Wine in the Middle Ages at the time of Dante Alighieri

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Written By wineshop

Dante and Wine in the Middle Ages

If we talk about wine in the Middle Ageswe cannot abstain from the father of the Italian language the great poet Dante Alighierihe grants us this definition on the nectar of the God Bacchus:

wine is born from the optimal fusion of the warmth of the sun and the earthy humours of the vine.

As a classical man of the Middle Ages Dante he does not want to dwell on wine, he uses this definition as a metaphor in order to arrive at an elaboration of a religious concept, he begins to speak by saying that when God injects the intellectual soul into the foetus, which distinguishes man from all living beings.

With this gesture, the soul composed of its intellect takes back into itself the two natural souls, expressed since fertilisation, the vegetative one, similar to plants, and the sensory one, specific to animals.

The wine the blood of Christ

The different meanings they give of mankind are always traced back to wine. All this thinking fundamentally reflects the conception of medieval man, for whom the wine represents a drink to be exchanged commercially, but also expresses the blood of Christ, religious expression par excellence, full of meaning .

Wine and the Devil

Wine for the thinking of the time expresses an abuse or decadent vice, for these theological reasons the Church hates wine and denigrates it morally and religiously, seeing in him a devious expression of the devil, even though wine is used by religious during the celebration of the sacred Mass.

Wine and the Church in the Middle Ages

This report of love and hatred that the Church has for wine indirectly causes a good production of this blasphemous drink, in fact in Italy in the late Middle Ages, that of the Communes a great deal of wine was produced.

How was wine made in the Middle Ages?

Italy became the centre of trade for all wines and throughout the Mediterranean and to Continental Europe (wine-making evolved from antiquity to the Middle Ages using wooden barrels instead of amphorae, as some people know; terracotta amphorae made impermeable by wax, resins, plaster and pitch were used, while in the Middle Ages the use of wood, considered more suitable for preservation, was imposed), although with the advent of the Middle Ages, some of the productive wine-making techniques that had been implemented in Roman times were lost, and so we see a retreat from wine production.

Questa differenza di tecniche di produzione si evince in epoca Medievale, mentre nel periodo del tardo impero romano si erano various types of wines from the affordable to the very refinedi.e. still and sparkling wines up to a territorial wine, obviously one went in Roman times from wine that could be aged to wine that could be consumed immediately.

What did they drink in the Middle Ages?

In the Middle Ages, there was a return to primordial wine production and simple to those that managed to keep beyond six months, centuries would have to pass before men rediscovered or reintroduced wine preservation techniques.

Medieval wines lasted a few months and had to be drunk within three months if they did not lose their taste, in fact a Florentine notary Lapo Mazei (1350-1412) wrote on the subject that:

the wine took on an undrinkable smell and taste.

Even the grape harvest had to be done for everyone at the same time, to prevent anyone from profiting by speculating, because the first wine in the Middle Ages was the best, later, as in Etruscan and Greek times, spices, flavourings, sugar etc. were added.

The end of medieval wine

The end of mediaeval wine is realised when men manage to avoid oxidation, however mediaeval wine was watered down and used mainly by aristocrats the most refined, it can be said that the Medieval wine disappears in the 17th century when conservation techniques improved dramatically.

How much wine was drunk per day in the Middle Ages?

In the Middle Ages, each man consumed two litres of wine, even though it was usually a low-alcohol wine, today a man consumes an average of 20 litres a year, in medieval times people were more under the influence of alcohol, because the water in rivers and wells was often polluted, causing enormous mortality, so they consumed the so-called vinello in a derogatory sense for safety and because it was believed that the wine in the casks had a curative and preventive function for diseases, particularly cardiovascular.

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