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yard, in proportion to its surface, shall be incredibly, small, yet of exquisite quality; at the same time-in the soil, aspect, treatment as to culture, and species of plant, there shall be no perceptible difference to the eye of the most experienced wine grower. In such a district as the Cote d'Or, it is difference of site rather than of treatment, to which the superior wine owes its repute, for there is no want of competition in labouring after excellence.
There is, continues Mr. Redding, an infinite variety in the wines of Burgundy, which an Englishman can hardly comprehend. AC customed to wines less delicate than intoxicating, and regardful rather of the quantity than quality of the wine he takes, his favourite beverage is chosen rather for strength than perfection of flavour. The nature of the soil, the aspect, the season, the plant, and mode of culture, as well as the making, each and all equally affect the quality of these wines more than wines in general, on account of their great delicacy. The most finished and perfect Burgundy, the French
say, is deteriorated by so short a voyage as that across the channel from Calais to Dover, including, of course, the journey to the former place, and they are never sent away but in bottle.
The making of the Burgundy called Cote d'Or, which is one of the most superior of the kind, is on a coarse scale indeed. The grapes are usually trodden before they are thrown into the vat. The gathering takes place in the hottest sunshine. The fermentation in the vat, which is usually left uncovered, lasts from thirty to fortyeight hours if the weather is hot, and from three to eight days if it be cold, for the first class of wines. The management in the cask consists of a racking in the month of March following the vintage, and a second racking in September, repeated every six months, for
the red wines. The casks are kept exactly filled, and the wine is fined. Many persons make the first racking soon after the first frost happens, fine immediately, and rack again in the month of March, and then in the month of September,
The secret of the excellence of Burgundy wine Mr. Redding attributes to the unknown properties of the soil, which are developed, only in particular places, often in the same vineyard, at all events, within a very narrow district. Whatever be the cause, France has in these wines a just cause of boast, and a staple in which she will never be excelled. While much is, doubtless, owing to the climate and aspect, it is evident that the peculiar characteristics of Burgundy depend least upon the art or labour of man, since wines inferior in quality receive as much or more of his attention. There is very little of the first class of these wines exported from France, in this respect differing from Champagne, where the best finds its way into foreign countries. There are several reasons for this, and among the foremost, the small
quantity produced, which the French, who are choice in wines, know very well how to distinguish, but which foreign merchants very rarely do.
The justly celebrated Hermitage, both the red and the white sorts, is made from grapes which grow on a hill, near the town of Tain, in the arrondissement of Valence, situated on the banks of the Rhone, with a southern aspect. It appears, that in this place there still exists a tradition, the burden of which is, that an inhabitant of Condrieu, having determined to turn hermit, established his cell on an uncultivated hill near Tain. He amused his leisure hours by breaking stones and rocks to pieces which surrounded his dwelling, and planting among them some vine slips from Condrieu, they succeeded to admiration. His example was copied by others, and the sterile hill side was soon converted into a vineyard. The good taste of the monks in wine has been already remarked in other places. Hermitage wine is divided into five classes, but it differs much with the seasons as to quality: Red Hermitage will not keep more than twenty years without altering. The price of the first class is often as high as five hundred and fifty francs the piece of two hundred and ten litres. The other growths or classes sell from four hundred and fifty down to three hundred, and even as low as two hundred and fifty francs the piece. When the season is bad, and the wine of moderate quality, the wine of the first growth will not bring more than two hundred and fifty, and of the last, one hundred and twenty francs. All these are only to be considered the prices when new at the vintage, and as approximating to the mean prices in the relative cases. Red Hermitage, when it is of the first quality, is not bottled for exportation until it has been four or five years in the cask, in which, as well as in bottles, it is generally sold at that age.
Amongst the numerous list of wines mentioned by Mr. Redding, who, we believe, leaves scarcely a village beverage of the simplest kind that he does not mention and fully describe, is one, a sparkling white wine. The process of making it seems a very simple one, and, perhaps, is not wholly unsusceptible of being practised in this country. A quantity of white grapes is selected, and exposed on planks to the sun, if possible, for four or five days. They are then plucked from the stems, and put into a vat, where they are bruised with the hands or feet. They are then left for twenty-four or thirty hours, to give time to the skins to rise and separate the murk from the fluid parts. The wine is then racked into large bottles, which are decanted every two days until the sensible fermentation is terminated. The wine being then clear is put into very strong bottles, which, on the following day, are corked, tied, and sealed.
