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Thus far we have treated of wines, the goodness of which is due to the country of their growth. In Greece the wine that is known by the name of "bion," and which is administered for its curative qualities in several maladies (as we shall have occasion to remark when we come to speak on the subject of Medicine1), has been justly held in the very highest esteem. This wine is made in the following manner: the grapes are plucked before they are quite ripe, and then dried in a hot sun: for three days they are turned three times a day, and on the fourth day they are pressed, after which the juice is put in casks,2 and left to acquire age in the heat of the sun.3

The people of Cos mix sea-water in large quantities with their wines, an invention which they first learned from a slave, who adopted this method of supplying the deficiency that had been caused by his thievish propensities. When this is mixed with white must, the mixture receives the name of "leu- cocoum."4 In other countries again, they follow a similar plan in making a wine called "tethalassomenon."5 They make a wine also known as "thalassites,"6 by placing vessels full of must in the sea, a method which quickly imparts to the wine all the qualities of old age.7 In our own country too, Cato has shown the method of making Italian wine into Coan: in addition to the modes of preparation above stated, he tells us that it must be left exposed four years to the heat of the sun, in order to bring it to maturity. The Rhodian8 wine is similar to that of Cos, and the Phorinean is of a still salter flavour. It is generally thought that all the wines from beyond sea arrive at their middle state of maturity in the course of six9 or seven years.

1 B. xxiii. c. 1, and c. 26.

2 "Cadis."

3 Fée remarks that this method is still adopted in making several of the liqueurs.

4 White wine of Cos. Fée thinks that Pliny means to say that the sea water turns the must of a white or pale straw colour, and is of opinion that he has been wrongly informed.

5 "Sea-water" wine.

6 "Sea-seasoned" wine.

7 Fée says, that if the vessels were closed hermetically this would have little or no appreciable effect; if not, it would tend to spoil the wine.

8 Athenæus says that the Rhodian wine will not mix so well with seawater as the Coan. Fée remarks that if Cato's plan were followed, the wine would become vinegar long before the end of the four years.

9 Sillig thinks that the proper reading is "in six" only.

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