"The Origins and Ancient History of Wine"

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C o n t e n t s :

Intro - living out our past through wine

Neolithic Period - "chateau hajji firuz"

- wine for the afterlife

- under the grape arbors...

One of a kind laboratory
- ancient evidence; modern technology

Map - wine's whereabouts: then and now

The grapevine & tree resins - nature's ingredients


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our interactive quiz

Instructions: Select the correct answers by using the dropdown menus. Once you're done, click Submit to see how you fared. Incorrect guesses will be indicated with an X or a checkmark in the boxes to the right of the dropdown menus.

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1. How did the ancients prevent wine from going to vinegar?
2. What is the name of a popular, modern Egyptian wine?
3. How much wine was buried in Scorpion I's tomb (dated to about 3150 B.C.)?
4. What is the date of the earliest wine so far discovered?
5. Where was the wild grapevine most likely domesticated?

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What's the best vintage you've ever tippled? the worst? did you enjoy good psychotropic effects? or bad? Tell us about your wine experiences!
[Read what others have shared below]

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Kanonkop Pinotage (South African) --truter@mweb.co.za

Like others before me, the 1947 Chateau Cheval Blanc remains firmly etched in my memory. The last time I had it was in 1986, and it was still showing aging potential and incredible balance! --clemensd@paternoimports.com

I am a relative neophyte to wine, having just become interested in the last two and a half years. Nevertheless, I have observed an interesting phenomenon pertaining to the flavor and enjoyment of wine. While it is obvious that a really bad wine will be remembered for the fact that it is bad, it seems that the flavor and enjoyment of any acceptable wine is directly related to the emotional state of the taster at the time. For example, one of my favorite wines is an 1995 Assemblage from the Concanon Vineyard in California. I first tasted this wine while enjoying an outdoor picnic of cheese, bread, and pate at a small roadside table on the coast near Carmel. It was the mid-point of a wonderful day with our closest friends. The wine was wonderfully suited to the occasion, and I subsequently purchased several bottles. However, I have noticed that, while this is still a fine little wine, subsequent tastings just don't seem to match what I remember at Carmel?!? I have noticed this about other things as well, food, beer, ice cream.... Have you ever enjoyed eating out at a particular establishment with friends so much that you want to take someone else there. Then when you do, it just isn't what you remembered? Thus, I respectfully submit that perhaps how much a particular wine is enjoyed is not so much dependent on the quality of the wine as it is the total quality of the event being experienced. --steve.smith@tasb.org

When my first child was born, we opened our bottle of 1957 Tokai Essencia. As a one of our friends said after she tasted it, "Now I know where good grapes go when they die." --fgh@iname.com

I have tasted some pretty expensive French wines over the years, and the Chateau Montrose 82, by then 15 years old, was a great wine for sure, its taste lingering until the following morning, but the best red I have ever tasted was a very modest Bordeaux superieur from a very small producer from Brannes, south of St Emilion, who called himself "Chateau de l'Armandaille". The guy had just taken over a small winery and was doing his best and selling his wine for about 15 francs a bottle at the time, trying to built up a clientele. He had produced an incredibly fruity wine exploding with aroma of red fruit, and which, although quite young, wasn't tanic at all thanks to a very high proportion of Merlot. I was lucky enought to get a case of the nectar, which unfortunarly didn't age very well. But honestly, the first few bottles beat a 15 years old Mouton Rotshild, and even the Chateau Montrose, hand down. For white, I am affraid I have more expensive taste. Meursault, or vintage champagne. --lesath@hotmail.com

1985 ROMANEE CONTI + 1971 LA TACHE. --unknown@sdn-ar-001nmalbup296.dialsprint.net

1972 blackberry wine own brew on a port yeast fermented for 6 months at about 75f. Worst was an algerian red in 1958 age about same year. --septic@talk21.com

I like Italy's Torgaio and also Porto. --soleluna@yahoo.it

Best wine ever tasted-- 1991 Opus One, but only after it breathed for half an hour. --ellenf1024@aol.com

The worst? MD 20/20, white, 'mad dog'. --unknown@abd8cd22.ipt.aol.com

More longer you keep you could get the best ....only the wine.. --zawmin70@yahoo.co.uk

Being a son of a Galician man (Galicia-Northwestern part of Iberic Peninsula), since my early years, it was showed to me how important and how pleasurable was to drink and honour this liquid, as important as bread to human race. Along all these years, now I'm 54 years old, I've showed to myself, not to drink labels but to drink wine, not to drink with the nose, but to do it with feelings. It would be unfair to point out the best wine I had, since, the real important thing is that the liquid be honest, since it so hard to produce it. It can be a homemade wine or a celebre chateau, it gives so hard work! The worst? I do my best to forget it! Only due the manipulation of wine's gods, or devils, I'll dare to mention a wine, that was incredible sophisticated, in taste and smell, it was a white Chenin Blanc SavenniËre from Mr Jean Baumard, more exactly, a "Clos de Saint Yves" 1989. Fortunally, I was the victim of this wine in a small village, somewhere, in the Loire Valley, France. --baru@planeta3.com.br

I've worked for a vineyard/winery for the past five years and in that time have learned not only a wealth of information on wine, but also on the entire culture surrounding it. Even so, I know that I've only brushed the surface of a vast and varied topic. As for vintages, I'm partial to Scheid Vineyards 1997 Monterey Chardonnay. Sure I'm biased. It's wine!--alyc@hotmail.com

