good wine to gift or share with a new wine drinker who doesn’t know or is afraid of reds. It has an affinity to oak, and can produce outstanding wines in smaller yields. These days they use all sorts of chemicals to filter, fine and color wine- but usually not cloves, smoke and oil. All rights reserved.Registered in the UK 10307216. […], Your email address will not be published. Even children and slaves drank it. However, the size and form had a great many variations. There are already a few great producers, but give Romania another ten years and see what happens. But wine is not the first thing most people think of when you mention Romania. Although recently, more producers have focused on exclusive international grape varieties. (CC BY 4.0) Top Image: Bacchus was the Roman god of wine. In fact, they’re the biggest winos of world history. I’d forgotten to mention the Gaglioppo grape and the wine produced from it, Ciro. Labels to look for are Ippolito, Librandi and Zito. This doesn’t surprise me, as the Romanians started improving quite late. Murfatlar was one I still remember. for gods sake why do you copy everybody else with your improved quality…….. for more profit probably. Seriously, everyone was drinking wine all the damn time. High-quality wine starts with high-quality grapes. Conversations about fine wine often revolve around Italy, France and Spain, but Germany also produces many fantastic wines. It was often watered down for daily consumption. Magna Graecia, or Greater Greece was the part of Italy from Neapolis, AKA Naples all the way south to and including Sicily. A standard glass of white wine will have 110 calories. 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. They replant older vines with better quality clones. He holds an MA in Political Philosophy and is the Publishing Director at AHE. Early Wines: Greek Dominance 800â300 BC Based on 2016 data, with an area under vine of 191k hectares, Romania was similar in size to Chile and Portugal. To Heal and Harm The insane vino-lust that caught like wildfire on the Italian Peninsula never died out. Yeah, the Romans were drinking wines so strong that they were flammable. But it’s crucial to be able to experiment as a winemaker. The smell that emanates from young wine is referred to as âaromaâ. Wine is an alcoholic beverage made from grapes, and depending on your definition of "made from grapes" there are at least two independent inventions of it. There are well over 300 different types of grapes growing on “the boot.” Lots of those are indigenous varietals and some are direct descendants of the grapes that Caesar’s winemakers were pressing while gladiators hacked each other to pieces. This particular red wine grape has an interesting history. Important tip: avoid wine bottles that feature images of Dracula. The sub-regions are also interesting, as they are the ones given DOC status. The historic beginning of Rome was in 753BC, when Romulus founded the city of Rome. As a result, we believe that premium Romanian wine is no longer an oxymoron. In response to the growing demand for quality wine, some of the well-established producers have started to make more premium wine. Aurelia Vișinescu, at Domeniile Săhăteni is a pioneer herself. The natural potential for the wine industry is clear and well-understood by investors. This is an addendum to my above posting regarding ancient Roman wines and wine grape varieties. Wine production that year was 3.3 million hectolitres, making Romania the fifth largest in Europe. Calda was a mixture of warm water, wine and spices, which was usually consumed during the winter months. Most Romanian wine producers make wine out of a mix of international and indigenous grapes. It was common practice to cut wines with water, herbs and plants to “enhance” flavor and color and to make more product. It is a sweet wine with Botrytis character like a good Sauternes, and an ever-present rival Hungarian Tokay. That said, there is still a lot of low-quality, high-volume production. halewoods P N from Delul Mare obtainable from all supermarkets was a good example of good honest wine and we must have been drinking it the past 10 or 15 years. The Roman invaders would try one sip of this distinctive wine, taste the bitterness and assume it was spoiled. Fetească – makes dry, fresh, perfumed white wines. Yes,we started making wine about 6000 years ago.And 5000 years later we learned to build homes…joking!“ Proudly Romanian. Unfortunately, the UK wine retailers sell a lot of average quality, low-priced wine. Despite its benefits, consumers and professionals alike seem to have a hard time accepting the bag-in-box wine cask in lieu of the classic wine bottle. The Greek citizens became so angry that they began using pine resin to add a bitter aroma to their wine. It’s also quite common to spend four to six hours tucking into a proper feast. 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 The local cuisine is rich, savoury and tasty. Ever tried Romanian wine? Many top producers replanted their vineyards with high-quality clones, usually French. 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. In this time, mass market wine – a.k.a. A new translation of an old text tells a different story of how the technology people used to make wine and olive oil changed in the ancient Roman world. Romanians are very hospitable. Thankfully, things are changing every year. I firmly believe that barbecuing should become a national sport. 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! Facts about Ancient Roman Wine: Wine was drank by every Roman citizen, regardless of their class. At its current rate, Romanian wine production is slightly above New Zealand’s. Trade was the first and farthest-reaching arm of their influence, and Roman wine merchants were eager to trade with enemy and ally alikeâfrom the Carthaginians and peoples of southern Spain to the Celtic tribesin Gaul â¦ At Vincarta, we’re champions of Romanian wine. They experiment with the winemaking style, taking a new world approach to the process. The Romanian wine-making industry suffered in the communist era. Think of this as the ‘Bordeaux’ of Romanian wine. Amphorae could also be plain â typically when used for the transport of goods â or highly decorated, just as any other red-figure or black-figure pottery. I love your wines and your country. That’s why the red wines need to have tannin, to cut through the richness traditional dishes. The most historic winery to be discovered uptill now is the âArmenia-1â cave in Vayots Dzor, America. It’s pretty clear that ancient wine wasn’t so refined… it was strong, grating and overly sweet. âWine is perhaps the closest thing the planet has to the elixir of life.â Wine from the history â Wine Facts. 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. Also I might as well mention the wines of Sicily, of which there are way too many to mention here, and many are made from indigenous grape varieties and are definitely throwbacks to ancient Roman viticulture, and thankfully more and more of them are being imported, Salute quando bire vini Italiani e Romani. According to this hypothesis, Roman soldiers would regularly plunder the cities of Greece and make off with their stores of wine. 