How To Live A Holy Life

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How To Live A Holy Life- Charles Ebert Orr

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  • Chats About Wine

    C. E. Hawker

  • CHATS ABOUT

    WINE'By

    C. E. HAWKER

    LONDON

    DALY & CO^37 ESSEX ST, STRAND

    1907

  • 3333

  • Preface

    THIS book does not aspire tobe, in any sense, a treatise on

    wine, nor does it presume to teachanything to either experts or con-noisseurs.

    Its object is to try and awakenan interest in the subject amongthose who have not hitherto givenmuch thought or attention to it,and to point out how importantit is in these days of fraud andadulteration that wine should beobtained from proper and reliablesources.

  • Contents

    Chap. I. What is Wine ? 1

    1

    II. WtneMerchantsand Wine

  • CHATSABOUTWINE

    CHAPTER IIVhat is Wine?

    IN every clime, and under everysun, from the very earliest

    periods of time of which we haveany record, wine has been con-sidered as one of the choicest gifts

    of a beneficent Providence, andin the old days of Biblical anti-quity it was always looked upon,in conjunction with corn and oil,as a symbol of national well-beingand material prosperity. The le-gendary and mystical associations

    II

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    which cluster round its historyhave inspired the poet's song andthe orator's panegyric from timeimmemorial, and writers, sacredand secular, classical and modern,have been unanimous in eulogi-sing its virtues and advocating itsuse. Among civilized nations wiiw^has^^lwaYS_^eeni_and is stillyclosely connected, not only withreligious observances, but with allfestive and social ceremonies, bothpublic and private, and that it"makes glad the heart of man"now, as in days of old, few peoplewill be disposed to deny. Taken inmoderation its pleasurable andhealth-giving properties are all

    but universallyacknowledged,andexperience seems to justify the

  • WHAT IS WINE?belief that, as compared with theinnumerable benefits it confers,the harm produced by its misuseis comparatively insignificant.What then, it may be asked, is

    this wonderful elixir of life, whichis almost as old as the world itselfand yet is ever overflowing withthe exuberance of youth; whichrestores and invigorates us whenthe powers of life are low; upliftsand cheers us in days of sorrowand gloom; evokes and enhancesour joys and pleasures; and which,by the inherent living force it isendowed with, gives animation,energy and inspiration to everysense and faculty we possess?

    Precise definitions in matters

    of food and drink are difficult at13

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    all times, and particularly so inthese days, but it is safe to say

    that wine is, or should be, a be-verage derived exclusively fromthe perfectly fermented juice ofthe grape. The quality and natureof true wine, however, dependupon a variety of circumstances.The species of vine, the climateof the region in which it is grown,the soil, the methods of cultivationadopted, the processes favouredfor the treatment and maturing ofthe expressed juices, the vintageall have their influence upon thefinal product, and to a very largeextent too, in many cases.As a rule the most important

    feature about wine, from the or-dinary consumers' point of view,

    14

  • WHAT IS WINE?is its alcoholic potency, but thestimulating power of wine and itsuse dietetically are by no meansto be gauged by the amount ofalcohol it contains. The volatileethers and extractives exercise agreat deal of influence upon itsexhilarating powers, and, in thisparticular, wine stands aloneamongst alcoholic beverages, fora mere admixture of spirits andwater has a very different effectupon the human system, and, in-stead ofbeing beneficial, is almostinvariably harmful. The constitu-ents of wine indeeclj "apart iTonTalcohol, are surprisingly wide intheir range, including as they do,in greater or lesser degree, vola-

    tile oil, ethers, grape-sugar, colour-15

  • CHATS ABOUT WINEing matter, vegetable albumen,tannic and other acids, and tar-trates; and the character of a wineis largely determined by the pre-sence or absence of these consti-tuents, or the proportion in whichthey are combined in any particu-lar case.

    It is through shutting their eyesto its complexity that the oppo-nents of wine have strayed intoone of their most mischievous er-rors. Many of the blood-curdlingexperiments to demonstrate thenoxiousness of wine have beenmade by mixing food, not withwine, but with ardent spirits orwith chemist's alcohol. Such a testis no test at all. A flask of wine,like a bottle of ginger beer, con-

    i6

  • WHAT IS WINE?tains alcohol, but it contains manyother things as well. Firstand fore-most nearly all its bulk consists ofrain-water, exquisitely filteredand

    distilled by the kindly sun andsubtly enriched with vitalityby thesilent alchemy of nature. The manwho drains awhole bottle ofsoundwine absorbs only a single glassof alcohol; and it must always beremembered that the alcohol ofnatural wine differs from the alco-hol of the chemist's laboratory as

    much as bee's honey differs fromchemists' saccharine or glucose. Itfollows, therefore, that when asensible wine-drinker is confron-ted by scares and panics concern-ing the horrors of alcohol he re-mains unmoved, forhe knows very

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    well that his trusty beverage is notmere alcohol, but alcohol modified

    and corrected by the other andmore abundant constituents ofwine.

    Broadly speaking, wine may bedivided into three principal clas-

    sesnatural wines, fortified winesand sparkling wines. The firstclass comprises those in whichthe "must" has been allowed toproceed to the utmost limit of itsfermentation, yielding generally" dry " wines practically devoid ofsweetness, such as Claret, Bur-gundy and Hock. These wines arelight alcoholically and are usuallyconsidered to be the most whole-some for habitual consumption asbeverages. Fortified wines, on the

    i8

  • WHAT IS WINE?other hand, are those in which thefermentation has been arrested bythe introduction of some form ofspirit, and such wines are gene-rally more or less sweet, and ofrather high alcoholic strength. Ofthese Port, Sherry and Madeiramay be mentioned as representa-tive examples. Sparkling wines^such as Champagne, are those inwhich carbonic acid is formed byan after-fermentation in the bot-

    tle, and theymay be classed amongthe comparatively light alcoholicgroup, though their stimulatingproperties are relatively higherowing to the presence of the car-bonic acid. These wines are either" Brut," or of varying degrees ofsweetness, according to the ex-

    19

  • CHATS ABOUT WINEtent of "liqueuring" during theprocess of manufacture, and, asthey are wines that especiallylendthemselves to adulteration, it isvery important to obtain themfrom honest sources.The assertion is sometimesmade

    that, taking the world over, morepeople suffer from the consump-tion of too little alcohol than fromtoo much, and although this asser-tion may not be accepted withoutreserve by the extreme section ofthe temperance party, there is un-questionably an element of truthin the statement. It is, of course,

    quite credible that there are somepeople who may be better withoutrecourse to any kind of stimulantwhatsoever, but all experience

    20

  • WHAT IS WINE?seems to point to the fact that

    the majority of men and women,and especially those who havearrived at middle life, are muchbenefited by taking wine withtheir meals ; and this view has re-cently been confirmed by a mostimportant medical pronounce-ment on the subject.

    It is especially unfortunate in

    this connexion that the word" stimulant " should have acquireda bad name. When one man tellsanother that amutual friend " takesstimulants," both speaker andhearer rightly look grave, for

    they are well aware that succes-

    sive drams and nips can onlygrantfits of false and short-lived ener-

    gy, at the price of long-drawn re-21

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    action and collapse; but in thesecases it is necessary to distinguish

    between spirits and grape juice,between the dram-drinker and thelover of good wine.

    In the first place the reactionensuing upon a few draughts ofwine is much less marked and lesstrying than the reaction after in-dulgence in whisky, or even tea.In the second place a genuinewine-lover feels no inclination toimbibe grape juice both in and outof season. He drinks at meal timesand when his day's work is done.Excepting a few indiscriminatechampagne-drinkers, only the he-roes and villains in romances andplays drain goblets ofwine in orderto inflame themselves to proud

  • WHAT IS WINE?words, and doughty deeds. In reallife, when the slight stimulation ofwine has passed away, the sequelis not dullness and heaviness, buta genial sense of well-being. In

    short, the much-maligned reactionone hears so much about is merelyan unfriendly name for one of the

    great charms of wine, and whatwine's foes call its reactionary de-fects wine's friends call its sedative

    merits. After all the proof of the

    drink is in the drinking, and noamount of theoretical oppositioncan set aside the grateful experi-

    ence of a hundred generations ofmen.

    Wine being avaluable nerve andbrain stimulant, it is, ofcourse, quite

    in accordance with the nature of23

  • CHATS ABOUT WINEthings that its abuse should be de-trimental to those who indulge init too freely. But a similar objec-tion applies to many other thingswhich are in themselves beneficialto the human race. We cannot"over-eat" ourselves,for example,without suffering more or less se-verelyfrom the consequent effects;and ifthe excess becomes habitual,health may be permanently im-paired.

    Statistics all go to prove, how-ever, that in strictly wine-drinkingcommunities not only is intempe-rance rare, but even where itexists the evil effects are compara-tively unimportant. It is only inspirit-drinking countries that alco-holic excess is prevalent, and the

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  • WHAT IS WINE?effects become an element of seri-ous import. If alcohol, as taken inthe form of wine, is the potentpoison that some extremists affirmit to be, it may fairly be questionedhow it is that those countries thathave always made use of it havenot gradually decayed and diedout. The principal nations of Eu-rope, for instance, which lead theworld in all that constitutes highand intellectual living, are very farindeed frombeing total abstainers;and the Jews, who cannot be ac-cused of being indifferent to thefascinations of wine as a beve-rage, do not, after an existenceof several thousand years, appearto have in any way suffered fromit, or to have deteriorated in

    25

  • CHATS ABOUT WINEphysique, mental capacity, orlongevity.

    How then can these unassail-able factsbe explained unless uponthe assumption that wine wasmeant for our judicious use? Likeall other good things it is of courseliable to abuse, but it cannot, atleast, be denied that taken in mode-ration it adds to the agreeablenessof life, and, as has been truly said,whatever adds to the agreeable-ness of life adds to its resourcesand power.

