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No. 942. Beaune, 1858, first growth, high flavour, much
body, fine. 931. Ditto, 1858, 61. dearer, equal to a fine Bur
gundy. 693. Volnay, 1858, same price as 931, very soft, full
flavour. 843. Vosne-Beaumont, 101. dearer than the above,
worth it. 716. La Tache, 1858, superb for flavour and quality. 715. Grande Rue, 1858, same price as La Tache,
but still finer. 717. Romanée-Conti, 1858, 141. dearer than the
above, finest wine ever I tasted. 660. Chambertin, 1858, very high peculiar flavour,
but not very agreeable. 548. Richebourg, 1857, 6l. cheaper than the 1858,
not so good. 545. La Tache, 1857; I prefer the 1858. 541. Chambertin, 1857, extraordinarily delicate, and
12. Ditto, not dearer, more body.
dear for quality. 788. Meursault, 1858, 61. dearer than 789, very
excellent. 786. Chevalier-Montrachet, 1858, very fine, but too
young. 787. Montrachet-Aîné, 1858, immense price, an
amazing high powerful fine flavour, with great full richness. I am assured that when it has been four or five years in bottle, it will be wonderfully fine.
STRONG SMELLS AND EXCELLENT FROGS.
Volnay, Nuits, Vôsne, vintage 1859, all ex-
La Tache, 1859, splendid.
Nuits, 1854, but better two years ago.
Nuits, 1857, very excellent at the price.
flavour. Montrachet-Aîné, 1857, great price and fine, but requires more keeping; 1858 will be
much grander. Leaving Nuits for Beaune, by the road, we passed several well-known vineyards, among others Pommard; and here, as everywhere, I was struck with the fallacy of names, for anyone could perceive, by looking at the vineyards on the hill to the right, above the village, that the wine from them must be very different from the equally genuine Pommard grown on the plain extending to the road :
Apertos colles amat Bacchus. At Beaune, I went to the Hôtel du Chevreuil which I can confidently recommend for its strong smells, and excellently-cooked frogs.
Having already tasted in Burgundy most of the red and white kinds of Beaune, I saw little here to call for remark; and shall only repeat that, although not to be compared to the first-class burgundies, the wines of this neighbourhood are generally moderate in price, and possess a most agreeable taste and bouquet.
Meursault is a little farther south ; and close to it is the land of the splendid white wines, grown on the brow of the range of hills about two miles distant.
The most celebrated is the Montrachet-Aîné, after which comes the Montrachet-Bâtard, more usually called Montrachet-Chevalier.
Chablis is produced in the Yonne, farther north ; the best is very pleasant, and so likewise are the second-class growths, for almost all the white kinds about Chablis are good. Not a few names have a heavy burden to bear, and none more so than Chablis; for there is scarcely a French white wine that is not called and offered for sale under this name.
Mâcon is about thirty miles to the south of Meursault, producing wines with somewhat more body than the Beaune, but, on the whole, very similar; and the same may be said of the adjoining Beaujolais, which are sold indiscriminately as Mâcon or Beaujolais, and are very like, in flavour and taste. The latter being good, with a pretty name, has lately acquired a popularity that it would have been long in attaining, if, at the clubs and other places, a bottle of the homely Mâcon, instead of the elegant Beaujolais, had to be called for.
MACON, BEAUJOLAIS, AND HERMITAGE.
All common cheap French red wines seem now to have got the name of Beaujolais, as white have that of Chablis. In Nuits and other parts, a sparkling wine, called sparkling burgundy, is made, but I saw none equal to good champagne.
After leaving Mâcon we left what may be called the burgundy class ; but the similarity continues until Lyons is passed, when the difference becomes very perceptible; for, instead of the light, highflavoured, agreeable burgundies, beaunes, mâcons, and beaujolais, we find the Rhône growths, more solid, but with less bouquet; and (with numerous exceptions in certain favoured spots) this increases until we get among the heavy, coarse kinds on the Mediterranean.
About fifty miles to the south of Lyons is Tournon, and across the Rhône is Tain, the head-quarters of hermitage wine. The very high hill of Hermitage almost overhangs Tain, and the view from the old building at the top, which gives its name to the wine, is very extensive and grand. Below, is the rapid Rhône, running between rocks and precipices, several of which are surmounted by old castles ; while mountains succeed mountains, as far as the eye can reach.
I have been several times at Tournon, but never before had I so good an opportunity of tasting the wines of this district as while there during the last vintage.
No one who has been in the habit of drinking true fine clarets or burgundies will say that the best hermitages equal them in bouquet or in delicacy ; but it is rarely that one sees a first-rate claret or burgundy. The hermitage possesses these advantages over both—it is very hardy, and both red and white will keep for almost any length of time. Besides it is full, soft, firm, with a fine delicious flavour, and has a deep, beautiful colour. In thus describing it, I am of course alluding to some of the best ; but even the common, cheap kinds have the same character, though in an inferior degree. Instead of giving an elaborate description of the various growths, I have copied from my memorandum-book my remarks upon those I tasted, excluding the quotations of price. They are but a small number of the kinds grown in the district, and along the banks of the river.
The Rhône so frequently overflows its banks, and floods the houses, that they have no underground cellars in Tain. Hermitage
Hermitage is still much used for giving colour and body to clarets, but not so much as formerly, for there is now a more correct appreciation of pure wine, of erery kind. At first, such
, admixture creates a very favourable impression, as it gives fullness and softness to claret, which tastes very thin to our palates, accustomed to port and sherry; but I have invariably remarked, after such mixed wine has been three or four years in bottle, it becomes hard and flavourless.
I subjoin the following extract from my Notebook, with the remarks I made in one of the best stocks in Tain :