Wine Culture and Information since 2002 - Volume 18
×
Home Page Events Wine Guide Wine of the Day Aquavitae Wine Places Guide Podcast Polls EnoGames EnoForum Serving Wine Alcohol Test
Follow DiWineTaste on DiWineTaste Mobile for Android DiWineTaste Mobile for iOS Become a Registered User Subscribe to the Mailing List Tell a Friend About DiWineTaste Download DiWineTaste Card
About Us Write Us Back Issues Advertising General Index
Privacy Policy
 


alt=
 Corkscrew  Share this article     Summary of Not Just Wine column  
  Not Just Wine Issue 30, May 2005   
LicoriceLicorice AquavitaeAquavitae Wine ParadeWine Parade  Contents 
Issue 29, April 2005 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 31, June 2005

Licorice

The meaning of its name is sweet root and since ancient times it was used for therapeutic uses as well as for covering the bad taste of medicines. From its roots is extracted a sweet and bitter juice having beneficial virtues

 Licorice, as we know it in its typical use, is an aromatic substance extracted from the roots of “Glycyrrhiza glabra”, a herbaceous plant coming from Asia and Southern Europe. The name licorice derives from Greek language and meaning sweet root. The scientific name Glycyrrhiza glabra used to refer to the licorice plant, derives from the Greek words Glykys, meaning sweet, and rhiza, that is root.

 Licorice, that is Glycyrrhiza glabra, is a perennial spontaneous herbaceous plant, with a big rhizome from which grow stolons up to two meters long and woody roots of the same length, belonging to the Leguminosae family, having a height from 50 to 100 centimeters (1.6-3.2 feet). Leaves are made of four-eight pairs of small leaves and a terminal leaf, flowers have a blue-violet color, with a short stem and are grouped in racemes located at the base of the leaves. Fruits are oblong coriaceous legumes, with few bristles, containing from two to six seeds of brown color. The rhizome and the roots have a brown rind and the internal part is woody and has a yellow color and a sweet taste. The parts which are used are the roots of the plant having at least three or four years.

 Licorice, a plant coming from South-Western Asia and South-Eastern Europe, prefers arid and untilled places, an altitude from zero and one thousand meters (0-3,280 feet). Licorice is a very vigorous plant which tends to spread both in untilled and cultivated soils, has very developed and branched roots, with underground stolons which spread horizontally and not very deep.


Sticks of licorice root
Sticks of licorice root

 The period of blossoming is June-July, however the harvest is done in autumn and the part of the plant used is the root. Other plants, belonging to the leguminosae family and known as licorice include: Astragalus glycyphyllum or wild licorice, found in Europe and Siberia; Hedysarum mackenzii, roots of licorice from Canada and Alaska; Glycyrrhiza epidota, growing in Northern America and known as wild licorice. The harvest is usually done every three years - from September to November or during wintertime - and however when the vegetative cycle of the plant is resting. The harvest is done by extirpating the stolons and the roots having a diameter greater than 5 millimeters. The color of the internal part of the root is yellow.

 The process of extraction of licorice is long and laborious. First of all the roots, after having being harvested, are stored in a room, they are then cleaned and mashed, and in some cases processed with a special press, similar to the ones used for the pressing of olives. The mashed product is then processed with special filters and processed with hot water in order to extract the useful substances. The next phase is about concentration where the liquid mass, rich of substances, is depurated from the excessive water and stored in large containers. The part of concentrated liquid is then processed with industrial methods, according to the type of licorice to be produced. Today the process of production is almost completely mechanized, however a particular phase - in which the product must be solidified - requires the skill and the experience of the master artisan who plays a fundamental role. Craftsmanship and technology are therefore used together in order to get the best.

 

Licorice in History

 The ancient Greek, Roman, Indian and Egyptian medicine made use of licorice. It is said in the tomb of Tutankhamen have been found some licorice sticks. Despite the uncertainty of this fact, it is known in the ancient Egypt, Assyria, Greece, India and China, the therapeutic properties of the root were already known. Hippocrates, Galen, Celsus and Theophrastus prescribed licorice for curing cough, to relief stomach aches, for curing renal colics and, as an ointment, to cure wounds. In Asia the properties of licorice are being used since five thousand years, as proved by the first Chinese herbarium. Traditional Chinese medicine widely use licorice as a remedy for cough, liver diseases, food intoxications and as a sweetener for preparations. In the fifteenth century the properties of licorice were introduced in Europe by Dominican monks.

