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Old 16-05-2011, 10:01 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

Many times I happened to read about ancient wines as very strong, often
as a kind of an escuxe for the fact they used to mix it with water and
many other things, from honey to spices, snow and fruits.
But I also know that proper vicification requires skills, techniques,
knowledge and equipmente. Did the ancient greeks, romans and egiptians
really made strong wines, or did they make wines with less than 10%
alcol? They didn't use selected yeasts, they just let those on the skins
do the work while praising to the gods ("spirits" comes from the general
belief that it was some kind of spirits to transform must into wine).
And the higienic conditions back then were horrible, just as the
management of important variables like temperature, for example.
I'm sure of one thing: the measurement of the alcol percentage in wine
is too young to help in regards to ancient Athens, Rome or Thebes. Is
there a way to discern if some of these ancient were really strong?
Maybe also a simple textual account about someone who got drunk with a
few sips? LOL
--
Vilco
And the Family Stone
Every burp of a table companion is a sign of gratitude for the cook

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Old 17-05-2011, 06:33 AM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

You might like to take a look here
http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/...hp?f=3&t=39034

I think your reasoning is sound.

"Ancient" is a very broad term, and I feel pretty safe in saying the
wine will have been of various strengths. But, yes, people often seem
to think that the wine was strong. A contemporary wrote about a wine
being strong enough to catch fire, and the amount needed to get drunk
was also discussed. But we will never get alcohol statistics from what
remains of historical records.

--
www.winenous.co.uk
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Old 17-05-2011, 08:18 AM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?


"Steve Slatcher" wrote in message
...
You might like to take a look here
http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/...hp?f=3&t=39034

I think your reasoning is sound.

"Ancient" is a very broad term, and I feel pretty safe in saying the wine
will have been of various strengths. But, yes, people often seem to think
that the wine was strong. A contemporary wrote about a wine being strong
enough to catch fire, and the amount needed to get drunk was also
discussed. But we will never get alcohol statistics from what remains of
historical records.

www.winenous.co.uk


The alcohol content of wine is dependant on the percent of fermentable sugar
in the grape, nothing else. Any wine with more than about 13-13.5% alcohol
has been fortified in some way.

Current wines are higher in alcohol than wines 30 years ago, by 1-1.5%. I
think that's secondary to global warning.

Kent





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Old 17-05-2011, 10:44 AM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

"Kent" wrote ..........

The alcohol content of wine is dependant on the percent of fermentable
sugar in the grape, nothing else.


Hmmm - a couple rather simplistic generalisations???

Could not sugar "not from within the grape" but added prior to fermentation
(chaptalisation) affect eventual alcohol levels?

And if fermentation was halted (by dropping the temperature of the must) so
that the final product indeed had significant levels of residual sugar and
lower alcohol levels, would not the more correct statement be "The alcohol
content of wine is dependant on the percent of fermented sugar"?????????

Any wine with more than about 13-13.5% alcohol has been fortified in some
way.


Again, an erroneous statement - some grape varieties (Zinfandel to name
one) will reach alcohol levels way in excess of 13.5% (16% is not unheard
of) without being fortified???



Current wines are higher in alcohol than wines 30 years ago, by 1-1.5%. I
think that's secondary to global warning.



More probably riper grapes through differing viticultural techniques.

--

st.helier

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Old 17-05-2011, 02:34 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

On May 17, 8:56*am, Mike Tommasi wrote:
On 17/05/2011 11:44, st.helier wrote:

Any wine with more than about 13-13.5% alcohol has been fortified in
some way.


Again, an erroneous statement - some grape varieties (Zinfandel to name
one) will reach alcohol levels way in excess of 13.5% (16% is not
unheard of) without being fortified???


I have seen 16 in Bandol no problem

Current wines are higher in alcohol than wines 30 years ago, by
1-1.5%. I think that's secondary to global warning.


More probably riper grapes through differing viticultural techniques.