    26

  • CHAPTER IIl/yine Merchantsand Wine

    Merchants

    IN the " good old days " whenstage coach traveUing was re-

    garded as a rapid means of transit,and hot-headed gentlemen settledtheir disputes at so many paces,the wine-merchant's calling was arespected and dignified branch ofcommerce. Firms of good stand-ing, whose members were fre-quently men of education andrefinement, enjoyed the patron-age of a distinguished clientele,

    and only sound wine left theircellars for those of their custom-

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    ers. Their establishments, too, pre-sented an aspect of substantiality

    and repose, which seemed to har-monize naturally with the stocksof rare vintages and venerablewines which were always to befound there, and which were ap-preciated at their proper value byconsumers whose tastes had notthen been vitiated by the adultera-ted concoctions so liberally sup-plied by the unscrupulous dealerof the present day.

    The old-time wine-merchant,nevertheless, had competition toface, and he could not afford toignore the expediency of arran-ging his prices so that they mightnot, value for value, compare un-favourablywith the charges which

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  • WINE MERCHANTS

    ruled in other establishments. Thishe was able to do legitimately,however, and without endanger-ing his jealously-guarded reputa-tionwithout, in short, having tosubstitute inferiorbrands for thoseof accepted repute. The competi-tion, too, was fair: there was no

    necessity, and little temptation, toinstitute a policy of "cutting," such

    as is now so general in the winetrade, as in others, and the timehad not yet arrived when thewine-merchant had to contendwith the enterprise of outsidetraders. The eighteenth- and earlynineteenth-century grocers stuck

    to their own trade, and did notattempt to sell wine, and duringat least the first half of the late

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    Queen Victoria's reign, othershop-keepers confined their energiesstrictly to the exploitation of com-

    modities which came legitimatelywithin the scope of their particu-lar trade. "Off licences," too, wereunknown in those days, and itwould then have been regardedas quite as much a breach of thecommercial proprieties for a tea-merchant to submit wines for sale,as it would be considered incon-gruous or something worse, forthe modern hosier or corn chan-dler to purvey fried fish.

    In a word, the old-fashionedwine-merchant of respectabilityand repute was a personality ofsome note, and he was, in his way,quite as necessary to the country

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  • WINE MERCHANTSsquire and other people of impor-tance, as the family lawyer or thefamily doctor. Unfortunately, it israther otherwise to-day, although,happily, the old-fashioned mer-chant, even if we find him in anew-century dress, is not yetwholly extinct. There are stillsurviving representatives of theold wine-houses with reputationsto lose and worthy traditions tomaintain, who, in spite of mis-representation, unfair methods ofcompetition, and unscrupuloustrading, decline to depart fromthose usages oftheir callingwhich,in some cases, have been trans-mitted to them through manygenerations of honourable trad-ing.

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    It is, however, a matter beyondquestion that for many years pastthe wine trade has passed throughsevere vicissitudes of fortune. Its

    domain has been encroached up-on, more or less unwarrantably,from all sides. Retired Army offi-cers and Civil servants have aspecial predilection for "goinginto wine," confident that thegenerosity of obliging friends willlend them their support, and, per-haps, ultimately prevent themgoing to the wall, which is thegoal for which their inexperienceand technical incapacity, in ninecases out often, best equips them.Shady adventurers, too, mostnaturally try their luck in a branchof business which is not without

    32

  • WINE MERCHANTSits fascinations, and " on a com-mission basis," play havoc withlegitimate wine trading. Thenstorekeepers, provision dealers,and shopkeepers of all sorts andconditions, add " Our Wine De-partment" to their already pro-miscuous concerns, and perhapsdo more harm to the genuinewine-merchant's interests thanany other branch of competition.To begin with, apart from their

    all but complete ignorance of theinner side of the wine trade, suchdealers are almost of necessityas poor judges of wine as they aregreedy of profits. They listen tothe blandishments of some un-scrupulous commercial traveller,representing an equally unscru-

    33 3

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    pulous principal, and readily buythe cheap, and, of course, corres-

    pondingly unwholesome concoc-tionsrendered none the less soby their gaily attractive labels andcapsuleswhich that worthy hasto offer. At these establishmentswine has become a byword andthe "special lines" in "Chateau,"Clarets and Burgundies are onlyas a rule surpassed in nastinessby " our own bottlings " of " Taw-ny" or "Invalid " Port, which areinvariably "strongly recommend-ed," and given an air of respecta-bility by the addition of cobwebsand whitewash to the bottle.

    Nevertheless, in spite of the

    suspicions which one might rea-sonably suppose the intelligent

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  • WINE MERCHANTS

    mind would attach to "wines"which were dehvered with thekitchen soap and the servants'cheese, there are numbers ofpeople who ought to know better,who have the hardihood to setsuch beverages before their un-happy guests, and even take anundisguised pride in the high-sounding, if unmistakably spe-cious, labels which decorate thebottles. Some of us have beenbroughtup to regard certainbrandsof wine as names to conjure with,but, thanks to the unblushinglyimpudent manner in which sometraders retail the most noxiousmixtures under fictitious titles, itis safer in certain houses to abstainfrom wine altogether, if, at all

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    events, there be any desire to treatone's palate and one's internal eco-nomy with the respect which istheir due.

    The unscrupulous wine-dealerof these new-century times maybe, and generally is, many things,but he is seldom an absolute fool.He is fully conscious, poor judgeof wine as he may be, that his ownvinous wares are, not to put toofine a point upon it, not quite allthey should be. And so he permitsthe world-famous names of a fewproprietary brands to appear onhis wine-lists, and these are oftenpriced at a figure that commendsitself to economically-minded buy-ers. Thelatter verynaturallyarguethat if they can obtain a certain

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  • WINE MERCHANTS

    brand of Champagne at, say,eighty shiUings a dozen, for whichthey would have to pay a hundredshillings elsewhere, it would befolly, and the height of extrava-gance,nottopurchaseat thecheap-er rate. If these buyers stoppedshort at these particular brands,

    and left the others of more ques-tionable repute severely alone, all

    might be well for them, if not forthe other side; but, as has beensuggested, your unscrupulouswine-seller knows his business,and the presence of a few goodnames on his wine-list is part of

    the trick. He knows very well thatthe average man or woman doesnot want to be troubled with morebills than are necessary, and if the

    37

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    first purchase gives satisfaction

    the chances are that the next orderwill, in all likelihood, include one

    for some "specially recommend-ed" beverage which he bottles atconsiderable gain to himself. For-tunately, however, discriminationin the selection of wines is stillobserved by a good many peoplewho do not yield to the blandish-ments of a gaudy label, and treatthe fetish of mere cheapness withthe contempt it deserves. Compe-tent judges of wine such as theseare proof against the deception

    and trickery of the most enter-prising of unscrupulous trades-

    men, and adopt the more dignifiedcourse of sending their orders for

    wine to the proper quarters,know-38

  • WINE MERCHANTSing that they will then get whatthey want, and what they pay for,with immense advantage to theirfriends and themselves in the wayof health and enjoyment.Of recent years a somewhat

    new departure has been taken bycertain traders against which aword of caution is needed. Furni-ture dealers, drapers, and even mil-liners, have now entered the fieldof the legitimate wine-trader, andperiodically advertise, in languagemore or less alluring, although notdevoid of an element of shoppi-ness which rather discounts itsconvincing value in the estimationof the discriminating mind, thatthey have acquired " parcels " ofwine with which they are in a

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    position to part at prices whichoffer a strong temptation to theordinary purchaser. They circula-rise the pubHc at large; bookletsand wine-lists are scattered broad-cast; and, in short, money is gene-rously spent inmakingknown theirspecial offer. This manoeuvre is, ofcourse, mainly intended to adver-tise the business of the firm, for

    the advertiser assumes that the

    publicity thus secured will bringto his establishment purchasers

    whose requirements are notneces-sarily confined to wine.

    The sale of these precious "par-cels" of frequently worthless winewill of itself probably yield the

    tradesman a very good profit, butwhether it does or not is immate-

    40

  • WINE MERCHANTS

    rial. His other wares sell at figureswhich amply compensate him forany "sacrifice" he may make inthe interests of his customers; so

    if the unfortunate individuals whohave acquired a certain numberof miscellaneous articles plus the"wine" find the "special vintages"undrinkable, the vendor of the"parcels" does not much mind;the other purchases will probablyhave given satisfaction, and thesimple - minded customer maycome again.

    The astute tradesman hasplayed up to the ignorance andcupidity of the bargain-hunters,and readily bluffed them intotransferring moneyfrom their ownpockets into his own capacious

    41

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    maw. The "parcels" of wine werethe decoy, and were the means ofhis regular stock "going off" at aconvenient moment.The foregoing are a few of the

    rathernumerous pitfalls into whichthe confiding and the uiiwarymay find themselves precipitatedin the matter of their wine pur-chases.

    Under such circumstances it ishardly a matter for surprise that

    the consumption of wine, and es-pecially of good wine, is seriouslydeclining. The most recent statis-tics go to show that Great Britainnow stands sixth on the roll of

    wine-consuming countries.An an-alysis of these statistics indicates

    that for every glass of wine John42

  • WINE MERCHANTS

    Bull takes, his French neighbour,with whom he is on such goodterms, consumes no less than onehundred and twenty-five. In Bel-gium there is a wine consumptionequivalent to four glasses to theBritisher's one, and in Germanyit is six to one, beer-drinking not-withstanding. It would be interest-ing to know how much of thisinequity on the part of the Britishconsumption can be traced to theinjurious influences already men-tioned.

