The addition of various aromatic substances to wine to improve its taste and/or appearance or to make it more durable is a practice that goes back thousands of years. Many of the ancient wines were flavoured. In ancient texts from Mesopotamia there are recipes with the addition of honey, spices, myrrh and also drugs. The Germanic tribes were already making mead (honey wine) before the turn of time. With the Greeks, resin was added, as is still common with retsina today, but also various spices such as absinthe, aniseed and pepper. With the Romans, spiced wines were very popular, for example piperatum (pepper wine). But they also used lead in the form of white lead or litharge to reduce the acidity and make the wine sweeter. Lead addition was also common in Europe well into the 18th century and correspondingly dangerous. In Stuttgart in 1708, several customers of the cooper Hans Jakob Erni died of lead poisoning, and the punishment is documented: "So, to well-deserved punishment, his head was cut off in the royal city. In other cases, people were content to make such offenders drink larger quantities of their own wine.
In the past, you needed a wealth of encyclopaedias and specialist literature to keep up to date in your vinophile professional life. Today, Wine lexicon from wein.plus is one of my best helpers and can rightly be called the "bible of wine knowledge".Prof. Dr. Walter Kutscher
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