Tuesday, September 15, 2015

ANCIENT GREEKS

The early signs of the wine in Greece were the replica wine presses found in tombs Crete and date back to between 3000BC-2000BC. It is thought that the Phoenician traders introduced the Greeks to the joy of wine. After the Phoenicians did the Greeks this favour the Greeks did the honorable thing and established wine industries in most of Western Europe and Alexander the Great even introduced it to Asia (A truly GREAT man). So next time you meet a Greek person thank them for doing us all the biggest favour ever. The Greeks knew the nutritional benefits of drinking wine which is an excuse we still all use today! In ancient Greece, the wine was so important that it had developed a religious status so highly did they value wine that they referred to it as the “The juice of the Gods”. They couldn’t have described it better. The Greek God of wine Dionyssus the son of Zeus and one of the most worshiped Gods. The Greeks used wine to achieve clarity of mind when at a symposia (a gathering where predetermined philosophical subjects were discussed). They would never drink wine as some people today do and drunkenness was frowned upon. This is a great indication of how thoroughly embedded in the culture wine traditions were. Another good indication of this is Homers epic the “Iliad” and the frequent mention of wine therein.

By looking at the countries that the Greeks introduced winemaking to we can get a vague idea of how the ancient Greeks made wine and how it may have tasted. Another clue to the flavor of the wine is the surviving Greek varieties such as Limnio, Athiri, Aidani and Muscat.

The Ancient Greek’s wine became so popular in Europe that vine cuttings from Greek’s grapes so they could grow their own quality wine. This, of course, means that many of the grape varieties we know today were fathered by the Greek varieties.
It is known that the regions of Hios, Thassos and Levos all produced high-grade wine whereas the wines of Samos were poor quality. The Greeks all realized that the ecosystem played a key role in the characteristics of the resulting wine. They were the first to create their own appellations of origin, anyone caught violating them received a severe penalty. The ancient Greeks highly valued sweet wine as do current day Greeks. This may have been due to its staying power, but more likely its popularity stemmed from its sweetness and higher alcohol percentage. It is no well-kept secret that the Greeks like to mix their wine with water (including sea water amazingly) and to add honey and spices. This shows us of how thoroughly embedded in the culture wine traditions were. The ancient Greeks used to line the amphoras with tree resin which gave it a very distinctive flavor it is thought that developed into the wine that the Greeks and much of the world drink and enjoy today called retsina

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