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Wine News

Frances oldest vintage 5th Century BC?

Archeaologists have found evidence that France's passion for winemaking may have started in the South of France as early as 5th Century BC. Items were found in the ancient coastal town of Lattara, one of the best-preserved Iron Age sites in France, located about 125 kilometres west of Marseilles. Chemical analysis of these artefacts revealed that wine was being produced. The study, led by the University of Pennsylvania found tartaric acid, which occurs in grapes, in all of the jars they found — strong evidence that they once contained wine. The analyses also revealed the characteristic fingerprints of pine resin, as well as herbs such as rosemary and basil, which may have served as flavourings or preservatives, or added to give the wine medicinal properties.

A limestone platform dated to about 425–400 bc, also carried tartaric acid residues. Archaeologists had once thought that it may have been used for pressing olives, but the platform looks remarkably similar to a grape press depicted on a piece of Greek pottery.