Water in my wine? Are you kidding?

As a kid, I had this comic book about my country during the roman times. The image on the right was on its back cover, a celtic warrior from the Helvetii tribe.

A story it contained and that stayed with me was its description of the legionary at the end of his career, staying north of the alps, having received a grant of land, and attempting to grow wine.

Another book taught me that the Romans saw the Gauls as quite uncouth, since they drank wine as is, without mixing it with water. The legionary was probably hoping to produce and sell lots of wine to the locals.

It reminded me of that summer, in the kitchen in the farm, with the view on the Jura. Our grand-father had offered wine mixed with water and ice to me and my brother. That was a kids' drink for him. We refused, we didn't want to drink alcohol, we were around six at that time. I can't remember if my grand-father was amused or surprised.

Later on, in my twenties, I spent a month in the eastern part of the country. One of the teachers there told us we had to drink the wine of the land under our feet. Although an alpine valley, there were effectively vineyards.

It was not far from where they speak Romansh, a country Latin mixed with Alemannic. The place names there were Latin and time had polished them, Brüntsch (Primsch), Gunz (Seguns), Terzen, Quarten, and Quinten.

Now, Wikipedia tells me that this count from one (Primch) to five (Quinten) came from the bishopric enumerating its courtyards, but when I was there, the orientation told us the place names indicated where subdivisions of the roman garrison were stationed.

I don't know if retired legionaries had first set up the vineyards, but at least they left place names.

This attempt at linking wine and terroir reminds me of this scholar who was explaining that nowadays, what was put forward in a wine was its grape and not its land, its terroir, anymore.

Whatever the soil, whatever the culture, they'll take the grape where it's cheaper.

I am old-fashioned, I find "Nuits-Saint-Georges" infinitely more romantic than "Pinot Noir".