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by Fred McMillin
Feb. 1st—Happy New Year?
In ancient Rome, the start of the New Year was February First up until the Roman Calendar was replaced by the Julian Calendar in 46 B.C.
...e-mail from erudite reader Jim Pompilio, Clifton Park, New York, correcting our Jan. 1, 1998 WineDay.
The Rest of the Story
So tonight I'm going to toast the original Roman New Year...but with what wine? Should I spice it up a bit?
French enologist-archeologist Herve Durand has some suggestions; here are additives used in the Roman wines:
Since I've just run out of mushroom ashes, I'm going to drink an unbleached red from a varietal whose ancestors grew in Tuscany when Emperor Numa Pompilius established the February 1st New Year. The envelope, please.
Credits: Durand information from N.Y. Times, 9/14/94.
How tastes change. About 60 A.D. Pliny the Elder criticized the Gauls for their revolting practice of drinking wine UNDILUTED.
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