Agreed, plus the old race to have the highest octane. *Anyhow in
Provence if you get a wine under 14 you are either cheating or making
crap wine. Even more so in Cali.


I could show quite a few non-crap wines (imho) from Cali that are
under 14.


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Old 17-05-2011, 07:40 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

On 5/17/11 3:18 AM, Kent wrote:

The alcohol content of wine is dependant on the percent of fermentable sugar
in the grape, nothing else. Any wine with more than about 13-13.5% alcohol
has been fortified in some way.


As others have explained, 'tain't so simple, Kent. The amount of
alcohol you get out depends also on the strain of yeast you use. While
14% ABV is pretty much the limit for your average s. cerevisiae, strains
have been isolated that can ferment as high as 17% (and many of those
are marketed to winemakers in CA who want to ferment high sugar musts to
dryness). In regions like the South of France, wines were exceeding 14%
even back in the mid-20th Century.

Mark Lipton

--
alt.food.wine FAQ: http://winefaq.cwdjr.net
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Old 17-05-2011, 09:21 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

On May 16, 4:01*pm, ViLco wrote:
Many times I happened to read about ancient wines as very strong, often
as a kind of an escuxe for the fact they used to mix it with water and
many other things, from honey to spices, snow and fruits.
But I also know that proper vicification requires skills, techniques,
knowledge and equipmente. Did the ancient greeks, romans and egiptians
really made strong wines, or did they make wines with less than 10%
alcol? They didn't use selected yeasts, they just let those on the skins
do the work while praising to the gods ("spirits" comes from the general
belief that it was some kind of spirits to transform must into wine).
And the higienic conditions back then were horrible, just as the
management of important variables like temperature, for example.
I'm sure of one thing: the measurement of the alcol percentage in wine
is too young to help in regards to ancient Athens, Rome or Thebes. Is
there a way to discern if some of these ancient were really strong?
Maybe also a simple textual account about someone who got drunk with a
few sips? LOL


Ancient wines are known from back to a few centuries BC. Perhaps the
earliest were from China. Several years ago sealed bronze containers
of Chinese wine from a few centuries BC were found. I believe this may
have been described in Science or Nature journals a few years ago. I
do not recall if any of the wine was analyzed for alcohol content,
but, if not, it would be very easy to do so. Of course wine that had
been stored in metal for so long likely would taste very foul and
might be quite toxic depending on the metals used in the bronze and
the acid content of the wine. If I remember correctly, the old Chinese
wine might have been made from a variety of fruits, not just grapes.
Rich Egyptians often left containers of wine in the tombs, but so far
as I know, the seals of all of these were slightly imperfect, so that
all that remains in the containers now is dust.

If we turn to the period of a few hundred years on either side of the
bc/ad transition, there is much information about wines in Rome,
Greece, and a few other countries. So far as I know, these countries
did not distill alcohol then. Distillation was introduced by Arabs
several hundreds of years later, but likely before the time of a
certain Arab prophet. Thus fortified wines likely were unknown.
However many herbs and other natural products were known and widely
used in medicine. Some of these materials added to wine could have
produced a very intense effect, even death, if overdone.

If we consider everyday wines, some likely reached the alcohol content
of modern wines fermented using natural yeast, but many, if not most,
likely did not. Some of the poorer examples, apparently were mixed
with about anything that would make them more drinkable such as was
the case for "bathtub gin" during US prohibition. Such wines would not
last very long unless protected from air. Pine resin or other
materials added might extend the life of the wine a bit, and floating
oil on top of the wine would somewhat limit oxygen uptake from the
air.

But the rich Romans also had very expensive wines that were sometimes
aged for many decades. Very sweet wines were liked. There has been
speculation that botrytis was known, but so far as I know this is just
speculation because the text on which such speculation is based could
have various meanings. However there are many other methods for
increasing sugar content. A crude method is to boil down some grape
juice and add it to wine. Hopefully they did not use lead pots for
this that many Romans used then. Some of the grapes could have been
dried, as is still done for a few Italian wines. Twisting of stems has
been used to nearly cut off sap flow and allow the grapes to dry on
the vine, but I have not seen any reference to twisting for that era.
As for protecting the wine from oxidation, sealed ceramic containers
apparently worked fairly well. Some aged the wine under rather hot
conditions which likely produced a Madeira-like effect. In some warm
countries until very recent times, wine was aged in large sealed
containers buried underground which would produce lower temperatures,
but I do no recall reading about this for Roman or Greek wine.

