Resinated Wines

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Wine

Oxford Companion to Wine

By Jancis Robinson

Published 2006

  • About

resinated wines of the earthenware vessels in which the ancient Greeks and Romans kept their wines (see amphorae) only the very best were airtight. Normally they were porous, and it is clear from the Roman writers on agriculture that the insides of jars were therefore coated with resin. It was therefore probably as a purely practical measure that resin was initially used. But soon people must have discovered that the wine would keep even better if they added resin to the wine itself. columella deals at length with the different kinds of resin that can be employed in this way (De re rustica 13. 20–14), but he emphasizes that the best wines should not have resin put into them. Yet many people came to like the taste of resin and used it not only as a preservative but also as a flavouring agent. pliny recommends that resin should be added to the fermenting must (Natural History 14. 124) and he discusses which kinds of resin are best: resin from mountainous regions has a more pleasant smell than resin from low-lying areas (16. 60).