November 4th is King Tut Day in honor of the day – November 4, 1922 – when a team of archaeologists led by Howard Carter, found the entrance to King Tutankhamen’s tomb in Egypt. The young king had been buried with vast amounts of gold treasures, including pitchers of wine.
We love raising a glass to any special day, but we also like to know to whom or to what we’re toasting. Our question on November 4th: “Did the King prefer red wine or white wine?” Fortunately, for the sake of history, researchers also asked the question – and a process was invented to determine the color of ancient wine. It turns out that the boy king liked reds.
Egyptians wanted the dead to have the same food and objects that they had in life. But because the wine in King Tut’s tomb had dried out over the 3,000 years it had been sitting there, the color was unknown. Just like modern wine labels, the wine jars were inscribed with the details of where and when the wine was produced, who made it, and the quality level. But not the color. Then Spanish researchers came up with a new technique to analyze the residues in the jars. When they applied this new procedure, they discovered syringic acid, which is left by compounds in red wine.
We find researching wine and grape history amazing. Not that we want to do it. We just want to learn about the latest findings with a glass of, well, anything. Take yesterday when Australian researchers claimed a breakthrough in preventing spoiled wine. Now if the breakthrough turns out to be a reality, no more pouring the elixir down the drain. This would be good news.
Here’s to more research!
Barbara and Beverly