The rich old Romans likely would have liked Tokaji essencia, so
consider how essencia is made. Tokaji Aszu and even Tokaji Aszu
Essencia has fairly high residual sugar as well as high alcohol, being
less rich to much richer than Yquem, for example. True Essencia, now
being made and sold again, uses only highly overripe grapes, usually
botrytis affected, which are piled up and only the small amount of
very concentrated juice that collects at the bottom of a container
without pressing is used. For top Essencia, even after several years
of fermentation the alcohol content may be as low as 2%, for example.
The essencia sometimes is fermented only in glass, and some ferment in
both glass and wood. The extreme sugar content kills the yeast before
the alcohol content can become very high. Because of the extreme sugar
content, essencia is very stable and will keep a very long time if
opened. For example, the Royal Tokaji Essencia 2000, according to the
card packed with it, has 2.0% alcohol, 21.4 gr/l acidity and 620 gr/l
of residual sugar. The very high acidity balances the extremely high
sugar content. There was some 2000 Essencia that exceeded 900 gr/l of
residual sugar and an example containing over 800 gr/l can actually be
bought from at least on specialist wine dealer in Europe for a very
high price - there were only a few dozen bottles of this 2000
Essencia. Such rich wine has the viscosity of motor oil or light
honey. The point is that if the Ancients used overripe grapes they
could have well noticed that they oozed juice that was extremely sweet
and saved it apart for sale to the very rich. I have no idea if they
did this, but it would take no modern high technology to do so.
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Old 18-05-2011, 03:48 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

On May 17, 4:21*pm, cwdjrxyz wrote:
On May 16, 4:01*pm, ViLco wrote:





Many times I happened to read about ancient wines as very strong, often
as a kind of an escuxe for the fact they used to mix it with water and
many other things, from honey to spices, snow and fruits.
But I also know that proper vicification requires skills, techniques,
knowledge and equipmente. Did the ancient greeks, romans and egiptians
really made strong wines, or did they make wines with less than 10%
alcol? They didn't use selected yeasts, they just let those on the skins
do the work while praising to the gods ("spirits" comes from the general
belief that it was some kind of spirits to transform must into wine).
And the higienic conditions back then were horrible, just as the
management of important variables like temperature, for example.
I'm sure of one thing: the measurement of the alcol percentage in wine
is too young to help in regards to ancient Athens, Rome or Thebes. Is
there a way to discern if some of these ancient were really strong?
Maybe also a simple textual account about someone who got drunk with a
few sips? LOL


Ancient wines are known from back to a few centuries BC. Perhaps the
earliest were from China. Several years ago sealed bronze containers
of Chinese wine from a few centuries BC were found. I believe this may
have been described in Science or Nature journals a few years ago. I
do not recall if any of the wine was analyzed for alcohol content,
but, if not, it would be very easy to do so. Of course wine that had
been stored in metal for so long likely would taste very foul and
might be quite toxic depending on the metals used in the bronze and
the acid content of the wine. If I remember correctly, the old Chinese
wine might have been made from a variety of fruits, not just grapes.
Rich Egyptians often left containers of wine in the tombs, but so far
as I know, the seals of all of these were slightly imperfect, so that
all that remains in the containers now is dust.

If we turn to the period of a few hundred years on either side of the
bc/ad transition, there is much information about wines in Rome,
Greece, and a few other countries. So far as I know, these countries
did not distill alcohol then. Distillation was introduced by Arabs
several hundreds of years later, but likely before the time of a
certain Arab prophet. Thus fortified wines likely were unknown.
However many herbs and other natural products were known and widely
used in medicine. Some of these materials added to wine could have
produced a very intense effect, *even death, if overdone.