The wines of the Gironde include those of the districts which are in the vicinity of Bordeaux. These are most known of all French wines to foreigners, they being of the quality which best endures the carriage necessary for their transportation to different countries. From the account of Mr. Redding, it seems that the claret which we obtain in this country from France, is so called from the word clairet, and is a mixture of several sorts of wine, often of Beni Carlos and Bordeaux, made up for the English market; sometimes Languedoc and Bordeaux; at others, Hermitage or Alicant with Bordeaux, and uniformly a portion of spirit of wine in addition. Mr. Brande reckons only 12:91 of spirit in claret wine. This quantity cannot be uniform; it must frequently be more, and rarely less than that quantity, as claret is a manufactured wine, and not the work of one manufacturer alone, who might, in all probability, regulate his proportions by some uniform standard.
From the wines in France, which have been treated with an extraordinary degree of minute knowledge by Mr. Redding, that gentleman proceeds to those of Spain. In consequence of the favourable nature of its genial climate, the vintage of Spain very rarely, or almost never fails ; but there is a great backwardness in the knowledge of the people, who, for the most part, are satisfied to trust to nature, more than to human art or labour. Nevertheless, both the red and white wines in Spain are of surpassing excellence. The wines in common use are not the white luscious ones, nor the dry wines of Xeres. In the province of La Mancha, the celebrated wine, the Val de Penas is made. This is a red wine, of excellent body, perhaps with as much as Port, before it is made fiery with brandy. In the hands of Frenchmen it would be found to equal in strength, flavour, and body, the best southern growths. The vineyards are close to Manzanares, a town almost in ruins, in which the Duke of San Carlos, upon whose estate the wine is made, keeps extensive cellars, where it may be tasted in perfection. It is a wine which requires age to perfect, and then it is equal to any red wine in the world, for every quality save, perhaps, the delicacy which distinguishes the higher class of Burgundy. It is grown upon a rocky or stony soil, as Val de Penas, or “ Valley of Stones,” indicates. The better class of the inhabitants of the Castiles rate it very highly. No idea can be formed of this wine from what is drunk at Madrid. The vines employ all the inhabitants of the district, where the wages of the labourer are only about seven pence a day.
The wines which are most favoured by foreigners, are those of Andalusia. The Malaga wine is usually mingled with a proportion of wine which has been designedly burned in the boiling, in order to impart to it a peculiar taste by which it is distinguished. The well known Sherry wine, though deriving its name from Xeres, yet is principally made near Cadiz, or about nine miles from Port St. Mary, at Xeres de la Frontera. The manufacture of this wine appears, from the authentic account of Mr. Redding, to have been the subject of frequent misrepresentation, and under such circumstances it will be interesting to learn the true history of a liquor which few of us can régard with indifference.
• This latter place is in the centre of the vineyards which cover a district of about six leagues square. Forty thousand pipes are made, of which above seventeen thousand are exported annually. It is not to be supposed that these are all wines of the first quality ; for they include all that go out of the district, high and low priced. There is a great gradation in the prices of sherry, for though the average is not above twentysix pounds the butt, the charges are from fifteen up to sixty-five pounds. The value of the sherries exported is calculated at 450,0001., and the export duties 500,0001.
* The manufacture of the sherries takes place under the care of the agents or principals of foreign houses, who reside on the spot, and this is the reason of the great improvement of late years in the wines of Xeres. The vineyards are principally on the sides of slopes or declivities. The grapes are left to hang until they begin to shrivel in the sun. The fruit is white, and always gathered between the 9th and 15th of September. The bunches are exposed to the sun in baskets for forty-eight hours after they are gathered, and turned and sorted carefully for the better wines. The vines, planted about five feet asunder, are carefully dug round immediately after the vintage, and little hollows left to retain the rain. They in January, or soon after, turn up the mould, and carefully weed the ground. The pruning takes place in March, and the earth is afterwards raked over, when the vines are propped until the vintage with canes. The labour of the vineyard is continued even to hunting out the insects on the vines. There is, however, seldom or never a failure in the crop, owing to the benignity of the climate. The high price of good sherry is not wonderful, when the care in the growth and the home duties are taken into account. A bottle of good sherry fetches three shillings and four pence on the spot, though the common ordinary wine of the country is but sixpence.
