Wine Culture and Information - Volume 17
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Pomegranate

Fruit of very ancient origins, pomegranate is used in cooking as well as a remedy in folk medicine, with its small and colored grains, it is also a tasty fruit

 “The tree to which you used to stretch your tiny hand, the green pomegranate tree with lovely scarlet flowers…” wrote Giosuè Carducci in his poem “Ancient Lament”. Pomegranate is a plant of very ancient origins, symbol of fertility since thousands years. No other tree has inspired artists, myths and legend like pomegranate, considered as a tree associated to the symbology of religions, it has also been capable of helping man with its pharmacological properties.

 

History Facts About Pomegranate


Colored and tasty, pomegranate is a fruit
of ancient origins
Colored and tasty, pomegranate is a fruit of ancient origins

 Pomegranate, better identified with the term Punica Granatum L., belongs to the family of Punica, it is a tree with twisted branches, thorny and abundant, with a red gray colored bark. It is a plant with a slow growth factor, it rarely grows over than 5 meters in height (about 16 feet), with small and stretch shaped leaves. During the period of blossoming, in branches can be seen splendid red flowers. The fruit is a pulpy berry, with a thick yellow colored skin, with nuances from red to orange. At the inside of the fruit are found many seeds covered by a very juicy red pulp, grouped in hollow parts and covered by a thin membrane.

 The origin of pomegranate seems to be Western Asia, it in fact grows spontaneously in the regions south from the Caucasus, in the northern part of India, in the Punjab region, from Persia to Afghanistan. It is frequently mentioned in the Bible as one of the fruits of the promised land: this would prove Jews knew it and consumed its fruits, also in the form of juice, since very ancient times. In the ancient Egypt it was known and considered to be a medicinal plant because of its therapeutic and vermifuge properties, and it was also used in funerary ceremonies. Pomegranates were also depicted in Egyptian tombs in 2500 BC, they were mentioned in the inscriptions of Tutmosi I (1547 BC), symbols of the pomegranate fruits were also found in the tomb of Ramses IV (1145 BC). In ancient Greece, pomegranate was considered a sacred plant to Venus and Juno. Persephone was condemned to the underworld because she ate seven pomegranate grains.


 

 At the times of ancient Romans, brides used to adorn their hair with small branches of pomegranate, as a symbol of richness and fertility. During Christian times it became the allegory of the Church which gathered its believers. Painters of the renaissance put a pomegranate in the hand of the baby Christ as a symbol of the new life offered to humanity. Pliny the Elder called it Malum Punicum: a clear allusion to its probable Phoenician origin. In the course of the 1400s pomegranate is represented in many artworks, in painting, sculpture and decorative arts. As for painting: “Madonna of the Pomegranate” by Botticelli and kept at the Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence; “Madonna of the Pomegranate” or “Madonna Dreyfus” by Leonardo da Vinci, kept at the National Gallery of Art in Washington; “Madonna of the Pomegranate” by Raffaello Sanzio kept at the Albertina Museum in Vienna. As for sculpture: “Madonna of the Pomegranate” by Jacopo della Quercia, white marble sculpture kept in the museum of the cathedral of Ferrara.

 In decorative arts the symbol of pomegranate is very frequent, such as in case of the art of fabrics and in the art of pottery. Frequently used as a symbol of brotherhood and union, from the East to the West, pomegranate is the symbol of fertility and posterity, symbols which are well represented by the image and structure of pomegranate. In the course of centuries, this particular fruit inspired many legends in many cultures and traditions. In India it is said the fruit of pomegranate is useful as a remedy for sterility, whereas in Turkey brides are used to throw a fruit of pomegranate on the ground and believe they will bear as many children as the grains coming out from the broken fruit. In Dalmatia a legend suggest to the bridegroom to move a plant of pomegranate from the garden of his father-in-law to his own. Native Americans used the juice of pomegranate as a remedy for sterility. Still today in Africa the skin of the fruit is used to tan leather, whereas from the dried skin is being extracted a yellow colorant, also found in some Egyptian tombs.

