Fine Wine

I remember a friend describing me earlier as one having a reasonably developed palate. So when I was fussing over the wine at a restaurant the other day, it got me thinking – why did wine become such a synonym with fine living?

Sign of Prosperity – Even before medieval times, wine was not a drink for the poor, simply because of the cost of making and storing wine with its high chances of getting spoilt. Cheaper homemade alternatives were used by the mass, but wine was a sign of affluence. This was prevalent across Greece, Egypt and other cultures. It was the Romans who actually catapulted it to its current status. For an ordinary person, a simple association of the wealthy and powerful of the richest civilization with wine drinking would present a powerful image. Thanks to Roman colonization across Europe, especially Spain, Britain, and France, wine development had started and added to the popularity of wine.

Alternative to water – After the industrial revolution, water from natural sources was not drinkable in many places due to pollution, and transportation was not adequate to get pure water in quantities everywhere. Wine was considered as a healthier(!) option to available water and steadily became considered as part of the daily diet of the Europeans. Coffee would later replace wine as the drink during the day.

Taste – From early times, people did enjoy the taste of wine. This is partly because of its low alcohol content (Wine typically has 10% – 12.5% alcohol v/v), which allows the tongue to taste other flavors and partly because of the nature of the basic ingredient of wine. This also means most people can have some glasses of wine in a social gathering without acting unrefined, like throwing up or passing out, all the while showing off their skills at guessing the subtle wine flavors. It also does have some health benefits, especially in comparison to other alcoholic beverages of earlier times.

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4 thoughts on “Fine Wine

  1. brandy was the first distilled alcohol and it was developed in the 12th century (due to high shipping cost of voluminous alcohol). so prior to that wine had the highest alcoholic content amongst all commonly available sources of clean water.
    man had learned that fire/heat was the best sanitizer, but somehow boiling water to arrest cholera did not happen till late 19th century (by then half of the population in world’s cities including london had perished)
    beer popularity was also because of the same reason… only more because it was cheaper.

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  2. btw what tastes best…. a glass of fine wine with bowl of home cooked lamb curry and rice.
    now that you have picked up on cooking… i can’t wait to taste them

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  3. Well, last evening we had Moroccan grilled chicken with an Australian Chardonnay. Nice match….
    Seems being a foodie gives you an instinct when you are preparing stuff yourself.

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  4. Pingback: 142/365: National Wine Day* | Eat My Words

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