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Title: Facts About Champagne and Other Sparkling Wines
Author: Vizetelly, Henry, 1820-1894
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  OF CHAMPAGNE (Frontispiece)]




  Collected During Numerous Visits to the Champagne
  and Other Viticultural Districts of France,
  and the Principal Remaining
  Wine-Producing Countries of Europe.



  _Chevalier of the Order of Franz Josef._
  _Wine Juror for Great Britain at the Vienna and Paris Exhibitions
    of 1873 and 1878._
  _Author of “The Wines of the World Characterized and Classed,” &c._

  Drawn by Jules Pelcoq, W. Prater, Bertall, etc.,
  From Original Sketches.

  Ward, Lock, and Co., Salisbury Square.

This little book scarcely needs a preface, as it speaks sufficiently for
itself. It is for the most part the result of studies on the spot of
everything of interest connected with the various sparkling wines which
it professes to describe. Neither pains nor expense have been spared to
render it both accurate and complete, and the large number of authentic
engravings with which it is illustrated will conduce, it is hoped, to
its value.

  Uniform with the present work and the Author’s “Facts About Sherry,”


  Including Chapters on the Wines Vintaged Around Lisbon
  and the Wines of Teneriffe.

  Illustrated with 80 Engravings from Original Sketches.



The Early Vineyards of the Champagne-- Their Produce esteemed by
  Popes and Kings, Courtiers and Prelates-- Controversy regarding
  the rival Merits of the Wines of Burgundy and the Champagne--
  Dom Perignon’s happy Discovery of Sparkling Wine-- Its Patrons
  under Louis Quatorze and the Regency-- The Ancient Church and
  Abbey of Hautvillers-- Farre and Co.’s Champagne Cellars-- The
  Abbey of St. Peter now a Farm-- Existing Remains of the Monastic
  Buildings-- The Tombs and Decorations of the Ancient Church--
  The Last Resting-Place of Dom Perignon-- The Legend of the Holy
  Dove-- Good Champagne the Result of Labour, Skill, Minute
  Precaution, and Careful Observation                                  9


Ay, the Vineyard of Golden Plants-- Summoning the Vintagers by
  Beat of Drum-- Excitement in the Surrounding Villages-- The
  Pickers at Work-- Sorting the Grapes-- Grapes Gathered at
  Sunrise the Best-- Varieties of Vines in the Ay Vineyards-- Few
  of the Growers in the Champagne Crush their own Grapes--
  Squeezing the Grapes in the “Pressoir” and Drawing off the
  Must-- Cheerful Glasses Round-- The Vintage at Mareuil--
  Bringing in the Grapes on Mules and Donkeys-- The Vineyards of
  Avenay, Mutigny, and Cumières-- Damery and Adrienne Lecouvreur,
  Maréchal de Saxe, and the obese Anna Iwanowna-- The Vineyards of
  the Côte d’Epernay-- Boursault and its Château-- Pierry and its
  Vineyard Cellars-- The Clos St. Pierre-- Moussy and Vinay--
  A Hermit’s Cave and a Miraculous Fountain-- Ablois St. Martin--
  The Côte d’Avize-- The Grand Premier Crû of Cramant-- Avize and
  its Wines-- The Vineyards of Oger and Le Mesnil-- The Old Town
  of Vertus and its Vine-clad Slopes-- Their Red Wine formerly
  celebrated                                                          20


The Wine of Sillery-- Origin of its Renown-- The Maréchale
  d’Estrées a successful Marchande de Vin-- From Reims to
  Sillery-- Failure of the Jacquesson Vineyards-- Château of
  Sillery-- Wine Making at M. Fortel’s-- Sillery sec-- The Vintage
  and Vendangeoirs at Verzenay-- The Verzy Vineyards-- Edward III.
  at the Abbey of St. Basle-- From Reims to Bouzy-- The Herring
  Procession at St. Remi-- Rilly, Chigny, and Ludes-- The Knights
  Templars’ “Pot” of Wine-- Mailly and the View over the Plains of
  the Champagne-- Wine Making at Mailly-- The Village in the
  Wood-- Village and Château of Louvois-- Louis-le-Grand’s War
  Minister-- Bouzy, its Vineyards and Church Steeple, and the
  Lottery of the Great Gold Ingot-- MM. Werlé’s and Moët and
  Chandon’s Vendangeoirs-- Pressing the Grapes-- Still Red Bouzy--
  Ambonnay-- A Peasant Proprietor-- The Vineyards of
  Ville-Dommange and Sacy, Hermonville, and St. Thierry-- The
  Still Red Wine of the latter                                        32


The Vines chiefly of the Pineau Variety-- The Plant doré of Ay,
  the Plant vert doré, the Plant gris, and the Epinette-- The Soil
  of the Vineyards-- Close Mode of Plantation-- The Operation of
  Provinage-- The Stems of the Vines never more than Three Years
  Old-- Fixing the Stakes to the Vines-- Manuring and General
  Cultivation-- Spring Frosts in the Champagne-- Various Modes of
  Protecting the Vines against them-- Dr. Guyot’s System-- The
  Parasites that Prey upon the Vines                                  42


Treatment of Champagne after it comes from the Wine-Press--
  Racking and Blending of the Wine-- Deficiency and Excess of
  Effervescence-- Strength and Form of Champagne Bottles-- The
  “Tirage” or Bottling of the Wine-- The Process of Gas-making
  commences-- Inevitable Breakage follows-- Wine Stacked in
  Piles-- Formation of Sediment-- Bottles placed “sur pointe” and
  Daily Shaken-- Effect of this occupation on those incessantly
  engaged in it-- “Claws” and “Masks”-- Champagne Cellars-- Their
  Construction and Aspect-- Transforming the “vin brut” into
  Champagne-- Disgorging and Liqueuring the Wine-- The Corking,
  Stringing, Wiring, and Amalgamating-- The Wine’s Agitated
  Existence comes to an End-- The Bottles have their Toilettes
  made-- Champagne sets out on its beneficial Pilgrimage              48


Messrs. Werlé and Co., successors to the Veuve
  Clicquot-Ponsardin-- Their Offices and Cellars on the site of a
  Former Commanderie of the Templars-- Origin of the Celebrity of
  Madame Clicquot’s Wines-- M. Werlé and his Son-- The Forty-five
  Cellars of the Clicquot-Werlé Establishment-- Our Tour of
  Inspection-- Ingenious Liqueuring Machine-- An Explosion and its
  Consequences-- M. Werlé’s Gallery of Paintings-- Madame
  Clicquot’s Renaissance House and its Picturesque Bas-reliefs--
  The Werlé Vineyards and Vendangeoirs-- M. Louis Roederer’s
  Establishment-- Heidsieck and Co. and their Famous “Monopole”
  Brand-- The Firm Founded in the Last Century-- Their various
  Establishments Inside and Outside Reims-- The Matured Wines
  Shipped by them                                                     63


The Firm of G. H. Mumm and Co.-- Their Large Shipments to the
  United States-- Their Establishments in the Rue Andrieux and the
  Rue Coquebert-- Bottle-Washing with Glass Beads-- The Cuvée and
  the Tirage-- G. H. Mumm and Co.’s Vendangeoirs at Verzenay--
  Their Various Wines-- The Gate of Mars-- The Establishment of
  M. Gustave Gibert on the Site of the Château des Archevêques--
  His Cellars in the Vaults of St. Peter’s Abbey and beneath the
  old Hôtel des Fermes in the Place Royale-- Louis XV. and Jean
  Baptiste Colbert-- M. Gibert’s Wines-- Jules Mumm and Co., and
  Ruinart père et fils-- House of the Musicians-- The Counts de la
  Marck-- The Brotherhood of Minstrels of Reims-- Establishment of
  Périnet et fils-- Their Cellars of Three Stories in Solid
  Masonry-- Their Soft, Light, and Delicate Wines-- A Rare Still
  Verzenay-- M. Duchâtel-Ohaus’s Establishment and Renaissance
  House-- His Cellars in the Cour St. Jacques and Outside the
  Porte Dieu-Lumière                                        74


M. Ernest Irroy’s Cellars, Vineyards, and Vendangeoirs--
  Recognition by the Reims Agricultural Association of his
  Plantations of Vines-- His Wines and their Popularity at the
  best London Clubs-- Messrs. Binet fils and Co.’s Establishment--
  Wines Sold by the Firm to Shippers-- Their Cellars-- Samples of
  Fine Still Ay and Bouzy-- Their Still Sillery, Vintage 1857, and
  their Creaming Vin Brut, Vintage 1865-- The Offices and Cellars
  of Messrs. Charles Farre and Co.-- Testing the Wine before
  Bottling-- A Promenade between Bottles in Piles and Racks--
  Repute in which these Wines are held in England and on the
  Continent-- The New Establishment of Fisse, Thirion, and Co. in
  the Place de Betheny-- Its Construction exclusively in Stone,
  Brick, and Iron-- The Vast Celliers of Two Stories-- Bottling
  the Wine by the Aid of Machinery-- The Cool and Lofty Cellars--
  Ingenious Method of Securing the Corks, rendering the Uncorking
  exceedingly simple-- The Wines Shipped by the Firm                  86


La Prison de Bonne Semaine-- Mary Queen of Scots at Reims--
  Messrs. Pommery and Greno’s Offices-- A Fine Collection of
  Faïence-- The Rue des Anglais a former Refuge of English
  Catholics-- Remains of the Old University of Reims-- Ancient
  Roman Tower and Curious Grotto-- The handsome Castellated
  Pommery Establishment-- The Spacious Cellier and Huge Carved
  Cuvée Tun-- The Descent to the Cellars-- Their Great Extent--
  These Lofty Subterranean Chambers Originally Quarries-- Ancient
  Places of Refuge of the Early Christians and the Protestants--
  Madame Pommery’s Splendid Cuvée of 1868-- Messrs. de St.
  Marceaux and Co.’s New Establishment in the Avenue de Sillery--
  Its Garden-Court and Circular Shaft-- Animated Scene in the
  Large Packing Hall-- Lowering Bottled Wine to the Cellars--
  Great Depth and Extent of these Cellars-- Messrs. de St.
  Marceaux and Co.’s Various Wines                                    93


Early Records of the Moët Family at Reims and Epernay-- Jean
  Remi Moët Founder of the Commerce in Champagne Wines-- Extracts
  from the Old Account-Books of the Moëts-- First Sales of
  Sparkling Wines-- Sales to England in 1788-- “Milords” Farnham
  and Findlater-- Jean Remi Moët receives the Emperor Napoleon,
  Josephine, and the King of Westphalia-- The Firm of Moët and
  Chandon Constituted-- Their Establishment in the Rue du
  Commerce-- Delivering and Washing the New Bottles-- The Numerous
  Vineyards and Vendangeoirs of the Firm-- Making the Cuvée in
  Vats of 12,000 Gallons-- The Bottling of the Wine by 200 Hands--
  A Hundred Thousand Bottles Completed Daily-- 20,000 Francs’
  worth of Broken Glass in Two Years-- A Subterranean City, with
  miles of Streets, Cross Roads, Open Spaces, Tramways, and
  Stations-- The Ancient Entrance to these Vaults-- Tablet
  Commemorative of the Visit of Napoleon I.-- Millions of Bottles
  of Champagne in Piles and Racks-- The Original Vaults known as
  Siberia-- Scene in the Packing Hall-- Messrs. Moët and Chandon’s
  Large and Complete Staff-- Provision for Illness and Old Age--
  Annual Fête Given by the Firm-- Their Famous “Star” Brand--
  M. Perrier-Jouët, the lucky Grandson of a little Epernay
  Grocer-- His Offices and Cellars-- His Wine Classed according to
  its Deserts-- Messrs. Roussillon and Co.’s Establishment-- The
  Recognition accorded to their Wines-- Their Stock of Old
  Vintages-- The Extensive Establishment of Messrs. Pol Roger and
  Co.-- Their Large Stock of the Fine 1874 Vintage-- Preparations
  for the Tirage-- Their Vast Fireproof Cellier and its Admirable
  Temperature-- Their Lofty and Capacious Cellars of Two Stories     101


The Establishment of Deutz and Geldermann-- Drawing off the
  Cuvée-- Mode of Excavating Cellars in the Champagne-- The Firm’s
  New Cellars, Vineyards, and Vendangeoir-- The old Château of Ay
  and its Terraced Garden-- The Gambling Propensities of Balthazar
  Constance Dangé-Dorçay, a former Owner of the Château-- The
  Picturesque Situation and Aspect of Messrs. Ayala’s
  Establishment-- A Promenade through their Cellars-- M. Duminy’s
  Cellars and Wines-- His new Model Construction-- The House
  Founded in 1814-- Messrs. Bollinger’s Establishment-- Their
  Vineyard of La Grange-- The Tirage in Progress-- The Fine
  Cellars of the Firm-- Messrs. Pfungst frères and Co.’s Cellars--
  Their Dry Champagnes of 1868, ’70, ’72, and ’74-- The Old Church
  of Ay and its Decorations of Grapes and Vineleaves-- The
  Vendangeoir of Henri Quatre-- The Montebello Establishment at
  Mareuil-- The Château formerly the Property of the Dukes of
  Orleans-- A Titled Champagne Firm-- The Brilliant Career of
  Marshal Lannes-- A Promenade through the Montebello
  Establishment-- The Press House, the Cuvée Vat, the
  Packing-Room, the Offices, and the Cellars-- Portraits and
  Relics at the Château-- The Establishment of Bruch-Foucher and
  Co.-- The handsome Carved Gigantic Cuvée Tun-- The Cellars and
  their Lofty Shafts-- The Wines of the Firm                         117


Avize the Centre of the White Grape District-- Its Situation and
  Aspect-- The Establishment of Giesler and Co.-- The Tirage and
  the Cuvée-- Vin Brut in Racks and on Tables-- The Packing-Hall,
  the Extensive Cellars, and the Disgorging Cellier-- Bottle
  Stores and Bottle-Washing Machines-- Messrs. Giesler’s
  Wine-Presses at Avize and Vendangeoir at Bouzy-- Their Vineyards
  and their Purchases of Grapes-- Reputation of the Giesler
  Brand-- The Establishment of M. Charles de Cazanove-- A Tame
  Young Boar-- Boar-Hunting in the Champagne-- M. de Cazanove’s
  Commodious Cellars and Carefully-Selected Wines-- Vineyards
  Owned by Him and His Family-- Reputation of his Wines in Paris
  and their Growing Popularity in England-- Interesting View from
  M. de Cazanove’s Terraced Garden-- The Vintaging of the White
  Grapes in the Champagne-- Roper frères’ Establishment at
  Rilly-la-Montague-- Their Cellars Penetrated by Roots of Trees--
  Some Samples of Fine Old Champagnes-- The Principal Châlons
  Establishments-- Poem on Champagne by M. Amaury de Cazanove        129


The Sparkling Wines of the Loire often palmed off as
  Champagnes-- The Finer qualities Improve with Age-- Anjou the
  Cradle of the Plantagenet Kings-- Saumur and its Dominating
  Feudal Château und Antique Hôtel de Ville-- Its Sinister Rue des
  Payens and Steep Tortuons Grande Rue-- The Vineyards of the
  Coteau of Saumur-- Abandoned Stone Quarries converted into
  Dwellings-- The Vintage in Progress-- Old-fashioned Pressoirs--
  The Making of the Wine-- The Vouvray Vineyards-- Balzac’s
  Picture of La Vallée Coquette-- The Village of Vouvray and the
  Château of Moucontour-- Vernou with its Reminiscences of Sully
  and Pépin-le-Bref-- The Vineyards around Saumur-- Remarkable
  Ancient Dolmens-- Ackerman-Laurance’s Establishment at
  Saint-Florent-- Their Extensive Cellars, Ancient and Modern--
  Treatment of the Newly-Vintaged Wine-- The Cuvée-- Proportions
  of Wine from Black and White Grapes-- The Bottling and
  Disgorging of the Wine and Finishing Operations-- The Château of
  Varrains and the Establishment of M. Louis Duvau aîné-- His
  Cellars a succession of Gloomy Galleries-- The Disgorging of the
  Wine accomplished in a Melodramatic-looking Cave-- M. Duvau’s
  Vineyard-- His Sparkling Saumur of Various Ages-- Marked
  Superiority of the more Matured Samples-- M. Alfred Ronsteaux’s
  Establishments at Saint-Florent and Saint-Cyr-- His convenient
  Celliers and extensive Cellars-- Mingling of Wine from the
  Champagne with the finer Sparkling Saumur-- His Vineyard at La
  Perrière-- M. E. Normandin’s Sparkling Sauternes Manufactory at
  Châteauneuf-- Angoulême and its Ancient Fortifications-- Vin de
  Colombar-- M. Normandin’s Sparkling Sauternes Cuvée-- His
  Cellars near Châteauneuf-- High recognition accorded to the Wine
  at the Concours Régional d’Angoulême                               139


Sparkling Wines of the Côte d’Or at the Paris Exhibition--
  Chambertin, Romanée, and Vougeot-- Burgundy Wines and Vines
  formerly the Presents of Princes-- Vintaging Sparkling
  Burgundies-- Their After-Treatment in the Cellars-- Excess of
  Breakage-- Similarity of Proceeding to that followed in the
  Champagne-- Principal Manufacturers of Sparkling Burgundies--
  Sparkling Wines of Tonnerre, the birthplace of the Chevalier
  d’Eon-- The Vin d’Arbanne of Bar-sur-Aube-- Death there of the
  Bastard de Bourbon-- Madame de la Motto’s Ostentatious Display
  and Arrest there-- Sparkling Wines of the Beaujolais-- The
  Mont-Bronilly Vineyards-- Ancient Reputation of the Wines of the
  Jura-- The Vin Jaune of Arbois beloved of Henri Quatre-- Rhymes
  by him in its Honour-- Lons-le-Saulnier-- Vineyards yielding the
  Sparkling Jura Wines-- Their Vintaging and Subsequent
  Treatment-- Their High Alcoholic Strength and General Drawbacks    157


Sparkling Wines of Auvergne, Guienne, Dauphiné, and Languedoc--
  Sparkling Saint-Péray the Champagne of the South-- Valence with
  its Reminiscences of Pius VI. and Napoleon I.-- The “Horns of
  Crussol” on the Banks of the Rhône-- Vintage Scene at
  Saint-Péray-- The Vines and Vineyards Producing Sparkling Wine--
  Manipulation of Sparkling Saint-Péray-- Its Abundance of Natural
  Sugar-- The Cellars of M. de Saint-Prix and Samples of his
  Wines-- Sparkling Côte-Rotie, Château-Grillé, and Hermitage--
  Annual Production and Principal Markets of Sparkling
  Saint-Péray-- Clairette de Die-- The Porte Rouge of Die
  Cathedral-- How the Die Wine is Made-- The Sparkling White and
  Rose-Coloured Muscatels of Die-- Sparkling Wines of Vercheny and
  Lagrasse-- Barnave and the Royal Flight to Varennes-- Narbonne
  formerly a Miniature Rome, now Noted merely for its Wine and
  Honey-- Fête of the Black Virgin at Limoux-- Preference given to
  the New Wine over the Miraculous Water-- Blanquette of Limoux
  and How it is Made-- Characteristics of this Overrated Wine        165


Origin of Sparkling Hock and Moselle-- Sparkling German Wines
  First Made on the Neckar-- Heilbronn, and Götz von Berlichingen
  of the Iron Hand-- Lauteren of Mayence and Rambs of Trèves turn
  their attention to Sparkling Wines-- Change of late years in the
  Character of Sparkling Hocks and Moselles-- Difference between
  them and Moussirender Rheinwein-- Vintaging of Black and White
  Grapes for Sparkling Wine-- The Treatment which German Sparkling
  Wines Undergo-- Artificial Flavouring and Perfuming of Sparkling
  Moselles-- Fine Natural Bouquet of High-Class Sparkling Hocks--
  Impetus given to the Manufacture of German Sparkling Wines
  during the Franco-German War-- Annual Production-- Deinhard and
  Co.’s Splendid New Cellars at Coblenz-- The Firm’s Collection of
  Choice Rhine and Moselle Wines-- Their Trade in German Sparkling
  Wines-- Their Sources of Supply-- The Vintaging and
  After-Treatment of their Wines-- Characteristics of their
  Sparkling Hocks and Moselles                                       172


From Coblenz to Rüdesheim-- Ewald and Co.’s Establishment and
  its Pleasant Situation-- Their Fine Vaulted Cellars and
  Convenient Accessories-- Their Supplies of Wine drawn from the
  most favoured Localities-- The Celebrated Vineyards of the
  Rheingau-- Eltville and the extensive Establishment of Matheus
  Müller-- His Vast Stocks of Still and Sparkling German Wines--
  The Vineyards laid under contribution for the latter--
  M. Müller’s Sparkling Johannisberger, Champagne, and Red
  Sparkling Assmannshauser-- The Site of Gutenberg’s Birthplace at
  Mayence occupied by the Offices and Wine-cellars of Lauteren
  Sohn-- The Sparkling Wine Establishment of the Firm and their
  Fine Collection of Hocks and Moselles-- The Hochheim Sparkling
  Wine Association-- Foundation of the Establishment-- Its
  Superior Sparkling Hocks and Moselles-- The Sparkling Wine
  Establishments of Stock and Sons at Creuznach in the Nahe
  Valley, of Kessler and Co. at Esslingen, on the Neckar, and of
  M. Oppmann at Würzburg-- The Historic Cellars of the King of
  Bavaria beneath the Residenz-- The Establishment of F. A.
  Siligmüller                                                        183


Sparkling Voslauer-- The Sparkling Wine Manufactories of Graz--
  Establishment of Kleinoscheg Brothers-- Vintaging and Treatment
  of Styrian Champagnes-- Sparkling Red, Rose, and White Wines of
  Hungary-- The Establishment of Hubert and Habermann at
  Pressburg-- Sparkling Wines of Croatia, Galicia, Bohemia,
  Moravia, Dalmatia, the Tyrol, Transylvania, and the Banat--
  Neuchâtel Champagne-- Sparkling Wine Factories at Vevay and
  Sion-- The Vevay Vineyards-- Establishment of De Riedmatten and
  De Quay-- Sparkling Muscatel, Malmsey, Brachetto, Castagnolo,
  and Lacryma Christi of Italy-- Sparkling Wines of Spain, Greece,
  Algeria, and Russia-- The Krimski and Donski Champagnes-- The
  Latter Chiefly Consumed at the Great Russian Fairs                 196


Earliest Efforts at Wine-Making in America-- Failures to
  Acclimatise European Vines-- Wines Made by the Swiss Settlers
  and the Mission Fathers-- The Yield of the Mission Vineyards--
  The Monster Vine of the Montecito Valley-- The Catawba Vine and
  its General Cultivation-- Mr. Longworth one of the Founders of
  American Viticulture-- Fresh Attempts to make Sparkling Wine at
  Cincinnati-- Existing Sparkling Wine Manufactures there--
  Longfellow’s Song in Praise of Catawba-- The Kelley Island Wine
  Company-- Vintaging and Treatment of their Sparkling Wines--
  Decrease of Consumption-- The Vineyards of Hammondsport--
  Varieties of Grapes used for Sparkling Wines-- The Vintage--
  After Treatment of the Wines-- The Pleasant Valley and Urbana
  Wine Companies and their Various Brands-- Californian Sparkling
  Wines-- The Buena Vista Vinicultural Society of San Francisco--
  Its Early Failures and Eventual Success in Manufacturing
  Sparkling Wines-- The Vintage in California-- Chinese
  Vintagers-- How the Wine is Made-- American Spurious Sparkling
  Wines                                                              203


Dry and Sweet Champagnes-- Their Sparkling Properties-- Form of
  Champagne Glasses-- Style of Sparkling Wines Consumed in
  Different Countries-- The Colour and Alcoholic Strength of
  Champagne-- Champagne Approved of by the Faculty-- Its Use in
  Nervous Derangements-- The Icing of Champagne-- Scarcity of
  Grand Vintages in the Champagne-- The Quality of the Wine has
  little influence on the Price-- Prices realised by the Ay and
  Verzenay Crûs in Grand Years-- Suggestions for laying down
  Champagnes of Grand Vintages-- The Improvement they Develop
  after a few Years-- The Wine of 1874-- The proper kind of Cellar
  to lay down Champagne in-- Advantages of Burrow’s Patent Slider
  Wine Bins-- Increase in the Consumption of Champagne-- Tabular
  Statement of Stocks, Exports, and Home Consumption from 1844-5
  to 1877-8-- When to Serve Champagne at a Dinner Party-- Charles
  Dickens’s dictum that its proper place is at a Ball--
  Advantageous Effect of Champagne at an Ordinary British Dinner
  Party-- Sparkling Wine Cups                                        212

THE PRINCIPAL SPARKLING WINE BRANDS                                  225

  [Illustrated Text:]



The Early Vineyards of the Champagne-- Their Produce esteemed by
  Popes and Kings, Courtiers and Prelates-- Controversy regarding the
  rival Merits of the Wines of Burgundy and the Champagne-- Dom
  Perignon’s happy Discovery of Sparkling Wine-- Its Patrons under
  Louis Quatorze and the Regency-- The Ancient Church and Abbey of
  Hautvillers-- Farre and Co.’s Champagne Cellars-- The Abbey of St.
  Peter now a Farm-- Existing Remains of the Monastic Buildings-- The
  Tombs and Decorations of the Ancient Church-- The Last Resting-Place
  of Dom Perignon--The Legend of the Holy Dove-- Good Champagne the
  Result of Labour, Skill, Minute Precaution, and Careful Observation.

Strong men, we know, lived before Agamemnon; and strong wine was made in
the fair province of Champagne long before the days of the sagacious Dom
Perignon, to whom we are indebted for the sparkling vintage known under
the now familiar name. The chalky slopes that border the Marne were
early recognised as offering special advantages for the culture of the
vine. The priests and monks, whose vows of sobriety certainly did not
lessen their appreciation of the good things of this life, and the
produce of whose vineyards usually enjoyed a higher reputation than that
of their lay neighbours, were clever enough to seize upon the most
eligible sites, and quick to spread abroad the fame of their wines. St.
Remi, baptiser of Clovis, the first Christian king in France, at the end
of the fifth century left by will, to various churches, the vineyards
which he owned at Reims and Laon, together with the “vilains” employed
in their cultivation. Some three and a half centuries later we find
worthy Bishop Pardulus of Laon imitating Paul’s advice to Timothy, and
urging Archbishop Hincmar to drink of the wines of Epernay and Reims for
his stomach’s sake. The crusade-preaching Pope, Urban II., who was born
among the vineyards of the Champagne, dearly loved the wine of Ay; and
his energetic appeals to the princes of Europe to take up arms for the
deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre may have owed some of their eloquence
to his favourite beverage.

The red wine of the Champagne sparkled on the boards of monarchs in the
Middle Ages when they sat at meat amidst their mailclad chivalry, and
quaffed mighty beakers to the confusion of the Paynim. Henry of Andely
has sung in his _fabliau_ of the “Bataille des Vins,” how, when stout
Philip Augustus and his chaplain constituted themselves the earliest
known wine-jury, the _crûs_ of Espernai, Auviler, Chaalons, and Reims
were amongst those which found most favour in their eyes, though nearly
a couple of centuries elapsed before Eustace Deschamps recorded in verse
the rival merits of those of Cumières and Ay. King Wenceslaus of
Bohemia, a mighty toper, got so royally drunk day after day upon the
vintages of the Champagne, that he forgot all about the treaty with
Charles VI., that had formed the pretext of his visit to France, and
would probably have lingered, goblet in hand, in the old cathedral city
till the day of his death, but for the presentation of a little account
for wine consumed, which sobered him to repentance and led to his abrupt
departure. Dunois, Lahire, Xaintrailles, and their fellows, when they
rode with Joan of Arc to the coronation of Charles VII., drank the same
generous fluid, through helmets barred, to the speedy expulsion of the
detested English from the soil of France.

