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As to the other wines, they may be spoken of in general terms. By the use of wine, the human vigour, blood, and complexion are improved. It is wine that makes up for all the difference between the middle or temperate zone, and those which lie on either side of it, the juice of the vine conferring as much vigour and robustness upon the inhabitants of our part of the earth as the rigorousness1 of the climate does upon the people there. Milk, used as a beverage, strengthens the bones, liquids extracted from the cereals nourish the sinews, and water imparts nutriment to the flesh: hence it is that persons who confine themselves to these several liquids as a beverage, are of a less ruddy complexion than the winedrinker, less robust, and less able to endure fatigue. By the use of wine in moderation the sinews are strengthened, but taken in excess it proves injurious to them; the same, too, with the eves. Wine refreshes the stomach, sharpens the appetite, takes off the keen edge of sorrows and anxieties, warms the body, acts beneficially as a diuretic, and invites sleep. In addition to these properties, it arrests vomiting, and we find that pledgets of wool, soaked in wine, and applied to abscesses, are extremely beneficial. According to Asclepiades, the virtues possessed by wine are hardly equalled by the majestic attributes of the gods themselves.

Old wine bears admixture with a larger quantity of water, and acts more powerfully as a diuretic, though at the same time it is less effectual for quenching thirst. Sweet wine, again, is less inebriating, but stays longer on the stomach, while rough wine is more easy of digestion. The wine that becomes mellow with the greatest rapidity is the lightest, and that which becomes sweeter the older it is, is not so injurious to the nerves. Wines that are rich and black,2 are not so beneficial to the stomach; but, at the same time, they are more feeding to the body. Thin-bodied rough wines are not so feeding, but are more wholesome to the stomach, and pass off more speedily by urine, though they are all the more liable to fly to the head; a remark which will apply, once for all, to liquids of every kind.

Wine that has been mellowed by the agency of smoke is extremely unwholesome—a fraudulent method of preparation that has been invented in the wine-lofts3 of the retail dealers. At the present day, however, this plan is adopted in private families even, when it is wished to give the appearance of maturity to wines that have become carious.4 Indeed, this term carious has been used very appositely by the ancients with reference to wines; for we find that in the case of wood even, smoke exercises a caustic effect upon the carious parts, and eats them away; and yet we, on the other hand, persuade ourselves that an adventitious age may be imparted to wines by the bitter twang derived from smoke!5

Those wines which are extremely pale, become more wholesome the older they are. The more generous6 a wine is, the thicker it becomes with age; while, at the same time, it contracts a bitter flavour, which is far from exercising a beneficial effect upon the health. To season another wine, that is not so old, with this, is nothing less than to make an unwholesome preparation. The more of its own natural flavour7 a wine possesses, the more wholesome it is; and the best age for a wine is that which naturally belongs to it, a medium age being the one that is the most generally esteemed.

1 "Feritas."

2 The colour of our Port.

3 "Apothecis."

4 "Cariem trahunt."

5 While the ancients thought that the cariousness or results of old age were removed by the agency of smoke.

6 See B. xiv. c. 6.

7 "Saliva."

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