If we consider everyday wines, some likely reached the alcohol content
of modern wines fermented using natural yeast, but many, if not most,
likely did not. Some of the poorer examples, apparently were mixed
with about anything that would make them more drinkable such as was
the case for "bathtub gin" during US prohibition. Such wines would not
last very long unless protected from air. Pine resin or other
materials added might extend the life of the wine a bit, and floating
oil on top of the wine would somewhat limit oxygen uptake from the
air.

But the rich Romans also had very expensive wines that were sometimes
aged for many decades. Very sweet wines were liked. There has been
speculation that botrytis was known, but so far as I know this is just
speculation because the text on which such speculation is based could
have various meanings. However there are many other methods for
increasing sugar content. A crude method is to boil down some grape
juice and add it to wine. Hopefully they did not use lead pots for
this that many Romans used then. Some of the grapes could have been
dried, as is still done for a few Italian wines. Twisting of stems has
been used to nearly cut off sap flow and allow the grapes to dry on
the vine, but I have not seen any reference to twisting for that era.
As for protecting the wine from oxidation, sealed ceramic containers
apparently worked fairly well. Some aged the wine under rather hot
conditions which likely produced a Madeira-like effect. In some warm
countries until very recent times, wine was aged in large sealed
containers buried underground which would produce lower temperatures,
but I do no recall reading about this for Roman or Greek wine.

The rich old Romans likely would have liked Tokaji essencia, so
consider how essencia is made. Tokaji Aszu and even Tokaji Aszu
Essencia has fairly high residual sugar as well as high alcohol, being
less rich to much richer than Yquem, for example. True Essencia, now
being made and sold again, uses only highly overripe grapes, usually
botrytis affected, which are piled up and only the small amount of
very concentrated juice that collects at the bottom of a container
without pressing is used. For top Essencia, even after several years
of fermentation the alcohol content may be as low as 2%, for example.
The essencia sometimes is fermented only in glass, and some ferment in
both glass and wood. The extreme sugar content kills the yeast before
the alcohol content can become very high. Because of the extreme sugar
content, essencia is very stable and will keep a very long time if
opened. For example, the Royal Tokaji Essencia 2000, according to the
card packed with it, has 2.0% alcohol, 21.4 gr/l acidity and 620 gr/l
of residual sugar. The very high acidity balances the extremely high
sugar content. There was some 2000 Essencia that exceeded 900 gr/l of
residual sugar and an example containing over 800 gr/l can actually be
bought from at least on specialist wine dealer in Europe for a very
high price - there were only a few dozen bottles of this 2000
Essencia. Such rich wine has the viscosity of motor oil or light
honey. The point is that if the Ancients used overripe grapes they
could have well noticed that they oozed juice that was extremely sweet
and saved it apart for sale to the very rich. I have no idea if they
did this, but it would take no modern high technology to do so.- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -


Great read! Thanks for the information.
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Old 18-05-2011, 11:11 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

On 5/18/2011 10:48 AM, Bi!! wrote:
On May 17, 4:21 pm, wrote:
On May 16, 4:01 pm, wrote:





Many times I happened to read about ancient wines as very strong, often
as a kind of an escuxe for the fact they used to mix it with water and
many other things, from honey to spices, snow and fruits.
But I also know that proper vicification requires skills, techniques,
knowledge and equipmente. Did the ancient greeks, romans and egiptians
really made strong wines, or did they make wines with less than 10%
alcol? They didn't use selected yeasts, they just let those on the skins
do the work while praising to the gods ("spirits" comes from the general
belief that it was some kind of spirits to transform must into wine).
And the higienic conditions back then were horrible, just as the
management of important variables like temperature, for example.
I'm sure of one thing: the measurement of the alcol percentage in wine
is too young to help in regards to ancient Athens, Rome or Thebes. Is
there a way to discern if some of these ancient were really strong?
Maybe also a simple textual account about someone who got drunk with a
few sips? LOL