The vin d’Ay--_vinum Dei_ as Dominicus Baudoin punningly styled it--was,
according to old Paulmier, the ordinary drink of the kings and princes
of his day. It fostered bluff King Hal’s fits of passion and the tenth
Leo’s artistic extravagance; consoled Francis I. for the field of Pavia,
and solaced his great rival in his retirement at St. Just. All of them
had their commissioners at Ay to secure the best wine for their own
consumption. Henri Quatre, whose _vendangeoir_ is still shown in the
village, held the wine in such honour that he was wont to style himself
the Seigneur d’Ay, just as James of Scotland was known as the Gudeman of
Ballangeich. When his son, Louis XIII., was crowned, the wines of the
Champagne were the only growths allowed to grace the board at the royal
banquet. Freely too did they flow at the coronation feast of the Grand
Monarque, when the crowd of assembled courtiers, who quaffed them in his
honour, hailed them as the finest wines of the day.

But the wines which drew forth all these encomiums were far from
resembling the champagne of modern times. They were not, as has been
asserted, all as red as burgundy and as flat as port; for at the close
of the sixteenth, century some of them were of a _fauve_ or yellowish
hue, and of the intermediate tint between red and white which the French
call _clairet_, and which our old writers translate as the “complexion
of a cherry” or the “colour of a partridge’s eye.” But, as a rule, the
wines of the Champagne up to this period closely resembled those
produced in the adjacent province, where Charles the Bold had once held
sway; a resemblance, no doubt, having much to do with the great medical
controversy regarding their respective merits which arose in 1652. In
that year a young medical student, hard pressed for the subject of his
inaugural thesis, and in the firm faith that

  “None but a clever dialectician
  Can hope to become a good physician,
  And that logic plays an important part
  In the mystery of the healing art,”

propounded the theory that the wines of Burgundy were preferable to
those of the Champagne, and that the latter were irritating to the
nerves and conducive to gout. The faculty of medicine at Reims naturally
rose in arms at this insolent assertion. They seized their pens and
poured forth a deluge of French and Latin in defence of the wines of
their province, eulogising alike their purity, their brilliancy of
colour, their exquisite flavour and perfume, their great keeping powers,
and, in a word, their general superiority to the Burgundy growths. The
partisans of the latter were equally prompt in rallying in their
defence, and the faculty of medicine of Beaune, having put their learned
periwigs together, enunciated their views and handled their opponents
without mercy. The dispute spread to the entire medical profession, and
the champions went on pelting each other with pamphlets in prose and
tractates in verse, until in 1778--long after the bones of the original
disputants were dust and their lancets rust--the faculty of Paris, to
whom the matter was referred, gave a final and formal decision in favour
of the wines of the Champagne.

Meanwhile an entirely new kind of wine, which was to carry the name of
the province producing it to the uttermost corners of the earth, had
been introduced. On the picturesque slopes of the Marne, about fifteen
miles from Reims, and some four or five miles from Epernay, stands the
little hamlet of Hautvillers, which, in pre-revolutionary days, was a
mere dependency upon a spacious abbey dedicated to St. Peter. Here the
worthy monks of the order of St. Benedict had lived in peace and
prosperity for several hundred years, carefully cultivating the acres of
vineland extending around the abbey, and religiously exacting a tithe of
all the other wine pressed in their district. The revenue of the
community thus depending in no small degree upon the vintage, it was
natural that the post of “celerer” should be one of importance. It
happened that about the year 1688 this office was conferred upon a
worthy monk named Perignon. Poets and roasters, we know, are born, and
not made; and the monk in question seems to have been a heaven-born
cellarman, with a strong head and a discriminating palate. The wine
exacted from the neighbouring cultivators was of all qualities--good,
bad, and indifferent; and with the spirit of a true Benedictine, Dom
Perignon hit upon the idea of “marrying” the produce of one vineyard
with that of another. He had noted that one kind of soil imparted
fragrance and another generosity, and discovered that a white wine could
be made from the blackest grapes, which would keep good, instead of
turning yellow and degenerating like the wine obtained from white ones.
Moreover, the happy thought occurred to him that a piece of cork was a
much more suitable stopper for a bottle than the flax dipped in oil
which had heretofore served that purpose.

The white, or, as it was sometimes styled, the grey wine of the
Champagne grew famous, and the manufacture spread throughout the
province, but that of Hautvillers held the predominance. To Dom Perignon
the abbey’s well-stocked cellar was a far cheerfuller place than the
cell. Nothing delighted him more than

  “To come down among this brotherhood
  Dwelling for ever underground,
  Silent, contemplative, round and sound,
  Each one old and brown with mould,
  But filled to the lips with the ardour of youth,
  With the latent power and love of truth,
  And with virtues fervent and manifold.”

Ever busy among his vats and presses, barrels and bottles, Perignon
alighted upon a discovery destined to be most important in its results.
He found out the way of making an effervescent wine--a wine that burst
out of the bottle and overflowed the glass, that was twice as dainty to
the taste, and twice as exhilarating in its effects. It was at the close
of the seventeenth century that this discovery was made--when the glory
of the Roi Soleil was on the wane, and with it the splendour of the
Court of Versailles. Louis XIV., for whose especial benefit liqueurs had
been invented, recovered a gleam of his youthful energy as he sipped the
creamy foaming vintage that enlivened his dreary _têtes-à-têtes_ with
the widow of Scarron. It found its chief patrons however, amongst the
bands of gay young roysterers, the future _roues_ of the Regency, whom
the Duc d’Orléans and the Duc de Vendôme had gathered round them, at the
Palais Royal and at Anet. It was at one of the famous _soupers_ d’Anet
that the Marquis de Sillery--who had turned his sword into a
pruning-knife, and applied himself to the cultivation of his paternal
vineyards on the principles inculcated by the celerer of St.
Peter’s--first introduced the sparkling wine bearing his name. The
flower-wreathed bottles, which, at a given signal, a dozen of blooming
young damsels scantily draped in the guise of Bacchanals placed upon the
table, were hailed with rapture, and thenceforth sparkling wine was an
indispensable adjunct at all the _petits soupers_ of the period. In the
highest circles the popping of champagne-corks seemed to ring the knell
of sadness, and the victories of Marlborough were in a measure
compensated for by this happy discovery.

Why the wine foamed and sparkled was a mystery even to the very makers
themselves; for as yet Baume’s aerometer was unknown, and the connection
between sugar and carbonic acid undreamt of. The general belief was that
the degree of effervescence depended upon the time of year at which the
wine was bottled, and that the rising of the sap in the vine had
everything to do with it. Certain wiseacres held that it was influenced
by the age of the moon at the time of bottling; whilst others thought
the effervescence could be best secured by the addition of spirit, alum,
and various nastinesses. It was this belief in the use and efficacy of
drugs that led to a temporary reaction against the wine about 1715, in
which year Dom Perignon departed this life. In his latter days he had
grown blind, but his discriminating taste enabled him to discharge his
duties with unabated efficiency to the end. Many of the tall tapering
glasses invented by him have been emptied to the memory of the old
Benedictine, whose remains repose beneath a black marble slab in the
chancel of the archaic abbey church of Hautvillers.


  (p. 15)]

Time and the iconoclasts of the great Revolution have spared but little
of the royal abbey of St. Peter where Dom Perignon lighted upon his
happy discovery of the effervescent quality of champagne. The quaint old
church, scraps of which date back to the 12th century, the remnants of
the cloisters, and a couple of ancient gateways, marking the limits of
the abbey precincts, are all that remain to testify to the grandeur of
its past. It was the proud boast of the brotherhood that it had given
nine archbishops to the see of Reims, and two-and-twenty abbots to
various celebrated monasteries, but this pales beside the enduring fame
it has acquired from having been the cradle of the sparkling vintage of
the Champagne.

It was in the budding springtime when we made our pilgrimage to
Hautvillers across the swollen waters of the Marne at Epernay. Our way
lay for a time along a straight level poplar-bordered road, with verdant
meadows on either hand, then diverged sharply to the left and we
commenced ascending the vine-clad hills, on a narrow plateau of which
the church and abbey remains are picturesquely perched. Vines climb the
undulating slopes to the summit of the plateau, and wooded heights rise
up beyond, affording shelter from the bleak winds sweeping over from the
north. As we near the village of Hautvillers we notice on our left hand
a couple of isolated buildings overlooking a small ravine with their
bright tiled roofs flashing in the sunlight. These prove to be a branch
establishment of Messrs. Charles Farre and Co., a well-known champagne
firm having its head-quarters at Reims. The grassy space beyond, dotted
over with low stone shafts giving light and ventilation to the cellars
beneath, is alive with workmen unloading waggons densely packed with new
champagne bottles, while under a neighbouring shed is a crowd of women
actively engaged in washing the bottles as they are brought to them. The
large apartment aboveground, known as the _cellier_, contains wine in
cask already blended, and to bottle which preparations are now being
made. On descending into the cellars, which, excavated in the chalk and
of regular construction, comprise a series of long, lofty, and
well-ventilated galleries, we find them stocked with bottles of fine
wine reposing in huge compact piles ready for transport to the head
establishment, where they will undergo their final manipulation. The
cellars consist of two stories, the lowermost of which has an iron gate
communicating with the ravine already mentioned. On passing out here and
looking up behind we see the buildings perched some hundred feet above
us, hemmed in on every side with budding vines.


The church of Hautvillers and the remains of the neighbouring abbey are
situated at the farther extremity of the village, at the end of its one
long street, named, pertinently enough, the Rue de Bacchus. Passing
through an unpretentious gateway we find ourselves in a spacious
courtyard, bounded by buildings somewhat complex in character. On our
right rises the tower of the church with the remains of the old
cloisters, now walled-in and lighted by small square windows, and
propped up by heavy buttresses. To the left stands the residence of the
bailiff, and beyond it an 18th-century château on the site of the
abbot’s house, the abbey precincts being bounded on this side by a
picturesque gateway tower leading to the vineyards, and known as the
“porte des pressoirs,” from its contiguity to the existing wine-presses.
Huge barn-like buildings, stables, and cart-sheds inclose the court on
its remaining sides, and roaming about are numerous live stock,
indicating that what remains of the once-famous royal abbey of St. Peter
has degenerated into an ordinary farm. To-day the abbey buildings and
certain of its lands are the property of Messrs. Moët and Chandon, the
great champagne manufacturers of Epernay, who maintain them as a farm,
keeping some six-and-thirty cows there with the object of securing the
necessary manure for the numerous vineyards which they own hereabouts.


The dilapidated cloisters, littered with old casks, farm implements, and
the like, preserve ample traces of their former architectural character,
and the Louis Quatorze gateway on the northern side of the inclosure
still displays above its arch a grandiose carved shield, with
surrounding palm-branches and half-obliterated bearings. Vine-leaves and
bunches of grapes decorate some of the more ancient columns inside the
church, and grotesque mediæval monsters, such as monkish architects
habitually delighted in, entwine themselves around the capitals of
others. The stalls of the choir are elaborately carved with cherubs’
heads, medallions and figures of saints, cupids supporting shields, and
free and graceful arabesques of the epoch of the Renaissance. In the
chancel, close by the altar steps, are a couple of black marble slabs,
with Latin inscriptions of dubious orthography, the one to Johannes
Royer, who died in 1527, and the other setting forth the virtues and
merits of Dom Petrus Perignon, the discoverer of champagne. In the
central aisle a similar slab marks the resting-place of Dom Thedoricus
Ruynart--obit 1709--an ancestor of the Reims Ruinarts, and little square
stones interspersed among the tiles with which the side aisles of the
church are paved record the deaths of other members of the Benedictine
brotherhood during the 17th and 18th centuries. Several large pictures
grace the walls of the church, the most interesting one representing St.
Nivard, Bishop of Reims, and his friend, St. Berchier, designating to
some mediæval architect the site the contemplated abbey of St. Peter was
to occupy. There was a monkish legend that about the middle of the 7th
century this pair of saints set out in search of a suitable site for the
future monastery. The way was long, the day was warm, and St. Nivard and
St. Berchier as yet were simply mortal. Weary and faint, they sat them
down to rest at a spot identified by tradition with a vineyard at Dizy,
belonging to-day to the Messrs. Bollinger, but at that period forming
part of the forest of the Marne. St. Nivard fell asleep with his head on
his companion’s lap, and the one in a dream, and the other with waking
eyes, saw a snow-white dove--the same, firm believers in miracles
suggested, which had brought down the holy oil for the anointment of
Clovis at his coronation at Reims--flutter through the wood, and finally
alight on the stump of a tree.

In those superstitious times such a significant omen was not to be
disregarded, the site thus miraculously indicated was at once decided
upon, the high altar of the abbey church being erected upon the precise
spot where the tree stood on which the snow-white dove had alighted.

The celerer of St. Peter’s found worthy successors, and thenceforward
the manufacture and the popularity of champagne went on steadily
increasing, until to-day its production is carried on upon a scale and
with an amount of painstaking care that would astonish its originator.
For good champagne does not rain down from the clouds, or gush out from
the rocks, but is the result of incessant labour, patient skill, minute
precaution, and careful observation. In the first place, the soil
imparts to the natural wine a special quality which it has been found
impossible to imitate in any other quarter of the globe. To the wine of
Ay it lends a flavour of peaches, and to that of Avenay the savour of
strawberries; the vintage of Hautvillers, though fallen from its former
high estate, is yet marked by an unmistakably nutty taste; while that of
Pierry smacks of the locally-abounding flint, the well-known _pierre à
fusil_ flavour. So on the principle that a little leaven leavens the
whole lump, the produce of grapes grown in the more favoured vineyards
is added in certain proportions to secure certain special
characteristics, as well as to maintain a fixed standard of excellence.




Ay, the Vineyard of Golden Plants-- Summoning the Vintagers by Beat
  of Drum-- Excitement in the Surrounding Villages-- The Pickers at
  Work-- Sorting the Grapes-- Grapes Gathered at Sunrise the Best--
  Varieties of Vines in the Ay Vineyards-- Few of the Growers in the
  Champagne Crush their own Grapes-- Squeezing the Grapes in the
  “Pressoir” and Drawing off the Must-- Cheerful Glasses Round-- The
  Vintage at Mareuil-- Bringing in the Grapes on Mules and Donkeys--
  The Vineyards of Avenay, Mutigny, and Cumières-- Damery and Adrienne
  Lecouvreur, Maréchal de Saxe, and the obese Anna Iwanowna-- The
  Vineyards of the Côte d’Epernay-- Boursault and its Château-- Pierry
  and its Vineyard Cellars-- The Clos St. Pierre-- Moussy and Vinay--
  A Hermit’s Cave and a Miraculous Fountain-- Ablois St. Martin-- The
  Côte d’Avize-- The Grand Premier Crû of Cramant-- Avize and its
  Wines-- The Vineyards of Oger and Le Mesnil-- The Old Town of Vertus
  and its Vine-clad Slopes-- Their Red Wine formerly celebrated.

With the exception of certain famous vineyards of the Rhône, the
vinelands of the Champagne may, perhaps, be classed among the most
picturesque of the more notable vine districts of France. Between Paris
and Epernay even, the banks of the Marne present a series of scenes of
quiet beauty. The undulating ground is everywhere cultivated like a
garden. Handsome châteaux and charming country houses peep out from amid
luxuriant foliage. Picturesque antiquated villages line the river’s bank
or climb the hill sides, and after leaving La Ferté-sous-Jouarre, the
cradle of the Condés, all the more favoured situations commence to be
covered with vines.

This is especially the case in the vicinity of Château-Thierry--the
birthplace of La Fontaine--where the view is shut in on all sides by
vine-clad slopes, which the spring frosts seldom spare. Hence merely one
good vintage out of four gladdens the hearts of the peasant proprietors,
who find eager purchasers for their produce among the lower-class
manufacturers of champagne. In the same way the _petit vin de Chierry_,
dexterously prepared and judiciously mingled with other growths, often
figures as “Fleur de Sillery” or “Ay Mousseux.” In reality it is not
until we have passed the ornate modern Gothic château of Boursault,
erected in her declining years by the wealthy Veuve Clicquot, by far the
shrewdest manipulator of the sparkling products of Ay and Bouzy of her
day, and the many towers and turrets of which, rising above umbrageous
trees, crown the loftiest height within eyeshot of Epernay, that we find
ourselves within that charmed circle of vineyards whence champagne--the
wine, not merely of princes, as it has been somewhat obsequiously
termed, but essentially the _vin de société_--is derived.

The vinelands in the vicinity of Epernay, and consequently near the
Marne, are commonly known as the “Vineyards of the River,” whilst those
covering the slopes in the neighbourhood of Reims are termed the
“Vineyards of the Mountain.” The Vineyards of the River comprise three
distinct divisions--first, those lining the right bank of the Marne and
enjoying a southern and south-eastern aspect, among which are Ay,
Hautvillers, Cumières, Dizy, and Mareuil; secondly, the Côte d’Epernay
on the left bank of the river, of which Pierry, Moussy, and Vinay form
part; and thirdly, the Côte d’Avize (the region _par excellence_ of
white grapes), which stretches towards the south-east, and includes the
vinelands of Cramant, Avize, Oger, Le Mesnil, and Vertus. The entire
vineyard area is upwards of 40,000 acres.

The Champagne vineyards most widely celebrated abroad are those of Ay
and Sillery, although the last-named are really the smallest in the
Champagne district. Ay, distant only a few minutes by rail from Epernay,
is in the immediate centre of the vinelands of the river, having Mareuil
and Avenay on the east, and Dizy, Hautvillers, and Cumières on the west.
Sillery, on the other hand, lies at the foot of the so-called Mountain
of Reims, and within an hour’s drive of the old cathedral city.

The pleasantest season of the year to visit the Champagne is certainly
during the vintage. When this is about to commence, the vintagers--some
of whom come from Sainte Menehould, forty miles distant, while others
hail from as far as Lorraine--are summoned at daybreak by beat of drum
in the market-places of the villages adjacent to the vineyards, and then
and there a price is made for the day’s labour. This is generally either
a franc and a half, with food consisting of three meals, or two francs
and a half without food, children being paid a franc and a half. The
rate of wage satisfactorily arranged, the gangs start off to the
vineyards, headed by their overseers.

It was on one of those occasional sunshiny days in the early part of
October (1871) when I first visited Ay, the vineyard of golden plants,
the unique _premier crû_ of the Wines of the River. The road lay between
two rows of closely-planted poplar-trees reaching almost to the village
of Dizy, whose quaint grey church tower, with its gabled roof, is
dominated by the neighbouring vine-clad slopes, which extend from Avenay
to Venteuil, some few miles beyond Hautvillers, the cradle, so to speak,
of the _vin mousseux_ of the Champagne.

Everywhere was bustle and excitement; every one was big with the
business in hand. In these ordinarily quiet little villages the majority
of the inhabitants were afoot, the feeble feminine half with the
juveniles threading their way through the rows of vines half-way up the
mountain, basket on arm, while the sturdy masculine portion were mostly
passing to and fro between the press-houses and the wine-shops. Carts
piled up with baskets, or crowded with peasants from a distance on their
way to the vineyards, jostled the low railway trucks laden with bran-new
casks, and the somewhat rickety cabriolets of the agents of the big
champagne houses, reduced to clinch their final bargain for a hundred or
more _pièces_ of the peerless wine of Ay, beside the reeking wine-press.

There was a pleasant air of jollity over all, for in the wine-producing
districts every one participates in the interest excited by the vintage,
which influences the takings of all the artificers and all the
tradespeople, bringing grist to the mill of the baker and the bootmaker,
as well as to the café and the cabaret. The various contending interests
were singularly satisfied, the vintagers getting their two francs and a
half a day, and the men at the pressoirs their three francs and their
food. The plethoric _commissionaires-en-vins_ wiped their perspiring
foreheads with satisfaction at having at last secured the full number of
hogsheads they had been instructed to buy--at a high figure it was true,
still this was no disadvantage to them, as their commission mounted up
all the higher. And, as regarded the small vine proprietors, even the
thickest-skulled among them, who make all their calculations on their
fingers, could see at a glance that they were gainers, for, although the
crop was no more than half an average one, yet, thanks to the
ill-disguised anxiety of the agents to secure all the wine they
required, prices had gradually crept up until they doubled those of
ordinary years, and this with only half the work in the vineyard and at
the wine-press to be done.

On leaving Dizy the road runs immediately at the base of the vine-clad
slopes, broken up by an occasional conical peak detaching itself from
the mass, and tinted from base to summit with richly-variegated hues,
in which deep purple, yellow, green, grey, and crimson by turns
predominate. Dotting these slopes like a swarm of huge ants are a crowd
of men, women, and children, intent on stripping the vines of their
luscious-looking fruit. The men are mostly in blue blouses, and the
women in closely-fitting neat white caps, or wearing old-fashioned
unbleached straw-bonnets of the contemned coal-scuttle type. They detach
the grapes with scissors or hooked knives, technically termed
“serpettes,” and in some vineyards proceed to remove all damaged,
decayed, or unripe fruit from the bunches before placing them in the
baskets hanging on their arms, the contents of which are from time to
time emptied into a larger basket resembling a deep clothes-basket in
shape, numbers of these being dispersed about the vineyard for the
purpose, and invariably in the shade. When filled they are carried by a
couple of men to the roadside, along which dwarf stones carved with
initials, and indicating the boundaries of the respective properties,
are encountered every eight or ten yards, into such narrow strips are
the vineyards divided. Large carts with railed open sides are
continually passing backwards and forwards to pick these baskets up, and
when one of them has secured its load it is driven slowly--in order that
the grapes may not be shaken--to the neighbouring pressoir, so extreme
is the care observed throughout every stage of the process of champagne

In many of the vineyards the grapes are inspected in bulk instead of in
detail before being sent to the wine-press. The hand-baskets, when
filled, are all brought to a particular spot, where their contents are
minutely examined by some half-dozen men and women, who pluck off all
the bruised, rotten, and unripe berries, and fling them aside into a
separate basket. In one vineyard we came upon a party of girls,
congregated round a wicker sieve perched on the top of a large tub by
the roadside, who were busy sorting the grapes, pruning away the
diseased stalks, and picking off all the doubtful berries, and letting
the latter fall through the interstices of the sieve, the sound fruit
being deposited in large baskets standing by their side, which, as soon
as filled, were conveyed to the pressoir.


The picking ordinarily commences with daylight, and the vintagers assert
that the grapes gathered at sunrise always produce the lightest and most
limpid wine. Moreover by plucking the grapes when the early morning sun
is upon them they are believed to yield a fourth more juice. Later on in
the day, too, spite of all precautions, it is impossible to prevent some
of the detached grapes from partially fermenting, which frequently
suffices to give a slight excess of colour to the must, a thing
especially to be avoided--no matter how rich and ripe the fruit may
be--in a high-class champagne. When the grapes have to be transported in
open baskets for some distance to the press-house, jolting along the
road either in carts or on the backs of mules, and exposed to the torrid
rays of a bright autumnal sun, the juice expressed from the fruit,
however gently the latter may be squeezed, is occasionally of a positive
purple tinge, and consequently useless for conversion into champagne.

On the right of the road leading from Dizy to Ay we pass a vineyard
called Le Léon, which tradition asserts to be the one whence Pope Leo
the Magnificent, the patron of Michael Angelo, Raffaelle, and Da Vinci,
drew his supply of Ay wine. The village of Ay lies right before us at
the foot of the vine-clad slopes, with the tapering spire of its ancient
church rising above the neighbouring hills and cutting sharply against
the bright blue sky. The vineyards, which spread themselves over a
calcareous declivity, have mostly a full southern aspect, and the
predominating vines are those known as golden plants, the fruit of which
is of a deep purple colour. After these comes the _plant vert doré_, and
then a moderate proportion of the _plant gris_, the latter a white
variety, as its name implies. A limited quantity of wine from white
grapes is likewise made in the neighbouring vineyards of Dizy.

We visited the pressoir of the principal producer of _vin brut_ at Ay,
who, although the owner of merely five hectares, or about twelve and a
half acres of vines, expected to make as many as 1,500 pièces of wine
that year, mainly of course from grapes purchased from other growers.
One peculiarity of the Champagne district is that, contrary to the
prevailing practice in the other wine-producing regions of France, where
the owner of even a single acre of vines will crush his grapes himself,
only a limited number of vine-proprietors press their own grapes. The
large champagne houses, possessing vineyards, always have their
pressoirs in the neighbourhood, and other large vine-proprietors will
press the grapes they grow, but the multitude of small cultivators
invariably sell the produce of their vineyards to one or other of the
former at a certain rate, either by weight or else per caque, a measure
estimated to hold sixty kilogrammes (equal to 132lbs.) of grapes. The
price which the fruit fetches varies of course according to the quality
of the vintage and the requirements of the manufacturers. In 1873, in
all the higher-class vineyards, as much as two francs and a quarter per
kilogramme (10d. per lb.) were paid, or between treble and quadruple the
average price. And yet the vintage was a most unsatisfactory one owing
to the deficiency of sun and abundance of wet throughout the summer. The
market, however, was in great need of wine, and the fruit while still
ungathered was bought up at most exorbitant prices by the _spéculateurs_
who supply the _vin brut_ to the champagne manufacturers.

Carts laden with grapes were continually arriving at the pressoir, and
after discharging their loads, and having them weighed, kept driving off
for fresh ones. Four powerful presses of recent invention, each worked
by a large fly-wheel requiring four sturdy men to turn it, were in
operation. The grapes were spread over the floor of the press in a
compact mass, and on being subjected to pressure--again and again
repeated, the first squeeze only giving a high-class wine--the must
filtered through a wicker basket into the reservoir beneath, whence,
after remaining a certain time to allow of its ridding itself of the
grosser lees, it is pumped through a gutta-percha tube into the casks.
The wooden stoppers of the bungholes, instead of being fixed tightly in
the apertures, are simply laid over them, and after the lapse of ten or
twelve days fermentation usually commences, and during its progress the
must, which is originally of a pale pink tint, fades to a light straw
colour. The wine usually remains undisturbed until Christmas, when it is
drawn off into fresh casks, and delivered to the purchaser.

On our way from Ay to Mareuil, along the lengthy Rue de Châlons, we
looked in at the little auberge at the corner of the Boulevard du Sud,
where we found a crowd of coopers and others connected in some way with
the vintage taking their cheerful glasses round. The walls of the room
were appropriately enough decorated with capering bacchanals squeezing
bunches of purple grapes and flourishing their thyrsi about in a very
tipsy fashion. All the talk--and there was an abundance of it--had
reference to the yield of this particular vintage and the high rate the
Ay wine had realised. Eight hundred francs the pièce of two hundred
litres, equal to forty-four gallons, appeared to be the price fixed by
the agents of the great champagne houses, and at this figure the bulk of
the vintage was disposed of before a single grape passed through the

At Mareuil, which is scarcely more than a mile from Ay, owing to the
steepness of the slopes and to the roads through the vineyards being
impracticable for carts, the grapes were being conveyed to the
press-houses in baskets slung across the backs of mules and donkeys,
who, on account of their known partiality for the ripe fruit, were most
of them muzzled while thus employed. The _vin brut_ here, inferior of
course to that of Ay, found a ready market at from five to six hundred
francs the pièce.


From Mareuil we proceeded to Avenay, a tumbledown little village in the
direction of Reims, and the vineyards of which were of greater repute in
the 13th century than they are to-day. Its best wine, extolled by Saint
Evremond, the epicurean Frenchman, who emigrated to the gay court of
Charles II. at Whitehall to escape a gloomy cell in the Bastille, is
vintaged up the slopes of Mont Hurlé. At Avenay we found the yield had
been little more than the third of an average one, and that the wine
from the first pressure of the grapes had been sold for five hundred
francs the pièce. Here we tasted some very fair still red wine, made
from the same grapes as champagne, remarkably deep in colour, full of
body, and with that slight sweet bitterish flavour characteristic of
certain of the better-class growths of the south of France. On leaving
Avenay we ascended the hills to Mutigny, and wound round thence to
Cumières, on the banks of the Marne, finding the vintage in full
operation all throughout the route. The vineyards of Cumières--classed
as a second crû--join those of Hautvillers on the one side and Damery on
the other--the latter a cosy little river-side village, where the “_bon
Roi Henri_” sought relaxation from the turmoils of war in the society of
the fair Anne du Puy--“_sa belle hôtesse_,” as the gallant Béarnais was
wont to style her. Damery too claims to be the birthplace of Adrienne
Lecouvreur, the celebrated actress of the Regency, and mistress of the
Maréchal de Saxe who coaxed her out of her £30,000 of savings to enable
him to prosecute his suit with the obese Anna Iwanowna, niece of Peter
the Great, which, had he only been successful in, would have secured the
future hero of Fontenoy the coveted dukedom of Courland.