I can't recall any wine I would consider "best". The worse was a homemade German cherry wine, aged in a wooden cask for years - pooowwweeerrrfffuuulll.--jikekens@odyssey.on.ca

Well, I don't remember the label name, but about two summers ago I had an incredibly sassy cabernet sauvignon--what a flirt! It tickled my tongue all the way down! I told the other sisters that we should definitely stock up on this for our matins, but Mother Clara Aloysius of the Burning Cross put her foot down: "Liebfraumilch is the only wine I will allow!" she huffed, and that was the end of that. I lit a candle. When I came across this website, it was like my prayers were finally being answered. Thank you, thank you! --maryglands@cyberhost.com

The best sweet wine I have tasted was from M Chapoutier made from Muscat grapes.... is there a rival for this.. please e mail me. Also I would like to know more about sweet wines.--wwm@acadia.com.sg

For First time Wine taster (White Wine) Taste Inniskinn Canadan IceWine.--Fan@netnet.com.sg

Not really wine. - Tasted cherry Port and Port from the Paranoma Vineyards in Tasmania tasted fantastic. Rich, velvety and full of flavour!--dlhtg@singnet.com.sg

The most recent and memorable tasting event I experienced, in Singapore, was the Primum Familiae Vini Gala Dinner at The Shangri-la on 3 March 1998, where I tasted 12 exquisite wines all of them wonderfully made but some have aged gracefully and was good drinking that evening. The wines were 1986 Pol Roger Cuvee Sir Winston Churchill, Marchesi Antinori Cervaro della Sala 1996, Joseph Drouhin Beaune Clos des Mouches Blanc 1992, Torres Mas La Plana 1994, Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1994, Chateau Cos d'Estournel 1986, Hermitage La Chapelle 1983, Chateau Mouton Rothschild 1985, Vega Silicia Unico 1981, Dow's 1980 Vintage Port, Gewurztraminer Hugel Selection de Grains Nobles 1989, Scharzhofberger Auslese Goldkapsel 1989. My preference for the best vintage wine that evening was the Vega Silicia Unico 1981. There were many off wines I have tasted however none will remain in my memory. It is always good to keep fond memories which is worthwhile and pleasurable.--soofung@pacific.net.sg

Need advice, what are the best red wine from South Africa. Heard of a few names but not sure how good are they.--pkytan@pacific.net.sg

Celebrating many years ago one stripe on the arm having gotten thru OCS, visited NYC. Dinner at Chauveron (no longer there on 3rd Ave.) ended with a half bottle of Y'Quem 1929. Thought I had died and gone to heaven. Almost 50yrs later still remember vividly that breathtaking elixir.--rons560@pig.net

the best wine experience i have would be the one thats drunk with good friends at the right place and time.it helps if its a good vintage--wallywee@pacific.net.sg

I agree with BetterResults@netscape.com, wine from Margaret River - Leeuwin and Evans and Tate is quite good...btw, are you Aussie and West Australian? That would kinda explain why you are partial to wine from that region.--theous@mbox4.singnet.com.sg

Dry Creek Special Reserve.--snuzanne@netscape.net

1994 Cab Merlot from the Margaret River winery Leeuwin in Western Australia, 1993 Sparkling Shiraz from Rockfords in the Barossa valley, South Australia, an 89 Penfolds Bin 333. Haven't tasted too many bad ones luckily.--BetterResults@Netscape.com

I completely agree with benfarm! The wines in Upstate NY are fantastic! Until I moved to W. NY, I was not much of a wine drinker. After touring the wineries on Keuka Lake (the smallest of the Finger Lakes), it changed my attitude forever! I happen to be partial to Bully Hill, which, as far as I know, is only available in NY State. I can't remember the name of the worst wine I ever tasted, but I believe it's fairly common & comes in a brown pottery-looking bottle. I think it was German?...--sunder1@cwix.com

The worse was Mar Khayyam, a cabernet Sauvignon from the Egyptian Vineyards. I had in cairo two years ago. The best was a Baugalois (SP) froom FLeurie France, a very small village in the Burgundy area of about 500 people.-- mzk1539@aol.com

The mood, the time, the food, the person/persons your with all add to the wonders of enjoying wine.Those who say any white is the best, have not tasted real red. Burgundy is the best; my penultimate was a '59 Volnay consumed in 1989 in France - a memorable night shared with good friends. The worst, and only glass I ever rejected completely was a Retsina bought in the US and terrible.--jaiacovino@aol.com

Perhaps the best red wine I've ever had was the 94 vintage of Vieux Telegraphe Chateauneuf du Pape. It was extremely warm and mouthfilling like a benevolent cluster bomb exploding in your mouth with black fruits, basil and anise, and black pepper all in a smooth seamless package. The best white wine was an amazingly honeyed, ethereal Chapoutier Hermitage Blance cuvee De L'Oree 96 vintage at M Chapoutier's tasting in Dallas, TX.--pln@airmail.net

In 1965, while traveling in France in the Burgundy region, I stopped at a town with a quaint name which meant little to me at the time. It was about noon and I had stopped for lunch. I was delighted to learn that roast lamb done rare was even better than the medium I had had at home and the local wine with the same name as the village transported me to heaven. But then what should I have expected from a '59 Nuit St.George?--JDaveJ@apl.com

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