The Emperor’s Wine
Falernian was the Château Pétrus of ancient Rome—so sought after that you practically had to be the emperor of Rome to get a taste. Made from grapes grown in just three vineyards on Monte Massico, north of Naples, falernian symbolized the height of luxury and sophistication (so much so that counterfeits sprung up everywhere). It is not clear what variety of grapes were used to make the now-extinct wine. Indeed scientists are not sure if falernian was a white or red wine, although some writings by Pliny the Elder, and Petronius’s play Satyricon point to it being a white wine. The 121 B.C. vintage was so legendary that it was still being written about 200 years after its release.