 

Properties and Uses of Licorice

 The active principles of licorice are mainly represented by triterpene compounds and their derivatives, in particular glycirrizine (a substance fifty times sweeter than saccharose), flavonoids (liquiritine), phytosterols, saponin, glucose, starch and vitamins. The most important active principle is represented by glycirrizine, which is mainly concentrated in the woody parts of the plant. Licorice has digestive and gastric anti inflammatory properties, it is an excellent thirst quencher and emollient, it is used as a sedative for cough, expectorant, slightly laxative, increases blood pressure, as it causes water and sodium retention as well as a loss of potassium. For these reasons its consumption is not advised to the ones suffering from hypertension and to pregnant women. Licorice is also useful for gastritis and stomach ache, asthma and bronchitis. It is also used for the preparation of infusions.


 

 Licorice is used by the food industry, for the production of candies and chewing gums, by the liquor industry, for the production of licorice aromatized liquors or as an ingredient, and in pastry cooking. Licorice is sometimes used in the process of beer production and as an additive; it is also used in the tobacco industry, both for smoking and chewing tobaccos. The woody part of the plant is not interesting for nutritional or pharmaceutic purposes only. The extracts of licorice's active principles are also used for the production of insulating panels, for the preparation of soils to be used for the cultivation of mushrooms, to cover the soil in place of peat, and it is even used in the production of fire-proof products.

 Licorice, as already mentioned, is contra-indicated for people suffering from hypertension and pregnant women, to old people, kids and diabetic. Licorice should be consumed desultorily: an exaggerated consumption or the abuse of licorice may be origin of interaction with medicines and in particular with cortisone, with quinidine and other anti arrhythmic. Moreover, glycirrizine has side effects on the balance of body's mineral salts and an abuse of licorice may be cause of water retention, blood pressure increase, swelling of the face and of ankles, headache and asthenia.

 Licorice, besides being used by the food industry, is also used for galenic preparations, such as some types of laxatives of vegetal origin. For this reason, in many cases the licorice is consumed for long periods just because “it is a herb”. Indeed it is good to pay attention to the quantity and to the period of time in which the licorice is being consumed. It is important not to exceed the daily intake of half a gram of glycirrizine. It should be remembered licorice is to be consumed desultorily, by healthy people, from 7-8 years of age to 45-50 without serious problems, while remembering it is always good not to exaggerate or abuse.

 



 Corkscrew  Share this article     Summary of Not Just Wine column  
  Not Just Wine Issue 30, May 2005   
LicoriceLicorice AquavitaeAquavitae Wine ParadeWine Parade  Contents 
Issue 29, April 2005 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 31, June 2005

Aquavitae

Review of Grappa, Distillates and Brandy

 

Distillates are rated according to DiWineTaste's evaluation method. Please see score legend in the "Wines of the Month" section.



Grappa di Grechetto, Terre De' Trinci (Italy)
Grappa di Grechetto
Terre De' Trinci (Italy)
(Distiller: Distillerie Bonollo)
Raw matter: Pomace of Grechetto
Price: € 12.90 - 70cl Score: Wine that excels in its category
This grappa is colorless, limpid and crystalline. The nose denotes intense, clean and pleasing aromas of apple, broom, pear and hazelnut with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth is intense with evident alcohol pungency, good balanced sweet hint, pleasing roundness. The finish is persistent with flavors of apple, pear and hazelnut. This grappa is distilled with discontinuous steam alembic still in copper boilers. Alcohol 42%.



Grappa di Sagrantino, Terre De' Trinci (Italy)
Grappa di Sagrantino
Terre De' Trinci (Italy)
(Distiller: Distillerie Bonollo)
Raw matter: Pomace of Grechetto
Price: € 14.00 - 70cl Score:
This grappa is colorless, limpid and crystalline. The nose reveals intense, clean and pleasing aromas of plum, blackberry, licorice and violet with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth is intense with evident alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, good balanced sweet hint, good smoothness. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum and licorice. This grappa is distilled with discontinuous steam alembic still in copper boilers. Alcohol 42%.



Acquavite di Mele dell'Etna 2000, Giovi (Italy)
Acquavite di Mele dell'Etna 2000
Giovi (Italy)
Raw matter: Apples from Etna
Price: € 35.80 - 50cl Score:
This fruit brandy is colorless, limpid and crystalline. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas of apple, almond, hawthorn and broom with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth is intense with alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, light sweet hint followed by a pleasing bitter taste, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of apple and almond. A well made distillate. This distillate is produced with a water bath discontinuous alembic still. Alcohol 45%.



