Thursday, September 22, 2022

History of piquette (lora)

After pressing the marc once or twice to make the primary- and perhaps a secondary-wine, the leftover marc could be macerated to make a kind of afterwine. Such a product is today known by the French term piquette, but in antiquity it was known in Latin as lora.

Considered a meager, cheap-to-produce drink made from the scraps of winemaking, it was given to slaves and field workers.

Piquette is actually not wine; it’s a “wine-like beverage”. Piquette is not made from fermented grapes; instead, it’s made by adding water to grape pomace (the leftover skins, seeds, and stems of the fruit) and fermenting what’s left of the sugars.

The exact manufacturing method varied: water was added, sometimes along with a small quantity of must or salt, the mixture was usually pressed, sometimes boiled down, and frequently left a while to mature. Pliny, Dioscorides and Galen all thought it was undrinkable after a year.

The refreshing nature of the piquette made it ideal for workers, especially peasants. In fact, in one of Giovanni Francesco Straparola’s fables, a nobleman assumed that any peasant would drink “watered wine.” In some parts of Italy, in both town and country, workers received piquette as part of their wages. Nonetheless, records from Bologna from 1412–1413 reveal that less than 1 percent of the wine taxed on entry was piquette.

Modern Western society also appears to regard piquette as a low-status beverage.
History of piquette (lora)

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