wines Wines - commentary et all...

Many grape varieties exist now  that existed in the middle ages.  Try looking
in the Italian section for wines  with the words 'Lachryma' or 'Maestro' on
them for a start. A white wine would be Radicco. Common varieties dating
from the Middle Ages and even back to ancient Rome are still widely grown and used today. They include cabernet sauvignon, cabernet blanc, merlot, syrah, chardonnay, pinot gris, pinot noir and many others. Many European wines are made using the same  varieties used in the Middle Ages, for instance the Italian 'Est! Est! Est!' is still produced exactly the same way it was, at the
same vineyard, from the same varieties that produced it 500 yrs. ago. So far
as English recipes are concerned, your best and most authentic wines would
be those produced in Spain, followed by France, although England did have  it's own wine producing industry in the MA..

Avoid any Lambrusco type grapes as well as zinfandel varieties. The former
are without exception New World while the jury is out on the latter.

I had posted extensive information about this very subject some months ago.
Perhaps Stefan has put it in his Flore-thingy. If not I will have to recover
the info when I get the time and repost but , sadly, due to assorted mundane
and SCA commitments that will not be soon.


When did they start aging wine? (7-98)

Jin Liu Ch'ang here:
    David/Cariadoc asked in a post on June 29th about the history of aging wine. It took me awhile to remember to pull out the copy of William Turner's 1568 book, "A Book of Wines" which I have checked out from the library.
    Apparently, from what I can gleam from the words of William Turner, aging of wines was well known in England in his time period.  Apparently, however,
most people drank wine still in the act of fermenting and freshly fermented
wine which he called (and what I believe is still called) must. ... In his capacity as an medicinal herbalist and scientist, he considered this to be wrong and stated reasons against this and quoted earlier writers including Galen and Aloisius Mundella in his arguments.
    He quoted Galen as defining wine not five years old as new wine, wine 5-10 years old as middle aged and wine over 10 years old as old aged.  As would probably occur in present times, he found that experts disagree on the times for aging wines as Aloisuis Mundella considered the dividing age between new and middle aged wine to be six years.  He also discussed the varieties of wine available in England from the wine import trade naming them by where they originated, their color, age, taste, and smell.  As a physician/herbalist, he also delineated wine by their dry/moist and cold/hot character.
    All wine was considered hot to some degree.  An old wine was considered hotter than a new wine and yellow and red wines were hotter than white wines.  The dryness was accorded to the degree of heat along with sweetness.  In his opinion, young people being naturally hot should not drink wine as all wines are hot to some degree.  If they were to drink, as the young are hot and moist they should drink dry white wines while the older people being more cold and dry should drink sweet red wines which are more hot and less dry.
    From his discussion, it is apparent that aging wines was quite common in
16th Century England and a variety of wines were available for consumption,
although like present times most wines were not aged to the degree that the
wine makers would have preferred.  His complaints about the drinking of too
young wine are very similar to views I have hear from modern commercial
vintners who complain about people buying their wines and drinking them
right away instead of aging them properly.

Norman White
a.k.a. Jin Liu Ch'ang

"Genuine Eiswein (German Ice Wine) must be counted among the great sweet wines of the world. It is among the special and unusual gifts of nature. It can only be made in regions where hard first frosts are experienced. The story of Eiswein is a relatively young one in the tale of the many wines given to the world. There are hints of an Eiswein harvest in past centuries (1358), but likely they proceeded from necessity and were unplanned. The first Eiswein harvests as such were in Franconia (1794), and carried out in the year 1813 in the Rhineland amidst the difficulties of the Napoleonic Wars."

"To make powdered hippocras, take a quarter of very fine cinnamon selected by tasting it, and half a quarter of fine flour of cinnamon, an ounce of selected string ginger, fine and white, and an ounce of grain of Paradise, a sixth of nutmegs and galingale together, and bray them all together.  And when you would make your hippocras, take a good half ounce of this powder and two quarters of sugar and mix them with a quart of wine, by Paris measure. And note that the powder and the sugar mixed together is the Duke's powder."
Le Menagier de Paris, ‘The Goodman of Paris’, c. ~ 1393, trans. Eileen Powers, 1928.
"Take a gallon of wine, three ounces of cinamon, two ounces of slic't
ginger, a quarter of an ounce of cloves, an ounce of mace, twenty corns of
pepper, an ounce of nutmegs, three pound of sugar, and two quarts of cream."
(From The Accomplisht Cook, by Robert May, 1660.
    From The Vintage Story of Wine:
    " 1302 Petrus de Crescentiis of Bologna in his "Liber Commodorum Ruralium" said that the right age for wine was neither new (first year) nor old, which according to the "Vintage's" author suggests that he preferred one or two year old wine best.
    The author goes on to state that the majority of critics held that it was better simply to wait until fermentation was over and drink up.  "The more northern ( and weaker) the wine the more important to drink it quickly."
    Further reference suggests Burgundy of high quality was drinkable at two years and according to the author,  "The only known reference from the Middle Ages to any wine being especially good at as old as four years was, remarkably enough, the exceptional Chablis vintage of 1396."
    The author says that according to the Catalan author Eiximenis "...the
French like white wines, Burgundians red, Germans aromatic, and the English beer."
    As a side note the use of sulfur was permitted in wine in Germany by royal
decree in 1487. "

Daniel Raoul le Vascon du Navarre'

 Forester Ian Gourdon of Glen Awe