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Thread: Our wine is practically the same as that of the Romans

  1. #1
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    2 out of 3 members found this post helpful.

    Our wine is practically the same as that of the Romans



    Who knew they also drank Pinot Noir and Syrah. :) Love them both!

    See:
    https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt..._medium=social

    "With wine, older can often mean better. "Vintage," our word for "classily aged," comes from the winemaking process. Wines from decades ago can fetch far higher prices than freshly made ones. Wine itself is woven throughout ancient history, from ancient Judeo-Christian rites (hello, Last Supper!) to Egyptian ceremonies to Roman orgies. And the grape varieties we like tend to have lengthy pasts: For instance, chardonnay grapes from France's Champagne region have been made into white wine since the Middle Ages.But until now, nobody knew just how ancient the wines we've been drinking are. According to a new study in Nature Plants published Monday, many of the most popular wine varieties sold today are extremely genetically similar to the wines that ancient Romans drank — and may have existed for thousands of years longer.
    To determine the genetic lineages of the wines they studied, researchers collected 28 grape seeds from nine ancient sites in France, with some sites dating back 2,500 years. They then analyzed the grapes' genes and compared them with modern varietals — something that hadn't been done before and required a monumental cross-disciplinary effort by ancient-DNA researchers, archaeologists and modern-grape geneticists."

    "Of the 28 ancient seeds that the researchers tested, all were genetically related to grapes grown today. Sixteen of the 28 were within one or two generations of modern varieties. And in at least one case, the researchers found that consumers are drinking wine from the same grapes as medieval Frenchmen 900 years ago: the rare savagnin blanc (not to be confused with sauvignon), a light, floral white varietal with rigorous growing standards and a small range of cultivation in eastern France.

    In other cases, we are drinking almost the exact same wine that Roman emperors drank — our pinot noir and syrah grapes are "siblings" of the Roman varieties."

    There's a down side? Isn't there always?
    "As the environment changes around these wine varietals, they remain the same — genetically frozen in the past. This renders them susceptible to ever-evolving pests, pathogens and extreme weather. "If these varieties are genetically identical all over the world ... it means they're all susceptible to the same pests and diseases as well," Migicovsky says. "We [will] need to use more chemicals and sprays in growing [them]" as threats advance."

    "But this doesn't mean all wines are doomed. "There is a lot of diversity in grapevines," Migicovsky says. "We can breed varieties that are more tolerant and resistant for our current environment." It's mostly a brand-name thing: The same forces that have kept pinots nearly identical for 2,000 years are making winemakers vulnerable, clinging to ancient lineages like old aristocrats. Tastes can change and evolve, and new grapes could display a magnificent array of tastes and textures to rival the ones we have now, Migicovsky believes. To keep the wine industry alive, she says, it may be up to winemakers and consumers to let go of the savagnins, the pinots, the merlots — and embrace a hardier set of grapes that will survive to titillate and inebriate future generations."

    NOT A SOLUTION. Leave my wines alone! :)


    Non si fa il proprio dovere perchè qualcuno ci dica grazie, lo si fa per principio, per se stessi, per la propria dignità. Oriana Fallaci

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    I agree with Angela about not meddling with ancient grape varietals. Plus, the author seems rather keen on use of chemicals & pesticides. Where has he been past 20 years? At my restaurant, all wines feature grape varietals indigenous to Italy (save for a slight nod to the so-called Super Tuscans), and most are from makers with organic or biodynamic vineyard regimes.

    As an aside, Italy has far more diversity among grape varietals than France, Germany or Spain

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    1 out of 2 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by dominique_nuit View Post
    I agree with Angela about not meddling with ancient grape varietals. Plus, the author seems rather keen on use of chemicals & pesticides. Where has he been past 20 years? At my restaurant, all wines feature grape varietals indigenous to Italy (save for a slight nod to the so-called Super Tuscans), and most are from makers with organic or biodynamic vineyard regimes.
    As an aside, Italy has far more diversity among grape varietals than France, Germany or Spain

    Plus, I love the arrogance of this guy who isn't a winemaker, and for that matter might not even be a wine drinker that he and other scientists could come up with "magnificent new tastes and textures".

    New "textures"? What the heck does that mean? As for tastes, what, like the great tastes of soy cheese, or mystery bacon? They'll probably wind up making something that tastes like soda.

    Figure out a natural way to fight the pests, grow them in different areas if you must, but don't mess with the tastes it's taken thousands of years to learn how to produce.

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    Just a reminder to those people that are concerned about GMO. Humans have been doing genetic manipulation since the dawn of animal husbandry and agriculture. It just takes more generations to create the desirable characteristics.

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