Iron Age Celts bonded over love of wine, suggests study

Iron Age Celts bonded over love of wine, suggests study

Story by – Chris Mercer
in Decanter

Celts in southern Germany were sipping Mediterranean wine by the Danube river up to 2,700 years ago, and it wasn’t just for social elites, suggests new evidence. 

A recreation of how Heuneburg might have looked in the early sixth century BC

Iron Age Celts were drinking wine in what is now Germany’s Baden-Württemberg region long before the Romans arrived, according to a new peer-reviewed study published in the PLOS One journal.

Researchers analysed 133 vessels, from local drinking goblets to imported jugs, to learn about life in the hillfort of Heuneburg between the seventh and fifth centuries BC.

What they found also challenged a commonly held view that imported wine had  always been the preserve of social elites in Celtic societies.  Twenty-four vessels analysed contained traces of tartaric acid, which is considered an archaeological calling card for wine.

Grape wine consumed at the Heuneburg was probably imported from the Mediterranean, said the researchers, who found no evidence of winemaking in the area.  Unlike recent results from a similar site in Burgundy, wine traces were found in both imported and locally made vessels, and from both poorer and richer areas.

This suggests wine was more of an everyday drink that helped to define the community’s identity, said the researchers.  Maybe labor was even mobilized by “work-party feasts” that included wine consumption,’ they said, citing a theory in earlier research.

But things changed and wine appeared to become more of a status symbol.

By the late sixth century, wine was only drunk from imported Attic pottery and from a new-wave of wheel-made pottery, researchers said.

Perhaps wine consumption became more conspicuous, they said.

Certain actors within Early Celtic society seem to have managed to transform the meaning of wine by successfully limiting its consumption to certain vessels and spaces.

This, said researchers, could have been a turning point and might be why Greek writer Poseidonius would remark several centuries later that Celtic elites drank wine whereas the lower parts of Celtic society consumed beer.

Old Timer Napa Cabernet Producer is Still Rocking It!

Frank Altamura’s lifelong pursuit as a winemaker is fueled by his passion for viticulture. Born and raised in Napa Valley, Frank began working with his cousin, a vineyard manager, right out of  high school and knew that this would be his life’s calling. Formal viticultural training began at Sterling Vineyards in 1976 where he began to explore what winemakers were looking for from the vineyard. This concept was further developed from the winemaker’s perspective at Caymus with mentor Charlie Wagner.

Altamura 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
Retail 119.94
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Amazingly pure, rich and complex, with tiers of dark berry, blackberry, wild berry, blueberry and boysenberry layered on top of black licorice and dusty, gravelly earth details, all well-centered. The finish sails on, with a mocha brownie aftertaste. Drink now through 2030

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The World Atlas of Wine, new edition released!

The World Atlas of Wine new edition released
By Huon Hooke

in The Real Review – WINE BOOKS

Hear ye, hear ye! The new edition of the world’s most famous wine reference book is being released. The World Atlas of Wine, 8th edition, edited by Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson and published by Mitchell Beazley, is now being published worldwide. It will be launched

Since 1971, over 4.7 million copies of the Atlas have been sold worldwide.

It’s been six years since the 7th edition was published, and much has changed in the world of wine. I was one of the 68 local contributors who helped update the book.

For the 8th edition, all pictures have been renewed, 20 new maps have been added, and all other maps have been updated. It will be the most thorough and comprehensive so far.  There’s a focus on climate change and its impact. Trends and topics addressed include ‘natural’ wine, ‘orange’ wine, sustainability and wine fraud. Arranged in an A to Z format, it’s a large-format hardback and has 416 pages.  Since 1971, over 4.7 million copies of the Atlas have been sold worldwide.

The first edition, authored by Hugh Johnson, made history when it appeared in 1971. Jancis Robinson came on board in 1998 to co-author the fifth edition.

Drinking Champagne is Key to Living a Long Life, Says 108-Year Old Woman

Drinking Champagne is Key to Living a Long Life, Says 108-Year Old Woman
By Ashlie Hughes

in VinePair

Want to live past 100? Forget the healthy eating and endless hours on the treadmill, just head to your local wine store and pick up some bubbles.  At least, that’s the advice from the staff at Southlands Care Home, in Harrogate, England, who claim Champagne is the secret to one of their resident’s great health.

Born in 1911, Southland resident Dorothy Flowers celebrated her 108th birthday this week. Flowers credits her exceptionally long life to drinking Champagne and a love of horse racing.