The vineyards of the Côte d’Epernay, south of the Marne, extend eastward
from beyond Boursault, on whose wooded height Madame Clicquot built her
fine château, in which her granddaughter, the Comtesse de Mortemart,
to-day resides. They then follow the course of the river, and after
winding round behind Epernay diverge towards the south-west. The vines
produce only black grapes, and many of the vineyards are of great
antiquity, one at Epernay, known as the Closet, having been bequeathed
under that name six and a half centuries ago to a neighbouring Abbey of
St. Martin. A short drive along the high road leading from Epernay to
Troyes brings us to the village of Pierry cosily nestling amongst groves
of poplars in the valley of the Cubry, with some half-score of châteaux
of the last century belonging to well-to-do wine-growers of the
neighbourhood, screened from the road by umbrageous gardens. Vines mount
the slopes that rise around, the higher summits being crowned with
forest, while here and there some pleasant village shelters itself under
the brow of a lofty hill. Near Pierry many cellars have been excavated
in the chalky soil, to the flints prevalent in which the village is said
to owe its name.


The entrances to these cellars are closed by iron gateways, and on the
skirts of the vineyards we come upon whole rows of them picturesquely
overgrown with ivy. Early in the last century the wine vintaged in the
Clos St. Pierre, belonging to an abbey of this name at Châlons, acquired
a high reputation through the care bestowed upon it by Brother Jean
Oudart, whose renown almost rivalled that of Dom Perignon himself, and
to-day the Pierry vineyards, producing exclusively black grapes, hold a
high rank among the second-class crûs of the Marne.

Crossing the Sourdon, a little stream which, bubbling up in the midst of
huge rocks in the forest of Epernay, rushes down the hills and mingles
its waters with that of the Cubry, we soon reach Moussy, where the
vineyards, spite of their long pedigree and southern aspect, also rank
as a second crû. Still skirting the vine-clad slopes we come to Vinay,
noted for an ancient grotto--the comfortless abode of some rheumatic
anchorite--and a pretended miraculous spring to which fever-stricken
pilgrims to-day credulously resort. The water may possibly merit its
renown, but the wine here produced is very inferior, due no doubt to the
class of vines, the meunier being the leading variety cultivated. At
Ablois St. Martin, picturesquely perched partway up a slope in the midst
of hills covered with vines and crowned with forest trees, the Côte
d’Epernay ends, and the produce becomes of a choicer character.

The Côte d’Avize lies to the south-east, so that we have to retrace our
steps to Pierry and follow the road which there branches off, leaving
the vineyards of Chavot, Monthelon, and Grauves, of no particular note,
on our right hand. We pass through Cuis, where the slopes, planted with
both black and white varieties of vines, are extremely abrupt, and
eventually reach Cramant, one of the grand _premiers crûs_ of the
Champagne. From the vineyards around this picturesque little village,
and extending along the somewhat precipitous Côte de Saran--a prominent
object on which is M. Moët’s handsome château--there is vintaged a wine
from white grapes especially remarkable for lightness and delicacy and
the richness of its bouquet, and an admixture of which is essential to
every first-class champagne _cuvée_.

From Cramant the road runs direct to Avize, a large thriving village,
lying at the foot of vineyard slopes, where numerous champagne firms
have established themselves. Its prosperity dates from the commencement
of the last century, when the Count de Lhery cleared away the remains of
its ancient ramparts, filled up the moat, and planted the ground with
vines, the produce of which was found admirably suited for the sparkling
wines then coming into vogue. To-day the light delicate wine of Avize is
classed, like that of Cramant, as a _premier crû_. It is the same with
the wine of Oger, lying a little to the south, while the neighbouring
growths of Le Mesnil hold a slightly inferior rank. The latter village
and its grey Gothic church lie under the hill in the midst of vines that
almost climb the forest-crowned summit. The stony soil hereabouts is
said to be better adapted to the cultivation of white than of black
grapes, besides which the wines of Le Mesnil are remarkable for their
effervescent properties.

Vertus forms the southern limit of the Côte d’Avize, and the vineyard
slopes subsiding at their base into a broad expanse of fertile fields,
and crested as usual with dense forest, rise up behind the picturesque
old town which the English assailed and partly burnt five centuries ago,
spite of its fortifications, of which to-day a dilapidated gateway alone
remains. The church is ancient and curious, and a few quaint old houses
are here and there met with, notably one with a florid Gothic window
enriched with a moulding of grapes and vine-leaves. The vineyards of
Vertus were originally planted with vines from Burgundy, and in the 14th
century yielded a red wine held in high repute, while later on the
Vertus growths formed the favourite beverage of William III. of England.
To-day the growers find it more profitable to make white instead of red
wine from their crops of black grapes, the former commanding a good
price for conversion into _vin mousseux_, it being in the opinion of
some manufacturers especially valuable for binding a _cuvée_ together.
The wine of Vertus ranks among the second-class champagne crûs.



The Wine of Sillery-- Origin of its Renown-- The Marechale d’Estrées
  a successful Marchande de Vin-- From Reims to Sillery-- Failure of
  the Jacquesson Vineyards-- Château of Sillery-- Wine Making at
  M. Fortel’s-- Sillery sec-- The Vintage and Vendangeoirs at
  Verzenay-- The Verzy Vineyards-- Edward III. at the Abbey of St.
  Basle-- From Reims to Bouzy-- The Herring Procession at St. Remi--
  Rilly, Chigny, and Ludes-- The Knights Templars’ “Pot” of Wine--
  Mailly and the View over the Plains of the Champagne-- Wine Making
  at Mailly-- The Village in the Wood-- Village and Château of
  Louvois-- Louis le Grand’s War Minister-- Bouzy, its Vineyards and
  Church Steeple, and the Lottery of the Great Gold Ingot-- MM.
  Werlé’s and Moët and Chandon’s Vendangeoirs-- Pressing the Grapes--
  Still Red Bouzy-- Ambonnay-- A Peasant Proprietor-- The Vineyards of
  Ville-Dommange and Sacy, Hermonville, and St. Thierry-- The Still
  Red Wine of the latter.

The smallest of the Champagne vineyards are those of Sillery, and yet no
wine of the Marne enjoys a greater renown, due originally to the
intelligence and energy of the Maréchale d’Estrées, the clever daughter
of a Jew financier, who brought the wine of Sillery prominently into
notice during the latter half of the seventeenth century. She had
vineyards at Mailly, Verzy, and Verzenay, as well as at Sillery, and
concentrated their produce in the capacious cellars of her château,
afterwards sending it forth with her own guarantee, under the general
name of Sillery, which, like Aaron’s serpent, thus swallowed up the
others. The Maréchale’s social position enabled her to secure for her
wines the recognition they really merited, added to which she was a keen
woman of business. She also possessed much taste, and whenever she gave
one of her rare entertainments nothing could be more exquisite or more
magnificent. At the same time, she was so sordid that when her daughter,
who was covered with jewels, fell down at a ball, her first cry was, not
like Shylock’s, “my daughter,” but “my diamonds,” as rushing forward she
strove to pick up, not the fallen dancer, but her scattered gems.

The drive from Reims to Sillery has nothing attractive about it. A long,
straight, level road bordered by trees intersects a broad tract of open
country, skirted on the right by the Petite Montagne of Reims, with
antiquated villages nestled among the dense woodland. After crossing the
Châlons line of railway--near where one of the new forts constructed for
the defence of Reims rises up behind the villages and vineyards of
Cernay and Nogent l’Abbesse--the country becomes more undulating.
Poplars border the broad Marne canal, and a low fringe of foliage marks
the course of the languid river Vesle, on the banks of which is Taissy,
famous in the old days for its wines, great favourites with Sully, and
which almost lured Henri Quatre from his allegiance to the vintages of
Ay and Arbois that he loved so well.

To the left rises Mont de la Pompelle, where the first Christians of
Reims suffered martyrdom, and where in 1658 the Spaniards under Montal,
when attempting to ravage the vineyards of the district, were repulsed
with terrible slaughter by the Remois militia, led on by Grandpré.
A quarter of a century ago the low ground on our right near Sillery was
planted with vines by M. Jacquesson, the owner of the Sillery estate,
and a large champagne manufacturer at Châlons, who was anxious to
resuscitate the ancient reputation of the domain. Under the advice of
Dr. Guyot, the well-known writer on viticulture, he planted the vines in
deep trenches, which led to the vineyards being punningly termed
Jacquesson’s _celery_ beds. To shield the vines from hailstorms
prevalent in the district, and the more dangerous spring frosts,
so fatal to vines planted in low-lying situations, long rolls of
straw-matting were stored close at hand with which to roof them over
when needful. These precautions were scarcely needed, however; the vines
languished through moisture at the roots, and eventually were mostly
rooted up.

After again crossing the railway, we pass the trim, restored turrets of
the famous château of Sillery, with its gateways, moats, and
drawbridges, flanked by trees and floral parterres. It was here that the
Maréchale d’Estrées carried on her successful business as a _marchande
de vins_, and the pragmatic and pedantic Comtesse de Genlis, governess
of the Orleans princes, spent, as she tells us, the happiest days of her
life. The few thriving vineyards of Sillery cover a gentle eminence
which rises out of the plain, and present on the one side an eastern and
on the other a western aspect. To-day the Vicomte de Brimont and
M. Fortel of Reims, the latter of whom cultivates about forty acres of
vines, yielding ordinarily about 300 hogsheads, are the only
wine-growers at Sillery. Before pressing his grapes--of course for
sparkling wine--M. Fortel has them thrown into a trough, at the bottom
of which are a couple of grooved cylinders, each about eight inches in
diameter, and revolving in contrary directions, the effect of which,
when set in motion, is to disengage the grapes partially from their
stalks. Grapes and stalks are then placed under the press, which is on
the old cyder-press principle, and the must runs into a reservoir
beneath, whence it is pumped into large vats, each holding from 250 to
500 gallons. Here it remains from six to eight hours, and is then run
off into casks, the spigots of which are merely laid lightly over the
holes, and in the course of twelve days the wine begins to ferment. It
now rests until the end of the year, when it is drawn off into new casks
and delivered to the buyer, invariably one or other of the great
champagne houses, who willingly pay an exceptionally high price for it.
The second and third pressures of the grapes yield an inferior wine, and
from the husks and stalks _eau-de-vie_, worth about five shillings a
gallon, is distilled.

The wine known as Sillery sec is a full, dry, pleasant-flavoured, and
somewhat spirituous amber-coloured wine. Very little of it is made
now-a-days, and most that is comes from the adjacent vineyards of
Verzenay and Mailly, and is principally reserved by the growers for
their own consumption. One of these candidly admitted to me that the old
reputation of the wine had exploded, and that better white Bordeaux and
Burgundy wines were to be obtained for less money. In making dry
Sillery, which locally is esteemed as a valuable tonic, it is essential
that the grapes should be subjected to only slight pressure, while to
have it in perfection it is equally essential that the wine should be
kept for ten years in the wood according to some, and eight years in
bottle according to others, to which circumstance its high price is in
all probability to be attributed. In course of time it forms a deposit,
and has the disadvantage common to all the finer still wines of the
Champagne district of not travelling well.

Beyond Sillery the vineyards of Verzenay unfold themselves, spreading
over the extensive slopes and stretching to the summit of the steep
height to the right, where a windmill or two is perched. Everywhere the
vintagers are busy detaching the grapes with their little hook-shaped
_serpettes_, the women all wearing projecting, close-fitting bonnets, as
though needlessly careful of their anything but blonde complexions. Long
carts laden with baskets of grapes block the narrow roads, and donkeys,
duly muzzled, with baskets slung across their backs, toil up and down
the steeper slopes. Half way up the principal hill, backed by a dense
wood and furrowed with deep trenches, whence soil has been removed for
manuring the vineyards, is the village of Verzenay, overlooking a
veritable sea of vines. Rising up in front of the old grey cottages,
encompassed by orchards or gardens, are the white walls and long red
roofs of the vendangeoirs belonging to the great champagne houses--Moët
and Chandon, Clicquot, G. H. Mumm, Roederer, Deutz and Geldermann, and
others--all teeming with bustle and excitement, and with the vines
almost reaching to their very doors. Moët and Chandon have as many as
eight presses in full work, and own no less than 120 acres of vines on
the neighbouring slopes, besides the Clos de Romont--in the direction of
Sillery, and yielding a wine of the Sillery type--belonging to M. Moët
Romont. At Messrs. G. H. Mumm’s the newly-delivered grapes are either
being weighed and emptied into one of the pressoirs, or else receiving
their first gentle squeeze. Verzenay ranks as a _premier crû_, and for
three years in succession--1872, 3, and 4--its wines fetched a higher
price than either those of Ay or Bouzy. In 1873 the _vin brut_ commanded
the exceptionally large sum of 1,030 francs the hogshead of 44 gallons.
All the inhabitants of Verzenay are vine proprietors, and several
million francs are annually received by them for the produce of their
vineyards from the manufacturers of champagne. The wine of Verzenay,
remarkable for its body and vinosity, has always been held in high
repute, which is more than can be said for the probity of the
inhabitants, for according to an old Champagne saying--“Whenever at
Verzenay ‘Stop thief’ is cried every one takes to his heels.”

Just over the mountain of Reims is the village of Verzy, the vineyards
of which adjoin those of Verzenay, and are almost exclusively planted
with white grapes, the only instance of the kind to be met with in the
district. In the clos St. Basse, however--taking its name from the abbey
of St. Basle, of which the village was a dependency, and where Edward
III. of England had his head-quarters during the siege of Reims--black
grapes alone are grown, and its produce is almost on a par with the
wines of Verzenay. Southwards of Verzy are the third-class crûs of
Villers-Marmery and Trépail.


On leaving Reims on our excursion to the vineyards of Bouzy we pass the
quaint old church of St. Remi, one of the sights of the Champagne
capital, and notable among other things for its magnificent ancient
stained-glass windows, and the handsome modern tomb of the popular
Remois saint. It was here in the middle ages that that piece of priestly
mummery, the procession of the herrings, used to take place at dusk on
the Wednesday before Easter. Preceded by a cross the canons of the
church marched in double file up the aisles, each trailing a cord after
him, with a herring attached. Every one’s object was to tread on the
herring in front of him, and prevent his own herring from being trodden
upon by the canon who followed behind--a difficult enough proceeding
which, if it did not edify, certainly afforded much amusement to the

Soon after crossing the canal and the river Vesle we leave the grey
antiquated-looking village of Cormontreuil on our left, and traverse a
wide stretch of cultivated country streaked with patches of woodland.
Occasional windmills dot the distant heights, while villages nestle
among the trees up the mountain sides and in the quiet hollows. Soon a
few vineyards occupying the lower slopes, and thronged by bands of
vintagers, come in sight, and the country too gets more picturesque. We
pass successively on our right hand Rilly, producing a capital red wine,
then Chigny, and afterwards Ludes, all three more or less up the
mountain, with vines in all directions, relieved by a dark background of
forest trees. In the old days the Knights Templars of the Commanderie of
Reims had the right of _vinage_ at Ludes, and exacted their modest “pot”
(about half a gallon) per pièce on all the wine the village produced. On
our left hand is Mailly, the vineyards of which join those of Verzenay,
and yield a wine noted for _finesse_ and bouquet. From the wooded knolls
hereabouts a view is gained of the broad plains of the Champagne, dotted
with white villages and scattered homesteads among the poplars and the
limes, the winding Vesle glittering in the sunlight, and the dark towers
of Notre Dame de Reims, with all their rich Gothic fretwork, rising
majestically above the distant city.

At one vendangeoir we visited at Mailly between 350 and 400 pièces of
wine were being made at the rate of some thirty pièces during the long
day of twenty hours, five men being engaged in working the old-fashioned
press, closely resembling a cyder press, and applying its pressure
longitudinally. The must was emptied into large vats, holding about 450
gallons, and remained there for two or three days before being drawn off
into casks. Of the above thirty pièces, twenty resulting from the first
pressure were of the finest quality, four produced by the second
pressure were partly reserved to replace what the first might lose
during fermentation, the residue serving for second-class champagne. The
six pièces which came from the final pressure, after being mixed with
common wine of the district, were converted into champagne of inferior

We now cross the mountain, sight Ville-en-Selve--the village in the
wood--among the distant trees, and eventually reach Louvois, whence the
Grand Monarque’s domineering war minister derived his marquisate, and
where his château, a plain but capacious edifice, may still be seen
nestled in a picturesque and fertile valley, and surrounded by lordly
pleasure grounds. Soon afterwards the vineyards of Bouzy appear in
sight, with the prosperous-looking little village rising out of the
plain at the foot of the vine-clad slopes stretching to Ambonnay, and
the glittering Marne streaking the hazy distance. The commodious new
church was indebted for its spire, we were told, to the lucky
gainer--who chanced to be a native of Bouzy--of the great gold ingot
lottery prize, value £16,000, drawn some years ago. The Bouzy vineyards
occupy a series of gentle inclines, and have the advantage of a full
southern aspect. The soil, which is of the customary calcareous
formation, has a marked ruddy tinge, indicative of the presence of iron,
to which the wine is in some degree indebted for its distinguishing
characteristics--its delicacy, spirituousness, and pleasant bouquet.
Vintagers are passing slowly in between the vines, and carts laden with
grapes come rolling over the dusty roads. The mountain which rises
behind is scored up its sides and fringed with foliage at its summit,
and a small stone bridge crosses the deep ravine formed by the swift
descending winter torrents.



The principal vineyard proprietors at Bouzy, which ranks, of course, as
a _premier crû_, are M. Werlé, M. Irroy, and Messrs. Moët and Chandon,
the first and last of whom have capacious vendangeoirs here, M. Irroy’s
pressing-house being in the neighbouring village of Ambonnay. M. Werlé
possesses at Bouzy from forty to fifty acres of the finest vines,
forming a considerable proportion of the entire vineyard area. At the
Clicquot-Werlé vendangeoir, containing as many as eight presses, about
1,000 pièces of wine are made annually. At the time of our visit, grapes
gathered that morning were in course of delivery, the big basketfuls
being measured off in caques--wooden receptacles, holding two-and-twenty
gallons--while the florid-faced foreman ticked them off with a piece of
chalk on the head of an adjacent cask.

As soon as the contents of some half-hundred or so of these baskets had
been emptied on to the floor of the press, the grapes undetached from
their stalks were smoothed compactly down, and a moderate pressure was
applied to them by turning a huge wheel, which caused the screw of the
press to act--a gradual squeeze rather than a powerful one, and given
all at once, coaxing out, it was said, the finer qualities of the fruit.
The operation was repeated as many as six times; the yield from the
three first pressures being reserved for conversion into champagne,
while the result of the fourth squeeze would be applied to replenishing
the loss, averaging 7½ per cent., sustained by the must during
fermentation. Whatever comes from the fifth pressure is sold to make an
inferior champagne. The grapes are subsequently well raked about, and
then subjected to a couple of final squeezes, known as the _rébêche_,
and yielding a sort of _piquette_, given to the workmen employed at the
pressoir to drink.

The small quantity of still red Bouzy wine made by M. Werlé at the same
vendangeoir only claims to be regarded as a wine of especial mark in
good years. The grapes before being placed beneath the press are allowed
to remain in a vat for as many as eight days. The must undergoes a long
fermentation, and after being drawn off into casks is left undisturbed
for a couple of years. In bottle, where, by the way, it invariably
deposits a sediment, which is indeed the case with all the wines of the
Champagne, still or sparkling, it will outlive, we were told, any

Still red Bouzy has a marked and agreeable bouquet and a most delicate
flavour, is deliciously smooth to the palate, and to all appearances as
light as a wine of Bordeaux, while in reality it is quite as strong as
Burgundy, to the finer crûs of which it bears a slight resemblance. It
was, I learnt, most susceptible to travelling, a mere journey to Paris
being, it was said, sufficient to sicken it, and impart such a shock to
its delicate constitution that it was unlikely to recover from it. To
attain perfection, this wine, which is what the French term a _vin vif_,
penetrating into the remotest corners of the organ of taste, requires to
be kept a couple of years in wood and half-a-dozen or more years in

From Bouzy it was only a short distance along the base of the vine
slopes to Ambonnay, where there are merely two or three hundred acres of
vines, and where we found the vintage almost over. The village is girt
with fir trees, and surrounded by rising ground fringed with solid belts
or slender strips of foliage. An occasional windmill cuts against the
horizon, which is bounded here and there by scattered trees. Inquiring
for the largest vine proprietor we were directed to an open
porte-cochère, and on entering the large court encountered half-a-dozen
labouring men engaged in various farm occupations. Addressing one whom
we took to be the foreman, he referred us to a wiry little old man, in
shirt-sleeves and sabots, absorbed in the refreshing pursuit of turning
over a big heap of rich manure with a fork. He proved to be M. Oury, the
owner of I forget how many acres of vines, and a remarkably intelligent
peasant, considering what dunderheads the French peasants as a rule are,
who had raised himself to the position of a large vine proprietor.
Doffing his sabots and donning a clean blouse, he conducted us into his
little salon, a freshly-painted apartment about eight feet square, of
which the huge fireplace occupied fully one-third, and submitted
patiently to our catechizing.

At Ambonnay, as at Bouzy, they had that year, M. Oury said, only half an
average crop; the caque of grapes had, moreover, sold for exactly the
same price at both places, and the wine had realised about 800 francs
the pièce. Each hectare (2½ acres) of vines had yielded 45 caques of
grapes, weighing some 2¾ tons, which produced 6½ pièces, equal to 286
gallons of wine, or at the rate of 110 gallons per acre. Here the grapes
were pressed four times, the yield from the second pressure being used
principally to make good the loss which the first sustained during its
fermentation. As the squeezes given were powerful ones, all the best
qualities of the grapes were by this time extracted, and the yield from
the third and fourth pressures would not command more than 80 francs the
pièce. The vintagers who came from a distance received either a franc
and a half per day and their food, consisting of three meals, or two
francs and a half without food, the children being paid thirty sous.
M. Oury further informed us that every year vineyards came into the
market, and found ready purchasers at from fifteen to twenty thousand
francs the hectare, equal to an average price of £300 the acre. Owing to
the properties being divided into such infinitesimal portions, they were
rarely bought up by the large champagne houses, who preferred not to be
embarrassed with the cultivation of such tiny plots, but to buy the
produce from their owners.

There are other vineyards of lesser note in the neighbourhood of Reims
producing very fair wines which enter more or less into the composition
of champagne. Noticeable among these are Ville-Dommange and Sacy,
south-west of Reims, and Hermonville and St. Thierry--where the Black
Prince took up his quarters during the siege of Reims--north-west of the
city. The still red wine of St. Thierry, which recalls the growths of
the Médoc by its tannin, and those of the Côte d’Or by its vinosity, is
to-day almost a thing of the past, it being found here as elsewhere more
profitable to press the grapes for sparkling in preference to still



The Vines chiefly of the Pineau Variety-- The Plant doré of Ay, the
  Plant vert doré, the Plant gris, and the Epinette-- The Soil of the
  Vineyards-- Close Mode of Plantation-- The Operation of Provinage--
  The Stems of the Vines never more than Three Years Old-- Fixing the
  Stakes to the Vines-- Manuring and General Cultivation-- Spring
  Frosts in the Champagne-- Various Modes of Protecting the Vines
  against them-- Dr. Guyot’s System-- The Parasites that Prey upon the

In the Champagne the old rule holds good--poor soil, rich product; grand
wine in moderate quantity. Four descriptions of vines are chiefly
cultivated, three of them yielding black grapes, and all belonging to
the Pineau variety, from which the grand Burgundy wines are produced,
and so styled from the clusters taking the conical form of the pine. The
first is the franc pineau, the plant doré of Ay, producing small round
grapes, with thickish skins of a bluish black tint, and sweet and
refined in flavour. The next is the plant vert doré, more robust and
more productive than the former, but yielding a less generous wine, and
the berries of which are dark and oval, very thin skinned and remarkably
sweet and juicy. The third variety is the plant gris, or burot, as it is
styled in the Côte d’Or, a somewhat delicate vine, whose fruit has a
brownish tinge, and yields a light and perfumed wine. The remaining
species is a white grape known as the épinette, a variety of the pineau
blanc, and supposed by some to be identical with the chardonnet of
Burgundy, which yields the famous wine of Montrachet. It is met with all
along the Côte d’Avize, notably at Cramant, the delicate and elegant
wine of which ranks immediately after that of Ay and Verzenay. The
épinette is a prolific bearer, and its round transparent golden berries,
which hang in no very compact clusters, are both juicy and sweet. It
ripens, however, much later than either of the black varieties.

There are several other species of vines cultivated in the Champagne
vineyards, notably the common meunier, or miller, bearing black grapes,
and prevalent in the valley of Epernay, and which takes its name from
the circumstance of the young leaves appearing to have been sprinkled
with flour. There are also the black and white gouais, the meslier,
a prolific white variety yielding a wine of fair quality, the black and
white gamais, the leading grape in the Mâconnais, and chiefly found in
the Vertus vineyards, together with the tourlon, the marmot, and half a
score of others.

The soil of the Champagne vineyards is chalk, with a mixture of silica
and light clay, combined with a varying proportion of oxide of iron. The
vines are almost invariably planted on rising ground, the lower slopes
which usually escape the spring frosts producing the best wines. The new
vines are placed very close together, there often being as many as six
within a square yard. When two or three years old they are ready for the
operation of provinage universally practised in the Champagne, and which
consists in burying in a trench, from 6 to 8 inches deep, dug on one
side of the plant, the two lowest buds of the two principal shoots, left
when the vine was pruned for this especial purpose. The shoots thus laid
underground are dressed with a light manure, and in course of time take
root and form new vines, which bear during their second year. This
operation is performed in the spring, and is annually repeated until the
vine is five years old, the plants thus being in a state of continual
progression, a system which accounts for the juvenescent aspect of the
Champagne vineyards, where none of the wood of the vines showing
aboveground is more than three years old. When the vine has attained its
fifth year it is allowed to rest for a couple of years, and then the
pruning is resumed, the shoots being dispersed in any direction
throughout the vineyard. The plants remain in this condition
henceforward, merely requiring to be renewed from time to time by
judicious provining.


The vines are supported by stakes, when of oak costing sixty francs the
thousand; and as in the Champagne a close system of plantation is
followed, no less than 24,000 stakes are required on every acre of land,
making the cost per acre of propping up the vines upwards of £57, or
double what it is in the Médoc and quadruple what it is in Burgundy.
These stakes are set up in the spring of the year by men or women, the
former of whom force them into the ground by pressing against them with
their chest, which is protected with a shield of stout leather. The
women use a mallet, or have recourse to a special appliance, in working
which the foot plays the principal part. The latter method is the least
fatiguing, and in some localities is practised by the men. An expert
labourer will set up as many as 5,000 of these stakes in the course of
the day. After the vines have been hoed around their roots they are
secured to the stakes, and the tops are broken off at a shoot to prevent
them from growing above the regulation height, which is ordinarily from
30 to 33 inches. They are liberally manured with a kind of compost
formed of the loose friable soil dug out from the sides of the mountain,
and of supposed volcanic origin, mixed with animal and vegetable refuse.
The vines are shortened back while in flower, and in the course of the
summer the ground is hoed a second and a third time, the object being,
first, to destroy the superficial roots of the vines and force the
plants to live solely on their deep roots; and, secondly, to remove all
pernicious weeds from round about them. After the third hoeing, which
takes place in the middle of August, the vines are left to themselves
until the period of the vintage. When this is over the stakes supporting
the vines are pulled up and stacked in compact masses, with their ends
out of the ground, the vine, which is left curled up in a heap,
remaining undisturbed until the winter, when the earth around it is
loosened. In the month of February it is pruned and sunk into the earth,
as already described, so as to leave only the new wood aboveground.
Owing to the vines being planted so closely together they starve one
another, and numbers of them perish. When this is the case, or the stems
get broken during the vintage, their places are filled up by provining.


