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The addition of various flavourings to wine to improve its taste and/or appearance or to make it more durable is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. Many ancient wines were flavoured. In ancient texts from Mesopotamia, there are recipes with the addition of honey, spices, myrrh and even drugs. The Germanic tribes were already producing mead (honey wine) before the turn of the millennium. The Greeks added resin, as is still common in Retsina today, as well as various spices such as absinthe, aniseed and pepper.

Aromastoffe (Gewürznelke, Pfeffer, Blei, Myrrhe, Anis)

Spiced wines were very popular with the Romans, for example piperatum (pepper wine). However, they also used lead in the form of white lead or galena to reduce the acidity and make the wine sweeter. The addition of lead was also common in Europe well into the 18th century and was correspondingly dangerous. In Stuttgart in 1708, some customers of the cooper Hans Jakob Erni died of lead poisoning, and the punishment is documented: "So his head was cut off in the royal capital as a well-deserved punishment." In other cases, such offenders were simply made to drink large quantities of their own wine.

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Thorsten Rahn

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Thorsten Rahn
Restaurantleiter, Sommelier, Weindozent und Autor; Dresden

The world's largest Lexicon of wine terms.

26,403 Keywords · 47,036 Synonyms · 5,323 Translations · 31,737 Pronunciations · 205,264 Cross-references
made with by our author Norbert F. J. Tischelmayer. About the Lexicon