Grappa di Moscato di Pantelleria 2003, Giovi (Italy)
Grappa di Moscato di Pantelleria 2003
Giovi (Italy)
Raw matter: Pomace of Zibibbo
Price: € 16.30 - 50cl Score:
This grappa is colorless, limpid and crystalline. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas of grape, peach, apricot, honey, lavender, candied fruit, pear and broom with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth is intense with balanced alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, pleasing and balanced sweet hint, good smoothness, agreeable. The finish is very persistent with flavors of grape, apricot, candied fruit and honey. A well made grappa. This grappa is produced with a water bath discontinuous alembic still. Alcohol 42%.



Bierbrand Distillato di Birra Theresianer, Theresianer (Italy)
Bierbrand Distillato di Birra Theresianer
Theresianer (Italy)
(Distiller: Capovilla)
Raw matter: Theresianer Beer
Price: n.d. Score:
This distillate is colorless, limpid and crystalline. The nose reveals good personality with intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas of hop, malt, raspberry, banana and wistaria with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth is intense with alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, pleasing sweet hints followed by a balanced bitter taste, agreeable. The finish is very persistent with flavors of banana and hop. This distillate is produced with a water bath alembic still. Alcohol 41%.



Grappa di Enantio della Valdadige 2003, Fratelli Brunello (Italy)
Grappa di Enantio della Valdadige 2003
Fratelli Brunello (Italy)
Raw matter: Pomace of Enantio
Price: € 24.00 - 50cl Score:
The grappa is colorless, limpid and crystalline. The nose reveals intense, clean and pleasing aromas of banana, chamomile, pineapple, almond, pear and broom with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth is intense with balanced alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, pleasing and balanced sweet hint, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of banana, pear and chamomile. This grappa is produced with a discontinuous steam operated alembic still. Alcohol 44%.



Grappa di Amarone della Valpolicella 1999, Fratelli Brunello (Italy)
Grappa di Amarone della Valpolicella 1999
Fratelli Brunello (Italy)
Raw matter: Pomace of Amarone (Corvina, Corvinone, Rondinella)
Price: € 22.00 - 50cl Score:
This grappa of Amarone is colorless, limpid and crystalline. The nose reveals good personality with intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas of black cherry, plum, blackberry, hazelnut, licorice, dried violet and hints of smoke with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth is intense with balanced alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, good and balanced sweet hint, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum, licorice and hazelnut. A well made grappa. A well made grappa produced with a discontinuous steam operated alembic still. Alcohol 40%.





 Corkscrew  Share this article     Summary of Not Just Wine column  
  Not Just Wine Issue 30, May 2005   
LicoriceLicorice AquavitaeAquavitae Wine ParadeWine Parade  Contents 
Issue 29, April 2005 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 31, June 2005

Wine Parade


 

The best 15 wines according to DiWineTaste's readers. To express your best three wines send us an E-mail or fill in the form available at our WEB site.


Rank Wine, Producer
1 Riesling Cuvée Frédéric Emile 1999, Maison Trimbach (France)
2 Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos 2002, Domaine Billaud-Simon (France)
3 Harmonium 2001, Firriato (Italy)
4 Jerez Fino Tio Pepe, Gonzalez Byass (Spain)
5 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Villa Gemma 1999, Masciarelli (Italy)
6 Moscato d'Asti 2003, Vignaioli di S. Stefano (Italy)
7 Pinot Noir Napa 2002, Clos du Val (USA)
8 Palazzo della Torre 2000, Allegrini (Italy)
9 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo Riparosso 2001, Illuminati (Italy)
10 Turriga 1998, Argiolas (Italy)
11 Edizione Cinque Autoctoni 2001, Farnese (Italy)
12 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Capitel Monte Olmi 1999, Tedeschi (Italy)
13 Aglianico del Vulture La Firma 2002, Cantine del Notaio (Italy)
14 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 1998, Santa Sofia (Italy)
15 Riesling Spätlese Nierstein Brudersberg 2003, Weingut Freiherr Heyl Herrnsheim (Germany)

 up    down    stable    new entry



 Corkscrew  Share this article     Summary of Not Just Wine column  
  Not Just Wine Issue 30, May 2005   
LicoriceLicorice AquavitaeAquavitae Wine ParadeWine Parade  Contents 
DiWineTaste Polls
When you buy a wine, you are mainly interested in:


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   
In choosing a wine, what is the most important factor?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   
What kind of wine do you like having in October?


Result   Other Polls

 Share this poll   



Privacy Policy

Download your free DiWineTaste Card  :  Test your Blood Alcohol Content  :  Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on Twitter

Download DiWineTaste
Copyright © 2002-2019 Antonello Biancalana, DiWineTaste - All rights reserved
All rights reserved under international copyright conventions. No part of this publication and of this WEB site may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from DiWineTaste.