 

In Cooking and in Medicine

 Pomegranate is now common in most of the earth and it is cultivated in the regions where there is a suitable climate. Not all the varieties of pomegranate are edible, therefore are being cultivated the varieties with soft and juice seeds only. When purchasing a pomegranate, it must be paid attention on the skin, it must not have stains or breaks, which could favor the contamination of mold and bacteria. The color of the skin must be red with yellow nuances. It is always suggested to avoid the purchase of unripe fruits, as the pomegranate is a fruit which ripens in the tree only. After purchase, pomegranate can be kept in a cool and dry place for 7-10 days.

 Medieval cooking made abundant use of pomegranate grains, whereas in modern cooking grains are frequently used for decorative purposes only. The juice is used for the preparation of jellies, beverages and syrups. The slow disappearing from cooking is probably because of the difficulties in cleaning the fruit and because of the many seeds which could be annoying during its consumption. Pomegranate juice can be easily found in stores and in some countries it is a very common beverage. Eastern cooking - such as Persian and Lebanese - make wide use of pomegranate in their dishes. With pomegranate juice can be prepared a thirst quencher beverage called “grenadine”. Pomegranate fruits are rich in vitamins A and B, as well as rich in tannins with astringent properties. Pomegranate juice is a natural refreshing tonic with beneficial effects for the cardiovascular system. Flowers are used for preparing an infusion useful against dysentery.

 The infusion of ground pomegranate grains is a purifying for the bowl. It is believed 50ml of juice a day can help to keep the cholesterol low and may prevent arteriosclerosis. According to a study done in the American University of Wisconsin, they discovered some elements found in pomegranate juice can contrast the development of prostate cancer or prevent its development. Pomegranate has antioxidant properties, that is contains substances which can protect our cells against free radicals, preventing or contrasting the formation of cellular alterations, therefore preventing the development of cancer. Another university study done in Israel recognizes pomegranate properties which can be useful against cardiovascular diseases, by keeping under control the level of cholesterol.

 One hundred grams of pomegranate provides 63 kcal and contain: 59% of edible part; 80.5g of water; 2.20g of fibers; 0.5g of proteins; 0.2g of fats; 15.9g of carbohydrates; 15.9g of soluble sugar; 0.03g of unsaturated fats; 0.04g of monounsaturated fats; 0.06g of polyunsaturated fats; 7mg of sodium; 290mg of potassium; 0.3mg of iron; 0.4mg of zinc; 10mg of phosphor; 0.09mg of thiamine (vitamin B1); 0.09mg of riboflavin (vitamin B2); 0.2mg of niacin (vitamin B3); 15mcg of vitamin A; 5mg of vitamin C.

 






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PomegranatePomegranate AquavitaeAquavitae Wine ParadeWine Parade  Contents 
Issue 49, February 2007 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 51, April 2007

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 Shiraz, Casale del Giglio (Latium, Italy)
Grappa Shiraz
Casale del Giglio (Latium, Italy)
(Distiller: Distilleria Pilzer)
Raw matter: Pomace of Syrah
Price: € 15.20 - 50cl Score: Wine that excels in its category
This grappa is colorless, limpid and crystalline. The nose reveals intense, clean ad pleasing aromas of blackberry, plum, black cherry, licorice and hazelnut with almost imperceptible pungency. In the mouth has intense flavors with perceptible alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, dry. The finish is persistent with flavors of blackberry, plum and licorice. This grappa is distilled with a bainmarie discontinuous alembic still. Alcohol 44%.



