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Tutankhamen liked his wine white

From: NewScientist Print Edition

It seems that Tutankhamen, the teenage king of ancient Egypt , sloped off to the afterlife with a good supply of fine white wine. It's a surprising discovery, considering there is no record of white wine in Egypt until the 3rd century AD, 1600 years after the young pharaoh died.

Rosa Lamuela-Raventos and her colleagues from the University of Barcelona, Spain, used liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry to analyse the residue from six of the jars in Tutankhamen's tomb. All contained tartaric acid, a chemical characteristic of grapes, but only one contained syringic acid, found in the skin of red grapes. It's this skin that gives red wine its colour.

The absence of the chemical in the other five jars suggests the wine in them was white. Because it is unlikely Egyptian wine makers would have removed red grape skins to create white wines as modern wine makers do, white grapes probably did exist in Tutankhamen's time.

In ancient Egypt , red wine was placed in tombs to accompany people into the afterlife. Now it appears that white wine was on the menu too.

"It must have been considered a very good drink," says Lamuela-Raventos, whose findings are reported in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Archaeological Science .

 

 

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