Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

Caecuban, wine was ranked by the connoisseurs of Ancient rome among the finest wines of Italy for the last century bc and the first half of the 1st century ad. Caecuban wine was produced on a small vineyard in the low-lying marshy region, south of Terracina, on the west coast of central Italy, between the sea and the Lago di Fondi. The vines were trained up poplars. Caecuban was a white wine, which following standard Roman practice was aged for a number of years, during which it deepened to a ‘flame’ colour. It was described as ‘sinewy’ and ‘packing a punch’ by the medical writer Galen. The vineyard was largely destroyed in the middle of the 1st century ad by the ambitious, though abortive, scheme of the Emperor Nero to dig a canal to link the bay of Naples with the Tiber. Caecuban never recovered and the name became simply a generic term for wine with the characteristic colour of the true wine. Small quantities of undistinguished red wine called Cécubo are produced in the district today.