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Thread: Wine.

  1. #1
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    Wine.

    What kind of wine do characters in fantasy books drink?

    Many many stories have characters drinking "wine." Is it possibly for us to make an educated guess, matching the general fantasy period to our own history, and give some ideas to as exactly which kind of wine they were drinking? I would like to buy some of these wines just to try myself what the fantasy book hero drinks But there are so many different kinds of wines....what do you think?

  2. #2
    Witch of the Woods Miriamele's Avatar
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    Hey Brandon, you're just across the river from me.

    But about the wine--I don't think it's possible to determine the kind of wine characters are drinking in books. Throughout history people have always drunk wine and beer because they didn't have any way of purifying water like we do today (well they could have boiled it but they didn't know that).

    The kind of wine depends on the land in which the story takes place, and also the social standing of the character drinking it. Peasants wouldn't drink the same wine as a nobleman, if they even got any at all.

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    Miri, I never even thought about them not having pure water, thanks for bringing that to my attention
    Wouldn't that also be largely based on terrain, with some mountainous places like greece having pure water
    You know, since all bottled water is from some alp or another
    Would it help if I narrowed the situations to one of adventurers in an inn and another of what nobles might drink
    Althrough the request might still probably be invalid, I don't really know much about wine
    In my own experience, It seems that you could sum up the most popular red wines in about 10+ names or so. sauvignon, pinot noir, merlot, port, ummm you know what i'm talking about. in restauraunts on the menu I usually see either cabernet sauvigon, merlot, or zinfandel. Do you think we can assume these more popular wines have existed throughout history, or they were likely to be drinking something completely different?

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    I think it is hard for us to tell how the different grape varieties have evolved as time has gone on.
    While production methods have been modernised, they still are essentially the same process.
    So really the only difference I can see between the wines the and the wines now is mass production.
    You don't have to be a noble to drink good wine either. Sure, the lower folk could have made a pretty penny selling some of their better vintages to the nobles, but that doesn't stop the odd punter from having a few vines out in the backyard to make some goon for himself.

  5. #5
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    Also Brandon,
    Port wouldn't be included in the same list as pinot, cabernet, etc.
    It is a fortified wine and you would list it with tokays, muscats, etc.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Talaith's Avatar
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    I remember reading a very long time ago about some archeologists who found a Sumerian (I think) tablet explaining how they made beer. It isn't wine obviously but if you are feeling really ambitious you might be able to track that recipe down and brew yourself the favored drink of Gilgamesh.

    Or you could try some mead, which would doubtless be easier than trying to find the recipe for Sumarian beer.

  7. #7
    Cadfael
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    Miri's comments about the reason for drinking beer and wine are so true....

    The used to re-used the hops in beer making... to make three strength of beer... the first batch was the full blow strong ale... for ritual and celebrations. The second time the hops were used was for you ordinary everyday ale... and the third time was for you breakfast beer, and for younger children.

  8. #8
    Ancient Member Barbarossa's Avatar
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    I actually had a university course on the subject of the history of wine

    Most things said here are correct.
    Important is wine was rarely drunk pure.
    Usually it was mixed with water. If no wine was available vinegar was used.

    Wine travelled pretty badly especially over land.
    Wine was also usually "improved" by adding sugar or spices, or by mixing several windes.

    Mulled wine was very common.

    Most of today's grapes are the result of breeding from the 17th century onwards.

    One "original" grape would be the Elbling grapes from the mosella river in Germany which were first introduced there by the Romans.

  9. #9
    Ancient Member Bardos's Avatar
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    About clean water: It could be found in mountain springs and rivers. Though, you must check if they were poisoned or anything. But, when it was tasted and it was ok, the water, could be brought to town, either throught wells or with an aqueduct. (Near my place are the ruins of an old Roman aqueduct.) Or, of course, someone(s) could bring water in a bucket.
    Btw, in the Minoan Palace was discovered that they had a whole system to channel water and fill bathtubs, etc. Also, many things ancient people did we can't. One of them is liquid fire (greek fire), that was thrown on water and continued to burn (!) --especialy usefull in naval battles. And other discoveries have, also, come to light: machinery and technologies that we wouldn't have though that existed at the time. Hey, what can be more fantasy than life, in the end?

    Wine: Well, it's that liquid stuff made from grapes. Ancient Greeks drunk it watered, so they could drink a lot without geting drunk. The landlord will usually have workers to make wine for him. (They gather the grapes and step on them barefoot, to make the wine.) But that doesn't meant that a peasant also won't have a bit for himself.

    Now, about what type of wine heroes in fantasy drink... I think they drink that kind that makes you slay 12 orcs with a single blow --Orc-Slayer's Wine!

  10. #10
    Lord Deceiver estranghero's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Bardos

    Now, about what type of wine heroes in fantasy drink... I think they drink that kind that makes you slay 12 orcs with a single blow --Orc-Slayer's Wine!

    Oy, careful Bardos, you might get manticore mad at ye, him being a campaigner of orc-rights and all!

    P.S. Isn't mead available in the English Isles and all? Someone once let me taste it before and I could see why English barbarians grew hair on their chest.

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    wine

    Wine commonly consumed was likely not very fermented as well- meaning it had a very low alcohol content. Simply put, most areas with taverns (which were actually very uncommon in early medeval towns) didn't have the luxury of aging wine, and yeasts used to ferment were fickle, and had to be stored properly, which was often difficult, and thus often simply sold lightly fermented grape juice mixed with water. You could get drunk on it, but it took an awful lot.

    Beer has been made ofr thousands of years. meade was an alcoholic drink common to northern europe and even ancient Egypt. Essentally, meade is made from fermented honey, where ber is fermented hops. In areas where barley/wheat/hops wouldn't grow very well (for climate reasons) meade oftne was the drink of choice.

    I've made meade once before. It's very very sweet, and high in alcohol content. It's really not a good drink at all. stick with beer.

  13. #13
    Ancient Member Barbarossa's Avatar
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    Beer is not fermented hops, but fermented malt, hops is added for tzaste and to conserve it.

  14. #14
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    Don't you guys know anything?

    The wine in fantasy novels is 80% cabernet sauvignon and 15% sangiovese, with an additional 5% of merlot to add backbone. It has aromas of berries, fresh herbs and pepper and is medium-bodied on the palate, with fine, silky tannins and a fruity, firm, tannic finish. It benefits from mid-term cellaring.

    I trust that's clear now.
    Last edited by Llama; July 18th, 2002 at 12:16 PM.

  15. #15
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    It's the natural sugers that actually ferment with yeast.

    These sugars are found in nearly any wheat-like plant- wheat, barley (which is Where the malt comes from), rice, hops, etc. You are correct, though- the malted barley (more precisely Malt Extract) is the #1 ingredient in the beer-making process aside from water. Hops are primarily for flavor and bitterness, but sugar is what actually ferments it.

    Hence, when you brew your own beer, the amount of alcohol (product of fermentation) is a direct result of the sugar (natural malt extract or formulated white sugar) you add to the wort.

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