The vignerons of the Champagne regard the numerous stakes which support
the vines as affording some protection against the white frosts of the
spring. To guard against the dreaded effects of these frosts, which
invariably occur between early dawn and sunrise, and the loss arising
from which is estimated to amount annually to 25 per cent. some of the
cultivators place heaps of hay, faggots, dead leaves, &c., about twenty
yards apart, taking care to keep them moderately damp. When a frost is
feared the heaps on the side of the vineyard whence the wind blows are
set light to, whereupon the dense smoke which rises spreads horizontally
over the vines, producing the same result as an actual cloud,
intercepting the rays of the sun, warming the atmosphere, and converting
the frost into dew. Among other methods adopted to shield the vines from
frosts is the joining of branches of broom together in the form of a
fan, and afterwards fastening them to the end of a pole, which is placed
obliquely in the ground, so that the fan may incline over the vine and
protect it from the sun’s rays. A single labourer can plant, it is said,
as many as eight thousand of these fans in the ground in the course of a
long day.

Dr. Guyot’s system of roofing the vines with straw matting, to protect
them alike against frost and hailstorms, is very generally followed in
low situations in the Champagne, the value of the wine admitting of so
considerable an expense being incurred. This matting, which is about a
foot and a half in width, and in rolls of great length, is fastened
either with twine or wire to the vine stakes, and it is estimated that
half-a-dozen men can fix nearly 11,000 yards of it, or sufficient to
roof over 2½ acres of vines, during an ordinary day.

Owing to the system of cultivation by rejuvenescence, and the constant
replenishing of the soil by well-compounded manures, the Champenois
winegrowers entertain great hopes that their vineyards will escape the
ravages of the phylloxera vastatrix. According to Dr. Plonquet of Ay
they are already the prey of no less than fifteen varieties of insects,
which feed upon the leaves, stalks, roots, or fruit of the vines.
Between 1850 and 1860 the vineyards of Ay were devastated by the pyrale,
a species of caterpillar, which feeds on the young leaves and shoots
until the vine is left completely bare. The insect eventually becomes
transformed into a small white butterfly, and deposits its eggs either
in the crevices of the stakes or in the stalks of the vine. All the
efforts made to rid the vineyards of this scourge proved ineffectual
until the wet and cold weather of 1860 put a stop to the insect’s
ravages. More recently it has been discovered that its attacks can be
checked by sulphurous acid.




Treatment of Champagne after it comes from the Wine-Press-- Racking
  and Blending of the Wine-- Deficiency and Excess of Effervescence--
  Strength and Form of Champagne Bottles-- The “Tirage” or Bottling of
  the Wine-- The Process of Gas-making commences-- Inevitable Breakage
  follows-- Wine Stacked in Piles-- Formation of Sediment-- Bottles
  placed “sur pointe” and Daily Shaken-- Effect of this occupation on
  those incessantly engaged in it-- “Claws” and “Masks”-- Champagne
  Cellars-- Their Construction and Aspect-- Transforming the “vin
  brut” into Champagne-- Disgorging and Liqueuring the Wine-- The
  Corking, Stringing, Wiring, and Amalgamating-- The Wine’s Agitated
  Existence comes to an End-- The Bottles have their Toilettes made--
  Champagne sets out on its beneficial Pilgrimage.

The special characteristic of champagne is that its manufacture only
just commences where that of other wines ordinarily ends. The must flows
direct from the press into capacious reservoirs, whence it is drawn off
into large vats, and after being allowed to clear, is transferred to
casks holding some forty-four gallons each. Although the bulk of the
new-made wine is left to repose at the vendangeoirs until the
commencement of the following year, still when the vintage is over
numbers of long narrow carts laden with casks of it are to be seen
rolling along the dusty highways leading to those towns and villages in
the Marne where the manufacture of champagne is carried on. Chief
amongst these is the cathedral city of Reims, after which comes the
rising town of Epernay, stretching to the very verge of the river, then
Ay, nestled between the vine-clad slopes and the Marne canal, with the
neighbouring village of Mareuil, and finally Avize, in the centre of the
white grape district southwards of Epernay. Châlons, owing to its
distance from the vineyards, would scarcely draw its supply of wine
until the new year. The first fermentation lasts from a fortnight to a
month, according as to whether the wine be _mou_--that is, rich in
sugar--or the reverse. In the former case fermentation naturally lasts
much longer than when the wine is _vert_ or green. This active
fermentation is converted into latent fermentation by transferring the
wine to a cooler cellar, as it is essential it should retain a large
proportion of its natural saccharine to ensure its future effervescence.
The casks have previously been completely filled, and their bungholes
tightly stopped, a necessary precaution to guard the wine from absorbing
oxygen, the effect of which would be to turn it yellow and cause it to
lose some of its lightness and perfume. After being racked and fined,
the produce of the different vineyards is now ready for mixing together
in accordance with the traditional theories of the various
manufacturers, and should the vintage have been an indifferent one a
certain proportion of old reserved wine of a good year enters into the

The mixing is usually effected in gigantic vats holding at times as many
as 12,000 gallons each, and having fan-shaped appliances inside, which,
on being worked by handles, ensure a complete amalgamation of the wine.
This process of marrying wine on a gigantic scale is technically known
as making the _cuvée_. Usually four-fifths of wine from black grapes are
tempered by one-fifth of the juice of white ones. It is necessary that
the first should comprise a more or less powerful dash of the finer
growths both of the Mountain of Reims and of the River, while, as
regards the latter, one or other of the delicate vintages of the Côte
d’Avize is essential to the perfect _cuvée_. The aim is to combine and
develop the special qualities of the respective crûs, body and vinosity
being secured by the red vintages of Bouzy and Verzenay, softness and
roundness by those of Ay and Dizy, and lightness, delicacy, and
effervescence by the white growths of Avize and Cramant. The proportions
are never absolute, but vary according to the manufacturer’s style of
wine and the taste of the countries which form his principal markets.
The wine at this period being imperfectly fermented and crude, the
reader may imagine the delicacy and discrimination of palate requisite
to judge of the flavour, finesse, and bouquet which the _cuvée_ is
likely eventually to develop.

These, however, are not the only matters to be considered. There is,
above everything, the effervescence, which depends upon the quantity of
carbonic acid gas the wine contains, and this, in turn, upon the amount
of its natural saccharine. If the gas be present in excess, there will
be a shattering of bottles and a flooding of cellars; and if there be a
paucity the corks will refuse to pop, and the wine to sparkle aright in
the glass. Therefore the amount of saccharine in the _cuvée_ has to be
accurately ascertained by means of a glucometer; and if it fails to
reach the required standard, the deficiency is made up by the addition
of the purest sugar-candy. If, on the other hand, there be an excess of
saccharine, the only thing to be done is to defer the final blending and
bottling until the superfluous saccharine matter has been absorbed by
fermentation in the cask.

The _cuvée_ completed, the blended wine, now resembling in taste and
colour an ordinary acrid white wine, and giving to the uninitiated
palate no promise of the exquisite delicacy and aroma it is destined to
develop, is drawn off again into casks for further treatment. This
comprises fining with some gelatinous substance, and, as a precaution
against ropiness and other maladies, liquid tannin is at the same time
frequently added to supply the place of the natural tannin which has
departed from the wine with its reddish hue at the epoch of its first

The operation of bottling the wine next ensues, when the Scriptural
advice not to put new wine into old bottles is rigorously followed. For
the tremendous pressure of the gas engendered during the subsequent
fermentation of the wine is such that the bottle becomes weakened and
can never be safely trusted again. It is because of this pressure that
the champagne bottle is one of the strongest made, as indicated by its
weight, which is almost a couple of pounds. To ensure this unusual
strength it is necessary that its sides should be of equal thickness and
the bottom of a uniform solidity throughout, in order that no particular
expansion may ensue from sudden changes of temperature. The neck must,
moreover, be perfectly round and widen gradually towards the shoulder.
In addition--and this is of the utmost consequence--the inside ought to
be perfectly smooth, as a rough interior causes the gas to make efforts
to escape, and thus renders an explosion imminent. The composition of
the glass, too, is not without its importance, as a manufactory
established for the production of glass by a new process turned out
champagne bottles charged with alkaline sulphurets, and the consequence
was that an entire _cuvée_ was ruined by their use, through the
reciprocal action of the wine and these sulphurets. The acids of the
former disengaged hydrosulphuric acid, and instead of champagne the
result was a new species of mineral water.

Most of the bottles used for champagnes come from the factories of
Loivre (which supplies the largest quantity), Folembray, Vauxrot, and
Quiquengrogne, and cost on the average from 28 to 30 francs the hundred.
They are generally tested by a practised hand, who, by knocking them
sharply together, professes to be able to tell from the sound that they
give the substance of the glass and its temper. The washing of the
bottles is invariably performed by women, who at the larger
establishments accomplish it with the aid of machines, sometimes
provided with a revolving brush, although small glass beads are more
generally used by preference. After being washed every bottle is
minutely examined to make certain of its perfect purity.



With the different champagne houses the mode of bottling the wine, which
may take place any time between April and August, varies in some
measure, still the _tirage_, as this operation is called, is ordinarily
effected as follows:--The wine is emptied from the casks into vats or
tuns of varying capacity, whence it flows through pipes into oblong
reservoirs, each provided with a row of syphon taps, on to which the
bottles are slipped, and from which the wine ceases to flow directly the
bottles become filled. Men or lads remove the full bottles, replacing
them by empty ones, while other hands convey them to the corkers, whose
guillotine machines are incessantly in motion; next the _agrafeurs_
secure the corks by means of an iron staple, termed an agrafe; and then
the bottles are conveyed either to a capacious apartment aboveground,
known as a cellier, or to a cool cellar, according to the number of
atmospheres the wine may indicate. It should be explained that air
compressed to half its volume acquires twice its ordinary force, and to
a quarter of its volume quadruple this force--hence the phrase of two,
four, or more atmospheres. The exact degree of pressure is readily
ascertained by means of a manometer, an instrument resembling a pressure
gauge, with a hollow screw at the base which is driven through the cork
of the bottle. A pressure of 5¾ atmospheres constitutes what is styled a
“grand mousseux,” and the wine exhibiting it may be safely conveyed to
the coolest subterranean depths, for no doubt need be entertained as to
its future effervescent properties. Should the pressure, however,
scarcely exceed 4 atmospheres, it is advisable to keep the wine in a
cellier aboveground that it may more rapidly acquire the requisite
sparkling qualities. If fewer than 4 atmospheres are indicated it would
be necessary to pour the wine back into the casks again, and add a
certain amount of cane sugar to it, but such an eventuality very rarely
happens, thanks to the scientific formulas and apparatus which enable
the degree of pressure the wine will show to be determined beforehand to
a nicety. Still mistakes are sometimes made, and there are instances
where charcoal fires have had to be lighted in the cellars to encourage
the effervescence to develop itself.

The bottles are placed in a horizontal position and stacked in rows of
varying length and depth, one above the other, to about the height of a
man, and with narrow laths between them. Thus they will spend the summer
providing all goes well, but in about three weeks’ time the process of
gas-making inside the bottles is at its height, and may cause an undue
number of them to burst. The glucometer notwithstanding, it is
impossible to check a certain amount of breakage, especially when a hot
season has caused the grapes, and consequently the raw wine, to be
sweeter than usual. Moreover when once _casse_ or breakage sets in on a
large scale, the temperature of the cellar is raised by the volume of
carbonic acid gas let loose, which is not without its effect on the
remaining bottles. The only remedy is at once to remove the wine to a
lower temperature when this is practicable. A manufacturer of the
pre-scientific days of the last century relates how one year, when the
wine was rich and strong, he only preserved 120 out of 6,000 bottles;
and it is not long since that 120,000 out of 200,000 were destroyed in
the cellars of a well-known champagne firm. Over-knowing purchasers
still affect to select a wine which has exploded in the largest
proportion as being well up to the mark as regards its effervescence,
and profess to make inquiries as to its performances in this direction.

It is evident that in spite of the teachings of science the bursting of
champagne bottles has not yet been reduced to a minimum, for whereas in
some cellars it averages 7 and 8 per cent., in others it rarely exceeds
2½ or 3. In the month of October, the first and severest breakage being
over, the newly-bottled wine is definitively stacked in the cellars in
piles from two to half-a-dozen bottles deep, from six to seven feet
high, and frequently a hundred feet or upwards in length. Usually the
bottles remain in their horizontal position for about eighteen or twenty
months, though some firms, who pride themselves upon shipping perfectly
matured wines, leave them thus for double this space of time. All this
while the temperature to which the wine is exposed is, as far as
practicable, carefully regulated; for the risk of breakage, though
greatly diminished, is never entirely at an end.


By this time the fermentation is over, but in the interval, commencing
from a few days after the bottling of the wine, a loose dark-brown
sediment has been forming which has now settled on the lower side of the
bottle, and to get rid of which is a delicate and tedious task. The
bottles are placed _sur pointe_, as it is termed--that is to say,
slantingly in racks with their necks downwards, the inclination being
increased from time to time to one more abrupt. The object of this
change in their position is to cause the sediment to leave the side of
the bottle where it has gathered; it afterwards becomes necessary to
twist and turn it, and coagulate it, as it were, until it forms a kind
of muddy ball, and eventually to get it well down into the neck of the
bottle, so that it may be finally expelled with a bang when the
temporary cork is removed and the proper one adjusted. To accomplish
this the bottles are sharply turned in one direction every day for at
least a month or six weeks, the time being indefinitely extended until
the sediment shows a disposition to settle near the cork. The younger
the wine the longer the period necessary for the bottles to be shaken,
new wine often requiring as much as three months. Only a thoroughly
practised hand can give the right amount of revolution and the requisite
degree of slope; and in some of the cellars that we visited men were
pointed out to us who had acquired such dexterity as to be able at a
pinch to shake with their two hands as many as 50,000 bottles in a
single day.

Some of these men have spent thirty or forty years of their lives
engaged in this perpetual task. Fancy being entombed all alone day after
day in vaults which are invariably dark and gloomy, and often cold and
dank, and being obliged to twist sixty to seventy of these bottles every
minute throughout the day of twelve hours. Why the treadmill and the
crank with their periodical respites must be pastime compared to this
maddeningly monotonous occupation, which combines hard labour, with the
wrist at any rate, with next to solitary confinement. One can understand
these men becoming gloomy and taciturn, and affirming that they
sometimes see devils hovering over the bottle-racks and frantically
shaking the bottles beside them, or else grinning at them as they pursue
their humdrum task. Still it may be taken for granted that the men who
reach this stage are accustomed to drink freely of raw spirits, and
merely pay the penalty resulting from over-indulgence.


In former times the bottles used to be placed with their heads downwards
on tables pierced with holes, from which they had to be removed and
agitated. In 1818, however, a man named Muller, in the employment of
Madame Clicquot, suggested that the bottles should remain in the tables
whilst being shaken, and further that the holes should be cut obliquely
so that the bottles might recline at varying angles. His suggestions
were privately adopted by Madame Clicquot, but eventually the improved
plan got wind, and the system now prevails throughout the Champagne.
When the bottles have gone through their regular course of shaking they
are examined before a lighted candle to ascertain whether the deposit
has fallen and the wine become perfectly clear. Sometimes it happens
that, twist these men never so wisely, the deposit refuses to stir, and
takes the shape of a bunch of thread technically called a “claw,” or an
adherent mass styled a “mask.” When this is the case an attempt is made
to start it by tapping the part to which it adheres with a piece of
iron, the result being frequently the sudden explosion of the bottle. As
a precaution, therefore, the workman protects his face with a wire-mask
or gigantic wire spectacles, which give to him a ghoul-like aspect.


The cellars of the champagne manufacturers are very varied in character.
The wine that has been grown on the chalky hills undergoes development
in vaults burrowed out of the calcareous strata underlying the entire
district. In excavating these cellars the sides and roofs are frequently
worked smooth and regular as finished masonry. The larger ones are
composed of a number of spacious and lofty galleries, sometimes parallel
with each other, but often ramifying in various directions, and
evidently constructed on no definite plan. They are of one, two, and, in
rare instances, of three stories, and now and then consist of a series
of parallel galleries communicating with each other, lined with masonry,
and with their stone walls and vaulted roofs resembling the crypt of
some conventual building. Others of ancient date are less regular in
their form, being merely so many narrow low winding corridors, varied,
perhaps, by recesses hewn roughly out of the chalk, and resembling the
brigands’ cave of the melodrama, while a certain number of the larger
cellars at Reims are simply abandoned quarries, the broad and lofty
arches of which are suggestive of the nave and aisles of some Gothic
church. In these varied vaults, lighted by solitary lamps in front of
metal reflectors, or by the flickering tallow candles which we carry in
our hands, we pass rows of casks filled with last year’s vintage or
reserved wine of former years, and piles after piles of bottles of _vin
brut_ in seemingly endless sequence--squares, so to speak, of raw
champagne recruits awaiting their turn to be thoroughly drilled and
disciplined. These are varied by bottles reposing necks downwards in
racks at different degrees of inclination according to the progress
their education has attained. Reports caused by exploding bottles now
and then assail the ear, and as the echo dies away it becomes mingled
with the rush of the escaping wine, cascading down the pile and finding
its way across the sloping sides of the floor to the narrow gutter in
the centre. The dampness of the floor and the shattered fragments of
glass strewn about show the frequency of this kind of accident. The
spilt wine, which flows along the gutter into reservoirs, is usually
thrown away, though there is a story current to the effect that the head
of one Epernay firm cooks nearly everything consumed in his house in the
fluid thus let loose in his cellars.

In these subterranean galleries we frequently come upon parties of
workmen engaged in transforming the perfected _vin brut_ into champagne.
Viewed at a distance while occupied in their monotonous task, they
present in the semi-obscurity a series of picturesque Rembrandt-like
studies. One of the end figures in each group is engaged in the
important process of _dégorgement_, which is performed when the deposit,
of which we have already spoken, has satisfactorily settled in the neck
of the bottle. Baskets full of bottles with their necks downwards are
placed beside the operator, who stands before an apparatus resembling a
cask divided vertically down the middle. This nimble-figured manipulator
seizes a bottle, holds it for a moment before the light to test the
clearness of the wine and the subsidence of the deposit; brings it,
still neck downwards, over a small tub at the bottom of the apparatus
already mentioned; and with a jerk of the steel hook which he holds in
his right hand loosens the _agrafe_ securing the cork, Bang goes the
latter, and with it flies out the sediment and a small glassful or so of
wine, further flow being checked by the workman’s finger, which also
serves to remove any sediment yet remaining in the bottle’s neck. Like
many other clever tricks, this looks very easy when adroitly performed,
though a novice would probably empty the bottle by the time he had
discovered that the cork was out. Occasionally a bottle bursts in the
_dégorgeur’s_ hand, and his face is sometimes scarred from such
explosions. The sediment removed, he slips a temporary cork into the
bottle, and the wine is ready for the important operation of the
_dosage_, upon the nature and amount of which the character of the
perfected wine, whether it be dry or sweet, light or strong, very much

Different manufacturers have different recipes, more or less complex in
character, and varying with the quality of the wine and the country for
which it is intended; but the genuine liqueur consists of nothing but
old wine of the best quality, to which a certain amount of sugar-candy
and perhaps a dash of the finest cognac spirit has been added. The
saccharine addition varies according to the market for which the wine is
destined: thus the high-class English buyer demands a dry champagne, the
Russian a wine sweet and strong as “ladies’ grog,” and the Frenchman and
German a sweet light wine. To the extra-dry champagnes a modicum dose is
added, while the so-called “_brut_” wines receive no more than from one
to three per cent. of liqueur.

In some establishments the dose is administered with a tin can or ladle;
but more generally an ingenious machine of pure silver and glass which
regulates the percentage of liqueur to a nicety is employed. The
_dosage_ accomplished, the bottle passes to another workman known as the
_égaliseur_, who fills it up with pure wine. Should a pink champagne be
required, the wine thus added will be red, although manufacturers of
questionable reputation sometimes employ the solution known as _teinte
de Fismes_. The _égaliseur_ in turn hands the bottle to the corker, who
places it under a machine furnished with a pair of claws, which compress
the cork to a size sufficiently small to allow it to enter the neck of
the bottle, and a suspended weight, which in falling drives it home.
These corks, which are principally obtained from Catalonia and
Andalucia, cost more than twopence each, and are delivered in huge sacks
resembling hop-pockets. Before they are used they have been either
boiled in wine, soaked in a solution of tartar, or else steamed by the
cork merchants, both to prevent their imparting a bad flavour to the
wine and to hinder any leakage. They are commonly handed warm to the
corker, who dips them into a small vessel of wine before making use of
them. Some firms, however, prepare their corks by subjecting them to
cold water _douches_ a day or two beforehand. The _ficeleur_ receives
the bottle from the corker, and with a twist of the fingers secures the
cork with string, at the same time rounding its hitherto flat top. The
_metteur de fil_ next affixes the wire with like celerity; and then the
final operation is performed by a workman seizing a couple of bottles by
the neck and whirling them round his head, as though engaged in the
Indian-club exercise, in order to secure a perfect amalgamation of the
wine and the liqueur.

The final manipulation accomplished, the agitated course of existence
through which the wine has been passing of late comes to an end, and the
bottles are conveyed to another part of the establishment, where they
repose for several days, or even weeks, in order that the mutual action
of the wine and the liqueur upon each other may be complete. When the
time arrives for despatching them they are confided to feminine hands to
have their dainty toilettes made, and are tastefully labelled and either
capsuled, or else have their corks and necks imbedded in sealing-wax, or
swathed in gold or silver foil, whereby they are rendered presentable at
the best-appointed tables.


Thus completed champagne sets out on its beneficial pilgrimage to
promote the spread of mirth and lightheartedness, to drive away dull
care and foment good-fellowship, to comfort the sick and cheer the
sound. Wherever civilisation penetrates, champagne sooner or later is
sure to follow; and if Queen Victoria’s morning drum beats round the
world, its beat is certain to be echoed before the day is over by the
popping of champagne-corks. Now-a-days the exhilarating wine graces not
merely princely but middle-class dinner-tables, and is the needful
adjunct at every _petit souper_ in all the gayer capitals of the world.
It gives a flush to beauty at garden-parties and picnics, sustains the
energies of the votaries of Terpsichore until the hour of dawn, and
imparts to many a young gallant the necessary courage to declare his
passion. It enlivens the dullest of _réunions_, brings smiles to the
lips of the sternest cynics, softens the most irascible tempers, and
loosens the most taciturn tongues. The grim Berliner and the gay
Viennese both acknowledge its enlivening influence. It sparkles in
crystal goblets in the great capital of the North, and the Moslem wipes
its creamy foam from his beard beneath the very shadow of the mosque of
St. Sophia; for the Prophet has only forbidden the use of wine, and of a
surety--Allah be praised!--this strangely-sparkling delicious liquor,
which gives to the true believer a foretaste of the joys of Paradise,
cannot be wine. At the diamond-fields of South Africa and the diggings
of Australia the brawny miner who has hit upon a big bit of crystallised
carbon, or a nugget of virgin ore, strolls to the “saloon” and shouts
for champagne. The mild Hindoo imbibes it quietly, but approvingly, as
he watches the evolutions of the Nautch girls, and his partiality for it
has already enriched the Anglo-Bengalee vocabulary and London slang with
the word “simkin.” It is transported on camel-backs across the deserts
of Central Asia, and in frail canoes up the mighty Amazon. The
two-sworded Daimio calls for it in the tea-gardens of Yokohama, and the
New Yorker, when not rinsing his stomach by libations of iced-water,
imbibes it freely at Delmonico’s. Wherever civilised man has set his
foot--at the base of the Pyramids and at the summit of the Cordilleras,
in the mangrove swamps of Ashantee and the gulches of the Great Lone
Land, in the wilds of the Amoor and on the desert isles of the
Pacific--he has left traces of his presence in the shape of the empty
bottles that were once full of the sparkling vintage of the Champagne.




Messrs. Werlé and Co., successors to the Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin--
  Their Offices and Cellars on the site of a Former Commanderie of the
  Templars-- Origin of the Celebrity of Madame Clicquot’s Wines--
  M. Werlé and his Son-- The Forty-five Cellars of the Clicquot-Werlé
  Establishment-- Our Tour of Inspection-- Ingenious Liqueuring
  Machine-- An Explosion and its Consequences-- M. Werlé’s Gallery of
  Paintings-- Madame Clicquot’s Renaissance House and its Picturesque
  Bas-reliefs-- The Werlé Vineyards and Vendangeoirs-- M. Louis
  Roederer’s Establishment-- Heidsieck and Co. and their Famous
  “Monopole” Brand-- The Firm Founded in the Last Century-- Their
  various Establishments Inside and Outside Reims-- The Matured Wines
  Shipped by them.


The cellars of the great champagne manufacturers of Reims are scattered
in all directions over the historical old city. They undermine its
narrowest and most insignificant streets, its broad and handsome
boulevards, and on the eastern side extend to its more distant
outskirts. Messrs. Werlé and Co., the successors of the famous Veuve
Clicquot-Ponsardin, have their offices and cellars on the site of a
former Commanderie of the Templars in an ancient quarter of the city,
and strangers passing by the spot would scarcely imagine that under
their feet hundreds of busy hands are incessantly at work, disgorging,
dosing, shaking, corking, storing, wiring, labelling, capsuling, waxing,
tinfoiling, and packing hundreds of thousands of bottles of champagne
destined for all parts of the civilised world.

The house of Clicquot, established in the year 1798 by the husband of La
Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, who died in 1866, in her 89th year, was
indebted for much of the celebrity of its wine to the lucky accident of
the Russians occupying Reims in 1814 and 1815, and freely requisitioning
the sweet champagne stored in the widow’s capacious cellars. Madame
Clicquot’s wines were slightly known in Russia prior to this date, but
the officers of the invading army, on their return home, proclaimed
their merits throughout the length and breadth of the Muscovite Empire,
and the fortune of the house was made. Madame Clicquot, as every one
knows, amassed enormous wealth, and succeeded in marrying both her
daughter and granddaughter to counts of the _ancien régime_.

The present head of the firm is M. Werlé, who comes of an old Lorraine
family although born in the ancient free imperial town of Wetzlar on the
Lahn, where Goethe lays the scene of his “Sorrows of Werther,” the
leading incidents of which really occurred here. M. Werlé entered the
establishment, which he has done so much to raise to its existing
position, so far back as the year 1821. His care and skill, exercised
over more than half a century, have largely contributed to obtain for
the Clicquot brand that high repute which it enjoys to-day all over the
world. M. Werlé, who has long been naturalised in France, was for many
years Mayor of Reims and President of its Chamber of Commerce, as well
as one of the deputies of the Marne to the Corps Législatif. He enjoys
the reputation of being the richest man in Reims, and, like his late
partner, Madame Clicquot, he has also succeeded in securing brilliant
alliances for his children, his son, M. Alfred Werlé, having married the
daughter of the Duc de Montebello, while his daughter espoused the son
of M. Magne, Minister of Finance under the Second Empire.

  (_From the Painting by Léon Coignet_.) (p. 64)]


Half-way down the narrow tortuous Rue du Temple is an ancient gateway,
on which may be traced the half-effaced sculptured heads of Phœbus and
Bacchus. Immediately in front is a green _porte-cochère_ forming the
entrance to the Clicquot-Werlé establishment, and conducting to a
spacious trim-kept courtyard, set off with a few trees, with some
extensive stabling and cart-sheds on the left, and on the right hand the
entrance to the cellars. Facing us is an unpretending-looking edifice,
where the firm has its counting-houses, with a little corner tower
surmounted by a characteristic weathercock consisting of a figure of
Bacchus seated astride a cask beneath a vine-branch, and holding up a
bottle in one hand and a goblet in the other. The old Remish Commanderie
of the Knights Templars existed until the epoch of the Great Revolution,
and to-day a few fragments of the ancient buildings remain adjacent to
the “celliers” of the establishment, which are reached through a pair of
folding-doors and down a flight of stone steps, and whence, after being
furnished with lighted candles, we set out on our tour of inspection,
entering first of all the vast cellar of St. Paul, where the thousands
of bottles requiring to be daily shaken are reposing necks downwards on
the large perforated tables which crowd the apartment. It is a
peculiarity of the Clicquot-Werlé establishment that each of the
cellars--forty-five in number, and the smallest a vast apartment--has
its special name. In the adjoining cellar of St. Matthew other bottles
are similarly arranged, and here wine in cask is likewise stored. We
pass rows of huge tuns, each holding its twelve or thirteen hundred
gallons of fine reserved wine designed for blending with more youthful
growths; next are threading our way between seemingly endless piles of
hogsheads filled with later vintages, and anon are passing smaller casks
containing the syrup with which the _vin préparé_ is dosed. At intervals
we come upon some square opening in the floor through which bottles of
wine are being hauled up from the cellars beneath in readiness to
receive their requisite adornment before being packed in baskets or
cases according to the country to which they are destined to be
despatched. To Russia the Clicquot champagne is sent in cases containing
sixty bottles, while the cases for China contain as many as double that


The ample cellarage which the house possesses has enabled M. Werlé to
make many experiments which firms with less space at their command would
find it difficult to carry out on the same satisfactory scale. Such, for
instance, is the system of racks in which the bottles repose while the
wine undergoes its diurnal shaking. Instead of these racks being, as
they commonly are, at almost upright angles, they are perfectly
horizontal, which, in M. Werlé’s opinion, offers a material advantage,
inasmuch as the bottles are all in readiness for disgorging at the same
time instead of the lower ones being ready before those above, as is the
case when the ancient system is followed, owing to the uppermost bottles
getting less shaken than the others.