Ancient wines are known from back to a few centuries BC. Perhaps the
earliest were from China. Several years ago sealed bronze containers
of Chinese wine from a few centuries BC were found. I believe this may
have been described in Science or Nature journals a few years ago. I
do not recall if any of the wine was analyzed for alcohol content,
but, if not, it would be very easy to do so. Of course wine that had
been stored in metal for so long likely would taste very foul and
might be quite toxic depending on the metals used in the bronze and
the acid content of the wine. If I remember correctly, the old Chinese
wine might have been made from a variety of fruits, not just grapes.
Rich Egyptians often left containers of wine in the tombs, but so far
as I know, the seals of all of these were slightly imperfect, so that
all that remains in the containers now is dust.

If we turn to the period of a few hundred years on either side of the
bc/ad transition, there is much information about wines in Rome,
Greece, and a few other countries. So far as I know, these countries
did not distill alcohol then. Distillation was introduced by Arabs
several hundreds of years later, but likely before the time of a
certain Arab prophet. Thus fortified wines likely were unknown.
However many herbs and other natural products were known and widely
used in medicine. Some of these materials added to wine could have
produced a very intense effect, even death, if overdone.

If we consider everyday wines, some likely reached the alcohol content
of modern wines fermented using natural yeast, but many, if not most,
likely did not. Some of the poorer examples, apparently were mixed
with about anything that would make them more drinkable such as was
the case for "bathtub gin" during US prohibition. Such wines would not
last very long unless protected from air. Pine resin or other
materials added might extend the life of the wine a bit, and floating
oil on top of the wine would somewhat limit oxygen uptake from the
air.

But the rich Romans also had very expensive wines that were sometimes
aged for many decades. Very sweet wines were liked. There has been
speculation that botrytis was known, but so far as I know this is just
speculation because the text on which such speculation is based could
have various meanings. However there are many other methods for
increasing sugar content. A crude method is to boil down some grape
juice and add it to wine. Hopefully they did not use lead pots for
this that many Romans used then. Some of the grapes could have been
dried, as is still done for a few Italian wines. Twisting of stems has
been used to nearly cut off sap flow and allow the grapes to dry on
the vine, but I have not seen any reference to twisting for that era.
As for protecting the wine from oxidation, sealed ceramic containers
apparently worked fairly well. Some aged the wine under rather hot
conditions which likely produced a Madeira-like effect. In some warm
countries until very recent times, wine was aged in large sealed
containers buried underground which would produce lower temperatures,
but I do no recall reading about this for Roman or Greek wine.

The rich old Romans likely would have liked Tokaji essencia, so
consider how essencia is made. Tokaji Aszu and even Tokaji Aszu
Essencia has fairly high residual sugar as well as high alcohol, being
less rich to much richer than Yquem, for example. True Essencia, now
being made and sold again, uses only highly overripe grapes, usually
botrytis affected, which are piled up and only the small amount of
very concentrated juice that collects at the bottom of a container
without pressing is used. For top Essencia, even after several years
of fermentation the alcohol content may be as low as 2%, for example.
The essencia sometimes is fermented only in glass, and some ferment in
both glass and wood. The extreme sugar content kills the yeast before
the alcohol content can become very high. Because of the extreme sugar
content, essencia is very stable and will keep a very long time if
opened. For example, the Royal Tokaji Essencia 2000, according to the
card packed with it, has 2.0% alcohol, 21.4 gr/l acidity and 620 gr/l
of residual sugar. The very high acidity balances the extremely high
sugar content. There was some 2000 Essencia that exceeded 900 gr/l of
residual sugar and an example containing over 800 gr/l can actually be
bought from at least on specialist wine dealer in Europe for a very
high price - there were only a few dozen bottles of this 2000
Essencia. Such rich wine has the viscosity of motor oil or light
honey. The point is that if the Ancients used overripe grapes they
could have well noticed that they oozed juice that was extremely sweet
and saved it apart for sale to the very rich. I have no idea if they
did this, but it would take no modern high technology to do so.- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -


Great read! Thanks for the information.


