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Saint Peray, 1st quality, from 180 frs. to 200 frs., which is about £12 10s. per
hhd. Red Wines on board, commission excepted.
A Hogshead of 29 velts. Red Hermitage, 1st quality, from 380 frs. to 400 frs., which is about £17 per hhd.
Red Hermitage, 2nd quality, from 310 frs. to 330 frs., which is about £13 per hhd.
Côte Rotie, 1st quality, from 260 frs. to 280 frs., which is about £11
Côte Rotie, 2nd quality, from 230 frs. to 240 frs., which is about £9 10s.
Fine wine called Claret, 1st quality, from 100 frs., which is about £4
A Hogshead of 36 velts.
A Hogshead of 45 velts. St. George's, 1st quality, 105 frs., which is about £3 10s. per hhd. St. Drezery, 1st quality, 105 frs., which is about £3 10s. per hhd. Roussillon strengthened like Porto, 140 frs., which is about £4 158.
MONTPELLIER: December 18, 1805. GENTLEMEN,—We confirm you our last respects of August 7th last, and beg your reference to the wishes we often expressed you, of being useful to your respectable house;
, and as we think it proper to acquaint you with the new prices of our articles, we take the liberty to hand you here annexed our price current, with the hope that the actual statement of the brandy and its good quality will induce you to favour us with your commands. Our punctuality and exertions will be such as will give you satisfaction, and insure us the continuance of your confidence.
You will find mentioned in the said price current the quotation of the colonial produces here; and should you determine to address us a neutral on simulation, loaded with such articles, you may rely upon our
cares to sale
them at your best advantage. - Waiting for your kind reply, we subscribe ourselves, very respectfully,
Your most humble, obedient Servants,
B. MARTIN LAINE & Co.
Cette is a small place, but as a proof of the extent to which the trade in wine is carried on there, the number of wine-merchants is 204, and is increasing every year. It is a by-word for adulterations, but its bad name is not deserved. Adulteration means the admixture of foreign matters with the juice of the grape. This is practised in Cette as well as in many other places, but probably comparatively little there; because there is such an ample choice of every description of grape-juice for honest blending that some of the kinds are cheaper, and more suitable for the imitations desired than anything else.
It is alleged that if you tell a Cette merchant at 9 A.M. you wish to have 50 pipes of port, 50 butts of sherry, and 50 hogsheads of claret, he will promise to deliver them at 4 P.M. There is a good deal of (exaggerated) truth in this; but he can accomplish it, because he possesses an almost unlimited supply of a great variety of wines, with body and flavours which his experience has taught him how to use ; so that, by certain combinations, he will produce a remarkably close resemblance to that of any other quality or country.
Walking along the quays, one is reminded of the London Docks, for there are rows of pipes, butts, hogsheads, quarters, and puncheons, made exactly like Portuguese, Spanish, and Madeira casks, and with very deceptive marks and brands, which are sent to all parts of the world, where they are not likely to be distinguished from the originals.
Marseilles and Cette are the great dépôts for the reception and exportation of the growths of several vinous departments ; and in these towns enormous quantities are collected. The only way to procure a particular growth in its original state, is to go to the farmer who has it still in his cellar, and then you may generally trust in its purity ; though not entirely, for some, when they have sold off their own stock, contrive, in the dark, to bring more into their stores and sell it as their own growth.
It does not follow that because a wine is only of one growth, and unmixed with any other, it is therefore better. On the contrary, it very frequently happens that it might be much improved by being mixed, not only with one, but with several others, so as to combine body and bouquets. No rules can be laid down for effecting this; but it should be remembered that what is desired by the seller, as much as by the buyer and consumer, is the quality that is most liked, and which will be most saleable and agreeable ; for no business will continue to improve, if not founded on this basis. It must also be recollected, that although very excellent wine may often be found in a farmer's cellar, in general it is only that kind which he himself has grown and made;
TOULON, AVIGNON, NISMES.
and should the various qualities of the district be wanted, they must be sought for throughout the department.
This is how the Paris and other wine-merchants of France, and often of Belgium, Germany, and Holland act, viz., blending, when they have got them in their own cellars, to suit their trade. So also must English merchants do, if they hope successfully to compete with others. But, although it is essentially necessary to be accompanied by a respectable broker of the locality, it is useless to attempt to purchase in this way, if one is ignorant of the language. It is surprising how few of the old English wine-merchants speak even French.
Should the operation here described be properly conducted, the same wine, which would be charged 1001. in a town merchant's cellar, might probably be bought from the grower for 801.
Even in Frontignan and Lunel, so noted for their few casks of delicious sweet wine, much of the land is now used for the common dark kind. The best liqueur wines of that district are now from Maraussan.
In the neighbourhood of Toulon, Avignon, Nismes, and wherever there are hills and loose calcareous or volcanic ground, there is sure to be good wine ; but after leaving Montpellier, the country is nearly a plain as far as Perpignan in the Roussillon, and until it approaches the base of the Eastern Pyrenees.
From L'Hérault and Languedoc, through Beziers and Narbonne, the railway reaches as far as Perpignan, passing through Rivesaltes, celebrated for its delicious liqueur wine. Being there late in September, it was wonderful to see vines, vines, vines, as far as the eye could reach ; and strange to look upon the vineyards, with their green leaves and masses of black grapes, giving the whole a most peculiar appearance. Men, women, and children were busy cutting, gathering, loading, and conveying; and immense tubfulls of grapes were placed on little carts, drawn by oxen, mules, or horses, or slung over the backs of the latter; but in vain one sought for dancing or singing, or the romance of the vineyard. Very different from Anacreon's description of a vintage :
Ripen'd by the solar beam,
While Love stands by, to hail the birth. From Montpellier to Perpignan was a long, tiresome journey, and although in the third class, by which I usually travel when abroad, to have chat and amuse