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Caesar and Cleopatra drank sparkling wine


The ancient Romans loved the bollulae, it was not the nectar of the gods but it was pleasant, and maybe even better. When Caesar and Cleopatra they made their oaths of love, Caesar showed up with a golden cup full and without delay a moment emptied his bubbling chalice; then drank other notables. (Aen., I, 738-40); so he wrote Virgil (70-19 BC) in a fairly well-known passage, which says:
"et ille impiger hausit, spumantem pateram et pleno se produit auro; post alii proceres".
In the Italian peninsula the cultivation of the wine was introduced by the Greeks as early as in the Bronze Age and just for the extraordinary diffusion of the culture the colonized lands became known as "Enotria Tellus". The conquest of new territories to Rome meant also have other lands where to plant the vine of which developed the species to make them suitable to the places and climates, but also developed the techniques both for storage purposes of trade but mostly for the consumption of a rich and less rich population that consumed about 260 liters of wine each.
So beside the older wines, aromatised wines and wines medicated Romans invented sparkling wines. Lucano (A.D. 39-65) writes that "indomitum Meroe cognes spumare Falernum" (the Falerno indomitable will foaming mixing it with Meroe). At that time he obtained the sparkling wine Falerno making him re-ferment by adding juice of dried grapes of a variety called Meroe, originally from Ethiopia.
A few years later also Pliny (Naturalis Historia, 77 A.D.) says that in his cup "is a wine that is really excellent, the aigleucos, naturally sweet with effervescent presence".
The Romans then produced the Potropum, a sweet and sparkling wine obtained by preventing the fermentation of musts with the immersion of tanks in the cold waters of the wells.
Here we have confirmation that the Romans knew the technique of fermentation programmed to create bullulæ of sparkling wines.
In fact, in Roman times sparkling wines they were also called aigleucos and acinatico. The first one were products starting from the sweet wort with addition of honey and propolis, wich fermentation, creator of the bubbles, was prevented or rather retarded by immersing the jars in cold water, in order to have the wine in boiling a long time after .
By quotations it is therefore clear that the sparkling wine was already produced in Roman times. Certainly not with the current techniques, but with the re-fermentation of sweet wines in containers then (earthenware jars, etc.) Or with addition of raisins or sweet wort to already fermented wines.
To identify these wines writers and Roman historians were using words like spumans, spumescens, saliens, titillans that clearly indicate the froth and bubbles.





by M.L. ©ALL RIGHTS RESERVED (Ed 1.0 - 05/08/2016)