After performing the round of the celliers we descend into the _caves_,
a complete labyrinth of gloomy underground corridors excavated in the
bed of chalk which underlies the city, and roofed and walled with solid
masonry, more or less blackened by age. In one of these cellars we catch
sight of rows of work-people engaged in the operation of dosing,
corking, securing, and shaking the bottles of wine which have just left
the hands of the _dégorgeur_ by the dim light of half-a-dozen tallow
candles. The latest invention for liqueuring the wine is being employed.
Formerly, to prevent the carbonic acid gas escaping from the bottles
while the process of liqueuring was going on, it was necessary to press
a gutta-percha ball connected with the machine, in order to force the
escaping gas back. The new machine, however, renders this unnecessary,
the gas by its own power and composition forcing itself back into the

In the adjoining cellar of St. Charles are stacks of bottles awaiting
the manipulation of the _dégorgeur_, while in that of St. Ferdinand men
are engaged in examining other bottles before lighted candles to make
certain that the sediment is thoroughly dislodged and the wine perfectly
clear before the disgorgement is effected. Here, too, the corking,
wiring, and stringing of the newly-disgorged wine are going on. Another
flight of steps leads to the second tier of cellars, where the moisture
trickles down the dank dingy walls, and save the dim light thrown out by
the candles we carried, and by some other far-off flickering taper stuck
in a cleft stick to direct the workmen, who with dexterous turns of
their wrists give a twist to the bottles, all is darkness. On every side
bottles are reposing in various attitudes, the majority in huge square
piles on their sides, others in racks slightly tilted, others, again,
almost standing on their heads, while some, which through over-inflation
have come to grief, litter the floor and crunch beneath our feet.
Tablets are hung against each stack of wine indicating its age, and from
time to time a bottle is held up before the light to show us how the
sediment commences to form, or explain how it eventually works its way
down the neck of the bottle, and finally settles on the cork. Suddenly
we are startled by a loud report resembling a pistol-shot, which
reverberates through the vaulted chamber, as a bottle close at hand
explodes, dashing out its heavy bottom as neatly as though it had been
cut by a diamond, and dislocating the necks and pounding in the sides of
its immediate neighbours. The wine trickles down, and eventually finds
its way along the sloping sides of the slippery floor to the narrow
gutter in the centre.

Ventilating shafts pass from one tier of cellars to the other, enabling
the temperature in a certain measure to be regulated, and thereby
obviate an excess of breakage. M. Werlé estimates that the loss in this
respect during the first eighteen months of a _cuvée_ amounts to 7 per
cent., but subsequently is considerably less. In 1862 one champagne
manufacturer lost as much as 45 per cent. of his wine by breakages. The
Clicquot _cuvée_ is made in the cave of St. William, where 120 hogsheads
of wine are hauled up by means of a crane and discharged into the vat
daily as long as the operation lasts. The _tirage_ or bottling of the
wine ordinarily commences in the middle of May, and occupies fully a


M. Werlé’s private residence is close to the establishment in the Rue du
Temple, and here he has collected a small gallery of high-class modern
paintings by French and other artists, including Meissonnier’s
“Card-players,” Delaroche’s “Beatrice Cenci on her way to Execution,”
Fleury’s “Charles V. picking up the brush of Titian,” various works by
the brothers Scheffer, Knaus’s highly-characteristic _genre_ picture,
“His Highness on a Journey,” and several fine portraits, among which is
one of Madame Clicquot, painted by Léon Coignet, when she was eighty
years of age, and another of M. Werlé by the same artist, regarded as a
_chef-d’œuvre_. Before her father’s death Madame Clicquot used to reside
in the Rue de Marc, some short distance from the cellars in which her
whole existence centered, in a handsome Renaissance house, said to have
had some connection with the row of palaces that at one time lined the
neighbouring and then fashionable Rue du Tambour. This, however, is
extremely doubtful. A number of interesting and well-preserved
bas-reliefs decorate one of the façades of the house looking on to the
court. The figures are of the period of François Premier and his son
Henri II., who inaugurated his reign with a comforting edict for the
Protestants, ordaining that blasphemers were to have their tongues
pierced with red-hot irons, and heretics to be burnt alive, and who had
the ill-luck to lose his eye and life through a lance-thrust of the
Comte de Montgomerie, captain of his Scotch guards, whilst jousting with
him at a tournament held in honour of the marriage of his daughter
Isabelle with the gloomy widower of Queen Mary of England, of sanguinary


The first of these bas-reliefs represents two soldiers of the Swiss
guard, the next a Turk and a Slav tilting at each other, and then comes
a scroll entwined round a thistle, and inscribed with this enigmatical
motto: “Giane le sur ou rien.” In the third bas-relief a couple of
passionate Italians are winding up a gambling dispute with a
hand-to-hand combat, in the course of which table, cards, and dice have
got cantered over; the fourth presenting us with two French knights,
armed _cap-à-pie_, engaged in a tourney; while in the fifth and last a
couple of German lansquenets essay their gladiatorial skill with their
long and dangerous weapons. Several years back a tablet was discovered
in one of the cellars of the house, inscribed “Ci-gist vénérable
religieux maîstre Pierre Derclé, docteur en théologie, jadis prieur de
céans. Priez Dieu pour luy. 1486,” which would almost indicate that the
house had originally a religious character, although the warlike spirit
of the bas-reliefs decorating it renders any such supposition with
regard to the existing building untenable.

The Messrs. Werlé own numerous acres of vineyards, comprising the very
finest situations in the well-known districts of Verzenay, Bouzy, Le
Mesnil, and Oger, at all of which places they have vendangeoirs or
pressing-houses of their own. Their establishment at Verzenay contains
seven presses, that at Bouzy eight, at Le Mesnil six, and at Oger two,
in addition to which grapes are pressed under their own supervision at
Ay, Avize, and Cramant in vendangeoirs belonging to their friends.

Since the death of Madame Clicquot the legal style of the firm has been
Werlé and Co., successors to Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, the mark, of
which M. Werlé and his son are the sole proprietors, still remaining
“Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin,” while the corks of the bottles are branded
with the words “V. Clicquot-P. Werlé,” encircling the figure of a comet.
The style of the wine--light, delicate, elegant, and fragrant--is
familiar to all connoisseurs of champagne. What, however, is not equally
well known is that within the last few years the firm, in obedience to
the prevailing taste, have introduced a perfectly dry wine of
corresponding quality to the richer wine which made the fortune of the

The house of M. Louis Roederer, founded by a plodding German named
Schreider, pursued the sleepy tenor of its way for years, until all at
once it felt prompted to lay siege to the Muscovite connection of La
Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin and secure a market for its wine at Moscow and
St. Petersburg. It next opened up the United States, and finally
introduced its brand into England. The house possesses cellars in
various parts of Reims, and has its offices in one of the oldest
quarters of the city--namely, the Rue des Élus, or ancient Rue des
Juifs, records of which date as far back as 1103. These offices are at
the farther end of a courtyard beyond which is a second court, where
carts being laden with cases of champagne seemed to indicate that some
portion of the shipping business of the house is here carried on.
M. Louis Roederer refused our request for permission to visit his
establishments, so that it is only of their external appearance that
we are able to speak. One of them--the façade of which is rather
imposing, and which has a carved head of Bacchus surmounting the
_porte-cochère_--is situated in the Boulevard du Temple, while the
principal establishment, a picturesque range of buildings of
considerable extent, is in the neighbouring Rue de la Justice.

The old-established firm of Heidsieck and Co., which has secured a
reputation in both hemispheres for its famous Monopole and Dry Monopole
brands, has its cellars scattered about Reims, the central ones, where
the wine is prepared and packed, being situated in the narrow winding
Rue Sedan, at no great distance from the Clicquot-Werlé establishment.
The original firm dates back to 1785, when France was struggling with
those financial difficulties that a few years later culminated in that
great social upheaving which kept Europe in a state of turmoil for more
than a quarter of a century. Among the archives of the firm is a patent,
bearing the signature of the Minister of the Prussian Royal Household,
appointing Heidsieck and Co. purveyors of champagne to Friedrich William
III. The champagne-drinking Hohenzollern _par excellence_, however, was
the son and successor of the preceding, who, from habitual
over-indulgence in the exhilarating sparkling beverage during the last
few years of his reign, acquired the _sobriquet_ of King Clicquot.

On passing through the large _porte-cochère_ giving entrance to Messrs.
Heidsieck’s principal establishment, one finds oneself in a small
courtyard with the surrounding buildings overgrown with ivy and
venerable vines. On the left is a dwelling-house enriched with elaborate
mouldings and cornices, and at the farther end of the court is the
entrance to the cellars, surmounted by a sun-dial bearing the date 1829.
The latter, however, is no criterion of the age of the buildings
themselves, as these were occupied by the firm at its foundation,
towards the close of the last century. We are first conducted into an
antiquated-looking low cellier, the roof of which is sustained with rude
timber supports, and here bottles of wine are being labelled and packed,
although this is but a mere adjunct to the adjacent spacious
packing-room provided with its loading platform and communicating
directly with the public road. At the time of our visit this hall was
gaily decorated with flags and inscriptions, the day before having been
the fête of St. Jean, when the firm entertain the people in their employ
with a banquet and a ball, at which the choicest wine of the house
liberally flows. From the packing-room we descend into the cellars,
which, like all the more ancient vaults in Reims, have been constructed
on no regular plan. Here we thread our way between piles after piles of
bottles, many of which having passed through the hands of the disgorger
are awaiting their customary adornment. The lower tier of cellars is
mostly stored with _vin sur pointe_, and bottles with their necks
downwards are encountered in endless monotony along a score or more of
long galleries. The only variation in our lengthened promenade is when
we come upon some solitary workman engaged in his monotonous task of
shaking his 30,000 or 40,000 bottles per diem.

The disgorging at Messrs. Heidsieck’s takes place, in accordance with
the good old rule, in the cellars underground, where we noticed large
stocks of wine three and five years old, the former in the first stage
of _sur-pointe_, and the latter awaiting shipment. It is a speciality of
the house to ship only matured wine, which is necessarily of a higher
character than the ordinary youthful growths, for a few years have a
wonderful influence in developing the finer qualities of champagne. At
the time of our visit, in the spring of 1877, when the English market
was being glutted with the crude, full-bodied wine of 1874, Messrs.
Heidsieck were continuing to ship wines of 1870 and 1872, beautifully
rounded by keeping and of fine flavour and great delicacy of perfume,
and of which the firm estimated they had fully a year’s consumption
still on hand.

Messrs. Heidsieck and Co. have a handsome modern establishment in the
Rue Coquebert--a comparatively new quarter of the city where champagne
establishments are the rule--the courtyard of which, alive with workmen
at the time of our visit, is broad and spacious, while the surrounding
buildings are light and airy, and the cellars lofty, regular, and well
ventilated. In a large cellier here, where the tuns are ranged side by
side between the rows of iron columns supporting the roof, the firm make
their _cuvée_; here too the bottling of their wine takes place, and
considerable stocks of high-class reserve wines and more youthful
growths are stored ready for removal when required by the central
establishment. The bulk of Messrs. Heidsieck’s reserve wines, however,
repose in the outskirts of Reims, near the Porte Dieu-Lumière, in one of
the numerous abandoned chalk quarries, which of late years the champagne
manufacturers have discovered are capable of being transformed into
admirable cellars.

In addition to shipping a rich and a dry variety of the Monopole brand,
of which they are sole proprietors, Messrs. Heidsieck export to this
country a rich and a dry Grand Vin Royal. It is, however, to their
famous Monopole wine, and especially to the dry variety, which must
necessarily comprise the finest growths, that the firm owe their
principal celebrity.



The Firm of G. H. Mumm and Co.-- Their Large Shipments to the United
  States-- Their Establishments in the Rue Andrieux and the Rue
  Coquebert-- Bottle-Washing with Glass Beads-- The Cuvée and the
  Tirage-- G. H. Mumm and Co.’s Vendangeoirs at Verzenay-- Their
  Various Wines-- The Gate of Mars-- The Establishment of M. Gustave
  Gibert on the Site of the Château des Archevêques-- His Cellars in
  the Vaults of St. Peter’s Abbey and beneath the old Hôtel des Fermes
  in the Place Royale-- Louis XV. and Jean Baptiste Colbert--
  M. Gibert’s Wines-- Jules Mumm and Co., and Ruinart père et fils--
  House of the Musicians-- The Counts de la Marck-- The Brotherhood of
  Minstrels of Reims-- Establishment of Périnet et fils-- Their
  Cellars of Three Stories in Solid Masonry-- Their Soft, Light, and
  Delicate Wines-- A Rare Still Verzenay-- M. Duchâtel-Ohaus’s
  Establishment and Renaissance House-- His Cellars in the Cour St.
  Jacques and Outside the Porte Dieu-Lumière.

Messrs. G. H. Mumm and Co. have their chief establishment in the Rue
Andrieux, in an open quarter of the city, facing the garden attached to
the premises of M. Werlé, and only a short distance from the grand
triumphal arch known as the Gate of Mars, by far the most important
Roman remain of which the Champagne can boast. The head of the firm,
Mr. G. H. Mumm, is the grandson of the well-known P. A. Mumm, the large
shipper of hocks and moselles, and is the only surviving partner in the
champagne house of Mumm and Co., established at Reims in 1825, and
joined by Mr. G. H. Mumm so far back as the year 1838. The firm not only
ship their wine largely to England, but head the list of shipments to
the United States, where their brand is held in high repute, with nearly
half a million bottles, being more than twice the quantity shipped by
M. Louis Roederer--who comes third on the list in question--and a fourth
of the entire shipments of champagne to the United States.

The establishment of Messrs. G. H. Mumm and Co., in the Rue Andrieux, is
of comparatively modern construction. A large _porte-cochère_ conducts
to a spacious courtyard, bordered with sheds, beneath which huge stacks
of new bottles are piled and having a pleasant garden lying beyond. On
the left is a large vaulted cellier, where the operations of disgorging,
liqueuring, and corking the wine are performed, and which communicates
with the vast adjoining packing department. From this cellier entrance
is gained to the cellars beneath, containing a million bottles of _vin
brut_ in various stages of development. This forms, however, merely a
portion of the firm’s stock, they having another three millions of
bottles stored in the cellars of their establishment in the Rue
Coquebert, where a scene of great animation presented itself at the time
of our visit, several scores of women being engaged in washing bottles
for the _tirage_, which, although it was early in May, had already
commenced. The bottles, filled with water, and containing a certain
quantity of glass beads in lieu of the customary shot, which frequently
leave minute particles of lead--deleterious alike to health and the
flavour of the wine--adhering to the inside surface of the glass, are
placed horizontally in a frame, and by means of four turns of a handle
are made to perform sixty-four rapid revolutions. The beads are then
transferred to other bottles, which are subjected in their turn to the
same revolving process.

The _cuvée_, commonly composed of from two to three thousand casks of
wine from various vineyards, with a due proportion of high-class
vintages, is made in a vat holding 4,400 gallons. The _tirage_ or
bottling is effected by means of two large tuns placed side by side, and
holding twelve hogsheads of wine each. Pipes from these tuns communicate
with a couple of small reservoirs, each of them provided with
half-a-dozen self-acting syphon taps, by means of which a like number of
bottles are simultaneously filled. Only one set of these taps are set
running at a time, as while the wine is being drawn off from one tun the
other is being refilled from the casks containing the _cuvée_ by means
of a pump and leathern hose, which empties a cask in little more than a
couple of minutes. Three gangs of eight men each can fill, cork, and
secure with _agrafes_ from 35,000 to 40,000 bottles during the day. The
labour is performed partly by men regularly employed by the house and
partly by hands engaged for the purpose, who work, however, under the
constant inspection of overseers appointed by the firm.

At Messrs. G. H. Mumm’s the champagne destined for shipment has the
heads of the corks submerged in a kind of varnish, with the object of
protecting them from the ravages of insects, and preventing the string
and wire from becoming mouldy for several years. In damp weather, when
this varnish takes a long time to dry, after the bottles have been
placed in a rack with their heads downwards to allow of any superfluous
varnish draining from the corks, the latter are subjected to a moderate
heat in a machine pierced with sufficient holes to contain 500 bottles,
and provided with a warming apparatus in the centre. Here the bottles
remain for about twenty minutes.



Messrs. G. H. Mumm and Co. have a capacious vendangeoir at Verzenay,
near the entrance to the village when approaching it from Reims. The
building contains four presses, three of which are worked with large
fly-wheels requiring several men to turn them, while the fourth acts
with a screw applied by means of a long pole. At the vintage 3,600
kilogrammes, or nearly 8,000lbs., of grapes are put under each press,
a quantity sufficient to yield eight to ten hogsheads of wine of
forty-four gallons each, suitable for sparkling wine, besides three or
four hogsheads of inferior wine given to the workmen to drink. The
pressing commences daily at six in the morning, and lasts until
midnight; yet the firm are often constrained to keep their grapes in the
baskets under a cool shed for a period of two days. This cannot,
however, be done when they are very ripe, as the colouring matter from
the skins would become extracted and give a dark and objectionable tint
to the wine.

Messrs. G. H. Mumm and Co. ship four descriptions of champagne--Carte
Blanche, a pale, delicate, fragrant wine of great softness and refined
flavour; a perfectly dry variety of the foregoing, known as their Extra
Dry; also an Extra Quality and a First Quality--both high-class wines,
though somewhat lower in price than the two preceding.

Within a few minutes’ walk of Messrs. G. H. Mumm’s--past the imposing
Gate of Mars, in the midst of lawns, parterres, and gravel-walks, where
coquettish nursemaids and their charges stroll, accompanied by the
proverbial _piou-piou_--is the principal establishment of M. Gustave
Gibert, whose house claims to-day half a century of existence. On this
spot formerly stood the feudal castle of the Archbishops of Reims,
demolished nearly three centuries ago. By whom this stronghold was
erected is somewhat uncertain. The local chronicles state that a château
was built at Reims by Suelf, son of Hincmar, in 922, and restored by
Archbishop Henri de France two and a half centuries later. War or other
causes, however, seems to have rendered the speedy rebuilding of this
castle necessary, as a new Château des Archevêques appears to have been
erected at Reims by Henri de Braine between 1228 and 1230. The
circumstance of the Archbishops of Reims being dukes and peers as well
as primates of the capital of the Champagne accounts for their
preference for a fortified place of residence at this turbulent epoch.

On the investiture of a new archbishop it was the custom for him to
proceed in great pomp from the château to the church of Saint Remi, with
a large armed guard and a splendid retinue of ecclesiastical, civil, and
military dignitaries escorting him. The pride of the newly-created “duke
and peer” having been thus gratified, the “prelate” had to humble
himself, and on the morrow walked barefooted from the church of St. Remi
to the cathedral. After the religious wars the château was surrendered
to Henri IV., and in 1595 the Remois, anxious to be rid of so formidable
a fortress, which, whether held by king or archbishop, was calculated to
enforce a state of passive obedience galling to their pride, purchased
from the king the privilege to demolish it for the sum of 8,000 crowns.
Tradition asserts that the Remish Bastille was destroyed in a single
day, but this is exceedingly improbable. Its ruins certainly were not
cleared away until the close of the century.

When the old fortress was razed to the ground its extensive vaults were
not interfered with, but many long years afterwards were transformed
into admirable cellars for the storage of champagne. Above them are two
stories of capacious celliers where the wine is blended, bottled, and
packed, the vaults themselves comprising two tiers of cellars which
contain wine both in cask and bottle. M. Gibert’s remaining stocks are
stored in the ancient vaults of the abbey of St. Peter, in the heart of
the city, and in the roomy cellars which underlie the old Hôtel des
Fermes in the Place Royale, where in the days of the _ancien régime_ the
farmers-general of the province used to receive its revenues. On the
pediment of this edifice is a bas-relief with Mercury, the god of
commerce, seated beside a nymph and surrounded by children engaged with
the vintage and with bales of wool, and evidently intended to symbolise
the staple trades of the capital of the Champagne. A bronze statue rises
in the centre of the Place which from its Roman costume and martial
bearing might be taken for some hero of antiquity did not the
inscription on the pedestal apprise us that it is intended for the
“wise, virtuous, and magnanimous Louis XV.,” a misuse of terms which has
caused a transatlantic Republican to characterise the monument as a
brazen lie. Leading out of the Place Royale is the Rue de Cérès, in
which there is a modernised 16th-century house claiming to be the
birthplace of Jean Baptiste Colbert, son of a Reims wool-merchant, and
the famous minister who did so much to consolidate the finances which
the royal voluptuary, masquerading at Reims in Roman garb, afterwards
made such dreadful havoc of.

  (_Near the Porte de Mars, Reims_.) (p. 78.)]


M. Gustave Gibert possesses pressing-houses at Ay and Bouzy, and has
moreover at both these places accommodation for large reserve stocks of
wine in wood. As all the wines which he sends into the market are
vintaged by himself, he can ensure their being of uniform high quality.
His _Vin du Roi_ is notable for perfume, delicacy, perfect
effervescence, and that fine flavour of the grape which characterises
the grand wines of the Champagne. It is a great favourite with the King
of Sweden and Norway, and the labels on the bottles bear his name and
arms. M. Gibert’s brand has acquired a high reputation in the North of
Europe, and having of late years been introduced into England, is
rapidly making its way there. The merits of the wines have been again
and again publicly recognised, no less than ten medals having been
successively awarded M. Gibert at the Exhibitions of Toulouse in 1858,
Bordeaux in 1859, Besançon in 1860, Metz and Nantes in 1861, London in
1862, Bayonne and Linz in 1864, and Oporto and Dublin in 1865. This long
list of awards has led to the wines being placed “_hors concours_,”
nevertheless M. Gibert continues to submit them to competition whenever
any Exhibition of importance takes place. The wines are shipped to
England, Germany, Russia, and Northern Europe, Spain and Portugal,
Calcutta, Java, Melbourne, and Hong-Kong, besides being largely in
request for the Paris market.

On quitting M. Gibert’s central establishment we proceed along the
winding, ill-paved Rue de Mars, past the premises of Messrs. Jules Mumm
and Co., an offshoot from the once famous firm of P. A. Mumm and Co., to
the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, in one corner of which stands a massive
and somewhat pretentious-looking house, dating back to the time of Louis
Quatorze. Here are the offices of Ruinart père et fils, who claim to
rank as the oldest existing house in the Champagne. The head of the
firm, the Vicomte de Brimont, is a collateral descendant of the Dom
Ruinart, whose remains repose nigh to those of the illustrious Dom
Perignon in the abbey church of Hautvillers. From the Place de l’Hôtel
de Ville we proceed through the narrow Rue du Tambour, originally a
Roman thoroughfare, and during the Middle Ages the locality where the
nobility of Reims principally had their abodes. Half-way up this street,
in the direction of the Place des Marchés, stands the famous House of
the Musicians, one of the most interesting architectural relics of which
the capital of the Champagne can boast. It evidently dates from the
early part of the fourteenth century, but by whom it was erected is
unknown. Some ascribe it to the Knights Templars, others to the Counts
of Champagne, while others suppose it to have been the residence of the
famous Counts de la Marck, who in later times diverged into three
separate branches, the first furnishing Dukes of Cleves and Julich to
Germany and Dukes of Nevers and Counts of Eu to France, while the second
became Dukes of Bouillon and Princes of Sedan, titles which passed to
the Turennes when Henri de la Tour d’Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne,
married the surviving heiress of the house. The third branch comprised
the Barons of Lumain, allied to the Hohenzollerns. Their most famous
member slew Louis de Bourbon, Archbishop of Liège, and flung his body
into the Meuse, and subsequently became celebrated as the Wild Boar of
the Ardennes, of whom all readers of _Quentin Durward_ will retain a
lively recollection.

To return, however, to the House of the Musicians. A probable conjecture
ascribes the origin of the quaint mediæval structure to the Brotherhood
of Minstrels of Reims, who in the thirteenth century enjoyed a
considerable reputation, not merely in the Champagne, but throughout the
North of France. The house takes its present name from five seated
statues of musicians, larger than life-size, occupying the Gothic niches
between the first-floor windows, and resting upon brackets ornamented
with grotesque heads. It is thought that the partially-damaged figure on
the left-hand side was originally playing a drum and a species of
clarionet. The next one evidently has the remnants of a harp in his
raised hands. The third or central figure is supposed merely to have
held a hawk upon his wrist; whilst the fourth seeks to extract harmony
from a dilapidated bagpipe; and the fifth, with crossed legs, strums
complacently away upon the fiddle. The ground floor of the quaint old
tenement is to-day an oil and colour shop, the front of which is covered
with chequers in all the tints of the rainbow.


Leading from the Rue du Tambour is the Rue de la Belle Image, thus named
from a handsome statuette of the Virgin which formerly decorated a
corner niche; and beyond is the Rue St. Hilaire, where Messrs. Barnett
et fils, trading under the designation of Périnet et fils, and the only
English house engaged in the manufacture of champagne, have an
establishment which is certainly as perfect as any to be found in Reims.
Aboveground are several large store-rooms, where vintage casks and the
various utensils common to a champagne establishment are kept, and a
capacious cellier, upwards of 150 feet in length, with its roof resting
on huge timber supports. Here new wine is stored preparatory to being
blended and bottled, and in the huge tun, holding nearly 3,000 gallons,
standing at the further end, the firm make their _cuvée_, while adjacent
is a room where stocks of corks and labels, metal foil, and the like are

There are three stories of cellars--an exceedingly rare thing anywhere
in the Champagne--all constructed in solid masonry on a uniform
plan--namely, two wide galleries running parallel with each other and
connected by means of transverse passages. Spite of the great depth to
which these cellars descend they are perfectly dry; the ventilation,
too, is excellent, and their different temperatures render them
especially suitable for the storage of champagne, the temperature of the
lowest cellar being 6° Centigrade (43° Fahrenheit), or one degree
Centigrade below the cellar immediately above, which, in its turn is two
degrees below the uppermost one of all. The advantage of this is that
when the wine develops an excess of effervescence any undue proportion
of breakages can be checked by removing the bottles to a lower cellar
and consequently into a lower temperature.


The first cellars we enter are closely stacked with wine in bottle,
which is gradually clearing itself by the formation of a deposit, while
in an adjoining cellar on the same level the operations of disgorging,
liqueuring, and corking are going on. In the cellars immediately beneath
bottles of wine repose in solid stacks ready for the _dégorgeur_, while
others rest in racks in order that they may undergo their daily shaking.
In the lowest cellars reserved wine in cask is stored, as it best
retains its natural freshness and purity in a very cool place. All air
is carefully excluded from the casks, any ullage is immediately checked,
and as evaporation is continually going on the casks are examined every
fortnight, when any deficiency is at once replenished. At Messrs.
Périnet et fils’, as at all the first-class establishments, the _vin
brut_ is a _mélange_ comprising the produce of some of the best
vineyards, and has every possible attention paid to it during its
progressive stages of development.

Champagnes of different years were here shown to us, all of them soft,
light, and delicate, and with that fine flavour and full perfume which
the best growths of the Marne alone exhibit. Among several curiosities
submitted to us was a still Verzenay of the year 1857, one of the most
delicate red wines it was ever our fortune to taste. Light in body, rich
in colour, of a singularly novel and refined flavour, and with a
magnificent yet indefinable bouquet, the wine was in every respect
perfect. Not only was the year of the vintage a grand one, but the wine
must have been made with the greatest possible care and from the most
perfect grapes for so delicate a growth to have retained its flavour in
such perfection, and preserved its brilliant ruby colour for such a
length of time.