Very interesting! I don't believe there is a wine yeast that can produce
more than 16-18% alcohol. Even if the ancient Greeks and Romans had such
yeasts they would have to wait for the first millennium alchemists who
invented distillation to achieve higher alcohol concentrations. Was the
inventor not one Miriam of Alexandria whose name is preserved in the
French name for a water bath: "Bain Marie"?

The classical Greeks and Romans tended to dilute their wines with water
and probably drank them at beer levels: 4-6%. It might also have been an
attempt to reduce the excessive sugar and other contaminants like pine
resin even if the Greeks today like Retsina. Wine does not seem to have
been drunk neat in classical times. Cicero goes on at length about the
iniquity of Cataline diluting his wine to something like 2:1 unlike
civilized people who used 1:2.

--


James Silverton, Potomac

I'm *not*
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Old 19-05-2011, 07:59 AM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

On May 17, 3:21*pm, cwdjrxyz wrote:
On May 16, 4:01*pm, ViLco wrote:


Many times I happened to read about ancient wines as very strong, often
as a kind of an escuxe for the fact they used to mix it with water and
many other things, from honey to spices, snow and fruits.
But I also know that proper vicification requires skills, techniques,
knowledge and equipmente. Did the ancient greeks, romans and egiptians
really made strong wines, or did they make wines with less than 10%
alcol? They didn't use selected yeasts, they just let those on the skins
do the work while praising to the gods ("spirits" comes from the general
belief that it was some kind of spirits to transform must into wine).
And the higienic conditions back then were horrible, just as the
management of important variables like temperature, for example.
I'm sure of one thing: the measurement of the alcol percentage in wine
is too young to help in regards to ancient Athens, Rome or Thebes. Is
there a way to discern if some of these ancient were really strong?
Maybe also a simple textual account about someone who got drunk with a
few sips? LOL


Ancient wines are known from back to a few centuries BC. Perhaps the
earliest were from China. Several years ago sealed bronze containers
of Chinese wine from a few centuries BC were found. I believe this may
have been described in Science or Nature journals a few years ago. I
do not recall if any of the wine was analyzed for alcohol content,
but, if not, it would be very easy to do so. Of course wine that had
been stored in metal for so long likely would taste very foul and
might be quite toxic depending on the metals used in the bronze and
the acid content of the wine. If I remember correctly, the old Chinese
wine might have been made from a variety of fruits, not just grapes.
Rich Egyptians often left containers of wine in the tombs, but so far
as I know, the seals of all of these were slightly imperfect, so that
all that remains in the containers now is dust.

If we turn to the period of a few hundred years on either side of the
bc/ad transition, there is much information about wines in Rome,
Greece, and a few other countries. So far as I know, these countries
did not distill alcohol then. Distillation was introduced by Arabs
several hundreds of years later, but likely before the time of a
certain Arab prophet. Thus fortified wines likely were unknown.
However many herbs and other natural products were known and widely
used in medicine. Some of these materials added to wine could have
produced a very intense effect, *even death, if overdone.

If we consider everyday wines, some likely reached the alcohol content
of modern wines fermented using natural yeast, but many, if not most,
likely did not. Some of the poorer examples, apparently were mixed
with about anything that would make them more drinkable such as was
the case for "bathtub gin" during US prohibition. Such wines would not
last very long unless protected from air. Pine resin or other
materials added might extend the life of the wine a bit, and floating
oil on top of the wine would somewhat limit oxygen uptake from the
air.

