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Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

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The origins of viticulture in tuscany are as problematic as the origins of the Etruscan peoples who flourished in central north Italy from the 8th century bc until being absorbed by the Romans from the 3rd century onwards. However, at its height, Etruscan society was heavily influenced by the culture of the Greek colonies of southern Italy. They imported fine Greek pottery for use in the symposium and made their own copies. The dinner and drinking party was a favourite theme in the lavish paintings which adorned their tombs. Indeed, the Etruscans became a byword among Greek and Roman moralists for luxurious living and eccentric customs, such as allowing wives to participate in banquets. There are literary references to Etruscan wine from the late 3rd century bc, but much earlier, from the late 7th century, the wine was exported in a distinctive type of amphora well beyond Italy to southern France. Various wines are attested throughout the region in the classical period, although none was universally recognized as of the highest class. See origins of viniculture.