Page images
PDF
EPUB

WINES OF CALIFORNIA.

471

sucked through a straw, bearing the elegant names of “cock-tail,'“ brandy-smash,'' mint-julep,'' cobbler,' hot tom and jerries,' “slings,' 'greased lightning,' &c.

There is a wine grown in the Carolinas, called Scuppernong,' resembling Rhenish, but with a sweetish flavour. It is too light to be sent to a distance.

California seems better adapted for producing good wine. Its growths are best known as Angelico, Aliso, Porto, Champagne. One firm–Sausserain & Co. — is stated to have produced, in 1858, 9,400 gallons white, and 4,000 gallons red Aliso; 9,000 gallons Angelico, and 1,000 gallons brandy; in all

; 23,000 gallons. It is stated that in the district of Angelos there were produced, in that same year, about 200,000 gallons of wine of various qualities. Since that time a wealthy German company

have established themselves about twenty miles from Angelos, and, in one year, had planted half a million of vines. Indeed, large districts are yearly planted.

The wines of California can offer a fair comparison with those of Europe; and the Germans have already shipped them to their countrymen in Bremen and Hamburg. Aliso has a good body, and somewhat resembles Barsac. A San Francisco house has an agent in Paris for its sale.

Although convinced that the climate of Canada is totally unsuited for the growth, and the making of good wine, I insert the following remarks which I have just met with :

a

:

a

CANADA AND THE VINE. The partial failure of the wheat crop, recurring every year, is beginning to produce a conviction that we have been too much in the habit of depending upon this crop. Many farmers are betaking themselves to the resource of flax cultivation, for which, beyond all doubt, our soil and climate are well adapted. Grape culture has not hitherto been looked upon as a pursuit which could be followed in Canada with advantage. But if we may trust the evidence produced before a select committee of the House, appointed last Session, to inquire into the subject of vine cultivation in Canada, we must revise our former notions in regard to it. The committee bring out the fact that there was an application from M. de Courtenay to the Government, in 1859, for assistance to enable him to demonstrate, by practical experience, that the climate of Canada is peculiarly adapted to the successful cultivation of the vine in Canada. The opinion was in the first instance founded on the authority of Count de Gasperin, that for grape culture the climates most favourable are those where the duration of the season of vegetation is shortest, and where, in such season, the total heat is the highest; where the difference between the solar heat and the minimum heat is the greatest, and where consequently vegetation proceeds by shocks and not by uniform march.'

M. de Courtenay stated to the committee that his experiments have been successful both with the wild vine of the country and with several delicate varieties of European vines, and that these adapt themselves without difficulty to the rigour of the climate; and he has manufactured good sound wines from these grapes. Mr. Justice Day cautiously certifies that the wine “is of a quality to justify confidence, in a high degree, of ultimate success.' Chief Justice Drummond, after testing two kinds of it, pronounces 'one of them especially superior to the vins ordinaires of France.' Mr. W. J. Bickle, of Quebec, who has been in the wine trade for

6

[ocr errors]

CANADA AND THE VINE.

473

years, affirms that the native wine in question is such as would be of high marketable value in any country.' Mr. Lemoine, more enthusiastic, pronounces it delicious,' and another witness assures the committee that it would have been pronounced good in any wine-producing country.' This enterprise is to be prosecuted both in Upper and Lower Canada, and also the cultivation of the mulberry, and we heartily wish success to the undertaking.

CHAPTER XXII.

PERU.

Letter from a Traveller in Peru-Peruvian Sherry-Doubtful if

made in Peru.

* In the summer it is intensely hot during the day, with
clouds of saline dust and sand, and there is no shade to
protect from the ever-scorching sun. This very arid
district is a portion of a great desert which, with little
intermission, extends 1,500 geographical miles, from Co-
quimbo in Chili to Paytu in Peru. About south-east
are the rather large towns of Pica and Matilla, where
the vineyards are nourished hy waters of irrigation.'

Bollaert's Antiquities of South America.

SOME wines, closely resembling sherry

, said to be from Peru, having been brought to England, a friend, well acquainted with that country, has given me the following information :

As early as 1825 I have known and drunk the wines of Peru, and the peculiar but very nice brandy of Pisco, often called Pisco de Italia. These wines and brandies are produced in about lat. 14° S., in deep valleys, which are irrigated by water produced by the melting of snow on the sides of the Cordilleras. Peru itself is a rainless' land. In the interior of the province of Tarapaca, between 20° and 30° S., and about 70° W., at more than 4,300 feet above the sea, but at the foot of the Cordilleras, some good

[blocks in formation]

red and white wine was produced at Pica, by irrigation, but in very small quantities. For many years great attention has been paid in Peru to agriculture, and particularly to the cultivation of sugar and of the vine; and Señor Elias now produces yearly from his estate at Hojos, near Pisco, about 100,000 gallons of the wine said to be similar to madeira. Señor Urrutea's vineyard, in the same district, yields about 200,000 gallons. Connoisseurs would probably not much like this Peruvian madeira, but it is pretty good, and is drunk in the country, and even on board the steamers plying along the coasts. Aguardiente (brandy) is mostly made at Teâ, near Pisco; it is a sweet brandy, made from the muscatel grape.

Another similar quality is grown and made in the province of Mocqueber. In 1860, there were produced in the valley of the Teâ, upon 116 estates (independent of the Indian farms), from 70,000 to 80,000 botijas (earthen jars) of brandy of eighteen degrees; and 10,000 barrels of wine, to imitate sherry, madeira, and malaga ; 8,000 cwt. of cotton, and 30,000 to 40,000 lbs. of cochineal.

I have several times carefully tasted this (so-called) wine of Peru, but have each time become more strongly convinced that the proportion of Peruvian, if

any, in the casks is very small, and that it is composed of a common clean-flavoured white wine, prepared, and reshipped to England. Several circumstances strengthen this opinion.

Anyone acquainted with wine countries will doubt whether such as is imported as Peruvian can have been made in that country of scattered population; most of the labourers Indians, with a soil dependent for moisture entirely on dew, and irrigation from mountains, and with miserable roads. The shape

« PreviousContinue »