It seems that the Etruscans did something special with their wine. They prepared and served it in a large, wide, shallow bowl—a ceramic vessel that the Greeks called a kylix—something akin to a modern-day punch bowl. Into the mix, they added fresh fruit, flowers, spices, bread, heavy seasoning—even cheese. It was a heavy, flavorful mixture filled with the bounty of their land.
Art historical evidence comes in to help us imagine this heady concoction. Archeological museum collections across central Italy contain hundreds of bronze strainers that the Etruscans used to filter those solid materials from their wine. And, there are many surviving metal cheese graters that look similar to something you might have in your kitchen drawer right now!
Can you imagine what this Etruscan wine might have tasted like? It must have been full of heavy, rich flavors, spices, whatever was in season or cultivated locally, a special type of Etruscan concoction that lies only in our imagination.
It wasn’t until later in the Roman and medieval periods that people in central Italy began to cultivate grapes and produce wine on more of a scale that resembles what we do today. But this evolution from Etruscan roots is interesting, because it helps paint the picture of an origin story for modern-day Tuscans: one full of the joys of family and friends, music, dance, the pleasures of the table, and yes, wine.