From the samples shown to us of Périnet et fils’ champagne, we were
prepared to find that at some recent tastings in London, the particulars
of which have been made public, their Extra Sec took the first place at
each of the three severe competitions to which it was subjected.

M. Duchâtel-Ohaus’s central establishment is in the Rue des Deux Anges,
one of the most ancient streets of Reims, running from the Rue des Élus
to the Rue de Vesle, and having every window secured by iron gratings,
and every door thickly studded with huge nails. These prison-like
façades succeed each other in gloomy monotony along either side of the
way, the portion of M. Duchâtel-Ohaus’s residence which faces the street
being no exception to the general rule. Once within its court, however,
and quite a different scene presents itself. Before us is a pleasant
little flower-garden with a small but charming Renaissance house looking
on to it, the windows ornamented with elaborate mouldings, and
surmounted by graceful sculptured heads, while at one corner rises a
tower with a sun-dial displayed on its front. Here and in an adjoining
house the canons of the Cathedral were accustomed to reside in the days
when four-fifths of Reims belonged to the Church.


From the garden we enter a capacious cellier where the blending and
bottling of the wine takes place, and in the neighbouring packing-room
encounter a score of workpeople filling, securing, and branding a number
of cases about to be despatched by rail. From the cellier we pass to the
cellars situated immediately underneath, and which, capacious though
they are, do not suffice for M. Duchâtel’s stock, portions of which are
stored in some ancient vaults near the market-place, and in the Rue de
Vesle behind the church of St. Jacques. This church, originally built at
the close of the twelfth century, is hemmed in on all sides by old
houses, above which rises its tapering steeple surmounted by a medieval
weathercock in the form of an angel. A life-size statue of the patron
saint decorates the Gothic gateway leading to the church, from which a
troop of Remish urchins in the charge of some Frères de la Doctrine
Chrétienne emerge as we pass by.

The Cour St. Jacques, where M. Duchâtel’s cellars are situated, may be
reached by passing through the church, the interior of which presents a
curious jumble of architectural styles from early Gothic to late
Renaissance. One noteworthy object of art which it contains is a
life-size crucifix carved by Pierre Jacques, a Remish sculptor of the
days of the Good King Henri, and from an anatomical point of view a
perfect _chef-d’œuvre_. The cellars we have come to inspect are two
stories deep, and comprise numerous ancient cavernous compartments, such
as are found in all the older quarters of Reims, and usually in the
vicinity of some church, convent, or clerical abode. It has been
suggested that they were either crypts for sacred retirement and prayer,
dungeons for the punishment of recreant brethren, or tombs for the dead;
but it is far more probable that in the majority of instances they
served then as now simply for the storage of the choice vintages of the
Marne, for we all know the monks of old were tipplers of no ordinary
capacity, who usually contrived to secure the best that the district
provided. These vaults of M. Duchâtel’s, in which a considerable stock
of the fine wine of 1874 is stored, are from two to three centuries old,
and probably belonged to the curés of St. Jacques. They are of
considerable extent, are well ventilated, and are walled and roofed with
stone. M. Duchâtel’s remaining stock reposes in some new
cellars--certain transformed chalk quarries outside the Porte
Dieu-Lumière, comprising broad lofty galleries and vast circular
chambers--fifty feet or so in height and well lighted from above.

At M. Duchâtel-Ohaus’s we tasted a variety of fine samples of his brand,
including a beautiful wine of 1868 and an almost equally good one of
1870, with some of the excellent vintage of 1874, which was then being
prepared for shipment.



M. Ernest Irroy’s Cellars, Vineyards, and Vendangeoirs-- Recognition
  by the Reims Agricultural Association of his Plantations of Vines--
  His Wines and their Popularity at the best London Clubs-- Messrs.
  Binet fils and Co.’s Establishment-- Wines Sold by the Firm to
  Shippers-- Their Cellars-- Samples of Fine Still Ay and Bouzy--
  Their Still Sillery, Vintage 1857, and their Creaming Vin Brut,
  Vintage 1865-- The Offices and Cellars of Messrs. Charles Farre and
  Co.-- Testing the Wine before Bottling-- A Promenade between Bottles
  in Piles and Racks-- Repute in which these Wines are held in England
  and on the Continent-- The New Establishment of Fisse, Thirion, and
  Co. in the Place de Betheny-- Its Construction exclusively in Stone,
  Brick, and Iron-- The Vast Celliers of Two Stories-- Bottling the
  Wine by the Aid of Machinery-- The Cool and Lofty Cellars--
  Ingenious Method of Securing the Corks, rendering the Uncorking
  exceedingly simple-- The Wines Shipped by the Firm.

Few large manufacturing towns like Reims--one of the most important of
those engaged in the woollen manufacture in France--can boast of such
fine promenades and such handsome boulevards as the capital of the
Champagne. As the ancient fortifications of the city were from time to
time razed, their site was levelled and generally planted with trees,
so that the older quarters of Reims are almost encircled by broad and
handsome thoroughfares, separating the city, as it were, from its
outlying suburbs. In or close to the broad Boulevard du Temple, which
takes its name from its proximity to the site of the ancient Commanderie
of the Templars, various champagne manufacturers, including M. Louis
Roederer, M. Ernest Irroy, and M. Charles Heidsieck, have their
establishments, while but a few paces off, in the neighbouring Rue
Coquebert, are the large and handsome premises of Messrs. Krug and Co.


The offices of M. Ernest Irroy, who is known in Reims not merely as a
large champagne grower and shipper, but also as a distinguished amateur
of the fine arts, taking a leading part in originating local exhibitions
and the like, are attached to his private residence, a handsome mansion
flanked by a large and charming garden in the Boulevard du Temple. The
laying out of this sylvan oasis is due to M. Vadré, the head gardener of
the city of Paris, who contributed so largely to the picturesque
embellishment of the Bois de Boulogne. M. Irroy’s establishment, which
comprises a considerable range of buildings grouped around two
courtyards, is immediately adjacent, although its principal entrance is
in the Rue de la Justice. The vast celliers, covering an area of upwards
of 3,000 square yards, and either stocked with wine in cask or used for
packing and similar purposes, afford the requisite space for carrying on
a most extensive business. The cellars beneath comprise three stories,
two of which are solidly roofed and lined with masonry, while the
lowermost one is excavated in the chalk. They are admirably constructed
on a symmetrical plan, and their total surface is very little short of
7,000 square yards. Spite of the great depth to which these cellars
descend they are perfectly dry, the ventilation is good, and their
temperature moreover is remarkably cool, one result of which is that
M. Irroy’s loss from breakage never exceeds four per cent. per annum.
M. Irroy holds a high position as a vineyard-proprietor in the
Champagne, his vines covering an area of nearly 86 acres. At Mareuil and
Avenay he owns some twenty-five acres, at Verzenay and Verzy about
fifteen, and at Ambonnay and Bouzy forty-six acres. His father and his
uncle, whose properties he inherited or purchased, commenced some thirty
years ago to plant vines on certain slopes of Bouzy possessing a
southern aspect, and he has followed their example with such success
both at Bouzy and Ambonnay that in 1873 the Reims Agricultural
Association conferred upon him a silver-gilt medal for his plantations
of vines. M. Irroy owns _vendangeoirs_ at Verzenay, Avenay, and
Ambonnay; and at Bouzy, where his largest vineyards are, he has built
some excellent cottages for his labourers. He has also constructed a
substantial bridge over the ravine which, formed by winter torrents from
the hills, intersects the principal vineyard slopes of Bouzy.

M. Ernest Irroy’s wines, prepared with scrupulous care and rare
intelligence, have been known in England for some years past, and are
steadily increasing in popularity. They are emphatically connoisseurs’
wines. The best West-end clubs, such as White’s, Arthur’s, the old
Carlton, and the like, lay down the _cuvées_ of this house in good years
as they lay down their vintage ports and finer clarets, and drink them,
not in a crude state, but when they are in perfection--that is, in five
to ten years’ time. M. Irroy exports to the British colonies and to the
United States the same fine wines which he ships to England.


From M. Irroy’s we proceeded to Messrs. Binet fils and Co., whose
establishment in the Rue de la Justice is separated from that of
M. Irroy merely by a narrow path, and occupies the opposite side of the
way to the principal establishment of M. Louis Roederer. The firm of
Binet fils and Co. was founded many years ago, but for a long time they
sold their wines principally to other shippers on the Reims and Epernay
markets, where their cuvées were held in high repute, and only of recent
years have they applied themselves to the shipping trade. Their
establishment has two entrances, one in the Rue de la Justice, and the
other in the Boulevard du Champ de Mars. On passing through the former
we find ourselves in a courtyard of considerable area, with a range of
celliers in the rear and a low building on the left, in which the
offices are installed. In the first cellier we encounter cases and
baskets of champagne all ready to be despatched by rail, with women and
men busily engaged in labelling and packing other bottles which continue
to arrive from the cellars below in baskets secured to an endless chain.
Beyond this range of celliers is another courtyard of smaller dimensions
where there are additional celliers in which wines of recent vintages in
casks are stored.

The vaults, which are reached by a winding stone staircase, are
spacious, and consist of a series of parallel and uniform galleries hewn
in the chalk without either masonry supports or facings. Among the solid
piles of bottles which here hem us in on all sides are a considerable
number of magnums and imperial pints reserved for particular
customers--the former more especially for certain military messes, at
which the brand of Binet fils and Co. is held in deserved esteem. We
tasted here--in addition to several choice sparkling wines, including a
grand _vin brut_, vintage 1865--a still Ay of the year 1870, and some
still Bouzy of 1874. The former, a remarkably light and elegant wine,
was already in fine condition for drinking, while the latter, which was
altogether more vinous, deeper in colour, and fuller in body needed the
ripening influence of time to bring it to perfection. Through their
agents, Rutherford, Drury, and Co., Messrs. Binet fils and Co. achieved
a great success in England with their still Sillery, vintage 1857, and
subsequently with their superb creaming _vin brut_, vintage 1865, of
which we have just spoken, and which is still to be met with at London
clubs of repute.

Some short distance from and parallel with the Rue de la Justice is the
Rue Jacquart, where Messrs. Charles Farre and Co., of whose
establishment at Hautvillers we have already spoken, have their offices
and cellars. We enter a large courtyard, where several railway vans are
being laden with cases of wine from the packing-hall beyond, and in the
tasting-room adjoining find wine being tested prior to bottling, to
ascertain the amount of saccharine it contains. This was accomplished by
reducing a certain quantity of wine by boiling down to one-sixth, when
the saccharometer should indicate 13° of sugar to ensure each bottle
containing the requisite quantity of compressed carbonic acid gas.

Messrs. Farre’s cellars, comprising eighteen parallel galleries disposed
in two stories, are both lofty and commodious, and are mainly of recent
construction, the upper ones being solidly walled with masonry, while
those below are simply excavated in the chalk. Here, as elsewhere, one
performed a lengthened promenade between piles after piles of bottles of
the finer vintages and a seemingly endless succession of racks, at which
workmen were engaged in dislodging the sediment in the wine by the dim
light of a tallow candle. It was here that we were assured the more
experienced of these men were capable, when working with both hands, of
shaking the enormous number of 50,000 bottles a day, or at the rate of
seventy to the minute.

The fine wines of Messrs. Charles Farre and Co. have long enjoyed a
well-deserved celebrity, and at the Paris Exhibition of 1855 the firm
secured the highest medal awarded to champagnes. The high repute in
which the brand is held on the Continent is evidenced by the fact that
the Prussian and other courts are consumers of Messrs. Farre’s wines.
The firm not only number England, Germany, Austria, Russia, and Northern
Europe, and, as a matter of course, France, among their customers, but
also several of the British colonies and North and South America as

The new establishment of Messrs. Fisse, Thirion, and Co., in the
erection of which they have largely profited by their experience and the
various resources of modern science, is situated in the Place de
Betheny, in the vicinity of the railway goods station and the local
shooting range, largely resorted to at certain seasons of the year, when
the crack shots of the Champagne capital compete with distinguished
amateurs from different parts of France and the other side of the


On entering the courtyard through the iron gate to the right of the
dwelling-houses of the resident partners--flanked by gardens brilliant
with flowers and foliage--we first reach the offices and tasting-rooms,
and then the entrance to the cellars. A speciality of this important
pile of building is that everything employed in its construction is of
stone, brick, or iron, wood having been rigorously excluded from it.
In the rear of the courtyard, which presents that aspect of animation
common to flourishing establishments in the Champagne, is the principal
cellier, with a small building in front, where a steam-pump for pumping
up water from the chalk is installed, while at right angles with the
cellier are the stables and bottle-sheds. The large cellier, which is 20
feet high and 80 feet broad, will be no less than 260 feet in length
when completed. It contains two stories, the floors of both of which are
cemented, the lower story being roofed with small brick arches connected
by iron girders, and the upper one with tiles resting on iron supports.
The cement keeps the temperature remarkably cool in the lower cellier
where wine in cask is stored, the upper cellier being appropriated to
wine in racks _sur pointe_, bales of corks, and the wicker-baskets and
cases in which the wine is packed.

The preparation of the wines in cask and the bottling take place in the
lower of the two celliers, a mere lad being enabled, by the aid of the
mechanism provided, to bottle from six to eight thousand bottles a day.
A single workman can cork about 4,500 bottles, which a second workman
secures with metal agrafes before they are lowered into the cellars. The
latter are of two stories, each being divided into three long parallel
galleries 20 feet high and 23 feet wide, vaulted with stone and floored
with cement. Bordering the endless stacks of bottles are small gutters,
into which the wine flows from the exploded bottles. Lofty, well
ventilated, and beautifully cool, the temperature invariably ranging
from 45° to 47° Fahrenheit, these capitally-constructed cellars combine
all that is required for a champagne establishment of the first class.
The breakage has never exceeded 3 per cent., whereas in some old cellars
which the firm formerly occupied in the centre of the city, their
breakage on one occasion amounted to ten times this quantity.

At Fisse, Thirion, and Co.’s, after the wine has been disgorged and
liqueured, the corks are secured neither with string nor wire, but a
special metal fastener is employed for the purpose. This consists of a
triple-branched agrafe, provided with a kind of hinge. A tiny toy
needle-gun suspended to the agrafe is pulled outwards and turned over
the top of the bottle, whereupon the fastening becomes instantly
disengaged, and anything like trouble, uncleanliness, or annoyance is
entirely avoided. The operation is so easy that a mere child can open a
bottle of champagne, secured by this patent fastener, as easily and
rapidly as a grown-up man.

The firm of Fisse, Thirion, and Co. succeeded that of Fisse, Fraiquin,
and Co.--established originally at Reims in 1821--in 1864, when the
brand of the house was already well known on the Continent, more
especially in Belgium and Holland. Since that time the wines have been
largely introduced into England and the United States, and the firm, who
have secured medals at many of the recent exhibitions, to-day have
agents in the English and Dutch Indies and the various European
settlements in China. Several descriptions of wine are shipped by the
house, the finest being their dry Cuvée Reservèe and their fragrant
soft-tasting Cachet d’Or.




La Prison de Bonne Semaine-- Mary Queen of Scots at Reims-- Messrs.
  Pommery and Greno’s Offices-- A Fine Collection of Faïence-- The Rue
  des Anglais a former Refuge of English Catholics-- Remains of the
  Old University of Reims-- Ancient Roman Tower and Curious Grotto--
  The handsome Castellated Pommery Establishment-- The Spacious
  Cellier and Huge Carved Cuvée Tun-- The Descent to the Cellars--
  Their Great Extent-- These Lofty Subterranean Chambers Originally
  Quarries-- Ancient Places of Refuge of the Early Christians and the
  Protestants-- Madame Pommery’s Splendid Cuvée of 1868-- Messrs. de
  St. Marceaux and Co.’s New Establishment in the Avenue de Sillery--
  Its Garden-Court and Circular Shaft-- Animated Scene in the Large
  Packing Hall-- Lowering Bottled Wine to the Cellars-- Great Depth
  and Extent of these Cellars-- Messrs. de St. Marceaux and Co.’s
  Various Wines.

Nigh the cathedral of Reims and in the rear of the archiepiscopal palace
there runs a short narrow street known as the Rue Vauthier le Noir, and
frequently mentioned in old works relating to the capital of the
Champagne. The discovery of various pillars and statues, together with a
handsome Gallo-Roman altar, whilst digging some foundations in 1837,
points to the fact that a Pagan temple formerly occupied the site. The
street is supposed to have taken its name, however, from some celebrated
gaoler, for in mediæval times here stood “la prison de bonne semaine.”
On the site of this prison a château was subsequently built where Mary
Queen of Scots is said to have resided in the days when her uncle,
Cardinal Charles de Lorraine, was Lord Archbishop of Reims. Temple,
prison, and palace have alike disappeared, and where they stood there
now rises midway between court and garden a handsome mansion, the
residence of Madame Pommery, head of the well-known firm of Pommery and
Greno. To the left of the courtyard, which is entered through a
monumental gateway, are some old buildings bearing the sculptured
escutcheon of the beautiful and luckless Stuart Queen, while to the
right are the offices, with the manager’s sanctum, replete with artistic
curiosities, the walls being completely covered with remarkable
specimens of faïence, including Rouen, Gien, Palissy, Delft, and
majolica, collected in the majority of instances by Madame Pommery in
the villages around Reims. Here we were received by M. Vasnier, who at
once volunteered to accompany us to the cellars of the firm outside the
city. Messrs. Pommery and Greno originally carried on business in the
Rue Vauthier le Noir, where there are extensive cellars, but their
rapidly-increasing connection long since compelled them to emigrate
beyond the walls of Reims.

In close proximity to the Rue Vauthier le Noir is the Rue des Anglais,
so named from the English Catholic refugees who, flying from the
persecutions of our so-called Good Queen Bess, here took up their abode
and established a college and a seminary. They rapidly acquired great
influence in Reims, and one of their number, William Gifford, was even
elected archbishop. At the end of this street, nigh to Madame Pommery’s,
there stands an old house with a corner tower and rather handsome
Renaissance window, which formerly belonged to some of the clergy of the
cathedral, and subsequently became the “Bureau Général de la Loterie de
France,” abolished by the National Convention in 1793.



The Rue des Anglais conducts into the Rue de l’Université, where a few
remnants of the old University, founded by Cardinal Charles de Lorraine
(1538-74), attract attention, notably a conical-capped corner tower, the
sculptured ornaments at the base of which have crumbled into dust
beneath the corroding tooth of Time. From the Rue de l’Université our
way lies along the Boulevard du Temple to the Porte Gerbert, about a
mile beyond which there rises up the curious castellated structure in
which the Pommery establishment is installed, and whose tall towers
command a view of the whole of Reims and its environs. As we drive up
the Avenue Gerbert we espy on the right an isolated crumbling Roman
tower, a remnant of the days when Reims disputed with Trèves the honour
of being the capital of Belgic Gaul. Close at hand, and almost under the
walls of the old fortifications, is a grotto to which an ancient origin
is likewise ascribed. In another minute we reach the open iron gates of
Messrs. Pommery’s establishment, flanked by a picturesque porter’s
lodge, and proceeding up a broad drive alight under a Gothic portico at
the entrance to the spacious and lofty cellier. Iron columns support the
roof of this vast hall, at one end of which is the office and
tasting-room, provided with a telegraphic apparatus by means of which
communication is carried on with the Reims bureaux. Stacked up on every
side of the cellier, and when empty often in eight tiers, are rows upon
rows of casks, 4,000 of which contain wine of the last vintage,
sufficient for a million bottles of champagne. The temperature of this
hall is carefully regulated; the windows are high up near the roof, the
sun’s rays are rigidly excluded, so that a pleasant coolness pervades
the apartment. On the left-hand side stands the huge tun, capable of
containing 5,500 gallons of wine, in which the firm make their _cuvée_,
with the monogram P and G, surmounting the arms of Reims, carved on its
head. A platform, access to which is gained by a staircase in a side
aisle, runs round this tonneau; and boys stand here when the wine is
being blended, and by means of a handle protruding above the cask work
the paddle-wheels placed inside, thereby securing the complete
amalgamation of the wine, which has been hoisted up in casks and poured
through a metal trough into the tonneau. Adjoining are the chains and
lifts worked by steam by means of which wine is raised and lowered from
and to the cellars beneath, one lift raising or lowering eight casks,
whether full or empty, in the space of a minute.



At the farther end of the hall a Gothic door, decorated with ornamental
ironwork, leads to the long broad flight of steps 116 in number and
nearly twelve feet in width, conducting to the suite of lofty
subterranean chambers where bottles of _vin brut_ repose in their
hundreds of thousands in slanting racks or solid piles, passing
leisurely through those stages of development necessary to fit them for
the _dégorgeur_. Altogether there are thirty large shafts, which were
originally quarries, and are now connected by spacious galleries. This
side of Reims abounds with similar quarries, which are believed to have
served as places of refuge for the Protestants at the time of the League
and after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and it is even
conjectured that the early Christians, the followers of St. Sixtus and
St. Sinicus, here hid themselves from their persecutors. Since the
cellars within the city have no longer sufficed for the storage of the
immense stocks required through the development of the champagne trade,
these vast subterranean galleries have been successfully utilised by
various firms. Messrs. Pommery, after pumping out the water with which
the chambers were filled, proceeded to excavate the intersecting
tunnels, shore up the cracking arches, and repair the flaws in the chalk
with masonry, finally converting these abandoned quarries into
magnificent cellars for the storage of champagne. No less than £60,000
was spent upon them and the castellated structure aboveground. The
underground area is almost 240,000 square feet, and a million bottles of
champagne can be stored in these capacious vaults.

Madame Pommery made a great mark with her splendid _cuvée_ of 1868, and
since this time her brand has become widely popular, the Pommery Sec
especially being highly appreciated by connoisseurs.


On leaving Messrs. Pommery’s we retrace our steps down the Avenue
Gerbert, bordered on either side with rows of plane-trees, until we
reach the treeless Avenue de Sillery, where Messrs. de Saint Marceaux
and Co.’s new and capacious establishment is installed. The principal
block of building is flanked by two advanced wings inclosing a
garden-court, set off with flowers and shrubs, and from the centre of
which rises a circular shaft, covered in with glass, admitting light and
air to the cellars below. In the building to the left the wine is
received on its arrival from the vineyard, and here are ranged hundreds
of casks replete with the choice _crûs_ of Verzenay, Ay, Cramant, and
Bouzy, while some thousands of bottles ready for labelling are stocked
in massive piles at the end of the packing-hall in the corresponding
wing of the establishment. Here, too, a tribe of workpeople are arraying
the bottles with gold and silver headdresses and robing them in pink
paper, while others are filling, securing, marking, and addressing the
cases or baskets to Hong-Kong, San Francisco, Yokohama, Bombay, London,
New York, St. Petersburg, Berlin, or Paris.

The wine in cask, stored in the left-hand wing, after having been duly
blended in a vast vat holding over 2,400 gallons, is drawn off into
bottles, which are then lowered down a shaft to the second tier of
cellars by means of an endless chain, on to which the baskets of bottles
are swiftly hooked. The workman engaged in this duty, in order to
prevent his falling down the shaft, has a leather belt strapped round
his waist, by means of which he is secured to an adjoining iron column.
We descend into the lower cellars down a flight of ninety-three broad
steps--a depth equal to the height of an ordinary six-storied house--and
find no less than four-and-twenty galleries excavated in the chalk,
without any masonry supports, and containing upwards of a million
bottles of champagne. The length of these galleries varies, but they are
of a uniform breadth, allowing either a couple of racks with wine _sur
pointe_, or stacks of bottles, in four rows on either side, with an
ample passage down the centre.

The upper range of cellars comprises two large arched galleries of
considerable breadth, one of which contains wine in wood and wine _sur
pointe_, while the other is stocked with bottles of wine heads downward,
ready to be delivered into the hands of the _dégorgeur_.

MM. de St. Marceaux and Co. have the honour of supplying the King of the
Belgians, the President of the French Republic, and several German
potentates, with an exceedingly delicate champagne known as the Royal
St. Marceaux. The same wine is popular in Russia and other parts of
Europe, just as the Dry Royal of the firm is much esteemed in the United
States. The brand of the house most appreciated in this country is its
Carte d’Or, a very dry wine which, in conjunction with the firm’s Extra
Quality, secured the first place at a recent champagne competition in

In the neighbourhood of the Pommery and de St. Marceaux establishments
numerous other champagne manufacturers have their cellars formed from
the abandoned quarries so numerous on this side of the city. Of some of
these firms we have already spoken, but there remain to be mentioned
Messrs. Kunklemann and Co., Ruinart père et fils, George Goulet, Jules
Champion, Théophile Roederer, &c. The cellars of the three last-named
are immediately outside the Porte Dieu-Lumière, near which is a house
with a curious bas-relief on its face, the subject of which has been a
source of much perplexity to local antiquaries.




Early Records of the Moët Family at Reims and Epernay-- Jean Remi
  Moët Founder of the Commerce in Champagne Wines-- Extracts from the
  Old Account-Books of the Moëts-- First Sales of Sparkling Wines--
  Sales to England in 1788-- “Milords” Farnham and Findlater-- Jean
  Remi Moët receives the Emperor Napoleon, Josephine, and the King of
  Westphalia-- The Firm of Moët and Chandon Constituted-- Their
  Establishment in the Rue du Commerce-- Delivering and Washing the
  New Bottles-- The Numerous Vineyards and Vendangeoirs of the Firm--
  Making the Cuvée in Vats of 12,000 Gallons-- The Bottling of the
  Wine by 200 Hands-- A Hundred Thousand Bottles Completed Daily--
  20,000 Francs’ worth of Broken Glass in Two Years-- A Subterranean
  City, with miles of Streets, Cross Roads, Open Spaces, Tramways, and
  Stations-- The Ancient Entrance to these Vaults-- Tablet
  Commemorative of the Visit of Napoleon I.-- Millions of Bottles of
  Champagne in Piles and Racks-- The Original Vaults known as
  Siberia-- Scene in the Packing Hall-- Messrs. Moët and Chandon’s
  Large and Complete Staff-- Provision for Illness and Old Age--
  Annual Fête Given by the Firm-- Their Famous “Star” Brand--
  M. Perrier-Jouët, the lucky Grandson of a little Epernay Grocer--
  His Offices and Cellars-- His Wine Classed according to its
  Deserts-- Messrs. Roussillon and Co.’s Establishment-- The
  Recognition accorded to their Wines-- Their Stock of Old Vintages--
  The Extensive Establishment of Messrs. Pol Roger and Co.-- Their
  Large Stock of the Fine 1874 Vintage-- Preparations for the Tirage--
  Their Vast Fireproof Cellier and its Admirable Temperature-- Their
  Lofty and Capacious Cellars of Two Stories.

Those magnates of the champagne trade, Messrs. Moët and Chandon, whose
famous “star” brand is familiar in every part of the civilised globe,
and whose half-score miles of cellars contain as many million bottles of
champagne as there are millions of inhabitants in most of the secondary
European states, have their head-quarters at Epernay in a spacious
château--in that street of châteaux named the Rue du Commerce, but
commonly known as the Faubourg de la Folie--which is approached through
handsome iron gates, and has beautiful gardens in the rear extending in
the direction of the River Marne. The existing firm dates from the year
1833, but the family of Moët--conjectured to have originally come from
the Low Countries--had already been associated with the champagne wine
trade for well-nigh a century previously. If the Moëts came from Holland
they must have established themselves in the Champagne at a very early
date, for the annals of Reims record that in the fifteenth century Jean
and Nicolas Moët were _échevins_ of the city. A Moët was present in that
capacity at the coronation of Charles VII. in 1429, when Joan of Arc
stood erect by the principal altar of the cathedral with her sacred
banner in her hand, and for having contributed to repulse an attempt on
the part of the English to prevent the entrance of the Royal party into
the city, the Moëts were subsequently ennobled by the same monarch.
A mural tablet in the church of St. Remi records the death of D. G.
Moët, Grand Prior, in 1554, and nine years later we find Nicol Moët
claiming exemption at Epernay from the payment of _tailles_ on the
ground of his being a noble. An old commercial book preserved in the
family archives shows that in the year 1743--at the epoch when the
rashness of the Duc de Grammont saved the English army under George II.
from being cut to pieces at Dettingen--a descendant of the foregoing,
one Claude Louis Nicolas Moët, who owned considerable vineyard property
in the vicinity of Epernay, decided upon embarking in the wine trade.
It is his son, however, Jean Remi Moët, born in 1758, who may be looked
upon as the veritable founder of the present commerce in Champagne
wines, which, thanks to his efforts, received a wonderful impulse, so
that instead of the consumption of the vintages of the Marne being
limited as heretofore to the privileged few, it spread all over the
civilised world.