    However this may be, it is someslight consolation to know that aready remedy is at hand. The oldand honourable trade of the wine-merchant is still existent, and menof repute, whose wines are as irre-

    43

  • CHATS ABOUT WINEproachable as their business me-thods and personal probity, are tobe found in every city, and, be itadded, in nearly every town ofeven modest pretensions as topopulation and trade. When theshrewd, hard-headed, well-mean-ing British public come to realiseand recognise this truism, andalso the significance to pocketand importance to health repre-sented by the ability to procuresound wine from proper and re-liable sources, the unholy reign ofthe unscrupulous and incompetentoutsider, and the unprincipled andmendacious foreigner will alikehave ceased. Honest, wholesomewine will then be restored to itsformer prestige and popularity,

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  • WINE MERCHANTS

    and the respectable wine-mer-chant will once more come intohis own, and be able to perpe-tuate the sterling traditions of

    his calling.

    45

  • CHAPTER IIIDoctors and Wine

    WE English, independent andpractical though we be, are

    as a race "led by the nose." If weare old-fashioned, we are prone to

    accept political and religious dog-maswith little or no attempt beingmade to prove their truth; andwhen we are ill or "run down,"we place ourselves unreservedly" under the doctor," ready to be-lieve implicitly whatever he maychoose to say, and to swallow un-hesitatingly whatever medicinalcompound he may think fit toprescribe.

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  • DOCTORS AND WINE

    Nevertheless, the averagemedi-cal man has often a failing, andthat a somewhat serious one. Heseldom knows much about wine,for, for some unexplained reason,a knowledge of the health-givingand curative properties of genuinewines, and the special character-istics of the different varieties, isnot included in the curriculumof the ordinary medical student.He is crammed with enoughlearning about drugs to fit himfor the post of a qualified dispens-ing chemist, and he can cover apage with cabalistic chemical sym-bols without turning a hair, andwith the skill which comes of longpractice. If you are suffering fromany ordinary ailment he will pro-

    47

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    bably diagnose your case correct-ly and prescribe accordingly, andvery likely the discomfort willsoon be over. But how does hedeal with the hard-working cityman who does not require medi-cines, but whose nerves and di-gestive arrangements would beall the better for a few glasses ofpure and generous wine with hismeals, orwith the anaemic woman,whose impoverished blood keepsher healt hconsistently below par,and who would be equally bene-fited by a similar regime? Suchpatients are quite likely to be ad-vised by the ordinary doctor totake milk or lemon-squash, orpossibly one of those much-adver-tised, but frequently fraudulent

    48

  • DOCTORS AND WINE

    and unwholesome concoctions,which go by the name of " Medi-cated" or "Meat" Wines, or somesuch misleading title, but whichusually have very little relationto either meat, wine, or medicinein the proper sense of the words.One of the chief disadvantages,

    however, of this want of know-ledge and discrimination on thepart of the average doctor in mat-ters concerning wine, is the dan-ger he runs of becoming a victimto the wiles of certain firms whohave inferior wines from newcountries to introduce, or special

    "lines" of their own to push.These enterprising people, bymeans offree samples, and flowerycirculars which generally extol

    49 4

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    the "medicinal" properties oftheir wares, have not much diffi-culty in imposing upon the un-wary doctor, and sooner or laterthey generally succeed in turninghimthough the worthy curer ofbodies is unconscious of the fact

    into a valuable advertising agentfor themselves.

    In days gone by the most suc-cessful members of the medicalfraternity were not likely to betaken in so easily. They were goodjudges of wine, and were wellaware of its stimulating and heal-ing properties. They did not hesi-tate to advise lackadaisical maid-ens to drink it with their mealsrather than water, and the blood-making and other health-giving

    50

  • DOCTORS AND WINE

    virtues of sound Claret and Bur-gundy were recognized by everypractitioner in the kingdom.

    Notwithstanding our boastedadvances in all that pertains totemperance and hygiene, therewere fewer pale-faced girls andflabby youths in those times thanone sees in our streets to-day;

    and since the world was young,all experience goes to prove thatpure wine, if taken in that mo-deration which is wise in allthings, is the most natural andtherefore the most wholesome,beverage for man.

    In cases of illness, a heavy re-sponsibility naturally rests uponthe doctor in all matters pertain-ing to food and drink. So far as

    SI

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    food is concerned, this responsi-

    bility he is generally willing andable to accept. Buthow often,whenhe gets beyond the beaten track ofordinary dietaries and drugswhichare familiar to him and orderswine, does he insist on the impor-tance of procuring the supplyfroma reliable source? Yet it is as im-portant for wine to be obtainedfrom a respectable and dependablewine-merchant as for prescrip-tions to be dispensed by a fully-qualified chemist. A doctor wouldhardly approve of his medicinesbeing obtained from, say, the localgrocer, and yet the wine he pre-scribes may, in some cases, beprocured from the most unde-sirable sources, and the patient's

    52

  • DOCTORS AND WINEhealth injuriously affected, if thisimportant point is overlooked.There often arises, of course, the

    question of expense when wine isordered, and where outlay is aconsideration the physician issometimes placed in a position ofdifficulty on that score. GoodChampagne, for instance, is ad-mittedly one of the most valuablestimulants in many cases of illness,but the best brands are costly andthe cheaper ones are not alwaysto be depended on. There are, how-ever, in the case of this particular

    wine, excellent substitutes avail-able. Sparkling ^urgundy Oi Sau-mur, if carefully selected, mightoften take the place of the higher-priced Champagnes; and a spark-

    53

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    ling white M6doc, called "Spark-ling Ducru," has also recentlycome into the market and is soldat about half the price of the fa-shionable brands of Champagne.As this wine carries with it thecredentials of having been madeat one of the most renowned es-tates in the M6doc country, it issafe to predict that it will soon

    become very popular with thosewho can appreciate a really pureand well-made sparkling wine.With the wealth of resource

    which the principal wine-produc-ing countries ofthe world possess,and which must surely be meantfor the benefit of mankind, it isdifficult to account for the preju-dice which certain members of the

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  • DOCTORS AND WINE

    medical profession still have withregard to the use of wine in ill-ness and convalescence. It seemsimpossible that this aversion,though fortunately it is not verywidespread, should continue in-definitely; butmuch might be doneto remove it if our principal wine-merchants would make an effortto popularise really good and purewines, and if doctors themselveswould forbid their patients takingany wine that could not show aclear record as to quality andorigin.

    There never was a time whenlight, wholesome wines such asClaret and Burgundy

    pre-emin-ently the wines for debility andconvalescencecould be obtained

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    of such good quality and at sucha moderate price as in the presentday; and there is, therefore, much,both from a professional and froma trade point of view, calling forintelligent reconsideration, in theinterests both of public and indi-vidual health.As good judges of wine are al-

    ways in a minority, a keen sur-veillance of their patients' bever-

    ages ought to be exercised bymedical men among rich and pooralike, but naturally it will be inthe homes of the less well-to-dothat an observant doctor will de-tect the highest percentage of out-

    rages perpetrated in the name

    of wine. To the poorer classes" wine " usually means Port and

    S6

  • DOCTORS AND WINESherry, and these two are thewines which can be most easilyand profitably imitated by theshameless blendings of a littlecommon wine with abundant con-coctions of sugar, dyes, grain-

    spirit and chemical flavourings.Seeing that the poor have to makeheavy sacrifices in order to pur-chase these so-called wines fortheir sick, the blenders who ex-ploit human misfortune by sellinga poison in place of a medicine, ata profit of several hundred percent, deserve a front place amongthe enemies of the State. OurEnglish laws against adulterationand substitution are defective, butthe existing Food and Drugs Actsprovide machinery with which

    57

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    more than a little can be done, Afew weeks of public-spirited vigi-lance and energy on the part ofthe medical profession would goa long way towards stamping outa heartless and even murderousfraud, and surely practitionerswould do themselves no smallhonour by becoming in this senseguardians of the poor.Ofcourse, when one remembers

    that it is proverbial for doctors todiffer, one is not surprised that

    they find a convenient bone ofcontention in the question of thewisdom or otherwise of prescrib-ing alcohol for their patients in

    cases of illness. A certain percen-tage of medical men are alwaysto be found ready to advance ar-

    58

  • DOCTORS AND WINE

    guments against the utility of al-cohol in any form, or in any de-gree of microscopical quantity,either in illness or in health ; butit is satisfactory to note that a

    large number of chnical specialistsand practitioners of the highestreputation in the roll of medicaldistinction have recently spokenout plainlyon this subject,and havepublished, through the mediumof The Lancet, a statement whichshows that they do not at all sub-scribe to the extreme views putforward by some of their profes-sional brethren. Though this im-portant manifesto has produced alively discussion, both in the medi-cal world and amongst inteUigentlaymen, there can be no doubt that

    59

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    it cannot fail, in the long run, tobe of great advantage to the com-munity at large, both in sanction-ing, from the highest medicalpoint of view, the moderate con-sumption ofwine as a beverage fordaily use, and also in restoring itto its rightful place in the list ofremedial agents.

    60

  • CHAPTER IVH^tne at Hotels and Restaurants

    OF late years many changeshave taken place in the every-

    day life of the community, and al-though the Englishman's home isstill his castle, and home is still"sweet home," the flat, the hoteland the restaurant are silentlyworking a revolution in the socialhabits of the upper and middleclasses. Hospitality is becomingless and less dispensed upon thehost's own mahogany, and moreand more in public places, withthe result that the greatest con-

    sumption of wine now takes place,6i

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    not in private houses, but in res-taurants and hotels. Accordinglyit is desirable to inquire how theproprietors of these estabhsh-

    ments are discharging their re-sponsibilities, and rising to theiropportunities in this particular

    matter.

    To tell the plain truth, restaura-teurs and hotel-keepers, as a class,go about the purveying of winewith an indifference to their cus-tomers' and their own ultimate in-terests which could hardly begreater if thewhole fraternityweresecretlyleagued to stamp outwine-drinking altogether. In all other

    respects hotels and restaurantshavebeencontinuously improving,but their wine, the profitable ar-

    62

  • WINE AT HOTELS

    tide out of which such places aremainly built up and kept going, isgenerally both poor and dear.