Grappa Petit Verdot, Casale del Giglio (Latium, Italy)
Grappa Petit Verdot
Casale del Giglio (Latium, Italy)
(Distiller: Distilleria Pilzer)
Raw matter: Pomace of Petit Verdot
Price: € 18.00 - 50cl Score:
This grappa shows an amber yellow color, limpid and crystalline. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas of prune, vanilla, licorice, hazelnut, honey, dried fig, tobacco, walnut and honey, with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth has intense flavors, with perceptible alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, good correspondence to the nose, pleasing roundness, balanced sweetness. The finish is persistent with flavors of honey, licorice, dried fig and prune. This grappa is distilled with bainmarie discontinuous alembic still and ages in cask for some years. Alcohol 44%.



Grappa di Buttafuoco Oltrepo Pavese, Il Montý (Lombardy, Italy)
Grappa di Buttafuoco Oltrepo Pavese
Il Montù (Lombardy, Italy)
Raw matter: Pomace of Barbera, Croatina, Uva Rara
Price: € 22.28 - 70cl Score: Wine that excels in its category
This grappa is colorless, limpid and crystalline. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas of hazelnut, cherry, plum, raspberry, strawberry and licorice with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth has intense flavors with perceptible alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, good correspondence to the nose, balanced sweetness, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of cherry, raspberry and hazelnut. This grappa is distilled with a discontinuous bainmarie alembic still. Alcohol 45%.



Grappa di Cabernet, Distilleria Zanin (Veneto, Italy)
Grappa di Cabernet
Distilleria Zanin (Veneto, Italy)
Raw matter: Pomace of Cabernet
Price: € 10.00 - 70cl Score:
This grappa is colorless, limpid and crystalline. The nose denotes intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas of black cherry, blueberry, plum, black currant, licorice and violet with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth has intense flavors with pretty perceptible alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, good correspondence to the nose, balanced sweetness, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of plum, black cherry and black currant.This grappa is distilled with a discontinuous alembic still. Alcohol 40%.



Grappa di Prosecco Barricata, Distilleria Zanin (Veneto, Italy)
Grappa di Prosecco Barricata
Distilleria Zanin (Veneto, Italy)
Raw matter: Pomace of Prosecco
Price: € 10.00 - 70cl Score: Wine that excels in its category
This grappa shows a pale straw yellow color, limpid and crystalline. The nose reveals intense, clean, pleasing and refined aromas of dried fig, juniper, licorice, pear, apple, broom and honey with almost imperceptible alcohol pungency. In the mouth has intense flavors with pretty perceptible alcohol pungency which tends to dissolve rapidly, good correspondence to the nose, balanced sweetness, agreeable. The finish is persistent with flavors of dried fig, honey, licorice and pear.This grappa is distilled with a discontinuous alembic still and ages in barrique. Alcohol 40%.





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  Not Just Wine Issue 50, March 2007   
PomegranatePomegranate AquavitaeAquavitae Wine ParadeWine Parade  Contents 
Issue 49, February 2007 Follow DiWineTaste on Follow DiWineTaste on TwitterIssue 51, April 2007

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 Nero al Tondo 2001, Ruffino (Italy)
2 Chianti Classico Riserva Novecento 2000, Dievole (Italy)
3 Don Antonio 2003, Morgante (Italy)
4 Sagrantino di Montefalco Collepiano 2003, Arnaldo Caprai (Italy)
5 Wine Obsession 2001, Vignamaggio (Italy)
6 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico Costasera 2001, Masi (Italy)
7 Amarone della Valpolicella Classico 2000, Zenato (Italy)
8 Soave Classico Monte Alto 2004, Ca' Rugate (Italy)
9 Brunello di Montalcino 1999, Castello Banfi (Italy)
10 Sforzato di Valtellina Canua 2001, Conti Sertoli Salis (Italy)
11 Barolo Cannubi Boschis 2001, Sandrone (Italy)
12 Sagrantino di Montefalco 2003, Antonelli (Italy)
13 Notarpanaro 1999, Taurino (Italy)
14 Barolo Bussia 2001, Prunotto (Italy)
15 Colli Orientali del Friuli Rosazzo Bianco Terre Alte 2002, Livio Felluga (Italy)

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