At Messrs. Moët and Chandon’s we had the opportunity of inspecting some
of the old account-books of the firm, and more particularly those
recording the transactions of Jean Remi Moët and his father. The first
sales of sparkling wine, on May 23rd, 1743, comprised 301 bottles of the
vintage of 1741 to Pierre Joly, wine-merchant, _bon des douze chez le
Roi_, whatever that may mean, at Paris; 120 bottles to Pierre Gabriel
Baudoin, also _bon des douze_, at Paris; and a similar quantity to the
Sieur Compoin, keeping the “hotellerie ditte la pestitte Escurie,” Rue
du Port Maillart, at Nantes in Brittany. The entry specifies that the
wine for Nantes is to be left at Choisy-le-Roi, and taken by land to
Orleans by the carters of that town, who are to be found at the Ecu
d’Orléans, Porte St. Michel, Paris, the carriage as far as Choisy being
4 livres 10 deniers (about 4 francs) for the two half-baskets, and to
Paris 3 livres 15 deniers the basket.

Between 1750 and ’60, parcels of wine were despatched to Warsaw, Vienna,
Berlin, Königsberg, Dantzig, Stettin, Brussels, and Amsterdam; but one
found no mention of any sales to England till the year 1788, when the
customers of the firm included “Milord” Farnham, of London, and Messrs.
Felix Calvert and Sylvin, who had a couple of sample bottles sent to
them, for which they were charged five shillings. In the same year
Messrs. Carbonnell, Moody, and Walker (predecessors of the well-known
existing firm of Carbonnell and Co.) wrote in French for two baskets,
of ten dozens each, of _vin de champagne_ “of good body, not too charged
with liqueur, but of excellent taste, and _not at all sparkling_!” while
the Chevalier Colebrook, writing from Bath, requests that 72 bottles of
champagne may be sent to his friend the Hon. John Butler, Molesworth
Street, Dublin, “who if contented with the wine will become a good
customer, he being rich, keeping a good house, and receiving many
amateurs of _vin de champagne_.” Shortly afterwards the chevalier
himself receives 50 bottles of still wine, vintage 1783. In 1789 120
bottles of champagne, vintage 1788, are supplied to “Milord” Findlater,
of London--an ancestor, no doubt, of the wine-merchants of the same name
carrying on business to-day, and whom the Moëts in their simplicity
dubbed a “Milord”--and in 1790 the customers of the house include Power
and Michel, of 44, Lamb Street, London, and Manning, of the St. Alban
Tavern, the latter of whom is supplied on March 30th with 130 bottles of
champagne at three livres, or two “schillings,” per bottle; while a
month later Mr. Lockart, banker, of 36, Pall Mall, is debited with 360
bottles, vintage 1788, at three shillings.


In this same year M. Moët despatches a traveller to England named
Jeanson, and his letters, some two hundred in number, are all preserved
in the archives of the house. On the 17th May, 1790, he writes from
London as follows:--“As yet I have only gone on preparatory and often
useless errands. I have distributed samples of which I have no news.
Patience is necessary, and I endeavour to provide myself with it. How
the taste of this country has changed since ten years ago! Almost
everywhere they ask for dry wine, but at the same time require it so
vinous and so strong that there is scarcely any other than the wine of
Sillery which can satisfy them.... To-morrow I dine five miles from
here, at M. Macnamara’s. We shall uncork four bottles of our wine, which
will probably be all right.” In May, 1792, Jean Remi Moët is married,
and thenceforward assumes the full management of the house. On December
20 of the year following, when the Reign of Terror was fairly
inaugurated, we find the accounts in the ledger opened to this or the
other “citoyen.” The orthodox Republican formula, however, did not long
continue, and “sieur” and “monsieur” resumed their accustomed places,
showing that Jean Remi Moët had no sympathy with the Jacobin faction of
the day. In 1805 he became Mayor of Epernay, and between this time and
the fall of the Empire received Napoleon several times at his residence,
as well as the Empress Josephine and the King of Westphalia. The
Emperor, after recapturing Reims from the Allies, came on to Epernay,
on which occasion he presented M. Moët with the cross of the Legion of
Honour. In 1830 the latter was arbitrarily dismissed from his mayoralty
by Charles X., but was speedily reinstated by Louis Philippe, though he
did not retain his office for long, his advanced age compelling him to
retire from active life in the course of 1833. At this epoch the firm,
which, since 1807 had been known as Moët and Co., was remodelled under
the style of Moët and Chandon, the two partners being M. Victor Moët,
son of the outgoing partner, and M. P. G. Chandon, the descendant of an
old ennobled family of the Mâconnais, who had married M. Jean Remi
Moët’s eldest daughter. The descendants of these gentlemen are to-day at
the head of the business, the partners being on the one hand M. Victor
Moët-Romont and M. C. J. V. Auban Moët-Romont; and on the other, MM.
Paul and Raoul Chandon de Briailles.

Facing Messrs. Moët and Chandon’s offices at Epernay is a range of
comparatively new buildings, with its white façade ornamented with the
well-known monogram M. and C., surmounted by the familiar star. It is
here that the business of blending and bottling the wine is carried on.
Passing through the arched gateway access is obtained to a spacious
courtyard, where carts laden with bottles are being expeditiously
lightened of their fragile contents by the busy hands of numerous
workmen. Another gateway on the left leads into the spacious
bottle-washing room, which from the middle of May until the middle of
July presents a scene of extraordinary animation. Bottle-washing
apparatus, supplied by a steam-engine with 20,000 gallons of water per
diem, are ranged in fifteen rows down the entire length of this hall,
and nearly 200 women strive to excel each other in diligence and
celerity in their management, a practised hand washing from 900 to 1,000
bottles in the course of the day. To the right of this _salle de
rinçage_, as it is styled, bottles are stacked in their tens of
thousands, and lads furnished with barrows, known as _diables_, hurry to
and fro, conveying these to the washers, or removing the clean bottles
to the adjacent courtyard, where they are allowed to drain, prior to
being taken to the _salle de tirage_ or bottling room.

Before, however, the washing of bottles on this gigantic scale
commences, the “marrying” or blending of the wine is accomplished in a
vast apartment, 250 feet in length and 100 feet broad, during the early
spring. The casks of newly-vintaged wine which have been stowed away
during the winter months, in the extensive range of cellars hewn out of
the chalk underlying Epernay, where they have slowly fermented, are
mixed together in due proportions in huge vats, each holding upwards of
12,000 gallons. Some of this wine is the growth of Messrs. Moët and
Chandon’s own vineyards, of which they possess as many as 900 acres
(giving constant employment to 800 labourers and vinedressers) at Ay,
Avenay, Bouzy, Cramant, Champillon, Chouilly, Dizy, Epernay, Grauves,
Hautvillers, Le Mesnil, Moussy, Pierry, Saran, St. Martin, Verzy, and
Verzenay, and the average annual cost of cultivating which is about £40
per acre. At Ay the firm own 210 acres of vineyards; at Cramant and
Chouilly, nearly 180 acres; at Verzy and Verzenay, 120 acres; at Pierry
and Grauves, upwards of 100 acres; at Hautvillers, 90 acres; at Le
Mesnil, 80 acres; at Epernay, nearly 60 acres; and at Bouzy, 55 acres.
Messrs. Moët and Chandon, moreover, possess vendangeoirs, or
pressing-houses, at Ay, Bouzy, Cramant, Epernay, Hautvillers, Le Mesnil,
Pierry, Saran, and Verzenay, in which the large number of 40 presses are
installed. At these vendangeoirs no less than 5,450 pièces of fine white
wine, sufficient for 1,360,000 bottles of champagne, are annually
made--that is, 1,200 pièces at Ay, 1,100 at Cramant and Saran, 800 at
Verzy and Verzenay, and smaller quantities at the remaining
establishments. All these establishments have their celliers and their
cellars, together with cottages for the accommodation of the numerous
vinedressers in the employment of the firm.



Extensive as are the vineyards owned by Messrs. Moët and Chandon, the
yield from them is utterly inadequate to the enormous demand which the
great Epernay firm are annually called upon to supply, and large
purchases have to be made by their agents from the growers throughout
the Champagne. The wine thus secured, as well as that grown by the firm,
is duly mixed together in such proportions as will ensure lightness with
the requisite vinosity, and fragrance combined with effervescence,
a thorough amalgamation being effected by stirring up the wine with long
poles provided with fan-shaped ends. If the vintage be indifferent in
quality the firm have scores of huge tuns filled with the yield of more
favoured seasons to fall back upon to ensure any deficiencies of
character and flavour being supplied.

The casks of wine to be blended are raised from the cellars, half a
dozen at a time, by means of a lift provided with an endless chain, and
worked by the steam-engine of which we have already spoken. They are
emptied, through traps in the floor of the room above, into the huge
vats which, standing upon a raised platform, reach almost to the
ceiling. From these vats the fluid is allowed to flow through hose into
rows of casks stationed below. Before being bottled the wine reposes for
a certain time, is next duly racked and again blended, and is eventually
conveyed through silver-plated pipes into oblong reservoirs, each fitted
with a dozen syphon-taps, so arranged that directly the bottle slipped
on to one of them becomes full the wine ceases to flow.


Upwards of 200 workpeople are employed in the _salle de tirage_ at
Messrs. Moët and Chandon’s, which, while the operation of bottling is
going on, presents a scene of bewildering activity. Men and lads are
gathered round the syphon-taps briskly removing the bottles as they
become filled, and supplanting them by empty ones. Other lads hasten to
transport the filled bottles on trucks to the corkers, whose so-called
“guillotine” machines send the corks home with a sudden thud. The corks
being secured with _agrafes_ the bottles are placed in large flat
baskets called _manettes_, and wheeled away on tracks, the quarts being
deposited in the cellars by means of lifts, while the pints slide down
an inclined plane by the aid of an endless chain, which raises the
trucks with the empty baskets at the same time the full ones make their
descent into the cellars. What with the incessant thud of the corking
machines, the continual rolling of iron-wheeled trucks over the concrete
floor, the rattling and creaking of the machinery working the lifts, the
occasional sharp report of a bursting bottle, and the loudly-shouted
orders of the foremen, who display the national partiality for making a
noise to perfection, the din becomes at times all but unbearable. The
number of bottles filled in the course of the day naturally varies,
still Messrs. Moët and Chandon reckon that during the month of June a
daily average of 100,000 are taken in the morning from the stacks in the
_salle de rinçage_, washed, dried, filled, corked, wired, lowered into
the cellars and carefully arranged in symmetrical order. This represents
a total of two and a half million bottles during that month alone.

The bottles on being lowered into the cellars, either by means of the
incline or the lifts, are placed in a horizontal position, and with
their uppermost side daubed with white chalk, are stacked in layers from
two to half-a-dozen bottles deep with narrow oak laths between. The
stacks are usually about six or seven feet high and 100 feet and upwards
in length. Whilst the wine is thus reposing in a temperature of about
55° Fahrenheit, fermentation sets in, and the ensuing month is one of
much anxiety. Thanks, however, to the care bestowed, Messrs. Moët and
Chandon’s annual loss from bottles bursting rarely exceeds three per
cent., though fifteen was once regarded as a respectable and
satisfactory average. The broken glass is a perquisite of the workmen,
the money arising from its sale, which at the last distribution amounted
to no less than 20,000 francs, being divided amongst them every couple
of years.


The usual entrance to Messrs. Moët and Chandon’s Epernay cellars--which,
burrowed out in all directions, are of the aggregate length of nearly
seven miles, and have usually between 11,000,000 and 12,000,000 bottles
and 25,000 casks of wine stored therein--is through a wide and imposing
portal, and down a long and broad flight of steps. It is, however, by
the ancient and less imposing entrance, through which more than one
crowned head has condescended to pass, that we set forth on our
lengthened tour through these intricate underground galleries--this
subterranean city with its miles of streets, crossroads, open spaces,
tramways, and stations devoted solely to champagne. A gilt inscription
on a black marble tablet testifies that “on the 26th July, 1807,
Napoleon the Great, Emperor of the French, King of Italy, and Protector
of the Confederation of the Rhine, honoured commerce by visiting the
cellars of Jean Rémi Moët, Mayor of Epernay, President of the Canton,
and Member of the General Council of the Department,” within three weeks
of the signature of the treaty of Tilsit. Passing down the flight of
steep slippery steps traversed by the victor of Eylau and Jena, access
is gained to the upper range of vaults, brilliantly illuminated by the
glare of gas, or dimly lighted by the flickering flame of
tallow-candles, upwards of 60,000lbs. of which are annually consumed.
Here group after group of the small army of 350 workmen employed in
these subterranean galleries are encountered engaged in the process of
transforming the _vin brut_ into champagne. At Messrs. Moët and
Chandon’s the all-important operation of liqueuring the wine is effected
by aid of machines of the latest construction, which regulate the
quantity administered to the utmost nicety. The corks are branded by
being pressed against steel dies heated by gas, by women who can turn
out 3,000 per day apiece, the quantity of string used to secure them
amounting to nearly ten tons in the course of the year.

There is another and a lower depth of cellars to be explored to which
access is gained by trapholes in the floor--through which the barrels
and baskets of wine are raised and lowered--and by flights of steps.
From the foot of the latter there extends an endless vista of lofty and
spacious passages hewn out of the chalk, the walls of which, smooth as
finished masonry, are lined with thousands of casks of raw wine, varied
at intervals by gigantic vats. Miles of long, dark-brown,
dampish-looking galleries stretch away to the right and left, and though
devoid of the picturesque festoons of fungi which decorate the London
Dock vaults, exhibit a sufficient degree of mouldiness to give them an
air of respectable antiquity. These multitudinous galleries, lit up by
petroleum-lamps, are mostly lined with wine in bottles stacked in
compact masses to a height of six or seven feet, only room enough for a
single person to pass being left. Millions of bottles are thus arranged,
the majority on their sides, in huge piles, with tablets hung up against
each stack to note its age and quality; and the rest, which are
undergoing daily evolutions at the hands of the twister, at various
angles of inclination. In these cellars there are nearly 11,000 racks in
which the bottles of _vin brut_ rest _sur pointe_, as many as 600,000
bottles being commonly twisted daily.

The way runs on between regiments of bottles of the same size and shape,
save where at intervals pints take the place of quarts; and the visitor,
gazing into the black depths of the transverse passages to the right and
left, becomes conscious of a feeling that if his guide were suddenly to
desert him he would feel as hopelessly lost as in the catacombs of Rome.
There are two galleries, each 650 feet in length, containing about
650,000 bottles, and connected by 32 transverse galleries, with an
aggregate length of 4,000 feet, in which nearly 1,500,000 bottles are
stored. There are, further, eight galleries, each 500 feet in length,
and proportionably stocked; also the extensive new vaults, excavated
some five or six years back, in the rear of the then-existing cellarage,
and a considerable number of smaller vaults. The different depths and
varying degrees of moisture afford a choice of temperature of which the
experienced owners know how to take advantage. The original vaults,
wherein more than a century ago the first bottles of champagne made by
the infant firm were stowed away, bear the name of Siberia, on account
of their exceeding coldness. This section consists of several
roughly-excavated low winding galleries, resembling natural caverns, and
affording a striking contrast to the broad, lofty, and regular-shaped
corridors of more recent date.

When the proper period arrives for the bottles to emerge once more into
the upper air they are conveyed to the packing-room, a spacious hall 180
feet long and 60 feet broad. In front of its three large double doors
waggons are drawn up ready to receive their loads. The seventy men and
women employed here easily foil, label, wrap, and pack up some 10,000
bottles a day. Cases and baskets are stacked in different parts of this
vast hall, at one end of which numerous trusses of straw used in the
packing are piled. Seated at tables ranged along one side of the
apartment women are busily occupied in pasting on labels or encasing the
necks of bottles in gold or silver foil, whilst elsewhere men, seated on
three-legged stools in front of smoking caldrons of molten sealing-wax
of a deep green hue, are coating the necks of other bottles by plunging
them into the boiling fluid. When labelled and decorated with either wax
or foil the bottles pass on to other women, who swathe them in pink
tissue-paper and set them aside for the packers, by whom, after being
deftly wrapped round with straw, they are consigned to baskets or cases,
to secure which last no less than 10,000lbs. of nails are annually used.
England and Russia are partial to gold foil, pink paper, and wooden
cases holding a dozen or a couple of dozen bottles of the exhilarating
fluid, whereas other nations prefer waxed necks, disdain pink paper, and
insist on being supplied in wicker baskets containing fifty bottles


Some idea of the complex character of so vast an establishment as that
of Messrs. Moët and Chandon may be gathered from a mere enumeration of
their staff, which, in addition to twenty clerks and 350 cellarmen
proper, includes numerous agrafe-makers and corkcutters, packers and
carters, wheelwrights and saddlers, carpenters, masons, slaters and
tilers, tinmen, firemen, needlewomen, &c., while the inventory of
objects used by this formidable array of workpeople comprises no fewer
than 1,500 distinct heads. A medical man attached to the establishment
gives gratuitous advice to all those employed, and a chemist dispenses
drugs and medicines without charge. While suffering from illness the men
receive half-pay, but should they be laid up by an accident met with in
the course of their work full salary is invariably awarded to them. As
may be supposed, so vast an establishment as this is not without a
provision for those past work, and all the old hands receive liberal
pensions from the firm upon retiring. Every year Messrs. Moët and
Chandon give a banquet or a ball to the people in their employ--usually
after the bottling of the wine is completed--when the hall in which the
entertainment takes place is handsomely decorated and illuminated with
myriads of coloured lamps.

It is needless to particularise Messrs. Moët and Chandon’s wines, which
are familiar to all drinkers of champagne. Their famous “star” brand is
known in all societies, figures equally at clubs and mess-tables, at
garden parties and picnics, dinners and _soirées_, and has its place in
hotel _cartes_ all over the world. One of the best proofs of the wine’s
universal popularity is found in the circumstance that as many as 1,000
visitors from all parts of the world come annually to Epernay and make
the tour of Messrs. Moët and Chandon’s spacious cellars.

A little beyond Messrs. Moët and Chandon’s, in the broad Rue du
Commerce, we encounter a heavy, ornate, pretentious-looking château, the
residence of M. Perrier-Jouët, which presents a striking contrast to the
almost mean-looking premises opposite, where the business of the firm is
carried on. M. Perrier-Jouët is the fortunate grandson of the Sieur
Perrier Fissier, a little Epernay grocer, who some eighty years or so
ago used to supply corks, candles, and string to the firm of Moët and
Co., and who, when the profits arising from this connection warranted
his doing so, discarded his grocer’s sleeves and apron and blossomed
forth as a competitor in the champagne trade. Perrier-Jouët and Co.’s
offices are situated on the left-hand side of a courtyard surrounded by
low buildings, which serve as celliers, store-houses, packing-rooms, and
the like. From an inner courtyard where piles of bottles are stacked
under open sheds, the cellars themselves are reached. Previous to
descending into these we passed through the various buildings, in one of
which a party of men were engaged in disgorging and preparing wine for
shipment. In another we noticed one of those heavy beam presses for
pressing the grapes which the more intelligent manufacturers regard as
obsolete, while in a third was the _cuvée_ vat, holding no more than
2,200 gallons. In making their _cuvée_ the firm commonly mix one part of
old wine to three parts of new. An indifferent vintage, however,
necessitates the admixture of a larger proportion of the older growth.
The cellars, like all the more ancient ones at Epernay, are somewhat
straggling and irregular, still they are remarkably cool, and on the
lower floor remarkably damp as well. This, however, would appear to be
no disadvantage, as the breakage in them is calculated never to exceed
2½ per cent.

The firm have no less than five qualities of champagne, and at one of
the recent champagne competitions at London, where the experts engaged
had no means of identifying the brands submitted to their judgment,
Messrs. Perrier-Jouët’s First Quality got classed below a cheaper wine
of their neighbours Messrs. Pol Roger and Co., and very considerably
below the Extra Sec of Messrs. Périnet et fils, and inferior even to a
wine of De Venoge’s, the great Epernay manufacturer of common class


Champagne establishments, combined with the handsome residences of the
manufacturers, line both sides of the long, imposing Rue du Commerce at
Epernay. On the left hand is a succession of fine châteaux, commencing
with one belonging to M. Auban Moët, whose terraced gardens overlook the
valley of the Marne, and command views of the vine-clad heights of
Cumières, Hautvillers, Ay, and Mareuil, and the more distant slopes of
Ambonnay and Bouzy, while on the other side of the famous Epernay
thoroughfare we encounter beyond the establishments of Messrs. Moët and
Chandon and Perrier-Jouët the ornate monumental façade which the firm of
Piper and Co.--of whom Messrs. Kunkelmann and Co. are to-day the
successors--raised some years since above their extensive cellars.
A little in the rear of the Rue du Commerce is the well-ordered
establishment of Messrs. Roussillon and Co., the extension of whose
business of late has necessitated their removal to these capacious
premises. The wines of the firm enjoy a high reputation in England,
France, and Russia, and have secured favourable recognition at the
Paris, Philadelphia, and other Exhibitions. Their stock includes
considerable quantities of the older vintages, it being a rule of the
house never to ship crude young wines. It is on their dry varieties that
Messrs. Roussillon and Co. especially pride themselves, and some of the
fine wine of 1874 that was here shown to us was as remarkable for its
delicacy as for its fragrance.

In a side street at the farther end of the Rue du Commerce stands a
château of red brick, overlooking on the one side an extensive
pleasure-garden, and on the other a spacious courtyard, bounded by
celliers, stables, and bottle-sheds, all of modern construction and on a
most extensive scale. These form the establishment of Messrs. Pol Roger
and Co., settled for many years at Epernay, and known throughout the
Champagne for their large purchases at the epoch of the vintage. From
the knowledge they possess of the best crûs, and their relations with
the leading vineyard proprietors, they are enabled whenever the wine is
good to acquire large stocks of it. Having bottled a considerable
quantity of the fine wine of 1874, they resolved to profit by the
exceptional quality of this vintage to commence shipping champagne to
England, where their agents, Messrs. Reuss, Lauteren, and Co., have
successfully introduced the new brand.

Passing through a large open gateway we enter the vast courtyard of the
establishment, which, with arriving and departing carts--the first
loaded with wine in cask or with new bottles, and the others with cases
of champagne--presents rather an animated scene. Under a roof projecting
from the wall of the vast cellier on the right hand a tribe of
“Sparnaciennes”--as the feminine inhabitants of Epernay are termed--are
occupied in washing bottles in readiness for the coming tirage. The
surrounding buildings, most substantially constructed, are not destitute
of architectural pretensions.

The extensive cellier, the area of which is 23,589 square feet, is
understood to be the largest single construction of the kind in the
Champagne district. Built entirely of iron, stone and brick, its
framework is a perfect marvel of lightness. The roof, consisting of rows
of brick arches, is covered above with a layer of Portland cement, in
order to keep it cool in summer and protect it against the winter cold,
two most desirable objects in connection with the manipulation of
champagne. Here an endless chain of a new pattern enables wine in bottle
to be lowered and raised with great rapidity to or from the cellars
beneath--lofty and capacious excavations of two stories, the lowest of
which is reached by a flight of no less than 170 steps.

Epernay, unlike Reims, has little of general interest to attract the
stranger. Frequently besieged and pillaged during the Middle Ages, and
burnt to the ground by the dauphin, son of François I., the town,
although of some note as far back as the time of Clovis, exhibits to-day
no evidence whatever of its great antiquity. The thoroughfare termed the
Rempart de la Tour Biron recalls a memorable incident which transpired
during the siege of the town by Henri IV. While the king was
reconnoitring the defences a cannon-ball aimed at his waving white plume
took off the head of the Maréchal Biron at the moment Henri’s hand was
resting familiarly on the maréchal’s shoulder. Strange to say, the king
himself escaped unhurt.




The Establishment of Deutz and Geldermann-- Drawing off the Cuvée--
  Mode of Excavating Cellars in the Champagne-- The Firm’s New
  Cellars, Vineyards, and Vendangeoir-- The old Château of Ay and its
  Terraced Garden-- The Gambling Propensities of Balthazar Constance
  Dangé-Dorçay, a former Owner of the Château-- The Picturesque
  Situation and Aspect of Messrs. Ayala’s Establishment-- A Promenade
  through their Cellars-- M. Duminy’s Cellars and Wines-- His new
  Model Construction-- The House Founded in 1814-- Messrs. Bollinger’s
  Establishment-- Their Vineyard of La Grange-- The Tirage in
  Progress-- The Fine Cellars of the Firm-- Messrs. Pfungst’s frères
  and Co.’s Cellars-- Their Dry Champagnes of 1868, ’70, ’72, and
  ’74-- The Old Church of Ay and its Decorations of Grapes and
  Vineleaves-- The Vendangeoir of Henri Quatre-- The Montebello
  Establishment at Mareuil-- The Château formerly the Property of the
  Dukes of Orleans-- A Titled Champagne Firm-- The Brilliant Career of
  Marshal Lannes-- A Promenade through the Montebello Establishment--
  The Press House, the Cuvée Vat, the Packing-Room, the Offices, and
  the Cellars-- Portraits and Relics at the Château-- The
  Establishment of Bruch-Foucher and Co.-- The handsome Carved
  Gigantic Cuvée Tun-- The Cellars and their Lofty Shafts-- The Wines
  of the Firm.

The historic _bourgade_ of Ay is within a short walk of the station on
the line of railway connecting Epernay with Reims. The road lies across
the light bridge spanning the Marne canal, the tall trees fringing which
hide for a time the clustering houses; still we catch sight of the
tapering steeple of the antique church rising sharply against the green
vine-covered slopes and the fleecy-clouded summer sky. We soon reach the
Place de l’Hôtel de Ville, and continuing onward in the direction of the
steep hills which shelter the town on the north, come to a
massive-looking corner house in front of the broad _porte-cochère_ of
which some railway carts laden with cases of champagne are standing.
Passing through the gateway we find ourselves in an open court, with a
dwelling-house to the right and a range of buildings in front where the
offices of Messrs. Deutz and Geldermann are installed. This is the
central establishment of the firm, whose Extra Dry “Gold Lack” and
“Cabinet” champagnes have long been favourably known in England. Here
are spacious celliers for disgorging and finishing off the wine, a large
packing-hall, and rooms where bales of corks and other accessories of
the trade are stored, the operations of making the _cuvées_ and bottling
being accomplished in an establishment some little distance off.



Proceeding thither, we find an elegant château with a charming terraced
garden, lying at the very foot of the vine-clad slopes, and on the
opposite side of the road some large celliers where wine in wood is
stored, and where the _cuvées_ of the firm, consisting usually of
upwards of 50,000 gallons each, are made in a vat of gigantic
proportions, furnished with a raised platform at one end for the
accommodation of the workman who agitates the customary paddles. When
the wine is completely blended it is drawn off into casks disposed for
the purpose in the cellar below, as shown in the accompanying engraving,
and after being fined it rests for about a month to clear itself. To
each of these casks of newly-blended wine a portion of old wine is added
separately, and at the moment of bottling the whole is newly

Adjoining M. Deutz’s château is the principal entrance to the extensive
cellars of the firm, to which, at the time of our visit, considerable
additions were being made. In excavating a gallery the workmen commence
by rounding off the roof, and then proceed to work gradually downwards,
extracting the chalk, whenever practicable, in blocks suitable for
building purposes, which being worth from three to four shillings the
square yard help to reduce the cost of the excavation. When any serious
flaws present themselves in the sides or roof of the galleries, they are
invariably made good with masonry.

This range of cellars now comprises eight long and lofty galleries no
less than 17 feet wide, and the same number of feet in height, and of
the aggregate length of 2,200 yards. These spacious vaults, which run
parallel with each other, and communicate by means of cross passages,
underlie the street, the château, the garden, and the vineyard slopes
beyond, and possess the great advantage of being always dry. They are
capable, we were informed, of containing several million bottles of
champagne in addition to a large quantity of wine in cask.