    It is interesting to imagine somegentleman of the "old school" ar-riving for the first time at a twen-tieth-century hotel. At his firstsight of the liveried servants inthe marble hall, almost asgorgeousas a king's retainers in a palace,

    at his first trial of the lift raisinghim to the sixth floor more swiftlythan his legs could carry him up adozen stairs, at his first acquain-tance with the electric light, thetape, the telephone, in short,amidst all the wonders of modernluxury, the astonished guest wouldnaturally expect the kitchen andthe cellar to be equally ahead of

    63

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    the old-fashioned inns. And so faras concerns the food, served a-midst flowers and music, at softly-lit tables, he would not be disap-pointed. He would find that ourcooks have indeed made headwaysince the day when Voltaire twit-ted England with being the landof "a hundred religions and onlyone sauce." But when, emboldenedby all this efficiency and progress,he opens the wine-list in the beliefthat he is about to enjoy an exqui-site surprise in wine, what hap-pens? He finds that his best friendhas failed him. The good wine, forwhich he would cheerfully forfeita thousand tapes and a gross oftelephones, refuses to appear. Thestuffthe waiter pours into his glass

    64

  • WINE AT HOTELS

    may not necessarily be impure orbad; indeed it may be drinkable,always provided the guest is will-ing to pay half-crowns for whatthe proprietor has bought with six-pences. But while everything inthe place is better than ofyore, thewine, which should be the crownand glory of the feast, is worse.

    In this matter cause and effectare becoming curiously compli-cated. Having succeeded in lower-ing the wine standard through theabsence of effective protests fromthose who know what good wineis, the hotel and restaurant-keep-ers are nowadays dealing mainlywith a rising generation uponwhose uneducated and undiscern-ing palates anything with an

    6s 5

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    important-looking label can bepalmed off" almost with impunity.If the lift should stick betweentwo floors, or if the electric bellsrefused to ring, or if the hot tapsin the bathroom yielded only tepidwater, the guest affected wouldmake instant complaint,and there-fore such things are hardly everallowed to happen. But when thehotel or restaurant-keeper com-

    mits the offence of serving ill-chosen, ill-cellared, or perhapsdownright dishonest wine at enor-mous prices, the chances are thathis otherwise fastidious client willcheerfully drain his glass withoutthe faintest suspicion that he hasbecome the half-poisoned victimof greed or incompetence.

    66

  • WINE AT HOTELS

    As regards hotel and restaurantwine in general, and the lower-priced table wines in particular,it is high time for the quality to goup and for the prices to go down.So far as quality is concerned, theproprietors of public establish-

    ments ought to consider it as dis-graceful to supply unwholesome,or ill-kept wine, as to serve ques-tionable fish or tainted meat. Atthe head of every wine-list thereought to be a guarantee that allthe wines thereinafter priced arethe pure juice of the grape, andthat they pertain to the vineyardsand vintage years named in thelists. To introduce this reformwould cost the honest and com-petent proprietor whose wines are

    67

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    pure and good, no more than afew extra drops of printer's ink,and as for the unfairly or badly-conducted establishments, the ab-sence of such a guarantee wouldenable lunchers and diners todraw their own conclusions, andto betake themselves to saferquarters.

    In contending also that theprices of wines drunk in publicought to go down, it is, of course,not claimed that suchwines shouldbe made as cheap as similar winesconsumed at one's own table. Therestaurant-keeper has many ex-penses to meet, and he makes nodirect charge for the use of hisheavily-rented and rated premis-es, nor for the wear and tear of

    68

  • WINE AT HOTELS

    his costly furnishings. It is, how-ever, hard on wine-drinkers, whohave always been his best friends,that the business should be soarranged as to yield comparative-ly little profit upon the food, whileseveral hundred per cent are ex-acted from the wine.The proprietors of hotels and

    restaurants are, as a rule, a very

    astute, far-seeing, and business-like body of men, and it is some-what remarkable, therefore, thatthey have not yet discovered thatthey themselves are to blame forthe large decrease in the con-

    sumption of wine at their estab-lishments, about which they sooften complain. For a consider-able time past, wine-shippers and

    69

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    merchants have also been lament-ing a diminution in wine orderson the part of the public, and weare sometimes told that all thisis due to the energy shown bythe advocates of temperance. Tothose, however, who understandthe facts of the case this assertion

    is absurd. There is no doubt, ofcourse, that temperance principlesare making headway in this coun-try, but among the educated class-es who drink wine, temperancemeans moderation and not total-abstinence. The educated advo-cate of temperance is a broad-

    minded man of all-round sympa-thies, and while he believes intemperance, he does not becomea total-abstainer, as such a course

    70

  • WINE AT HOTELS

    would, according to his views, beintemperance and not temperanceat all. Whatever, therefore, may besaid as regards spirits, the de-crease in the consumption of wineis not in the least likely to be dueto the activity of the temperancereformers, but it is probably large-ly to be accounted for by the factthat the people who do drink wineare compelled to drink consider-ably less than they would like to,owing to the high prices whichprevail at hotels and restaurantswhere so many meals are nowtaken, and by being obliged tolessen their consumption, or ab-stain altogether, at these places,

    they acquire the habit of doingso elsewhere.

    71

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    A comparison of the pricescharged by wine-merchants toordinary private customers, withthose charged by first-class hotelsand restaurants to their patrons,is a very instructive study, and itserves a useful purpose in show-ing that, even if the same qualityof wine were supplied, these es-tablishments would make a verylarge profit indeed; whereas bysupplying, as they generally do,wines of a very inferior quality tothose of the wine-merchant, theprofit is enormously increased andbecomes quite extortionate. Thismethod of doing business mayanswer very well for a time, but

    only at the cost of bringing goodwine into disrepute, lessening its

    72

  • WINE AT HOTELS

    consumption, and inflicting seri-ous injury on the legitimate winetrade, which must sooner or laterreact upon those who have beenthe cause of it.This particular phase of the

    question has been a serious onefor many years past, and althoughhotel and restaurant proprietorshave been shamefully neglectingthe interests of their customers,

    vitiating their tastes and lighten-ing their pockets, the people prin-

    cipally concerned have made buta feeble protest. This has been amistake, and the time has certain-ly arrived when strong measuresshould be taken to bring aboutsome reform. The matter restswith the public, and they should

    73

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    decline to patronise any hotel or

    restaurant where the prices arenot reasonably moderate, andwhere the proprietors do not givesome sort of guarantee, as far as

    it is possible to do so, that theirwine is procured from reliablesources. We live in an age whenrich as well as poor expect to get

    fair value for the money they ex-pend, and it is those who recog-nise the existence of this feeling

    and adapt their business arrange-ments to meet it in a practical

    spirit, who will best promote theirown interests.

    74

  • CHAPTER VIVines of France

    AMONG the wine producingcountries of the world the

    sunny and fertile land of Francemust undoubtedly be accorded thefirst place. Almost the whole re-gion, from the Rhine to the Pyre-nees, abounds in prolific vineyards,and wines of every description areproduced under the most favour-able conditions of climate, soil andmanufacture. The grand red winesof this favoured country are uni-versally acknowledged to be thefinest in the world, and its whitevarieties, headed by Chateau

    75

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    Yquem and Montrachet, are hard-ly, if at all, surpassed by even therenowned growths of Johannis-berg and Tokay, whilst in thematter of sparkling wines Franceis admittedly without a rival.The heart of the industry may

    be said to lie in the department ofthe Gironde, the chief town andseaport of which is Bordeaux. Thered wines of this district, knownunder the generic name of Claret,are of a beautiful ruby colour andare renowned for their elegance,delicacy and seductive bouquet.The finest qualities are producedin a narrow strip of land called the

    M^doc, which extends north fromBordeaux along the left banks otthe rivers Garonne and Gironde,

    76

  • WINES OF FRANCE

    and the "Grands CrCis" of thisbeautiful vine-garden are dividedinto five different classes, knownas the "classedgrowths." Theyareas follows:

    First GrowthsChateau Lafite . . . Pauillac.Chateau Margaux . Margaux.Chateau Latour . . Pauillac.Chateau Haut Brion . Pessac.

    Second Growthsiriuutuu . . . . ,Rauzan Sdgla . . .

  • CHATS ABOUT WINEPichon Longueville . Pauillac.Pichon Longueville

    LalandeDucru Beaucaillou .Cos d'Estournel

    . .

    Montrose ....

    do.

    Saint Julien.SaintEsthphe.

    do.

    Third GrowthsKirwan , . .Chateau d'IssanLagrange

    . .

    Langoa . . .Chateau GiscoursMalescot Saint ExupdCantenac BrownPalmer . .La Lagune .Desmirail .Galon SdgurFerriere .M. d'Alcsmeis Becker

    Cantenac.

    do.

    SaintJulien.do.

    Ldbarde.ry Margaux.

    Cantenac.

    do.

    Ludon.Margaux.SaintEsthphe.Margaux.

    do.

    Fourth Growths

    Saint PierreBranaire DulucTalbot . . .

    SaintJulien.do.

    do.

    78

  • WINES OF FRANCEDuhart Milon . . . Pauillac.Poujet Cantenac,La Tour Garnet . . Saint Laurent.Rochet Saint Estbphe.Chateau Beychevelle . SaintJulien.Le Prieurd .... Cantenac.Marquis de Therme . Margaux.