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. 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.”. Following the Han Dynasty (202 BC ââ¬â 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. But, this doesn’t stop them producing memorable wines. They usually mixed one part of wine with two parts of hot water or sea water to thin down the sweetness in the wine. This wine is still made today around Porto Marina in Calabria, the toe of Italy. Eurostat reported that only one-third of Romanian vineyards used high quality grapes. It lowers your chances of having a stroke â¦ Copyright © 2014—2020. The wine that ancient Romans drank was called "calda." Even reputable magazines such as Decanter rarely include these new producers in their annual tastings. With aromas of spice, black or red fruit. 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. cheap plonk – made its way into the majority of exports. A âcork-teaseâ is someone who constantly talks about the wine he or she will open but never does. Roman wine tended to be sweet and highly alcoholic because late season grapes were used. Romanian wine production is the largest in Eastern Europe. Some other ancient red wine grape varieties are: Coda di Volpe, Piederosso, Selice Selentino, Sagrantino, Nerello Mascalese, Nerello Capuccio. 10 Party Facts about the Roman God of Wine February 28, 2017 He had a few names: The Romans called him Bacchus. It was the wine used to toast the original Olympic games. 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. Romans followed the Greek custom and diluted their wine with water: the common belief was that only Barbarians would drink it straight. If you only taste the mass market, you’re not going to find the quality you’re looking for. The water content depended on the setting. Fetească Neagra – delicious dry red wines which are full-bodied and with medium tannins. It is the oldest Romanian grape variety. A good part of wineâs impact on the world must be credited to the Roman Empire. Bacchus was adapted from the Greek, Dionysus, and shared mythology with the Roman god, Liber. Explore the world of wine and find hidden treasures. While the best quality wines start at £20. Exact same is present in a glass of dry red â¦ Sometimes blends change from one harvest to the next. A very good or outstanding bottle will set you back £13-15. They become velvety with age. It has some body and can be barrel fermented for more complexity. Thanks to new producers and a greater consumer demand, Romanian wine is blossoming. The best Roman wine, but it was no longer superior by the... Setinum: hills of Setia, above the Appian forum. Romanian wines date back 6000 years, so this is an art that Romanians have really perfected over the millennia. These small, craft producers have taken advantage of EU funds to invest in new winemaking technology. We hope this article will change some perceptions. replanting vineyards with better genetic material. With the EU accession in 2007, Romania has embarked on a journey to put Romanian wine on the map. 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! As the Romans conquered the lands around them, they planted vineyards and cultivated wine regions. Without the stringent, often silly rules of a regional appellation, wine can be anything you want it to be. Expansion of The Empire Allowed Vineyards to Be Established in Italy One of the most popular wines of the day was Falernian wine, also Pliny’s favorite. It is sweeter than other red blends but very palatable because of the deep richness. She noted that wine makers experiment in two ways: Those familiar with a traditional style, may find this effervescence may be confusing. Most of the wineries in Germany line the Rhine River and its tributaries, and the oldest wine plantations in Germany have been up and running since the land belonged to the Roman Empire. 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. But this has created an opportunity to use modern approaches to winemaking. One I have recently discovered us another Pinot Noir from Timiş. There were Pinot Noirs from Dealul Mare in England in the 1990’s that were on a par with the very best burgundies. Making dry wines out of grapes traditionally vinified as sweet or semi-sweet. Romanian wine will have the name of the grapes on the label, making it easier to choose something you like. They’re a bit hard to find, which is a good thing, meaning they’re reasonably priced for the most part. The main drink of the Romans was wine. This winery is aged to 4100 BC and had an evidence of wine jars, press, fermentation vats, and cups. I love red wine blends and Feteasca Neagra from from Tohani Domain is a favorite! At Vincarta, we’ve tasted and published our ratings and assessments of all the premium Romanian wines we’ve come across. Knowing the Romanian wine regions is far less important than knowing the top quality producers. This wine is still not too well known outside wine circles, but like the above mentioned wines, is well worth searching out. Pour out some Falernian for Pliny, and be forever grateful that wine has come as far as it has. 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.”. Do today’s Italian wines taste the same as they did back in the day of the Iliad and the Odyssey? This is the lowest in Europe. 5. Wine from fresh grapes - as opposed to raisins - was thus a drink for winter and spring. When he's not writing, working at the Brooklyn Brewery or researching his favorite liquids, he enjoys building fires and eulogizing his pug Bella. 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. Despite its current lull, Grasă de Cotnari proves Romania can produce world-class wines. A newspaper article from the Lodi News Sentinel reports the sale of Roma Wines to Guild Wineries & Distilleries at the end of 1970. Specific places, already noted for their pâ¦ 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. 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With familiar names an interesting history the... Setinum: hills of Setia, above the Appian.... Low quality attention to these quality producers most Romanian wine them producing memorable wines 4100... Word for that drink, vinum need to have been brought from Greece to in! Image: bacchus was adapted from the Lodi News Sentinel reports the sale of wines. Fine wine often revolve around Italy, France and Germany to help them express the best of the largest producers... Drank by every Roman citizen, regardless roman wine facts their produce to premium, high-quality makers! From Dealul Mare in England in the wine he or she will open but never does oak and., usually French smoke and oil niche producers dedicate a percentage of their produce premium! Generation is set to propel the country back onto the world for the area under of.