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Of the trees from which pitch and resin distil, there are some which grow in the East, and others in Europe: the province of Asia,1 which lies between the two, has also some of both kinds. In the East, the very best commodity of this kind, and of the finest quality, is that produced by the terebinth,2 and, next to it, that from the lentisk,3 which is also known as the mastich. The next in quality to these is the juice of the cypress,4 being of a more acrid flavour than any other. All the above juices are liquid and of a resinous nature only, but that of the cedar5 is comparatively thick, and of a proper consistency for making pitch. The Arabian resin6 is of a pale colour, has an acrid smell, and its fumes are stifling to those employed in boiling it. That of Judæa is of a harder nature, and has a stronger smell than that from the terebinth7 even. The Syrian8 resin has all the appearance of Attic honey, but that of Cyprus is superior to any other; it is the colour of honey, and is of a soft, fleshy nature. The resin of Colophon9 is yellower than the other varieties, but when pounded it turns white; it has a stifling smell, for which reason the perfumers do not employ it. That prepared in Asia from the produce of the pitch-tree is very white, and is known by the name of "spagas."

All the resins are soluble in oil;10 some persons are of opinion also that potters' chalk may be so dissolved:11 I feel ashamed12 to avow that the principal esteem in which the resins are held among us is as depilatories for taking the hair off men's bodies.

The method used for seasoning wines is to sprinkle pitch in the must during the first fermentation, which never lasts beyond nine days at the most, so that a bouquet is imparted to the wine,13 with, in some degree, its own peculiar piquancy of flavour. It is generally considered, that this is done most effectually by the use of raw flower14 of resin, which imparts a considerable degree of briskness to wine: while, on the other hand, it is thought that crapula15 itself, if mixed, tends to mitigate the harshness of the wine and subdue its asperity, and when the wine is thin and flat, to give it additional strength and body. It is in Liguria more particularly, and the districts in the vicinity of the Padus, that the utility is recognized of mixing crapula with the must, in doing which the following rule is adopted: with wines of a strong and generous nature they mix a larger quantity, while with those that are poor and thin they use it more sparingly. There are some who would have the wine seasoned with both crapula and flower of resin at the same time.16 Pitch too, when used for this purpose, has much the same properties as must when so employed.

In some places, the must is subject to a spontaneous fermentation a second time: when this unfortunately happens it loses all its flavour, and then receives the name of "vappa,"17 a word which is applied as an opprobrious appellation even to worthless men of degenerate spirit: in vinegar, on the other hand, notwithstanding its tart and acrid taste, there are very considerable virtues, and without it we should miss many of the comforts18 of civilized life.

In addition to what we have already stated, the treatment and preparation of wines are the object of such remarkable attention, that we find some persons employing ashes, and others gypsum and other substances of which we have already19 spoken, for the purpose of improving its condition: the ashes,20 however, of the shoots of vines or of the wood of the quercus, are in general preferred for this purpose. It is recommended also, to take sea-water far out at sea, and to keep it in reserve,21 to be employed for this purpose: at all events, it ought to be taken up in the night and during the summer solstice, while the north-east wind is blowing; but if taken at the time of the vintage, it should be boiled before being used.

The pitch most highly esteemed in Italy for preparing vessels for storing wine, is that which comes from Bruttium. It is made from the resin that distils from the pitch-tree; that which is used in Spain is held in but little esteem, being the produce of the wild pine; it is bitter, dry, and of a disagreeable smell. While speaking of the wild trees in a succeeding Book,22 we shall make mention of the different varieties of pitch, and the methods used in preparing it. The defects in resin, besides those which23 we have already mentioned, are a certain degree of acridity, or a peculiar smoky flavour, while the great fault in pitch is the being over-burnt. The ordinary test of its goodness is a certain luminous appearance when broken to pieces; it ought to stick, too, to the teeth, with a pleasant, tart flavour.

In Asia, the pitch which is most esteemed is that of Mount Ida, in Greece of Pieria; but Virgil24 gives the preference to the Narycian25 pitch. The more careful makers mix with the wine black mastich, which comes from Pontus,26 and resembles bitumen in appearance, as also iris27-root and oil. As to coating the vessels with wax, it has been found that the wine is apt to turn acid:28 it is a better plan to put wine in vessels that have held vinegar, than in those which have previously contained sweet wine or mulsum. Cato29 recommends that wines should be got up—concinnari is his word—by putting of lie-ashes boiled down with defrutum, one-fortieth part to the culeus, or else a pound and a half of salt, with pounded marble as well: he makes mention of sulphur also, but only gives the very last place to resin. When the fermentation of the wine is coming to an end, he recommends the addition of the must to which he gives the name of "tortivum,"30 meaning that which is pressed out the very last of all. For the purpose of colouring wine we also add certain substances as a sort of pigment, and these have a tendency to give it a body as well. By such poisonous sophistications is this beverage compelled to suit our tastes, and then we are surprised that it is inju- rious in its effects!

It is a proof that wine is beginning to turn bad, if a plate of lead, on being put in it, changes its colour.31

1 Asia Minor, namely.

2 B. xiii. c. 12.

3 B. xii. c. 37.

4 It produces but a very minute quantity of resin, which is no longer an article of commerce.

5 See B. xiii. c. 11, and B. xvi. c. 21. Not the cedar of Lebanon, probably, which only gives a very small quantity of resin, but one of the Junipers.

6 Fée suggests that this may have been the resin of the Arabian terebinth.

7 See B. xxiv. c. 22.

8 Perhaps from the Pistacia terebinthus of Linnæus.

9 This was made from the terebinth: but the modern resin of Colophon is extracted from varieties of the coniferæ.

10 See B. xxiv. c. 22.

11 Earths are not soluble in oils.

12 As being a mark of extreme effeminacy.

13 The greater the quantity of alcohol, the more resin the wine would be able to hold in solution.

14 See B. xvi. c. 22.

15 "Crapula" properly means head-ache, and what is not uncommonly known as "seedness." Resined wine was thought to be productive of these effects, and hence obtained the name. This kind of wine was used itself, as we see above, in seasoning the other kinds. Fée remarks, that in reality resins have no such effect as imparting body to weak wines.

16 The whole of this passage is hopelessly corrupt, and we can only guess at the meaning.

17 We have already stated that "vappa" is properly vinegar, which has been exposed to the air and has lost its flavour. In this fresh chemical change, which he calls a second fermentation, the wine becomes vinegar; and probably in the cases he mentions, for some peculiar reason, its speedy transition to "vappa" could not be arrested.

18 Mixed with water, it was the "posca," or common drink of the Roman soldiers; and it was used extensively both by Greeks and Romans in their cooking, and at meals.

19 In c. 24.

20 By the mixture of ashes, Fée says, the wines would lose their colour, and have a detestable alkaline flavour.

21 A perfect absurdity, Fée remarks.

22 B. xvi. cc. 16—23.

23 Bitterness, driness, and a disagreeable smell.

24 Georg. ii. 498.

25 See B. iv. c. 12.

26 See B. xii. c. 36.

27 See B. xxi. c. 19.

28 Bees' wax, Fée remarks, would not have this effect, but vinegar vessels would.

29 De Re Rust. c. 23.

30 The second "squeezings."

31 If the wine is turning to vinegar, subacetate of lead will be formed.

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