How to Taste Wine, c. 1305

manuscript image of wine vendor and customer Tacuinum sanitatis, Biblioteca Casanatense 4182 (14th c.)

Some say that when the northern winds blow, wine is most genuine and reliable. Other connoisseurs prefer to taste wine when the southern winds blow. But when the winds blow, it’s time to taste the wines…

You should not taste wines during a fast because that dulls the taste. Nor right after eating and drinking a great deal… And whoever wants to taste wine shouldn’t eat bitter or salty food, or anything that alters the taste.

Some people wanting to trick a buyer… give nuts and cheese to those wanting to taste the wine, so that the taste is most certainly altered. Let’s not do this. It’s also good for the buyer to taste both new and old wine often, in order to remember what to avoid.

Pietro de’ Crescenzi, Liber ruralium commodorum

Feel that north wind blowing? Or is it the south wind? Who cares – pass me a glass.