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Rumney wine or Vino di Romania

The popular Greek wine of the aristocrats of the Middle Ages in Europe

Rumney wine was a popular form of Greek wine in England and Europe from the 14th to the 16th century. Its name came from the exporter of Romania (land of the Romans), which was then a common name for Greece and the southern Balkans, the territories of the Eastern Roman Empire.


The wine was named Rumney or Romney in English, Romenier or Rumenier in German, vino di Romania in Italian. The authors on food and nutrition mention it among sweet and "hot" wines (hot in the nutritional sense). It was not a "fortified" wine in the modern sense, but a "cooked" wine (vin cuit) to which petimezi (greek concentrated must) was added.



This wine is the continuation of sweet wines that were produced
in Greece in antiquity.


In "On the goodness and badness of food", Galenus writes: those of the wines that are watery and have a fine texture, move the urine and provide little food to the body. But those who are thick, such as Theraios and Skyvelitis, have good nourishing abilities. They differ more or less depending on the thickness.


In terms of thickness, this is what we now call "density", which differs from one sweet wine to another in terms of their sugar content and therefore in terms of how sweet they are. Sweet wines are "thick", have a high density.


And after mentioning the various sweet wines of Asia Minor with their place name of origin, Galenus adds: and they are all black. Because you are not going to find any thick and at the same time sweet wine that is not black. If you roast the must of even the whitest wines - "the whitest wines" - which is called to us "epsima", it will have the color black, similar to that of Theraios. Black is also the color of Carinus which is sweet, and the color of Theraeus is also black, but not as much as that of Carinus, because it lags behind in terms of the sweetness of Carinus. White there is no sweet wine. Some are blonde and roze wines.


Why were there no white sweet wines? Because simply, before the 18th century, sweet wines were made only from overripe and sun-dried grapes, the technique of making "liqueur wines" with the addition of alcohol was not generalized and was ignored in the years of Galen, as well as in the Middle Ages.

In addition to the regular roasting deposit in the must to be fermented, it was added and when the weather conditions at the time of harvest did not allow the grapes to acquire the sweetness they needed, they "baked" part of the must on a naked fire. And the epsima- which today we call petimezi - was added to the must.

As the roast of even the whitest grapes was "black", the wine produced was brownish-black the darker the roast was added and therefore the sweeter the wine. That is why Galen says that Theraios was black, but not as black as Karyinos, because he was inferior to Karyinos in terms of sweetness.


According to the testimony of the French naturalist Pierre Belon, one of the wines of the malvazia family is the wine of Romania. In the middle of the 16th century Pierre Belon visited Crete, who left us valuable information on how to preserve Cretan malvazia: "Maluaisie wine that is transported farther, as in Germany, France and England, is first roasted (cuist), because The ships that come to Crete to transport Maluaisie to foreign places, explicitly want to load that of Rethymnon, knowing full well that it lasts longer in good quality and that the more it is cooked, the finer it is.


That is why in the city of Rethymno there are large cauldrons along the coast, which are used during the harvest season to roast their wines. Of course, not all Maluaisies are baked. Because those of the region of Chandakas and the city of Chandakas, which are transported only to Italy and therefore are not afraid to vinegar (s'aigrissent) do not bake them… There is also Maluaisie which is not sweet at all, which the Italians call garbe, that is what the French call, in the case of wines, verd (astyfo) or rude (rough) it is not conveyed to us at all, because it is not baked like sweet and does not last that long ".


Based on what Galenus wrote, the "uncooked" sweet wine was melodic, cirrhotic, tiled, so it gave the impression that it was a "red" wine, while the "baked" was brownish-black, the more "black" the more it had cooked.




  • Zakynthos, the southernmost of the Ionian Islands, is known by generations of Europeans by its French name Zante. Largely flat and green, the island was named Fioro tou Levante (flower of the East) by the Venetians, who seem to have had a special love for this acquisition. Zakynthos was the favored island for their stay, and the influence they had on the life of this place was proportional. Their influence became more felt in the revitalization of a degenerate Byzantine feudal society. The remnants of the Byzantine aristocracy were eventually eliminated everywhere else in Greece, but the Venetians supported them in Zakynthos by offering a series of incentives, which also attracted the bankrupt members of the Italian aristocracy to settle on the island. Among the other consequences of the perpetuation of a land-based aristocracy was the preservation of certain island traditions around wine, and even long after the fundamental changes in the island's economy, which make such preservation generally unprofitable.

  • From very old times there were plenty of vineyards for the production of wine in Zakynthos. Apparently the islanders did not reject almost any of the numerous grape varieties that arrived there during their history. Indeed, from this point of view, Zakynthos holds a special place in the annals of Greek viticulture, since the oldest modern evidence for the Greek grape varieties is found in a verse dating from 1601, which mentions the names of thirty-four varieties that were cultivated at that time. island: " Grapes in Zakynthos are Kozanitis, Mygdali, Fleri, Rozakia, Chlora and Moronitis, Lariera and Skyloklima, Voithamos, Fterougatis, Tragana, Petrokorithos, Pavlos and Houchouliatis. , Ftakilos and Xyrichi, Katzakoulias, Kontokladi. Kakotrygi, Voidomatis, Glykerithra, Lianorogi, Goustoulidi and Aygoustiatis, Vosos and Koutzoumpeli and Nihi Kokkorou (cock claw) which decorates the vine later of all these comes the Skylopnichtis, but this that all the red Rhodian which improves them. "


  • Three centuries later, in 1904, Ludwig Salvator recorded more than eighty varieties in his monumental work on Zakynthos, as many of the grape varieties grown have more than one color variation. The Venetians sowed the seeds of a profound change in the island's viticulture in 1516, arranging for the transplantation of the raisin from the Peloponnese in the hope of benefiting from the lucrative trade with Western Europe.


  • In 1579 the traveler Carlier de Pinon made significant exports even as far as Constantinople. However, over time the island tradition, in terms of types of wines, deviated and changed. A development with particularly serious effects were the periodic surpluses of nuts, which were observed as the cultivation of raisins extended to the Ionian Islands and the Peloponnese. The Zakynthian merchants began to make wine from raw fruit, so much so that by the end of the 19th century raisin wine, raisin wine, had become the typical commercial wine of the island. Thus, while in 1579 Carlier de Pinon mentioned the export of a red wine called "Romania", of local grapes varietal origin, and a white one called "Ribola", from the Robola variety mentioned in the 1601 poem.

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