    Fifth Growths

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    In addition to the above manyother very good wines known as"Bourgeois growths" are to befound in the Mddoc; and the dis-tricts of Graves and St Emilionalso produce wines which bear avery high reputation. It does noteither at all follow that the better

    of these "unclassed" wines are al-ways, as a matter of course, in-

    ferior to the "classed" growths,

    although technicallytheymayrankafter them. With Clarets, as in factwith all wines, the vintage is of fargreater importance than the name,however illustrious it may be. ABourgeois growth of a good year,for instance, is very much to bepreferred to a "classed" growthof a bad one. It is, therefore, of the

    80

  • WINES OF FRANCE

    first importance to realize the factthat thename ofthe Chateau ordis-trict from which the wine comes isonly a guarantee of origin, notnecessarily of quality, and thatthe vintage is practically every-thing.

    Whatever the category to whichthey belong, all good red wines ofthe Mddoc and the neighbouringdistricts are recognized by certainwell-marked characteristics whichdistinguish them from all otherwines, and they possess the im-portant hygienic quality that not

    only are they refreshing, whole-some and invigorating, and, in aword, true natural tonics, but theycan be taken habitually as bever-ages, in even very liberal quanti-

    8i 6

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    ties, without being followed byanyevil effects.

    Sauternes and Graves

    Though rather overshadowedbythe grand red CrCis, the Girondehas still some reason to be proudof its white wines. These are gene-rally known under the names ofSauterne, Graves and Barsac, themost famous being Chateau Y-quem, which is one of the finestwhite wines in the world. Othersof renown are Chateau La TourBlanche and Chateau Suduirant.Ofthe Graves wines Chateau Car-bonnieux has a considerable repu-tation, and among others ChateauSaint Bris may be mentioned as adry, natural wine of extremely

    82

  • WINES OF FRANCE

    pleasant and flavoury characteris-tics.

    The vintage in the Sauternecountry is usually rather late, andin the making of the best winesquantity is entirely sacrificed toquality, the grapes being allowedto hang foralong time before beingpicked, and only gathered whenthey arrive at the proper stage ofmellowness. The result of this isthat wines so made are very sweetand luscious, in some cases almostlike liqueurs, and the best ones arevery much esteemed and exceed-ingly costly.

    BurgundyNext to those of the M^doc, the

    generous vinous growths of Bur-83

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    gundy are the best known Frenchred wines in England. The finestqualities are grown in the depart-ment of the Cote d'Or, the sun-ward flank of a long low upland,whose grapes drink so deeply ofthe golden heat that the wines ofBurgundy are much more gene-rous than the wines grown furthersouth in the Gironde. As in thecase of Mddoc wines, the bestgrowths are kept distinct and havea very high reputation. In the frontrank we find the magnificent Ro-mance Conti, Chambertin, ClosVougeot, Richebourg and LaTache; and other well-knownwines are Musigny, Corton,.Nuits,Volnay, Pommard and Beaune.The higher classed Burgundies

    84

  • WINES OF FRANCE

    are full-bodied and velvety, of arich ruby colour, and endowedwith a beautiful perfume, and theyare rightlyconsidered to be amongthe most perfect of wines. Alco-holically they are somewhatstronger than Claret, and are alsoperhaps rather more prone to dis-agree with some people, if drunkhabitually, than the lighter winesof Bordeaux.Ordinary white Burgundies are

    usually known as Chablis andPouilly; and they are light, dry,and generally wholesome wines.The finest white variety of theCote d'Or is, however, Montrach-et, which every Burgundian main-tains is the finest white wine inthe world. It is full-bodied, with a

    8s

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    delicate soft flavour and great rich-ness, and will keep for any lengthof time. When genuine it com-mands a very high price, but, likethe grand Romance, it is not oftento be met with.

    Champagne

    The art of making effervescingor sparkling wines was first prac-tised in the ancient province ofChampagne, hence the name; butit has since spread to other partsof France and to foreign countries,as well. It is said to have been dis-covered by a certain wine-lovingprior about 200 years ago, andknowing what we do about theworthy monks of those times, andtheir appreciation of the good

    86

  • WINES OF FRANCE

    things of this hfe, we may acceptthis version of its origin withoutany misgivings as to its veracity.The best Champagne comes fromthe neighbourhood of Rheims andEpernay, but it is more generally

    known by the name of the shipperthan by that ofanyspecial locality,and this being the case the pres-tige of the maker is of course all-important. Such names as Cliquot,Heidsieck, Krug, Lanson, Moet,Mumm,iPommery, Roederer, etc.,will occur to everyone as carrying

    with them a guarantee of high-class quality and excellence.The most esteemed wines are

    not the product of any one vine-yard, but a blend of many, and itis in this blending, which forms

    87

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    what is called the cuvee, that thetalent of the real artist is shown.At a subsequent stage the wine isgenerally more or less "Hqueur-

    ed," according to the taste of thecountry it is destined for, but thisis not always done, and if no sweet-ness is added the wine is called"brut." In this state many peopleprefer it, and there can be nodoubt that these dry wines aremore wholesome, and also morelikely to be of good quality, thanthe sweeter ones, as "liqueuring"

    can be made to cover up a goodmany defects that would soonmanifest themselves if it were

    omitted.

    The English, as compared withothernations, are certainly entitled

    88

  • WINES OF FRANCE

    to credit for their taste in Cham-pagne, and as regards sparklingwines generally. The Frenchmanwith his Sillery or Saumur, theGerman with his sparkling Hockand Moselle, the Italian with hisAsti Spumante, all favour sweet-ness, while the Champagne drunkin Russia is like liquid confec-tionery. The soundness of theEnglish taste is proved by thefact that the drier sparkling winesare far ahead of all others dieteti-cally. Even the French are be-ginning to appreciate this, and itis now-a-days not unusual to seeChampagne upon a Frenchman'stable with the inscription, "asshipped to England."For some considerable number

    89

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    of years attention has been givento producing sparkling wines inparts of France other than theChampagne district, and on thewhole with satisfactory results.There is, of course, no secret asto the actual manner of makinga sparkling wine, and, given asufficientvariety ofsuitable grapes

    to form a cuvee, with the requisiteskill to carry out the different pro-

    cesses of manufacture, and appro-priate cellars in which to store thewine at a low and even tempera-ture, there is no reason why veryexcellent sparkling wines shouldnot be produced in almost anypart of the world, and in point offact they are now to be found in

    most countries where wine is90

  • WINES OF FRANCE

    made. Good, however, as manyof these wines are, it is generallyconsidered that they lack the deli-cate finesse and flavour of trueChampagne, and indeed it may besaid, without fear of contradiction,that in good years no sparklingwine in any quarter of the globecan equal the best brands ofRheims and Epernay. These grandwines, however, are only withinthe reach of the fortunate few, andit is a certain disadvantage to thepublic at large that the deservedlyhigh reputation ofthe finest brandsshould be found in practice to casta sort of halo over every sparklingwine that comes from the samepart of France, and chooses to callitself Champagne. In too many

    91

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    cases these wines are very farfrom being what they profess tobe, and are often nothing but in-ferior and unwholesome concoc-tions "doctored" up to resembletheir aristocratic betters, which itis needless to say they only do inrespect of the prices charged forthem. In place of such imposters

    as these, well-made sparklingwines from other districts ofFrance, with less pretensions asto name and price, are much to bepreferred, and fortunately there isno lack of choice. Sparkling Sau-

    mur from the banks of the Loire,and several varieties of sparklingBurgundy are to be had in pro-fusion, and if care is taken in se-lection they willgenerally be found

    92

  • WINES OF FRANCE

    to give satisfaction. A very goodsparkling white Mddoc is also nowmaking its way in this country,and a rather special interest at-taches to this wine, not only on

    account of its being the youngestof the sparkling family, but be-cause it comes from a districtwhich, although its supremacy inviticultural matters is universally

    acknowledged, has hitherto beenunrepresented by this class ofwine.The above constitute the prin-

    cipal varieties of French wineswhich are known out of the coun-try itself Large quantities areproduced in the Southern pro-vinces, but with the exception ofHermitage, Roussillon and a few

    93

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    others, they are almost entirelyused for home comsumption.

    French Vintages

  • CHAPTER VIWines of Germany

    IT cannot be denied that someofthe finest and most esteemed

    wines in the world owe their originto the famous vineyards of Ger-many, and for this reason, and alsoon account of the generally highstandard of excellence of its pro-duce, the Fatherland is entitled toa very prominent place in the rollof wine-making countries.The most renowned growths

    are found in a district called theRheingau, which is a most proli-fic stretch of vineyards extendingfor about ten miles on the right

    9S

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    bank of the Rhine between May-ence and Rildesheim. It is saidthat the vine was first cultivated

    in these parts as early as the third

    century, and was subsequentlyvery greatly extended by mediae-val monks, particularly those ofthe monasteries of Johannisbergand Eberbach. The principal vine-yards lie between the Taunusmountains in the north and theRhine in the south. They are wellsheltered from cold winds, and

    though the climate is not always

    all that could be desired, the loca-

    lity is, on the whole, favourable

    for viticultural products. Here

    towns, villages, and castles give

    distinctive names to a host of

    different wines, the most famous96

  • WINES OF GERMANYofwhich come from the vineyardsof Schloss Johannisberg andSteinberg. These two celebratedwines are made with the utmostcare from specially selectedgrapes, and they are universallyrenowned for their wonderfulrichness, delicacy, and fragrantbouquet. Other choice growthsto be found in this neighbourhoodare Rtidesheim, Marcobrun andRauenthal, and on the oppositeside of the river we find the well-

    known Liebfraumilch, a wine offine bouquet and flavour, which,possibly on account of the singu-

    larity of the name, is about themost popular wine in Germany.A famous vineyard on the banksofthe Main supplies the celebrated

    97 7

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    Hockheimer, said to have beenthe earliest Rhenish wine knownin this country; hence the cor-rupted name " Hock," under whichthe Rhine wines have been classedever since.

