AT Athens on the eleventh day of February (thence called Πιθοίγια, (the barrel-opening), they began to taste their new wine; and in old times (as it appears), before they drank, they offered some to the Gods, and prayed that that cordial liquor might prove good and wholesome. By us Thebans the month is named Προστατήριος, and it is our custom upon the sixth day to sacrifice to our good Genius and taste our new wine, after the zephyr has done blowing; for that wind makes wine ferment more than any other, [p. 280] and the liquor that can bear this fermentation is of a strong body and will keep well. My father offered the usual sacrifice, and when after supper the young men, my fellow-students, commended the wine, he started this question: Why does not new wine inebriate as soon as other? This seemed a paradox and incredible to most of us; but Hagias said, that luscious things were cloying and would presently satiate, and therefore few could drink enough to make them drunk; for when once the thirst is allayed, the appetite would be quickly palled by that unpleasant liquor; for that a luscious is different from a sweet taste, even the poet intimates, when he says,
With luscious wine, and with sweet milk and cheese.1Wine at first is sweet; afterward, as it grows old, it ferments and begins to be pricked a little; then it gets a sweet taste.