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The one without the guard costs about 3s., and the other about 6s. per dozen.
The following sketch represents cases and bins combined, now much used instead of the common cases; for they possess the great advantage of being made to hold the bottles securely, without the annoyance of straw and the mess it causes in unpacking But their peculiar advantage con
sists in being convertible into bins, by being merely stood
up. It will be easily understood what a convenience this often is—especially when in lodgings. It is seen that they may be fitted with a lock and key. The cost is not greatly more than for the usual cases. As wood decays soon in damp, unventilated places, these wooden bins should not be left long in damp cellars. They are made by many, but Spencer and Co., of Billiter Street, are probably
the largest makers. Although every kind may be kept safely and separately by those iron and wooden bins, it would be no great trouble to label each bottle before being put in, so that it may be at once seen what it is. This should be done, in large letters or figures, on a piece of paper about an inch square, gummed into the punt, or hollow part of the bottom of the bottle, which is the most visible when in the bin.
Architects have yet to study that part of their profession connected with cellars. As a general rule, they ought to be in the part of the house least likely to be affected by changes in the atmosphere or temperature; for all important changes in the latter are injurious, especially to every kind of unbrandied wine. The following excellent description of the requisites for a wine cellar is from a French paper. It has special reference to the great wine stores abroad, filled with casks of old and young wines; but the great principle of circulation of air, and cleanliness, applies equally to the smallest private cellars.
A good cellar should be cool, without being damp, with a temperature from 53° to 58°, not exceeding the latter.
It should be neither too dark nor too light, and there ought to be a constant circulation of external air, by means of holes bored in the doors, or by other openings. The walls should be whitewashed every two years, kept clean, and cleared of all insects.
The floor should be equal, well beaten down, and sanded. If it and the walls are wet, gutters must be made, filled
TEMPERATURE OF CELLARS.
with small stones, to carry off the moisture. But a good circulation of air will be sure to keep the cellar dry, if this is combined with drains on the top of the wall where it joins the roof, to carry off the rain, &c.
It is very important that a cellar should be in an isolated building, away from every kind of smell, and everything which may generate fermentation. It should always be situated where it will not be liable to be shaken by the passage of waggons, railway trains, &c.
During hot weather the most minute care is required; and two days should not pass without the proprietor or head cellarman examining every cask. He should observe if
any cask sweats or weeps, if there is the appearance of a stave giving way, of verdigris on a hoop, of a hoop loosening, or anything whatever that denotes danger.
But not only must he use his eyes, but also his ears. He should place his ear close to casks, listening to discover if fermentation is going on; and if so, he should lose no time in racking, or at least in burning a sulphur match at the bung.
The cellars in the Marne are about 40°; and I recommend everyone who has a place of that temperature in his house, to put his champagne and sparkling Rhenish there.
I have already alluded to the practice of icing wines, which may be said to be destructive to all except champagne and other sparkling kinds ; but even champagne, after it has been so long in ice as to become very cold, is not to be compared to the same wine when brought out of a cold cellar. The flavour gets locked up, and it is difficult, when in that chilled state, to distinguish the finest from a common quality.
Few London houses have cold cellars, and, as wine is bad when warm, ice becomes necessary ; but ten minutes or a quarter of an hour is usually long enough to make it what the French call frappé.
Grievous as it is to see fine wine half frozen, this is nothing in comparison with the barbarous act of putting lumps of ice into it. It would be well if those who do such a thing would remember, besides the spoiling of the wine, the bloody flux' which it caused poor Lord Dorchester.
We learn this from Dean Swift's Journal of his visit to London in 1710; and from him we also know that London had such summers at that period as we have just experienced in 1864, and that the bad practice of putting ice into wine is of very old date.
The Dean writes—
I take Patrick with me to hold my night-gown, shirt, and slippers, and borrow a napkin of my landlady for a cap. I have been swimming in the river this half-hour and more, and when I was coming out, dived, to make my head and all through wet, like a cold bath; but as I dived, the napkin fell off, and is lost, and I have that to pay for. It is pure warm; I never felt so hot a day since I was born. I lie with nothing but the sheet over me, and my feet quite bare. Nothing makes me so peevish as hot weather. Mr. Bertie would not let me put ice in my wine, saying, 'It was the worst thing in the world, and gave my Lord Dorchester the bloody flux.'
It is convenient to have a small cellar attached to the larger, with shelves and a few small bins, or, rather, one of the movable iron kind, in which a
PROPER DECANTING DIFFICULT.
few bottles of different kinds may be kept. A strong deal table is also useful for decanting ; but to this important and last stage of manipulation of the wine, for which so much time, labour, and money have been bestowed, I must devote a few special observations.
All know the difficulty of attempting to decant wine of any kind, old in bottle; and very few possess the requisite steadiness of hand, with the eye ready to stop as soon as the sediment begins to move. The difficulty can be obviated only by mechanical means.
One plan has lately been invented by Mr. Ellis, of the Bedford Hotel, Brighton, which I have heard much praised, but it appears to me heavy and complicated.
I would rather avoid the mention of my own contrivance for this object, but I have not yet seen anything so good and simple as that which I designed some years ago; but in which I have now no interest whatever, nor do I even know whether, or where, it can be procured.
Nos. 1 and 2 give an idea of that machine, and it is easy to describe it. The bottle is laid upon the frame, and tightly screwed in at the neck, so that, with Lund's or any other good screw, the cork can be drawn with ease, and without shaking the bottle. This being done, the frame may be raised by the