    There are numerous other goodwhite wines made in this district,but comparatively few red ones;Assmanshauser, an interestingwine of a Burgundy character,being the only one that is muchknown.The general characteristics of

    Moselle wines are very similar to

    those of the Rhine, but they are,

    as a rule, rather more acid, and

    have less body. Among the bestknown are the famous and legen-dary Berncastler Doctor, Scharz-

    98

  • WINES OF GERMANYhofberg and Brauneberger, but,as in the case of Hocks also, agreat number of first-class varie-ties come to this country undervarious names, and figure in moreor less profusion in all wine lists.As a result of the comparative

    coolness and uncertainty of theclimate in the Rhine and Moselledistricts, the grapes frequently donot attain a proper degree of ripe-ness, and in consequence, thewines are often found to containan excess of acid. On the otherhand it is the presence of a com-paratively high degree of acid, incombination with the alcohol,which contributes so largelyto theformation ofthe ethereal productsdistinctive of these wines. These

    99

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    ethers go to make up the exquisitebouquet which pervades the finerHocks and Moselles, and whichis often so conspicuously absentfromwinesmade in more southerncountries, where the grape arrivesat a greater degree of sweetness.

    In good years and when theyare well-made, the wines of Ger-many are exceedingly pleasantand wholesome beverages, par-ticularly suitable for hot weather,

    and to have drunk a deep draughtof cool Rhenish on a blazing dayin a vine-clad bower on the banksof the romantic and legendaryriver, or under the shadow of oneof its crumbling towers, is to have

    laid up a memory which does notsoon pass away. Owing, however,

    lOO

  • WINES OF^GERMANYto the practices of certain enter-

    prising firms who periodicallyinundate this country with circu-lars, setting forth, among otherthings, the advantages of "buyingdirect from the grower," and offer-ing well-known wines at ridicu-lously low prices, it has becomeespecially necessary of late for

    purchasers to be on their guardas to the source of their supplies.

    Thewines so advertised aregener-ally worthless, if not positively

    injurious, and if the receivers ofthese circulars would take thetrouble to make a few inquiriesbefore giving their orders, theywould probably find that in themajority of cases the firms inquestion were neither growers

  • CHATSfABOUT WINE

    themselves nor people with whomany respectablegrowerwould careto have any dealings. To avoiddisappointment and loss, there-fore, it is advisable to abstain fromtakingadvantage ofthe "bargains "

    which are brought to one's noticein this way, or indeed in any ofthe many other ways with whichmodern ingenuity and fraud seekto impose upon the ignorant andunwary, and to deal only with re-spectable wine-merchants whosereputation and experience areguarantees as to the genuinenessand quality of whatever comesfrom their cellars.

    In addition to Hocks and Mo-selles, Germany produces a greatmany other good wines, but they

    102

  • WINES OF GERMANYare not much known out of theirown country.

    Hock and Moselle Vintages

  • CHAPTER VIIIVines of Spain

    SPAIN is one of the principalwine-producing countries of

    Europe, but though a great manysorts of Spanish wine are madeand exported she has always beenmore closely identified in this

    country with Sherry than withany other variety."^"

    This wine derives its name fromJerez in Andalusia, which is theheadquarters of the trade, and itis a wine which is essentiallySpanish, nothing like it beingproduced in any other country.There are several varieties of

    104

  • WINES OF SPAIN

    Sherry, but for the purposes of

    general description they may bedivided into two classes ; the "fino"

    which is a pale, delicate, dry wineof the Amontillado type; and the"Oloroso," a more full-bodied,

    richer, and deeper coloured wine.Fine, well-matured Sherry is

    full of vinosity, and contains avery high proportion of etherealproducts. These particular quali-ties have always been consideredas rendering it exceedingly valu-able as a stimulant and restorative,and for this reason it was formerlymuch in favour with medical menin cases of illness, and in the de-bility of old age. At one time itwas also, as is well-known, ex-ceedingly popular in this country

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    as an everyday beverage, and nodinner table was complete with-out it. Times, however, havegreatly changed in this respect,and in consequence of the veryquestionable habit having sprungup of drinking whisky instead ofwine, the consumption of Sherry,as also of many other wines, hasfallen off to a very considerable

    extent. It is satisfactory to note,

    however, that doctors, and sen-sible people generally, are begin-

    ning to see the evil which is likelyto follow from this change in thenational habits, and also thehardly less baneful effects to

    health which are connected withextreme teetotalism, and signs

    are not wanting that wine is106

  • WINES OF SPAIN

    gradually re-establishing itself inpublic favour.

    There are many well-knownand old-established shippers ofSherry, and excellent wine canalways be procured from propersources. It must be remembered,however, that such a wine as thiscannot be produced very cheaply,and though, with perhaps the ex-ception of Claret, there js, inthe present day, better value tobe obtained in Sherry than in anyother wine, a reasonable pricemust always be paid; and if healthis valued, the cheap, but generallyfictitious, concoctions bottled byordinary grocers and wine-shops,should be carefully avoided.Besides Sherry, Spain produces

    107

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    a great many other wines, someof which form a considerable por-tion of her trade with this coun-try. Tarragona from the provinceof Catalonia, which is one of thebest known, is a rich, spirituous,red wine, largely used to blendwith other wines, but is also soldas Spanish Port. Val de Penasfrom the central provinces is anatural, full-bodied wine of theBurgundy type, and with Riojaand Malaga has a certain marketin England, but the consumptionof most of the other varieties isconfined to their own country.

    108

  • WINES OF PORTUGAL

    Wines of PortugalAlthough Portugal produces a

    large quantity of wine, practicallythe only variety known in thiscountry is Port, a beverage whichour ancestors had a much moreintimate acquaintance with thantheir descendants of this genera-tion can boast of.This wine is the produce of the

    Alto Douro, and takes its namefrom the seaport of Oporto. It isa rich, generous, full-bodied wineof which, roughly speaking, thereare two distinct classes. Tawny ordraught Ports, which have beenmatured in casks, and are com-paratively light in colouring, andPorts of rather a fuller colour,

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    which have been bottled a fewyears after the vintage and requireto be kept for some time beforedrinking.

    Port belongs to the fortifiedclass of wines, and spirit is added,not only during the primary fer-mentation, but at frequent inter-vals afterwards to prevent furtherfermentation. The effect of thistreatment is to preserve the rich-ness and keeping properties ofthe wine, but somewhat at theexpense of its vinosity and whole-someness.

    During the greater part of thenineteenth century Port enjoyeda very special distinction, and was,perhaps, the most popular winein England. Of late years, how-

    no

  • WINES OF PORTUGAL

    ever, it has rather fallen from itshigh estate, though the finer vin-tages may always be expected tohold their own up to a certainpoint. The decline in the con-sumption of this and other old-time favourites, which has beenso noticeable among a certainsection ofthe community for sometime past, is probably due, to someextent, to an increased taste forlighter and more natural wines,but also, perhaps, to a greater de-gree, as has been mentioned be-fore, to the use that is now madeof spirits as an everyday beve-rage. This can hardly be consi-dered a change for the better sofar as refinement of taste and per-sonal health are concerned, and it

    III

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    is much to be hoped that peoplewill soon realise the deleterious

    effects of spirit-drinking, and willreturn to the more natural, andinfinitely more wholesome, juiceof the grape.

    Madeira

    Half a century ago the winesproduced in the lovely island ofMadeira had a reputation such asfew otherwines have ever attainedto, and no cellar was consideredcomplete without a goodly stockof "Old Madeira." The name wasone to conjure with, and takepride in, but unfortunately evil

    times fell upon the Island soonafter the middle of the last cen-tury, and, owing to disease attack-

    112

  • WINES OF MADEIRA

    ing the vines, the production ofwine came practically to an end,and old stocks were only to behad at very high prices. Thisnaturally caused the wine to besomewhat lost sight of for a goodmany years, but in course of timethe disease was completely over-come, and new vines planted, withthe result that for some time pastmany choice wines have reachedthis countryfrom the Island, whichare said to be in every way equalto their illustrious predecessors.

    There are several varieties ofMadeira, but, speaking generally,it may be described as a full-bodied wine with a marked vin-ous and somewhat nutty flavour,and a very choice aroma. It

    113 8

  • CHATS ABOUT WINEgreatly improves with age, andits mellowness and general qua-lity are supposed to be very con-siderably enhanced by a seavoyage to a hot climate, suchas the East Indies, and winesthat have really made this voyagehave a special value attaching tothem."Good wine," it is said, "needs

    no bush"; and good "Old Ma-deira" needs no recommendationto those who have ever been for-tunate enough to possess any. Itis, therefore, a matter forcongratu-

    lation that this beautiful wine withall its prestige and associations isnot going to be lost to us, but isagain asserting its right to beclassed amongst the choicest and

    114

  • WINES OF TENERIFFE

    most aristocratic occupants of ojircellars.

