June 18, 2013

A Very Rare Vintage


A bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafite?  $160,000.  A carafe of 425 BC Lattara?  Priceless.
A group of archeologists and chemists recently joined forces to conclude that wine production in France may have started as early as 425 BC, marking the birth of viniculture in France and a new cultural direction.
Using a range of chemical analysis techniques — including Agilent’s 6890 GC and 5973 MSD — as well as traditional archaeological methods, Patrick McGovern, a biomolecular archaeologist at the University of Pennsylvania Museum and his team have found evidence of wine manufacture in the coastal town of Lattara (now Lattes) dating from as early as 400 BC. 
Through analyses of residues taken from the site, the researchers found biomarkers for grapes in the limestone of a pressing platform (now the earliest chemically identified wine press), indicating that it had been used to press grapes for local wine, a marked shift from the Italian wines most likely imported from Italy since the 7th century BC.