But the rich Romans also had very expensive wines that were sometimes
aged for many decades. Very sweet wines were liked. There has been
speculation that botrytis was known, but so far as I know this is just
speculation because the text on which such speculation is based could
have various meanings. However there are many other methods for
increasing sugar content. A crude method is to boil down some grape
juice and add it to wine. Hopefully they did not use lead pots for
this that many Romans used then. Some of the grapes could have been
dried, as is still done for a few Italian wines. Twisting of stems has
been used to nearly cut off sap flow and allow the grapes to dry on
the vine, but I have not seen any reference to twisting for that era.
As for protecting the wine from oxidation, sealed ceramic containers
apparently worked fairly well. Some aged the wine under rather hot
conditions which likely produced a Madeira-like effect. In some warm
countries until very recent times, wine was aged in large sealed
containers buried underground which would produce lower temperatures,
but I do no recall reading about this for Roman or Greek wine.

The rich old Romans likely would have liked Tokaji essencia, so
consider how essencia is made. Tokaji Aszu and even Tokaji Aszu
Essencia has fairly high residual sugar as well as high alcohol, being
less rich to much richer than Yquem, for example. True Essencia, now
being made and sold again, uses only highly overripe grapes, usually
botrytis affected, which are piled up and only the small amount of
very concentrated juice that collects at the bottom of a container
without pressing is used. For top Essencia, even after several years
of fermentation the alcohol content may be as low as 2%, for example.
The essencia sometimes is fermented only in glass, and some ferment in
both glass and wood. The extreme sugar content kills the yeast before
the alcohol content can become very high. Because of the extreme sugar
content, essencia is very stable and will keep a very long time if
opened. For example, the Royal Tokaji Essencia 2000, according to the
card packed with it, has 2.0% alcohol, 21.4 gr/l acidity and 620 gr/l
of residual sugar. The very high acidity balances the extremely high
sugar content. There was some 2000 Essencia that exceeded 900 gr/l of
residual sugar and an example containing over 800 gr/l can actually be
bought from at least on specialist wine dealer in Europe for a very
high price - there were only a few dozen bottles of this 2000
Essencia. Such rich wine has the viscosity of motor oil or light
honey. The point is that if the Ancients used overripe grapes they
could have well noticed that they oozed juice that was extremely sweet
and saved it apart for sale to the very rich. I have no idea if they
did this, but it would take no modern high technology to do so.


In the US in early days, apple cider was often set out to freeze in
New England. This required very low temperatures for an extended
period. The liquid was then decanted from the ice, and it was greatly
increased in alcohol content. The same thing could be done with wine.
Many of the ancient wine regions likely did not have the extended low
temperatures to make this work. However the Roman army went to most of
Europe, the UK etc. Some of the regions they went to likely had
extended temperatures low enough to make the freezing alcohol
concentration technique work. The Roman armies usually took wine with
them or drank local wine. All it would take to discover the technique
is to have a container freeze, drink the remaining liquid, and notice
that it was much stronger than the unfrozen wine. I have not ever read
that this happened, but very strong wine could have been made in this
way by them with very little effort.



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Old 19-05-2011, 09:53 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

Il 17/05/2011 22:21, cwdjrxyz ha scritto:

If we turn to the period of a few hundred years on either side of the
bc/ad transition, there is much information about wines in Rome,
Greece, and a few other countries.


Very true. In these guys had an alcohol-meter it would be so easy

So far as I know, these countries
did not distill alcohol then. Distillation was introduced by Arabs
several hundreds of years later, but likely before the time of a
certain Arab prophet.


I've read about the discovery of distillation in arab countries around
VII century, the same century of Mohammed. Then it got to Europe many
centuries after, like 15th or 16th century.
Then, when we europesna started mastering distillation techniques, we
never stopped, LOL

Thus fortified wines likely were unknown.


Exactly.

If we consider everyday wines, some likely reached the alcohol content
of modern wines fermented using natural yeast, but many, if not most,
likely did not.


"everyday" is the word here. It looks like the romans used to have 2
kinds of wine: the aged wines (in amphoras) and the fresh wines
(straigth from the fermentation vat, maybe after some time has passed).

But the rich Romans also had very expensive wines that were sometimes
aged for many decades.


This is totally new to me. How were these wines aged? Taling about
containers, as you may think too.

Very sweet wines were liked.


This makes sense, and a lot of it.

