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Respecting the Italian wines, Galen is represented by this sophist as saying, that the Falernian wine is fit to drink from the time that it is ten or fifteen years old, till it is twenty; but after that time it falls off, and is apt to give headaches, and affects the nervous system. There are two kinds of Falernian wine, the dry and the sweet. The sweet wine is made when the south wind blows through the vineyard; which also makes it darker in colour. But that which is not made at this time is dry and yellow. Of the Alban wine there are also two kinds, one sweet and one sour; and both are in their prime after they are fifteen years old. The wine of Surrentum begins to be drinkable when five-and-twenty years old; for as it has no oil of any sort in it, and is very thin, it is a long time ripening: and when it is old it is nearly the only wine that is wholesome to be drunk for a continuance. But the Rhegian wine, being richer than the Surrentine, may be used as soon as it is fifteen years old. The wine of Privernum too is very good, being thinner than the Rhegian wine, and one which does not take much effect on the head. And the Formian wine is like it; and is a wine which soon comes to its prime; it is, however, a richer wine than the other, But the Trifoline wine is slower ripening, and has a more earthy taste than the Surrentine. The Setine is a wine of the first class, like the Falernian wine, but lighter, and not so apt to make "a man drunk. The wine of Tibur is thin, and evaporates easily, being at its best as soon as it is ten years old. Still it is better as it gets older. The Labican wine is sweet and oily to the taste, being something between the Falerrian and the Alban: and you may drink that when it is ten years old. There is the Gauran wine too, a scarce and very fine wine, and [p. 44] likewise very powerful and oily; more so indeed than the wine of Præneste or of Tibur. The Marsic is a very dry wine; and very good for the stomach. Around Cumæ in Campania there is a wine made which is called Ulban, a light wine, fit to be drunk when five years old. The wine of Ancona is a fine wine, and rather oily. The Buxentine is like the Alban, as far as being rather sour; but it is a strong wine, and good for the stomach. The Veliternian wine is very sweet to drink and good for the stomach; but it has this peculiarity, that it does not taste like a pure wine, but always has an appearance as if some other was mixed with it. The Calenian wine is light, and better for the stomach than the Falernian. The Cæcuban is a noble wine, full of strength and easily affecting the head; but it does not come to its prime till after many years. The Fundan wine is strong, and nutritious, and affects the head and stomach, on which account it is not much used at banquets. But the Sabine wine is lighter than any of these, and is fit to be drunk from the time that it is seven years old till it is fifteen; and the Signine wine is available at six years old, but as it gets older it is far more valuable. The wine of Nomentum gets in season very early, and can be drunk as soon as it is five years old; it is not very sweet, and not very thin; but that of Spoletum is very sweet to the taste, and has a golden colour. The wine of Capua is in many respects like the Surrentine wine. The Barbine is very dry and continually improving. The Caucine too is a noble wine, and resembles the Falernian. The wine of Venafrum is good for the stomach, and light. The Trebellian wine, which is made round Naples, is of moderate strength, good for the stomach, and pleasant to the taste. The Erbulian wine is at first dark coloured, but in a few years it becomes white; and it is a very light and delicate wine. That of Marseilles is a fine wine, but it is scarce, and thick, with a good deal of body. The Tarentine, and all the other wines of that district, are delicate wines, without very much strength or body, sweet, and good for the stomach. The Mamertine is a foreign wine, made out of Italy. There is also another wine made in Sicily, and called Iotaline; it is a sweet wine and light, but there is some strength in it. Among the Indians a deity is worshipped, according to the [p. 45] account of Chares of Mitylene, who is called Soroadeus; which name, as interpreted in Greek, means Winemaker.
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