“Dorothy loves company, so she’ll sit with us at the reception desk each day. She’s such a regular that she’s got her own drawer, which we keep full of chocolate buttons,” Helene Ballinger, the resident manager at Southlands, told Yahoo Style UK.

“Her real secret for longevity, though, has to be Champagne. It’s the only thing we ever see her finish a glass of,” Ballinger added.

Flowers received an astounding 654 cards from around the world wishing her a happy birthday and of course, multiple bottles of Champagne.

Forget diamonds: It seems like bubbles are a girl’s best friend.



A 95 Point Merlot FOR Cabernet Lovers

I know what you are thinking, another wimpy wine, soft and silky – WRONG!!  The 2016 Switchback Ridge (made by Robert Foley), is a big, bold red blend of Merlot and Cabernet. Switchback Ridge wines are sourced exclusively from the Peterson Family Vineyard in Calistoga. The rich, rocky soils of this beautiful vineyard property consistently produce low yields of intensely flavored fruit, resulting in extremely concentrated, fruit driven wines that are the hallmark of Switchback Ridge

Switchback Ridge 2016 Estate Merlot, Napa Valley
GGWC 64.99
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The 2016 Merlot is a rich, mutli-layered and well-structured wine.  On the nose you’ll encounter floral red currant, black cherry and anise aromas.  On the palate this wine is bold and complex with luscious flavors of blackstone fruits, chocolate, anise and a hint of spice that lead to big but silky tannin finish. Drink now through 2025.

Jeb Dunnuck 95 Points: “I also loved the 2016 Merlot Peterson Family Vineyard. This puppy also comes from a site in the northern part of the Valley. It has a true “wow” nose and offers loads of black cherries, blueberries, chocolate, bay leaf, and assorted tobacco and herbal notes. It has its foot firmly on the ripeness pedal, is full-bodied, deep, and has a stacked mid-palate. It’s a pleasure-bent, seriously good Merlot to drink over the coming decade.”

Winemaker Notes: “Enticing red fruit bowl aromas of raspberry, red cherry and cassis are graced with just a hint of savory spice. These flavors flood the palate with a rich mouthful of deliciousness that brings on espresso-like nuances. The structure and balance resolve in a mouth-coating finish that seems to go on forever.” ~ Bob Foley, Winemaker

Also check out their other great Switchback Ridge releases:

Click here or on the links above to order!



Grasping the Grape: Demystifying Grape Varieties to Help You Discover the Wines You Love
by M Chevriere

If you’ve ever been baffled by wine descriptions like “tightly coiled” or “fast, slippery, sappy,” then Maryse Chevriere is the wine writer for you. A sommelier and James Beard Award-winning humorist for her Instagram account @freshcutgardenhose, Chevriere brings her signature levity and whimsical illustrations to her new book, which breaks down 30-plus of the most prominent grape varietals from Albariño to Zinfandel with a brief history and fun facts for each, plus tips for finding your new favorite wine.

Cocktails with a Twist
by Kara Newman

With five cocktail books under her belt, including Shake Stir Sip and Nightcap, Kara Newman’s newest is right in line with her style of playful approachability. Cocktails with a Twist presents the concept of cocktail branches—riffs that can be created by building upon a classic. Flip to the section on the Gimlet, for example, to get the drink’s history and classic recipe. Then, open up the fold-out pages to reveal relatives like the Southside, Last Word and Corpse Reviver #2. Expand your repertoire with 21 classic recipes and 141 drinks total.

The Cider Revival: Dispatches from the Orchard
by Jason Wilson

Keeping in line with the same signature storytelling style that made Boozehound and Godforsaken Grapes entertaining travelogues, Jason Wilson makes a clear case for why cider is back and better than ever. For cider nerds, it’s an enjoyable meander through the who’s-who of the cider world, and for novices, Wilson does a fine job of explaining the drink’s idiosyncrasies in an easily digestible manner.

The Martini Cocktail: A Meditation on the World’s Greatest Drink, with Recipes
by Robert Simonson

Following up his 2014 book, Old Fashioned, Imbibe contributor Robert Simonson has tackled the single-topic drinks exploration again with The Martini Cocktail. The book is as beautiful as it is insightful, and Simonson does an excellent job of tracing the obscure roots of the Martini and offers a well-rounded collection of both historic and modern recipes.