The rich old Romans likely would have liked Tokaji essencia, so
consider how essencia is made.


I don't know when the production of tokaji essencia started, maybe some
centuries later?
Anyway, I love tokaji essencia
--
Vilco
And the Family Stone
So che faccio il tuo gioco rispondendo a questo post ma mff
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

Il 19/05/2011 08:59, cwdjrxyz ha scritto:

In the US in early days, apple cider was often set out to freeze in
New England. This required very low temperatures for an extended
period. The liquid was then decanted from the ice, and it was greatly
increased in alcohol content. The same thing could be done with wine.


Neat! Iced water goes on top of alcohol so that you can take away the
iced part thus reducing the water parecentage, thus increasing the
alcohol percentage? That sounds easy and sound.
--
Vilco
And the Family Stone
Shguazza, pesce fess'
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Old 19-05-2011, 10:31 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

On May 19, 3:56*pm, ViLco wrote:
Il 19/05/2011 08:59, cwdjrxyz ha scritto:

In the US in early days, apple cider was often set out to freeze in
New England. This required very low temperatures for an extended
period. The liquid was then decanted from the ice, and it was greatly
increased in alcohol content. The same thing could be done with wine.


Neat! Iced water goes on top of alcohol so that you can take away the
iced part thus reducing the water parecentage, thus increasing the
alcohol percentage? That sounds easy and sound.


It is very easy. See http://eckraus.com/wine-making-applejack.html for
detailed directions. Note that temperatures mentioned are in F an not
C degrees.

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Old 19-05-2011, 10:40 PM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

On 5/19/2011 5:31 PM, cwdjrxyz wrote:
On May 19, 3:56 pm, wrote:
Il 19/05/2011 08:59, cwdjrxyz ha scritto:

In the US in early days, apple cider was often set out to freeze in
New England. This required very low temperatures for an extended
period. The liquid was then decanted from the ice, and it was greatly
increased in alcohol content. The same thing could be done with wine.


Neat! Iced water goes on top of alcohol so that you can take away the
iced part thus reducing the water parecentage, thus increasing the
alcohol percentage? That sounds easy and sound.


It is very easy. See http://eckraus.com/wine-making-applejack.html for
detailed directions. Note that temperatures mentioned are in F an not
C degrees.

Somehow, I don't think that was a technique much used in Egypt!

--


James Silverton, Potomac

I'm *not*
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Old 20-05-2011, 01:17 AM posted to alt.food.wine
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Default Ancient wine was very high in alcol: reality or myth?

On May 19, 4:40*pm, James Silverton
wrote:
On 5/19/2011 5:31 PM, cwdjrxyz wrote:







On May 19, 3:56 pm, *wrote:
Il 19/05/2011 08:59, cwdjrxyz ha scritto:


In the US in early days, apple cider was often set out to freeze in
New England. This required very low temperatures for an extended
period. The liquid was then decanted from the ice, and it was greatly
increased in alcohol content. The same thing could be done with wine.


Neat! Iced water goes on top of alcohol so that you can take away the
iced part thus reducing the water parecentage, thus increasing the
alcohol percentage? That sounds easy and sound.


It is very easy. Seehttp://eckraus.com/wine-making-applejack.htmlfor
detailed directions. Note that temperatures mentioned are in F an not
C degrees.


Somehow, I don't think that was a technique much used in Egypt!


So far as I know, the technique was not used anywhere in the ancient
world. However since Roman soldiers went to many cold countries as
well as warm countries and drank wine, it is quite likely that they
had some wine freeze in northern Europe. If someone tasted the
unfrozen portion and noted that it was much stronger, then that is all
it would take to discover the technique. If the rich in Rome liked it
and would pay enough, it likely could be arranged to freeze wine in
northern Europe and send it back to Rome. If such happened, it seems
highly likely that someone would have written about it. If the rich
Romans could have parrot tongues imported to eat and have snow brought
down mountains, then commerce in wine enriched by freezing should have
been no problem.


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