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A 3,700-year-old wine that goes well with goat

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From page A10 | December 06, 2013 | Leave Comment

The issue: Archeologists learning much about early cultures

Conspicuous consumption is a well-documented human irritant, but archeologists excavating the cellar of an ancient Canaanite palace in northern Israel may have succeeded in dating the origin of another annoying human failing — the wine snob.

THE CELLAR DATES back more than 3,700 years to the Middle Bronze Age. Diggers broke through the wall of a buried storage room and founds the remains of 40 three-foot-tall ceramic jars. Chemical analysis showed that they had contained the equivalent of 3,000 bottles of red and white wine flavored with honey, mint, cinnamon bark, juniper berries and resin as a preservative.

The archeologists speculated that the taste was sweet, strong and medicinal — but perhaps it grows on you.

Moreover, said team member Andrew Koh of Brandeis University, “This wasn’t moonshine that someone was brewing in their basement, eyeballing the measurements. This wine’s recipe was strictly followed in each and every jar.”

The oldest known wine cellar, 700 jars found in the tomb of Pharaoh Scorpion I — (Would you accept a glass of wine from someone named “Scorpion”? Perhaps that’s why he had 700 jars left over when he died.) — dates from 3,000 B.C. but was believed to have been imported from Canaan.

Indeed, the art of winemaking is believed to have been exported from Canaan to Greece, Italy and other Mediterranean nations.

ARCHEOLOGISTS believe the palace was destroyed by a sudden violent event like an earthquake around 3,600 years ago, burying the evidence of quality early wines for posterity.

Scientists may be able to extract enough information from chemical residues to recreate the wines of the Canaanite kings. Just so you know, it was generally served with goat.

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