• The varieties of the wine are produced by the different modes of treating it. Gypsum is frequently, but not always, used in the manufacture. Pale sherry is made from the same grape as the brown, to the wine from which is added a couple of bottles of very pure brandy to each butt. The brown and deeper sherries are also the produce of the same grape, mingled with boiled wine. A butt of pale light sherry is reduced by boiling to a fifth part, by which time it has acquired a deep rich brown colour. One half of the boiled wine is substituted for a like quantity of the pale sherry, which is first abstracted from the butt. The wine thus boiled down is made from a grape which is cheap and abundant, and therefore the price of the best brown wine is but little increased by the operation. This boiled wine is also used for colouring other wines in different degrees for the British market, which seems to abhor the pure unsophisticated juice of the grape, whether in the wines of Porto, Bordeaux, or Spain. In the latter case, however, the wine is not at all deteriorated by the treatment, which cannot be said of the wines of Portugal or of France when worked up to the English taste. The pale sherries, therefore, are the most pure, containing nothing but the admixture of a little brandy, in addition to the effusion from the press. The different shades of sherry are all caused by the mixture of boiled wine.'--pp. 188–90.
It is more than probable that Spain will ultimately be the chief source to England for the supply of wines, for even now she is obtaining a striking superiority over Portugal in this respect. This preference we give to Spain even under all the disadvantages which affect her produce, and which must sooner or later cease to exist. It is calculated, that if half the scientific care and attention which are given to the cultivation of French vines, were bestowed on those of Spain, the latter would soon be completely victorious over every competition. The characteristics of Spanish wines are strength and durability, and what is most worthy of the interest of foreign consumers is, that they not only endure for many years, but even require age before they become possessed of the proper flavour, and that mellowness which recommends them so strongly as a wholesome and delightful beverage. The Canaries produce wines which are usually classed under the head of Spanish. Amongst these are the Teneriffe and Vidonia, but especially the Malmsey, which was once in great repute. But these wines are second in every respect to those of Madeira, a fact which is most probably to be explained by the better management of the vintage; for, in the latter place, great incitements have most fortunately arisen to impel the advance of improvement in this article, and a most lucky degree of emulation amongst the cultivators of the vine has been the consequence of a great influx of foreign merchants.
In introducing to our notice the wine produce of Germany, Mr. Redding, inspired by the associations in which he is delighted to indulge, presents to us a beautifully picturesque description of the vineyards on the bank of the Rhine.
Whoever has visited, he writes, with all the warmth of a poetical mind, the noble Rhine, must have felt sensible of the beauty of its vineyards, covering steep and shore, interlaced with the most romantic ruins, towns ancient and venerable, smiling villages, and the rapid broad German river, reflecting the rich scenery on its banks. From Mentz even to Bonn, the vineyards of the Rhine are observed to greater advantage than any similar cultivation in other countries: Erbach, enthroned on its vines; the Rheingau, its Johannisberg on a crescent hill of red soil, adorned with cheering vegetation; Mitelheim, Geisenheim, and Rudsheim with its strong, fine-bodied wine, the grapes from which bask on their promontory of rock, in the summer sun, and imbibe its generous heat from dawn to setting; then again, on the other side, Bingen, delightful, sober, majestic, with terraces of vines, topped by the Chateau of Klopp. The river and its riches, the corn and fruit which the vicinity produces, all remind the stranger of a second Canaan. The Bingerloch, the ruins, and the never-failing vines scattered among them, like verdant youth revelling amid age and decay, give a picture no where else exhibited, uniting to the joyousness of wine the sober tinge of meditative feeling. The hills, back of the picture, covered with feudal relics or monastic remains, below Asmannhäusen to Lorch, mingled with the purple grape. Bacha