hist-brewing: Retro-documentation (was Grape and Peach Wine Recipe)

Nick Sasso Njs at mccalla.com
Mon Feb 1 14:21:54 PST 1999


Good Gentles all,

You have just experienced the snag of Retro-
documenting a project:  creating something and 
then trying to go find documentation to validate
the effort.  It is treacherous at best.  I often find
that logical steps are less systematic and more tenuous when done in
this fashion.

I find there are several of Melomel and fruit wine 
recipes out there which indicate the fruits used.  
Even Pliny references a wine made of
 Pomegranates made in Syria.   To use tangential 
and inferencial sources after the fact would only 
taint your wonderful wine and the skill it took to
create it.

The suggestion that making wine was a 
preservation method is more than most brewers &
vintners should concede in any reasonable entry.
There are some preservations that are sort of quasi
 fermentations that you can document (yoghurts, 
cheeses, fermented sauces), but they tend to be 
preparations of whole foods and not the juices.  
Fruits were most often dried or salted for 
preservation in the sources I've read (Le Menagier, 
Hugh Platt, Apicius).  Some may pack in a brine or 
wine to steep, but assert it was to create wine goes 
a little beyond what we can say with confidence 
about wine and foods.

I suggest looking to find where peaches are used 
in culinary context to see if they were even 
considered a candidate for wine/melomels. The 
varieties found in Europe in the Middle Ages were 
also most likely of a different species than the 'GA
 peach' we have come to love.

niccolo difrancesco


Arnald of Villanova's _Book of Wine_ has a usable recipe for period
grape wine.  I have never found a period peach wine recipe unless you
count the paragraph in Pliny's on Good Health"s reference that pears
and peaches are preserved the same way as apples and grapes and assume
that fermentation was considered to be one preservation technique.
 

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