    Wines of TeneriffeThe history of the wine trade in

    the Canary Islands commences to-wards the close of the fifteenthcenturywhen vines were importedfrom Crete. From these vines wereproduced the famous Malmseywines and the Canary sack, whichenjoyed for centuries a very con-siderable reputation, and wereconstantly referred to in thewritings of the great Elizabethanpoets and authors. From the termsof universal commendation inwhich they are mentioned, bythese and later writers, it is evi-dent that the wines were thought

    "5

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    very highly of in England, andthey remained more or less infavour till about the middle ofthe nineteenth century. Aboutthat time, however, disease at-tacked the vines, and the winetrade for some considerable timecame quite to a standstill. The re-planting of the vines, however,has been proceeding for manyyears past, and as the paucity ofthe exports has led to the accumu?-lation of large stocks in the

    merchants' cellars, verygood valuecan now be obtained in these his-torical old wines.

    ii6

  • WINES OF SPAIN

    Port and Sherry Vintages

  • CHAPTER VIIIWines of Italy and Sicily

    ITALY, on account of her geo-graphical position, has great

    natural advantages as a wine-pro-ducing country, and as regardsquantity she ranks very high a-mong European nations. The soilis good and, under the eyes of analmost tropical sun, the grapesripen to perfection. Wine is thestaple drink of the people butenough is made to allow of largequantities being exported to allparts of the world, and though for-merly the mode of manufactureleft a great deal to be desired, of

    ii8

  • WINES OF ITALY

    late years there has been a markedimprovement in this respect andthe general excellence of some of

    the principal varieties have won

    for them a considerable reputation.Chianti, which is grown on the

    sunny hills of Tuscany, is gene-

    rally considered to be the besttype of Italian wine. It is some-

    what of a Claret character, full-bodied and robust, and the bestqualities are thought very highlyof. The Montepulciano variety isgenerally most acceptable to Eng-lish taste, and it is not difficult toobtain, but it must be understoodthat everything is not Chiantiwhich is sold in a straw-clad flaskwith tassels.Another notable wine is Lacri-

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    ma Cristi, which, probably, Hkethe Liebfraumilch of the Rhine-land, owes part of its vogue to itscurious name.

    Asti, a sparkling white wine, en-joys some popularity as a cheapsubstitute for Champagne, but it isgenerally too sweet for Englishpalates, and is not much drunk inthis country. Barolo is anothergood wine, somewhat resemblingBurgundy; and white Capri, fromthe island of that name in the Bayof Naples, is a delicate wine of aChablis type which is a great fa-vourite with many people on ac-count of its delightfully fresh andwiny flavour.

    Perhaps the chief thing to besaid for the wines of Italy is that

  • WINES OF SICILY

    they compare favourably withmany others for purity and natu-ralness, and in drinking them onecan be practically sure of havingnothing but the fermented juice ofthe grape.

    Sicily

    Sicily produces wine in greatabundance but the principal oneknown in this country is Marsala.This wine rather resembles Ma-deira, and the best qualities havea fine flavour and bouquet. It issomewhat fortified, but when well-made may be considered a whole-some wine, and much to be pre-ferred to many Sherries at thesame price.

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    Wines of AustriaAustria produces a very large

    quantity of wine of varying de-grees of merit, but practically the

    only varieties known in this coun-trycome from the famous Goldeckvineyards, at VOslau, near Vienna.The cultivation of the vine on thiscelebrated estate has been broughtto the highest state of perfection,

    and all the processes of manufac-ture are carried out in the most

    approved principles by the ownerHerr Schlumberger, whose repu-tation is world-wide and whosename is synonymous with a pro-found and enlightened knowledgeof everything pertaining to thevine and its fruit.

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  • WINES OF AUSTRIA

    Several varieties ofboth red andwhite wines are produced, speci-fically known as VOslauer, Vos-lau Goldeck and Voslau GoldeckCabinet. Speaking generally thered ones resemble Burgundy andthe white Chablis and Hock.These wines are invariablywell-

    made, well-matured and of a veryhigh standard of excellence, andit can safely be affirmed that nopurer wines exist at the presentday than those which come fromthese famous vineyards.

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  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    Wines ofHungaryHungary, both on the ground of

    quality and quantity, is undoubt-edly entitled to take high rankamong the wine-producing coun-tries of the world. As in the caseof the Rheingau, it is supposedthat the vine was introduced heresome time during the third cen-tury, and the monks of the MiddleAges are credited with havinggiven special attention to itsgrowth and development. Historyis unfortunately silent as to the

    particular varieties of wine whichthe old Abbots and Priors storedin their capacious cellars, but thereis reason to believe that the

    famous Tokay was not unknown,124

  • WINES OF HUNGARYand that it was as much appre-ciated by the jovial bons vivantsof those days as it has been eversince.

    This wonderful wine, with ahalo of tradition surrounding it,and commanding higher pricesthan almost any other wine in theworld, is made from the juicewhich exudes from the finest over-ripe grapes, and it is consideredto have almost magical effects asa restorative in cases of extremeillness. The finest quality is not,however, produced in any quan-tity, and it is practically unob-tainable from ordinary sources.Travellers in German townsshould especially beware of theflasks ofthick liquid sold as Tokay

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    in the small grocers' shops. Likethe sham Eau-de-Cologne and thepoisonous " Cognac " purveyed toguileless tourists on the quays ofRotterdam and Boulogne, thisdetestable syrup is simply madeto sell. Its makers are wholesalechemists, whose crowning act ofimpudence is toadorn the " Tokay"labels with the legend, In vinoVeritas. In extenuation of their

    ill-doing they plead that the mix-ture does truly contain some use-ful medicaments. This may be so,but the sugariness ofbogus Tokayis very different from the sweet-ness of the genuine article andmust go a long way towards neu-tralizing any beneficial effects

    which might flow from the vaunted126

  • WINES OF HUNGARYdrugs. In short, authentic Tokayis so rare that only the most hon-ourable wine-merchants shouldbe entrusted with one's commis-sion to obtain it.Of the other wines of Hungary

    the best known red ones are Car-lowitz, Erlauer and Ofner, and ofthe white, Somlauand Oldenburg.They possess respectively a cer-tain resemblance to Burgundy andHock, but usually have rathermore body and strength. Immensequantities of wine are producedin this country, and the best quali-ties may be considered, dieteti-cally, as filling an important placein our list of beverages.

    127

  • CHAPTER IXWines of Australia

    THE climate of Australia canhardly be said to be in all re-

    spects suited to the successful pro-

    duction of wine. Droughts arefrequent, as are also heavy rains,and such conditions, alternating,are not favourable to the vine.Thegreat heat at thetime of thevintageconstitutes also a difficulty whichordinary methods cannot effectu-ally deal with, and which modernsciencecannot be expected alwaysentirely to overcome.

    It is claimed for these winesthat they have their own special

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  • WINES OF AUSTRALIA

    characteristics, and make theirown standard, that they havecreated a new and distinct typeof wine, and that it is as un-reasonable to judge Austrahanwines by continental growths asto compare Port with the produc-tion of the Mddoc. However thismay be, and whether it is un-reasonable or not to compareAustralian wines with Europeanones, the fact remains that theordinary consumer who knowsanything about wine will un-doubtedly make the comparison,and up to the present at least,the balance of advantage has notbeen on the side of the Colonialwines.

    It does not seem likely that120 9

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    Australian vintners will ever en-deavour to enter into effectiverivalry with the vignerons ofEurope, but in the event of theirdesiring Englishmen to take thewines of the Antipodes seriously,Australians must conform toFrench and German practice asregards the classification of their

    produce. At present, by far thegreater part of the annual output

    is mixed together and shippedunder the name of "AustralianBurgundy," with no descriptionbeyond the shipper's name orbrand. For the unexacting palatesof the masses, who are content toask no questions so long as a florinor half-a-crown will purchase aroomy flagon ofstrong, full-bodied,

    130

  • WINES OF AUSTRALIA

    fruity wine, this policy may servevery well; but the connoisseurmust not be expected to showmuch interest in the matter untilhe is in a position to compare onevineyard or region with another,and also to contrast different years.From the nature of the case a goodyear in Europe may be a very badone under the Southern Cross, andit follows, therefore, that labels

    should be dated, and informationas to the successful years supplied.

    When they are challenged on thesubject, patriotic Australians oftendeclare that their Continent yieldsseveral named Clarets and Bur-gundies of great distinction andrefinement; but they add that thesmall supplies of these wines are

    131

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    consumed by Australians them-selves. It is a pity that a hogsheador two cannot be spared for thebenefit of the Old Country; butuntil this is done Englishmenmust not be blamed for theirscepticism or indifference.

    Wines of CaliforniaCalifornia, with its many natu-

    ral advantages, can justly claim aplace among the principal wine-producing countries of the world.Its climate is very uniform, andwell adapted to vine cultivation,and in that respect it has a greatadvantage over Europe, wheredifficulties are often to be metwith on account of the seasonsbeing variable and uncertain. The

    132

  • WINES OF CALIFORNIA

    soil in the wine-growing districtsis also said to resemble closelythat of some of the notable vine-

    yards in France, and as climateand soil are very important fac-tors in wine productionnation-ality not counting for much in thefinal resultit is not surprising

    that these wines find a certainamount of favour in some quar-ters.The best ones are the natural

    dryvarieties, and ofthese thewhitewines chiefly resemble the Ger-man Hocks. Of the red varietiesthe Burgundy types are perhapsthe best, and some fair Claretsare produced, but the absence offuller information renders thesewines less interesting than theymight otherwise be.

    133

  • CHAPTER XThe Cellar and Treatment of

    Wines

    IN the popular mind wine is toooften classed with those things

    which are supposed to beendowedwith the inherent power of look-ing after themselves. As a matterof fact, however, to view it in thisway is to make a very great mis-take, for not only does the actualpreservation of wine in a state fitto drink largely depend upon thetreatment it receives, and theplace it is kept in, but, short ofits being entirely spoilt, any care-lessness and neglect in respect of

    134

  • THE CELLAR & TREATMENT

    the treatment accorded to it, issure to be followed by a deterio-ration in its quality, and the lossof those vinous properties andethereal products which can onlyarrive at perfection if the matu-ring processes ofnature are allow-ed to proceed under conditionswhich are favourable to theirgrowth and development.

