The wines mentioned in Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History”

Pliny the Elder, Roman writer, philosopher, general, administrator and naturalist who lived between 23 A.D. and 79 A.D., wrote the “Natural History” probably between 77 A.D. and 78 A.D.; Pliny the Elder’s “Natural History” is a treatise on nature, written according to an encyclopedic structure. Numerous topics are covered within the Natural History; as regards cooking and agriculture, chapters XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XXIII are of particular interest. As regards wine and enology in general, our attention must be directed towards chapter XIV where the issues relating to the vine and wine are explained, and chapter XXIII where the properties of various plants and medicines are treated, including the properties that in ancient times were recognized for wine and vinegar.

Image from Wikipedia depicting a page of a copy of the Naturalis Historia

Some of the other wines mentioned by Pliny the Elder are the Pucino wine, believed to have anti-aging properties, which was probably grown around the Timavo, and Setinum, loved above all by Augustus.

Pliny the Elder in this work will also talk about a typical wine of Greece still today, the retsina, advising not to use resin from Aleppo pines located at sea level, but instead to prefer those located at a higher altitude among others, possibly in the mountains.

Finally, other wines mentioned in the Natural History are those of Alba and still the Surrentinum and Potulanum.