Drink Better Beer: Discover the Secrets of the Brewing Experts
by Joshua M. Bernstein

Imbibe contributing editor and all-around beer authority Joshua Bernstein returns to press in September with a new book on his beverage of choice. Gathering insight from more than 100 beer experts, Drink Better Beer shares the basics of navigating your local beer store like a pro, and how best to enjoy your brewed haul.

Vignette: Stories of Life and Wine in 100 Bottles
by Jane Lopes

Jane Lopes’ beverage career has taken her across the world, from Catbird Seat in Nashville to Eleven Madison Park in Manhattan to Attica in Melbourne, Australia. Along the way she became a Master Sommelier, and her first book is as much personal storytelling as it is a guide to wine. In Vignette, Lopes weaves her personal narrative together with educational passages through 100 bottles of (mostly) wine and charming illustrations that depict, for example, the vine fungus botrytis as explained by the sweet-rotten behavior of Botrytis the cat.

How to Cocktail
by America’s Test Kitchen

As their name suggests, the folks at America’s Test Kitchen are sticklers about testing recipes, and their first-ever cocktail book takes the same rigorous approach. Organized by method of mixing, How to Cocktail not only offers up a slew of classic recipes and a handful of originals, but also explains how to properly use bar tools, breaks down the most common base spirits and mixers, and provides instructions for DIY syrups and infusions. It’s a perfect beginner’s guide for the cocktail-curious.

Last Call: Bartenders on Their Final Drink & the Wisdom and Rituals of Closing Time
by Brad Thomas

Cocktail books typically lean in the direction of fun and entertainment—and while the latest book from Parsons (Bitters, Amaro) certainly doesn’t skip out on the good times, he strikes a tone more elegiac with Last Call, asking bartenders heavy questions about mortality and legacy. In 23 cities across the country, Parsons inquires about what their final drink would be—and the question opens a wider discussion into bar rituals, cocktail culture, and the inherent appeal of these welcoming rooms in the wee hours of the night.

The NoMad Cocktail Book
by Leo Robitschek

Classy and compact, the new cocktail book from the famed New York hotel bar The NoMad is a stately addition to the world of bar-focused recipe books. Ideal for folks who are comfortable making advanced drinks at home, there’s no lengthy explanations of how to make cocktails, just a whopping collection of 300 recipes (more than 100 are new to the book) paired with elegant illustrations.

A Brief History of Lager: 500 Years of the World’s Favourite Beer
by Mark Dredge

The lager family tree, which includes styles ranging from Pilsner to Dunkel, and its historic emergence is charted with carbonation-sharp precision in the latest from bestselling beer author Mark Dredge. He defines the basics (what’s a lager?) in addition to excavating the beer’s ancestors & exploring the transformation of a style once it reached American shores. Full of shareable tidbits, Dredge’s book explains it all in an entertaining fashion, weaving in personal stories to keep the tale of the centuries-old lager fresh as ever.

by Fred Lyon

In the 1940s, Fred Lyon was an amateur photographer and wine lover living in San Francisco. Combining his interests, Lyon spent the next seven decades photographing vineyards across the globe, all while running his own small vineyard in Napa. His new book, the coffee-table style Vineyards, is a gorgeous retrospective of his photography, illustrating the nature, history and humanity found among the vines.

LAST CALL 4 The Titans are back – A 97 Point, Perfectly structured Syrah!

Just from the color you can tell the 2016 Les Titans Syrah will be magnificent; it has an electric psychedelic purplish glow hinting at the energy present in the wine. The nose is a complete knockout with iron, grilled meat, hickory smoke, ink, and pain grillé aromas. The mouth is consistent with the nose combining power and precision. The finish is long and clean with great acidity and lingering notes of violets and squid ink. The Les Titans has everything you could hope for in cold climate Syrah with grace and focus and none of the one dimensional, heavy, leaden quality found in lesser wines. I suggest you drink a bottle upon release to see what is so exciting and then open a few every few years to watch it evolve into the single best Les Titans – and maybe even Syrah

Peay 2016 Syrah “Les Titans” Estate, Sonoma Coast
GGWC 59.99
Use code SHIPFREE6 during checkout

Vinous 97 Points:Peay’s 2016 Syrah Estate Les Titans is utterly magnificent. Black cherry, plum, crème de cassis, graphite, black pepper and licorice marry perfectly with the wine’s vertical feel and sense of structure. A super-classic, cool-climate wine, the 2016 Titans dazzles from start to finish. I loved it.”

Click here or on the links above to order!