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Tain: Sept. 22, 1862. Jean Julniel Miseri, 1858, most excellent, full flavour. Jourdan, 1858, a little bitter in taste, not equal to the
former. Deloche, 1858, grand. Guerby, 1859, capital, deep fine colour, ready for
Château-Grillet, very excellent.
to chablis, fuller.
Deloche, 1858, first rate.
Do. 1856, fine, but too dear.
Do. 1858, body, flavour, capital.
Deloche, 1858, delicious.
little, still higher, not worth the money.
SOUTH OF FRANCE. — MARSEILLES, ETC.
Marseilles -- St. George — M. Gordon - Languedoc — Châteauneuf
du Pape— Nismes—Banyuls-Letter from Montpellier, 1805– List of Prices — Cette – Undeserved bad Character - False Brands Lunel and Frontignan — The Hérault — Beziers — Narbonne Rivesaltes-Perpignan-Vintage-No Singing or Dancing-PortVendres-- Pyrénées — Magnificent Views — Elne Wine Shop – Collioure- A Bottle threescore Years old-Stone Rooms with 8,000 Gallons-Skins for Cattle-Origin of Masdeu–From Port-Vendres to Bordeaux.
IE important town of Marseilles carries on a
large trade in wine, being admirably situated for receiving into its cellars white and red, of every kind produced in this part of France.
To enumerate the various growths, and to describe the peculiarities of each, would fill a volume, which would be an exceedingly useless and tiresome book. In reading or writing on this subject, it should never be forgotten, that statements correct to-day may be the reverse to-morrow, for it often happens that the circumstance of a vineyard having gained a high reputation is the very cause of its losing it. This arises from the temptation to increase the quantity by the use of manures and other means, which deteriorate the quality.
Every parish has its own distinctive name, and
brokers are well aware that in each, various qualities are grown, though all bear one general designation. I cannot better illustrate this than by reference to the parish of St. George, four or five miles from Montpellier, which, among the numerous St. Georges throughout France, is the one understood by French wine-merchants as the real St. George. I know it well, as a fine hill in it belonged to M. Gordon, a very old friend, who has died since I visited him in 1862.
The care used in excluding bunches with rotten or green grapes, and in separating the stalks from the grapes, sufficiently explains why the result should be better than from the fields of the peasants and proprietors, who give little attention to these and other matters.
The difference in the wine not even a week old was perceptible; and although that in the cellar of the possessor of a couple of hogsheads is as true St. George as that of M. Gordon, and a few others who are equally careful, still those who know the circumstances and treatment, or who taste the produce, will give three times as much for the one as for the other. Certainly no skill or attention could make that which I mention as being so good, were it not that M. Gordon's vineyard is upon a hill with a fine aspect, whence it enjoys a decided advantage over all others on the flat ground and on the plains; but unless there be also capital, skill, and patience, quantity may be got, but assuredly not quality. The same reasoning applies to every vine-grower and vineyard in every place and country; but in some, and especially in the south of France, quantity is generally the object sought, provided it be such as will give body and colour to others.
I have tasted, however, some capital good-flavoured kinds, both red and white, in this quarter; and I may mention Tavel, Roquemaure, Lédénon Saint Gilles (white), Laudun, and Cavisson, all from Languedoc; nor would I omit the Châteauneufdu-Pape, near Avignon, which, when genuine, of a good year, and old, is excellent.
The demand, for some years, for the wines of the south, from Nismes to the Banyuls, at the foot of the Eastern Pyrenees, has been so great, that prices have attained a height never before known, and there has been, in consequence, a great accession of wealth among all classes. Every nook and corner have been searched, and many who formerly used to take almost any price offered for their wines for burning, as it is called, that is, for distillation, are now aware that wine is valuable property. Such growers have, in consequence, been paying more attention to their vines ; and in all quarters, from east to west, and north to south, new vineyards are seen; so that from these, and the greater care applied, we may expect, if favoured with a few abundant vintages, to see a great increase in the production of good wine.
As a proof of the rise in the price, owing to the oïdium, the following statements, furnished by the
PRICE CURRENT OF 1805.
Chamber of Commerce of Montpellier, of the medium quality produced in the Hérault, is annexed; but it should be remembered these quotations are always for the wine itself, and in its new state in the grower's cellar, exclusive of cask :
In 1818, 7 francs per hectol. of 22 galls., which is £0 12 O per hhd. 1852, 9
0 15 0 1852, 15
1 5 0 1853, 30
2 10 0 1856, 40
3 7 1857, 28
27 0 1863, 15 common
1 5 0 1863, 25 best
The following letter, dated in 1805, with a Price Current of the same date, shows the prices of that period. How the expressions“ neutral on simulation' bring to our memory the days of convoys, privateering, forged papers, and Custom-house oaths !
MONTPELLIER: December 18, 1805.
White Wines on board, commission excepted.
A Hogshead of 30 volts. Rivesaltes Muscat wine, 1st quality, from 260 frs. to 250 frs., which is about £10 per hhd.
Frontignan Muscat wine, 1st quality, from 200 frs. to 210 frs., which is about £8 per hhd.
Lunel Muscat wine, 1st quality, from 200 frs. to 210 frs., which is about £8 per hhd.
Beziers Muscat wine, 1st quality, from 160 frs. to 180 frs., which is about £7 per hhd.
A Hogshead of 29 velts. White Hermitage, 1st quality, from 380 frs. to 400 frs., which is about £16 per hhd.
White Hermitage, 2nd quality, from 310 frs. to 330 frs., which is about £13 per hhd.