    In the first place then it is of theutmost importance that, whetherwine is in casks or bottles, thereshould be a proper cellar to keepit in. This should be dry and wellventilated, and, if possible, under-ground, where a fairly even tem-perature can be maintained at allseasons of the year. This tempera-ture should be about 55 Fahren-

    13s

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    heit, but a few degrees one wayor the other is not of much conse-quence, the important point beingthat there should be no markedor sudden variations. If the cellar,or other place of storage, is likelyto be exposed to extremes of coldit will be necessary to adopt somemeans of warming it, but, unlessthere is good ventilation, gasshould never be used, as the effectofburning it for even a short time ina small cellar is to raise the tem-

    perature very considerably, witha corresponding fall afterwards;and, in addition, it vitiates the

    atmosphere in a way that is likelyto be very injurious to delicatewines. Apart from any artificialheating, however, there will al-

    136

  • THE CELLAR & TREATMENT

    ways be a slight difference in thedegree of warmth of the top binsas compared with the lower ones,owing to the tendency of warmair to rise, and, in consequence ofthis, it is best, in arranging wine,to bin the light varieties such asHocks, Moselles and all sparklingwines, at the bottom. Clarets andBurgundies in the middle, andSherry and other fortified wines,in the top bins. It is hardly ne-cessary to say that bottles shouldalways be laid on their sides, asthe wine would soon deteriorateif stood upright, and Port shouldbe so placed that the chalk markis uppermost.

    Air, which is good for mostthings, is a great enemy to wine,

    137

  • CHATS ABOUT WINEand it is therefore very importantthat corks should be in goodorder, and decanters well-stop-pered. Wine should also alwaysbe consumed as soon as possibleafter the bottle has been opened,as the lighter varieties, of the

    Claret, Hock and Burgundy type,are hardly fit to drink if they arekept for even two or three daysafter being decanted, and thoughthe fortified wines, such as Sherryand Port, will last rather longer,they are certainly not the betterfor it.

    It is always best to decant winebefore serving, and although thismay seem a very simple opera-tion, there is nevertheless a right

    way and a wrong way of doing138

  • THE CELLAR & TREATMENT

    it. A glass of wine when it ispoured out should be perfectlyclear and bright, and in order thatit may be so, the wine in the de-canter must be in a similar con-dition. This, at all events in the

    case of old wines which throw adeposit, depends entirely uponthe care that has been taken indrawing the cork and transferringthe wine from the bottle to thedecanter, and the operation is adelicate one. To begin with, thebottle should not be seized ruth-lessly from its place in the bin,swayed about, turned upside downperhaps, and treated generally likea bottle of medicine whose ingre-dients have to be well mixed be-fore being taken, but it should be

    139

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    removed gently, and stood up-right for several hours before it isrequired. The cork should then beslowly drawn, and the wine pouredcarefully into the decanter. Assoon as the deposit approachesthe neck, which can easily be seenby having a lighted candle on theother side of the bottle, the pour-ing must cease, and the wine inthe decanter will then be foundto be perfectly clear. In the caseof comparatively light wines ofeveryday use this elaboration isnot, of course, necessary, but

    more care is required in the de-

    canting of wines than is generallygiven to them, and where thereis any chance of a deposit, it isbetter to err on the safe side than

    140

  • THE CELLAR & TREATMENT

    to run the risk of showing anydisrespect to a good wine.The habit ofwarmingsuchwines

    as Claret and Burgundy is not tobe recommended, and in coldweather it is quite sufficient ifthey are brought up from thecellar into a warm room a fewhours before being opened. Ifthey are too much warmed thebouquet evaporates, and the deli-cate freshness of the wine is spoilt.Ice should never be put into wineas it is merely another way otwatering it. The right way to coolit is to place the bottle in ice pre-viously to being served, but it isa great mistake to make good winetoo cold as, by doing so, much ofthe flavour is lost.

    HI

  • CHATS ABOUT WINEFew people seem to realize that

    apart altogether from the gratifica-tion which comes from partakingof an exhilarating and healthybeverage, there is a genuine plea-sure to be derived from the merepossession of even a very mode-rate assortment of good wineswhich, with a little discriminationand forethought, or advice, almostanyone can indulge himself withat a reasonable price if he goesthe right way to work about it.Not only is this a very interestingoccupation in itself, but when acollection has been made, to enterone's cellar is an event which canhardly fail to bring with it manypleasurable and refining sensa-tions, which amply repay the

    142

  • THE CELLAR & TREATMENT

    trouble that has been taken, andwhich those who have felt themwould not willingly forego. Toconjure up the history of the vari-ous living and seductive forceswhich rest so peacefully side byside, unconscious, in their quietdignity, of the high and lofty partthey have to play in making gladthe human heart, and bringinghealth and vigour to human lives;to let the mind wander "in fancyfree" to other lands; to pass withlingering affection from the statelyChateaux and glorious vineyardsof the famous Mddoc, to the sunnyslopes of the COte d'Or; from thesmihng and joyous vines of theMarne to the sombre and old-world castles of the Rhine; to

    143

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    cross the portals of this world ofmythical romance with reverence,as in the presence ofunknown andmystical powers, is to enter, for atime at least, into another exis-tence, and to experience in somedegree the feeling that must haveinspired the great poets of old whosang so lovingly ofthe divine juiceof the grape ; and which must alsohave impelled the jovial ecclesias-tics of days gone by to train andnurture the vine with a care andskill thathas neverbeen surpassed,and for which succeeding genera-tions will owe them a debt ofgratitude for all time.

    What would the world be with-out wine? And should we not, inreturn for all it so fully and

    144

  • THE CELLAR & TREATMENT

    freely gives us, at least try to

    do our part in seeing that we getit good and pure, and in showingby our care and treatment of itthat we are not unworthy of sopriceless a gift?

    For the guidance of those whomay be thinking of stocking asmall inexpensive cellar, the fol-lowing list of wines is suggested.The original cost would not ex-ceed ;^2o, and as each variety ranout a change might be made byordering a different wine of thesame, or some other class. In this

    way experience would be accumu-lated, taste cultivated, and an in-terest in a fascinating subject a-wakened. Any good wine-mer-chant would be onlytoo pleased to

    14s 10

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    give technical and practical adviceto suit individual tastes or health,

    and muchvaluable information canbe acquired in this way which willstand one in good stead on manyoccasions. It may be mentionedalso, as there is some misunder-standing on the matter, that smallconsumers need have no misgiv-ings in going to first-class mer-chants for their wines, eitheron the

    ground of ignorance of the subject,or that their orders might be deem-ed too insignificant to be worthexecuting. In point of fact it is ab-

    solutelynecessary that theyshouldprocure their supplies from suchsources, if they wish them to bepure and wholesome; and bygoingto a firm of experience and repute,

    146

  • THE CELLAR & TREATMENT

    who confine their attention totheir own business and do not mixit up with half a dozen others, theywill not only insure this but theymay at the same time be confidentthat their regular, though per-chance modest, orders will be aswelcome and as well attended toas if they were on a larger scale.

    147

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    In the following list it is assumedthat Claret is the principal winein daily use.

  • CHAPTER, XI

    Brandy

    THE habit of drinking spiritsis one that, generally speak-

    ing, cannot be commended, andthe doubtful origin and poor qual-ity of much that is on the marketin the present dayrender the habitmorethan everundesirable.jWhen,however, for medical or other con-siderations, wine has to be givenup, a virtue must be made of ne-cessity and recourse must, per-force, be had to some form ofspirit. In such cases itiis, ofcourse,all-important that a wise choiceshould be made, and general ex-

    149

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    perience seems to point to Brandyof which excellent qualities cannow be obtained, as being by farthe best one to adopt.

    This spirit, which is a sort ofconcentrated wine, is to be found,with varying degrees of merit, inall parts of the grape-growingworld. The most esteemed Bran-dy, however, is that which is madein the department of the Charentein France, and the term "Cognac"by which the best French Brandyis generallyknown, is derived froma small town of that name, whichis the centre of the trade. Thewines themselves of the Charenteare unpalatable as table beve-

    rages, and it is only when theyhave been made beautifully less

    ISO

  • BRANDY

    by distillation that their hiddenexcellence is brought to light.When it is first distilled, Brandy

    is almost a colourless liquid andof rather a fiery character, but bybeing kept in cask it takes up co-lourfi-om the wood,becomes softerand more fragrant, and goes onimproving with age. The dark co-lour of brown Brandy is generallyproduced by means of, a solutionof caramel, and this is sometimesadded in large quantities to givea rich appearance to Brandies ofinferior quality.

    Good Brandy has always beenlocked upon as a most valuablemedicine and restorative in casesof illness and exhaustion, and atone time it was also largely used

    151

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    as a beverage. About thirty yearsago, however, all the vines of theCognac district were destroyed bydisease, and Brandy becomingdearer and more difficult to get,other and less desirable spiritstook its place, and in consequenceof this, and of spurious imitationsbeing put upon the market, thegenuine article was for a long timeunder a cloud. The vines in theCharente were, however, in courseof time replanted, and real Co-gnac, beingnow asgoodand plenti-ful as ever, is fast reasserting its

    superiority over other spirits, andregaining its old undisputed supre-macy. This is easily to be under-stood, for Brandy, being distilledfrom wine and being therefore

    152

  • BRANDY

    directly derived from the grape,is naturally very much to be pre-ferred to spirits distilled fromcheaperandcoarser materials, par-ticularly as the bye-products fromthese commoner spirits are often

    distinctly injurious.Although the wine from which

    Brandy is distilled is very cheapin the locality in which it is made,it will readily be recognized thatgood Brandy can never be sold ata low figure, inasmuch as it takesfrom six to eight bottles of wineto make one bottle of Brandy. Fur-ther the capital sunk in the Bran-dy industry is very tardily turnedover, as the spirit must lie foryearsin wood before it is fit for use. Areasonable price must therefore

    153

  • CHATS ABOUT WINE

    always be paid for it, and to guardagainst inferior qualities and frau-dulent adulterations, when order-ing Brandy the name of some re-putable firm should always be in-sisted upon.

    For medicinal use fine old Bran-dy, on account of the large pro-

    portion of vinous ethers it con-tains, is absolutely invaluable andquite without a rival; and as aneveryday beverage for those towhom wine is debarred there canbe no better or more wholesomestimulant.

    154

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