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