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Wine culture in 121 B.C. much like today



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Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius was reportedly one of few who was not a fan of Falernian wine. Image by mbell1975 via Compfight.

An interesting new article on www.winespectator.com says that 'ample evidence exists that ancient Rome had a fine wine culture much like today’s, with prestige regions, cult wines and a love of bold, rich styles meant to be aged for decades.'

The 'cult' wine from this period, the one everyone sought to drink, was Falernian wine.Probably a varietal wine made from a grape the Romans called Aminea Gemina, Falernian was grown in three vineyards on the slopes of Mt. Massico. Falernian from 121 B.C. (the vintage of a lifetime!) was celebrated for decades; multiple ancient sources mention having the chance to taste the wine 200 years after its vintage date. (Writing in the first century, Pliny the Elder acknowledges that the wine was a bit past its peak by then.) 

The article further states: 'As Falernian became a byword for luxury, inevitably, the demand for it spurred spurious “Falernians” into the market, another ancient practice still alive today. On one tavern wall preserved at Pompeii, the wine list can be seen: “For one as [a unit of currency; a loaf of bread cost two] you can drink wine; for two, you can drink the best; for four, you can drink Falernian.”'

Wine historians today believe this famed wine could have been either white or red, and that it was fermented to 15 or 16 percent alcohol and diluted with water. 

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