Messrs. Deutz and Geldermann possess vineyards at Ay, and own a large
vendangeoir at Verzenay, where in good years they usually press 500
pièces of wine. They, moreover, make large purchases of grapes at Bouzy,
Cramant, Le Mesnil, Pierry, &c, and invariably have these pressed under
their own superintendence. Beyond large shipments to England, Messrs.
Deutz and Geldermann transact a considerable business with other
countries, and more especially with Germany, where their brand has been
for years one of the most popular, and is to-day the favourite at
numerous regimental messes and the principal hotels.

The old château of Ay, which dates from the early part of the last
century, belongs to-day to the Count de Mareuil, a member of the firm of
Ayala and Co., one of the leading establishments of the famous
Marne-side crû. Perched half-way up the slope, covered with “golden
plants,” which rises in the rear of the village, the château, with its
long façade of windows, commands the valley of the Marne for miles, and
from the stately terraced walk, planted with ancient lime-trees,
geometrically clipped in the fashion of the last century, a splendid
view of the distant vineyards of Avize, Cramant, Epernay, and Chouilly
is obtained. The château formed one of a quartette of seignorial
residences which at the commencement of the present century belonged to
Balthazar Constance Dangé-Dorçay, whose ancestors had been lords of
Chouilly under the _ancien régime_. Dorçay had inherited from an aunt
the châteaux of Ay, Mareuil, Boursault, and Chouilly, together with a
large patrimony in land and money; but a mania for gambling brought him
to utter ruin, and he dispossessed himself of money, lands, and châteaux
in succession, and was reduced, in his old age, to earn a meagre
pittance as a violin-player at the Paris Opera House. The old château of
Boursault, which still exists contiguous to the stately edifice raised
by Mme. Clicquot on the summit of the hill, was risked and lost on a
single game at cards by this pertinacious gamester, whose pressing
pecuniary difficulties compelled him to sell the remaining châteaux one
by one. That of Ay was purchased by M. Froc de la Boulaye, and by him
bequeathed to his cousin the Count de Mareuil, whose granddaughter
became the wife of one of the Messrs. Ayala, and whose son is to-day
their partner.


The offices of the firm adjoin the château, and rather higher up the
hill is their very complete establishment, picturesquely situated in a
hollow formed by some excavations, with the thickly-planted vine-slopes
rising above its red-tiled roof. The boldly-designed basement, the
ascending sweep conducting to the extensive celliers and the little
centre belfry give a character of originality to the building. Carts
laden with cases of champagne are leaving for the railway station, casks
of wine are being transferred from one part of the establishment to
another, bottles are being got ready for the approaching tirage, and in
the packing department, installed in one of the three celliers into
which the story aboveground is divided, quite an animated scene presents
itself. Iron columns support the roofs of this and its companion
celliers, where the firm make their _cuvée_, and the bottling of the
wine takes place. On descending into the basement beneath, the popping
of corks and the continual clatter of machinery intimate that the
disgorging and re-corking of the wine are being accomplished, and in the
dim light we discern groups of workmen engaged in the final manipulation
which champagne has to undergo, while fresh relays of wine are arriving
from the cellars by the aid of endless chains. There are two stories of
these cellars which, excavated in the chalk, extend under the road and
wind round beneath the château, the more modern galleries being broad,
lofty, and admirably ventilated, and provided with supports of masonry
wherever the instability of the chalk rendered this requisite. After a
lengthened promenade through them we come to the ancient vaults
extending immediately under the grounds of the château, where every
particle of available space is utilised, and some difficulty is found in
passing between the serried piles of bottles of _vin brut_--mostly the
fine wine of 1874--which rise continuously on either side.


Within a hundred yards of the open space, surrounded by houses of
different epochs and considerable diversity of design, where the Ay
market is weekly held, and in one of the narrow winding streets common
to the town, an escutcheon, with a bunch of grapes for device,
surmounting a lofty gateway, attracts attention. Within, a trim
courtyard, girt round with orange-trees in bright green boxes, and
clipped in orthodox fashion, affords access to the handsome residence
and offices of M. Duminy, well-known in England and America as a shipper
of high-class champagnes, and whose Parisian connection is extensive. On
the right-hand side of the courtyard is the packing-room, and through
the cellars, which have an entrance here, one can reach the celliers in
an adjoining street, where the _cuvée_ is made and the bottling of the
wine accomplished.

M. Duminy’s cellars are remarkably old, and consequently of somewhat
irregular construction, being at times rather low and narrow, as well as
on different levels. In addition, however, to these venerable vaults,
packed with wines of 1869, ’70, ’72, and ’74, M. Duminy has various
subterranean adjuncts in other parts of Ay, and is at present engaged in
constructing, at the foot of his vineyards up the mountain slope,
a noble establishment which includes a vast court, upwards of a thousand
square yards in extent, wherein are installed capacious bottle-racks and
bottle-washing machines of the latest improved manufacture. Here are
also handsome and extensive celliers, together with immense underground
cellars, comprising broad and lofty galleries of regular design, the
whole being constructed with a completeness and studied regard for
convenience which bid fair to render this establishment when finished
the model one of the Champagne district.

The house was originally founded so far back as 1814 by
M. Taverne-Richard, who was intimately connected with the principal
vineyard proprietors of the district. In 1842 this gentleman took his
son-in-law, M. Duminy, father of the present proprietor of the
establishment, into partnership, and after the retirement of M. Taverne
he gave a great impetus to the business, and succeeded in introducing
his light and delicate wines into the principal Paris hotels and
restaurants. During its two-thirds of a century of existence the house
has invariably confined itself to first-class wines, taking particular
pride in shipping fully-matured growths. Besides its own large reserve
of these, it holds considerable stocks long since disposed of, and now
merely awaiting the purchasers’ orders to be shipped.

A few paces beyond M. Duminy’s we come upon an antiquated,
decrepit-looking timber house, with its ancient gable bulging over as
though the tough oak brackets on which it rests were at last grown weary
of supporting their unwieldy burthen. Judging from the quaint carved
devices, this house was doubtless the residence of an individual of some
importance in the days when the principal European potentates had their
commissioners installed at Ay to secure them the finest vintages.
Continuing our walk along the same narrow winding street, we soon reach
the establishment of Messrs. Bollinger, whose house, founded in the year
1829, claims to be the first among the Ay firms who shipped wines to
foreign countries generally, including England, where the brand has long
been held in high repute. Messrs. Bollinger, besides being shippers of
champagne, are extensive vineyard proprietors, owning vinelands at
Bouzy, Verzenay, and Dizy. A vineyard of theirs at the latter place,
known as “La Grange,” is said to have formerly belonged to the monks who
founded the abbey of St. Peter at Hautvillers, the legend connected with
which we have already related.

A couple of large gateways offer access to the spacious courtyard of
Messrs. Bollinger’s establishment; a handsome dwelling-house standing on
the right, and a small pavilion, in which the offices are installed,
while on the left hand and in the rear of the courtyard rises a range of
buildings of characteristic aspect, appropriated to the business of the
firm. In one of the celliers, which has its open-raftered roof supported
by slim metal columns, we found the tirage going on, the gang of workmen
engaged in it filling, corking, and lowering into the cellars some
20,000 bottles a day. In one corner of the apartment stood the large
_cuvée_ tun--capable of holding some 50 hogsheads--in which the blending
of the wine is effected, and in an adjoining cellier women were briskly
labelling and wrapping up the completed bottles of champagne. The
cellars, constructed some fifty years ago at a cost of nearly £12 the
superficial yard, are faced entirely with stone, and are alike wide and
lofty; this is especially the case with four of the more modern
galleries excavated in 1848, and each 160 feet in length. Besides the
foregoing, Messrs. Bollinger possess other cellars in Ay, where they
store their reserve wines both in bottle and in the wood.

On the northern side of Ay, some little distance from the vineyard owned
by them, the firm of Pfungst frères & Cie. have their cellars, the
entrance to which lies just under the lofty vine-clad ridge. Messrs.
Pfungst frères lay themselves out exclusively for the shipment of
high-class champagnes, and the excellent growths of the Ay district
necessarily form an important element in their carefully-composed
_cuvées_. A considerable portion of their stock consists of reserves of
old wine, and we tasted here a variety of samples of finely-matured
champagnes of 1868 and ’70, as well as the vintages of 1872 and ’74. All
of these wines were of superior quality, combining delicacy and
fragrance with dryness, the latter being their especial feature. In
addition to their business with England, Messrs. Pfungst frères ship
largely to India and the United States.


It is on this side of the town that the fine old Gothic church, dating
as far back as the twelfth century, is situated. Many of the mouldings
and the capitals of the columns both inside and outside the building are
covered over with grape-laden vine-branches, and the sculptured figure
of a boy bearing a basket of grapes upon his head surmounts the handsome
Renaissance doorway, seemingly to indicate the honour in which the
vine--the source of all the prosperity of the little town--was held both
by the mediæval and later architects of the edifice. Nigh to the church
stands the old house with its obliterated carved escutcheons, known
traditionally as the Vendangeoir of Henri Quatre. This monarch loved the
wine of the place almost as well as his favourite vintage of Arbois, and
dubbed himself, as we have already mentioned, Seigneur of Ay, whose
inhabitants he sought to gratify by confirming the charter which
centuries before had been granted to the town.


Within half-an-hour’s walk of Ay, in an easterly direction, is the
village of Mareuil, a long straight street of straggling houses, bounded
by trees and garden-plats, with vine-clad hills rising abruptly behind
on the one side, and the Marne canal flowing placidly by on the other.
The archaic church, a mixture of the Romanesque and Early Gothic, stands
at the farther end of the village, and some little distance on this side
of it is a massive-looking eighteenth-century building, spacious enough
to accommodate a regiment of horse, but conventual rather than
barrack-like in aspect, from the paucity of windows looking on to the
road. A broad gateway leads into a spacious courtyard to the left of
which stands a grand château, while on the right there rises an ornate
round tower of three stories, from the gallery on the summit of which a
fine view over the valley of the Marne is obtained. The buildings
inclosing the court on three sides comprise press-houses, celliers, and
packing-rooms, an antiquated sundial marking the hour on the blank space
above the vines that climb beside the entrance gateway. The more ancient
of these tenements formed the vendangeoir of the Dukes of Orleans at the
time they owned the château of Mareuil, purchased in 1830 by the Duke de
Montebello, son of the famous Marshal Lannes, and minister and
ambassador of Louis Philippe and Napoleon III.

The acquisition of this property, to which were attached some important
vineyards, led, several years later, to the duke’s founding, in
conjunction with his brothers, the Marquis and General Count de
Montebello, a champagne firm, whose brand speedily acquired a notable
popularity. To-day the business is carried on by their sons and heirs,
for all the original partners in the house have followed their valiant
father to the grave. Struck down by an Austrian cannon-ball in the
zenith of his fame, the career of Marshal Lannes, brief as it was,
furnishes one of the most brilliant pages in French military annals.
Joining the army of Italy as a volunteer in 1796, he was made a colonel
on the battle-field in the gorges of Millesimo, when Augereau’s bold
advance opened Piedmont to the French. He fought at Bassano and Lodi,
took part in the assault of Pavia and the siege of Mantua, and at
Arcola, when Napoleon dashed flag in hand upon the bridge, Lannes was
seriously wounded whilst shielding his general from danger. He
afterwards distinguished himself in Egypt, and led the van of the French
army across the Alps, displaying his accustomed bravery both at
Montebello and Marengo. At Austerlitz, where he commanded the right wing
of the army, he greatly contributed to the victory, and at Jena,
Friedland, and Eylau his valour was again conspicuous. Sent to Spain,
he defeated the Spaniards at Tudela, and took part in the operations
against Saragossa. Wounded at the battle of Essling, when the Archduke
Charles inflicted upon Napoleon I. the first serious repulse he had met
with on the field of battle, the valiant Lannes expired a few days
afterwards in the Emperor’s arms.



We were met at Mareuil, on the occasion of our visit, by Count Alfred
Ferdinand de Montebello, the present manager of the house, and conducted
by him over the establishment. In the press-house, to the left of the
courtyard, were two of the ponderous presses used in the Champagne, for,
like all other large firms, the house makes its own wine. Grapes grown
in the Mareuil vineyards arrive here in baskets slung across the backs
of mules, muzzled so that while awaiting their loads they may not devour
the fruit within reach. In a cellier adjoining the press-house stands a
large vat, capable of holding 50 pièces of wine, with a crane beside it
for hauling up the casks when the _cuvée_ is made. Here the tirage
likewise takes place, and in the range of buildings, roofed with glass,
in the rear of the tower, the bottled wine is labelled, capped with
foil, and packed in cases for transmission to Paris, England, and other
places abroad.

A double flight of steps, decorated with lamps and vases, leads to the
handsome offices of the firm, situated on the first floor of the tower,
while above is an apartment with a panelled ceiling, gracefully
decorated with groups of Cupids engaged in the vintage and the various
operations which the famous wines of the Mountain and the River undergo
during their conversion into champagne. On the ground floor of the tower
a low doorway conducts to the spacious cellars, which, owing to the
proximity of the Marne, are all on the same level as well as constructed
in masonry. The older vaults, where the Marquis de Pange, a former owner
of the château, stored the wine which he used to sell to the champagne
manufacturers, are somewhat low and tortuous compared with the broad and
lofty galleries of more recent date, which have been constructed as the
growing connection of the firm obliged them to increase their stocks.
Spite, however, of numerous additions, portions of their reserves have
to be stored in other cellars in Mareuil. Considerable stocks of each of
the four qualities of wine supplied by the firm are being got ready for
disgorgement, including Cartes Noires and Bleues, with the refined Carte
Blanche and the delicate Crêmant, which challenge comparison with brands
of the highest repute.

In the adjacent château, the gardens of which slope down to the Marne
canal, there are various interesting portraits, with one or two relics
of the distinguished founder of the Montebello family, notably Marshal
Lannes’s gold-embroidered velvet saddle trappings, his portrait and that
of Marshal Gerard, as well as one of Napoleon I., by David, with a
handsome clock and candelabra of Egyptian design, a bust of Augustus
Cæsar, and a portrait of the Regent d’Orléans.

Another champagne house of standing at Mareuil is that of Bruch-Foucher
and Co., whose establishment is situated near the village mairie.
Entering by a lofty porte-cochère, we notice on the left hand a spacious
packing-room, where men and women are expeditiously completing some
shipping order, while beyond are the offices, looking on to a terraced
garden whence a pleasant view is gained of the verdant valley of the
Marne. From the packing-room a broad staircase leads to the cellars
beneath, which can also be reached from a venerable range of buildings
on the opposite side of the road, where young wines and old cognac
spirit, used in the preparation of the liqueur, are stored in the wood.

In one of these ancient celliers is a vast tun, capable of containing
nearly 5,000 gallons, carved over with an elaborate device of vineleaves
and bunches of grapes entwined around overflowing cornucopia and bottles
of champagne. This handsome cask, in which the firm make their _cuvée_,
is a worthy rival of the sole antique ornamental tun that still reposes
in the Royal cellars at Wurzburg. In Messrs. Bruch-Foucher and Co.’s
capacious cellars, faced and vaulted with stone, from eight to nine
hundred thousand bottles of wine are stored. The cellars form a single
story, and extend partly under the adjacent vineyard slopes, deriving
light and ventilation from numerous shafts which are occasionally no
less than 150 feet in height. Messrs. Bruch-Foucher and Co., who are
owners of vineyards at Mareuil, ship three qualities of champagne, the
finest being their Carte d’Or and their Monogram Carte Blanche. Their
chief business is with England, Germany, and the United States, where
their brands enjoy considerable repute.



Avize the Centre of the White Grape District-- Its Situation and
  Aspect-- The Establishment of Giesler and Co.-- The Tirage and the
  Cuvée-- Vin Brut in Racks and on Tables-- The Packing-Hall, the
  Extensive Cellars, and the Disgorging Cellier-- Bottle Stores and
  Bottle-Washing Machines-- Messrs. Giesler’s Wine-Presses at Avize
  and Vendangeoir at Bouzy-- Their Vineyards and their Purchases of
  Grapes-- Reputation of the Giesler Brand-- The Establishment of
  M. Charles de Cazanove-- A Tame Young Boar-- Boar-Hunting in the
  Champagne-- M. de Cazanove’s Commodious Cellars and
  Carefully-Selected Wines-- Vineyards Owned by Him and His Family--
  Reputation of his Wines in Paris and their Growing Popularity in
  England-- Interesting View from M. de Cazanove’s Terraced Garden--
  The Vintaging of the White Grapes in the Champagne-- Roper frères’
  Establishment at Rilly-la-Montagne-- Their Cellars Penetrated by
  Roots of Trees-- Some Samples of Fine Old Champagnes-- The Principal
  Châlons Establishments-- Poem on Champagne by M. Amaury de Cazanove.

Avize, situated in the heart of the Champagne white grape district, may
be reached from Epernay by road through Pierry and Cramant or by the
Châlons Railway to Oiry Junction, between which station and Romilly
there runs a local line, jocularly termed the _chemin de fer de
famille_, from the general disregard displayed by the officials for
anything approaching to punctuality. Avize can scarcely be styled a
town, and yet its growing proportions are beyond those of an ordinary
village. It lies pleasantly nestled among the vines, sheltered by bold
ridges on the north-west, with the monotonous plains of La Champagne
pouilleuse, unsuited to the cultivation of the vine, stretching away
eastward in the direction of Châlons. Avize cannot pretend to the same
antiquity as its neighbour Vertus, and lacks the many picturesque
vestiges of which the latter can boast. Its church dates back only to
the 15th century, although the principal doorway in the Romanesque style
evidently belongs to a much earlier epoch. There is a general air of
trim prosperity about the place, and the villagers have that well-to-do
appearance common to the inhabitants of the French wine districts. Only
at vintage time, however, are there any particular outdoor signs of
activity, although half a score of champagne firms have their
establishments here, giving employment to the bulk of the population,
and sending forth their two or three million bottles of the sparkling
wine of the Marne annually.


Proceeding along the straight level road leading from the station to the
village we encounter on our right hand the premises of Messrs. Giesler
and Co., the reputation of whose brand is universal. When M. Giesler
quitted the firm of P. A. Mumm, Giesler, and Co., at Reims, in 1838,
he removed to Avize and founded the present extensive establishment.
Entering through a large open gateway we find ourselves within a
spacious courtyard with a handsome dwelling-house in the rear, and all
the signs of a champagne business of magnitude apparent. A spiral
staircase conducts to the counting-house on the first story of a range
of buildings on the left hand, the ground floor of which is divided into
celliers. Passing through a door by the side of this staircase we enter
a large hall where the operation of bottling the wine is going on. Four
tuns, each holding five ordinary pièces of wine, and raised upon large
blocks of wood, are standing here, and communicating with them are
bottling syphons of the type commonly employed in the Champagne. Messrs.
Giesler do not usually consign the newly-bottled wine at once to the
cellars, but retain it aboveground for about a fortnight in order that
it may develop its effervescent qualities more perfectly. We find many
thousands of these bottles stacked horizontally in the adjoining
celliers, in one of which stands the great _cuvée_ tun wherein some
fifty hogsheads of the finest Champagne growths are blended together at
one time, two hundred hogsheads being thus mingled daily while the
_cuvées_ are in progress. The casks of wine having been hoisted from the
cellars to the first floor by a crane, and run on to a trough, their
bungs are removed, and the wine flows through an aperture in the floor
into the huge tun beneath, its amalgamation being accomplished by the
customary fan-shaped appliances, set in motion by the turning of a
wheel. In an adjacent room is the machine used for mixing the liqueur
which Messrs. Giesler add so sparingly to their light and fragrant

There are a couple of floors above these celliers, the uppermost of
which is used as a general store, while in the one beneath many
thousands of bottles of _vin brut_ repose _sur pointe_, either in racks
or on tables as at the Clicquot-Werlé establishment. This latter system
requires ample space, for as the _remueur_, or workman who shakes the
bottles, is only able to use one hand, the operation of dislodging the
sediment necessarily occupies a much longer time than is requisite when
the bottles rest in racks.


The buildings on the opposite side of the courtyard comprise a large
packing-hall, celliers where the wine is finished off, and rooms where
corks and such-like things are stored. Here, too, is the entrance to the
cellars, of which there are three tiers, all lofty and well-ventilated
galleries, very regular in their construction, and faced with either
stone or brick. In these extensive vaults are casks of fine reserved
wines for blending with youthful vintages, and bottles of _vin brut_,
built up in solid stacks, that may be reckoned by their hundreds of
thousands. At Messrs. Giesler’s the disgorging of the wine is
accomplished in a small cellier partially underground, and the
temperature of which is very cool and equable. The _dégorgeurs_,
isolated from the rest of the workpeople, are carrying on their
operations here by candlelight. So soon as the sediment is removed the
bottles are raised in baskets to the cellier above, where the
liqueuring, re-corking, stringing, and wiring are successively
accomplished. By pursuing this plan the loss sustained by the
disgorgement is believed to be reduced to a minimum.

Extensive as these premises are they are still insufficient for the
requirements of the firm, and across the road is a spacious building
where new bottles are stored and the washing of the bottles in
preparation for the tirage takes place. By the aid of the machinery
provided, sixteen women, assisted by a couple of men, commonly wash some
fifteen or sixteen thousand bottles in the course of a day. Here, too,
stands one of the two large presses with which at the epoch of the
vintage a hundred pièces of wine are pressed every four-and-twenty
hours. The remaining press is installed in a cellier at the farther end
of the garden on the other side of the road. Messrs. Giesler possess
additional presses at their vendangeoir at Bouzy, and during the vintage
have the command of presses at Ay, Verzenay, Vertus, Le Mesnil, &c., it
being a rule of theirs always to press the grapes within a few hours
after they are gathered to obviate their becoming bruised by their own
weight and imparting a dark colour to the wine, a contingency difficult
to guard against in seasons when the fruit is over-ripe. The firm own
vineyards at Avize, and have agreements with vine-proprietors at Ay,
Bouzy, Verzenay, and elsewhere, to purchase their crops regularly every
year. Messrs. Giesler’s brand has secured its existing high repute
solely through the fine quality of the wines shipped by the house--wines
which are known and appreciated by all real connoisseurs of champagne.

From Messrs. Giesler’s it is merely a short walk to the establishment of
M. Charles de Cazanove, situated in the principal street of Avize. On
entering the court we encountered a tame young boar engaged in the
lively pursuit of chasing some terrified hens, while a trio of
boarhounds, basking on the sunny flagstones, contemplated his
proceedings with lazy indifference. Boars abound in the woods
hereabouts, and hunting them is a favourite pastime with the residents,
and the young boar we had noticed proved to be one of the recent
captures of the sons of M. de Cazanove, who are among the warmest
partisans of the exciting sport. Many of the boars found in the woods
around Reims journey thither, it is said, by night from the famous
forest of the Ardennes--the scene of Rosalind’s wanderings and
Touchstone’s eccentricities as set forth in _As You Like It_, and whose
gloomy depths and tangled glens shelter to-day not merely boars but
wolves as well.

In the Champagne it is no longer the fashion

  “With javelin’s point a churlish swine to gore,”

nor to hunt the boar on horseback, as is still the case in Burgundy.
When the presence of one or more of these animals is signalled in the
neighbourhood, a party starts off accompanied by dogs and armed with
double-barrelled rifles. A circle having been formed round the boar’s
lair the dogs are set to draw him out, while the _chasseurs_ keep on the
alert so as not to allow him to escape through their circle alive. In
this manner a few score of boars are killed every year in the woods
round about Reims and Epernay.

  (p. 135.)]

The house of M. Charles de Cazanove was established in 1843 by its
present proprietor on the foundation of a business which had been in
existence since 1811. Compared with the monumental grandeur of some of
the great Reims and Epernay establishments the premises present a simple
and modest aspect, nevertheless they are capacious and commodious,
besides which the growing business of the house has led to the
acquisition of additional cellarage in other parts of Avize. More
important than all, however, is the quality of the wine with which these
cellars are stocked, and following the rule observed by champagne firms
of the highest repute, it has been a leading principle with M. de
Cazanove always to rely upon the choicer growths--those light, delicate,
and fragrant wines of the Marne which throw out the true aroma of the
flower of the vine. M. de Cazanove, who is distinguished for his
knowledge of viticulture, occupies an influential position at Avize,
being Vice-President of the Horticultural Society of the Marne, and a
member of the committee charged with guarding the Champagne vineyards
against the invasion of the phylloxera. His own vines include only those
fine varieties to which the crûs of the Marne owe their great renown.
He possesses an excellent vineyard at Grauves, near Avize, and his
mother-in-law, Madame Poultier, of Pierry, is one of the principal
vine-growers of the district.

M. de Cazanove’s wines are much appreciated in Paris, where his business
is very extensive. His shipments to England are also considerable, but
from the circumstance of some of his principal customers importing the
wine under special brands of their own, the brand of the house is not so
widely known as we should have expected.

From M. de Cazanove’s terraced garden in the rear of his establishment a
fine view is obtained of one of the most famous viticultural districts
of the Champagne, yielding wines of remarkable delicacy and exquisite
bouquet. On the left hand rises up the mountain of Avize, its summit
fringed with dense woods, where in winter the wild boar has his lair.
In front stretch the long vine-clad slopes of Cramant, with orchards at
their base, and the housetops of the village and the spire of the quaint
old church just peeping over the brow of the hill. To the right towers
the bold forest-crowned height of Saran with M. Moët’s château perched
half-way up its north-eastern slope, and fading away in the hazy
distance are the monotonous plains of the Champagne.

We have already explained that the wines of Avize and Cramant rank as
_premiers crûs_ of the white grape district, and that every champagne
manufacturer of repute mingles one or the other in his _cuvée_. The
white grapes are usually gathered a fortnight or three weeks later than
the black varieties, but in other respects the vintaging of them is the
same. The grapes undergo the customary minute examination by the
_éplucheuses_, and all unripe, damaged, and rotten berries being thrown
aside, the fruit is conveyed with due care to the press-houses in the
large baskets known as _paniers mannequins_. The pressing takes place
under exactly the same conditions as the pressing of the black grapes;
the must, too, is drawn off into hogsheads to ferment, and by the end of
the year, when the active fermentation has terminated, the wine is
usually clear and limpid.

At Rilly-la-Montagne, on the line of railway between Reims and Epernay,
Roper frères & Cie., late of Epernay, now have their establishment.
Starting from the latter place we pass Ay and Avenay, and then the
little village of Germaine in the midst of the forest, and nigh the
summit of the mountain of Reims, with its “Rendezvous des Chasseurs” in
immediate proximity to the station. Finally we arrive at Rilly, which,
spite of its isolated situation, has about it that aspect of prosperity
common to the more favourable wine districts of France. This is scarcely
surprising when the quality of its wines is taken into consideration.
The still red wine of Rilly has long enjoyed a high local reputation,
and to-day the Rilly growths are much sought after for conversion into
champagne. White wine of 1874 from black grapes fetched, we were
informed, as much as from 600 to 700 francs the pièce, while the finer
qualities from white grapes realised from 300 to 400 francs. Messrs.
Roper frères & Cie. are the owners of some productive vineyards situated
on the high road to Chigny and Ludes.

The establishment of Roper frères is adjacent to a handsome modern house
standing back from the road in a large and pleasant garden, bounded by
vineyards on two of its sides. In the celliers all the conveniences
pertaining to a modern champagne establishment are to be found, while
extending beneath the garden are the extensive cellars of the firm,
comprising two stories of long and spacious galleries excavated in the
chalk, their walls and roofs being supported whenever necessary by
masonry. A curious feature about these cellars is that the roots of the
larger trees in the garden above have penetrated through the roof of the
upper story and hang pendent overhead like innumerable stalactites. Here
after the comparatively new wine of 1874 had been shown to us--including
samples of the _Vin Brut_ or natural champagne of which the firm make a
speciality at a moderate price--some choice old champagnes were brought
forth, including the fine vintages of 1865, 1857, and 1846. The latter
wine had of course preserved very little of its effervescence, still its
flavour was exceedingly fine, being soft and delicate to a degree. At
the Vienna Exhibition of 1873 and the London Exhibition of 1874 the
collection of champagnes exhibited by Roper frères met with favourable
recognition from the international juries.

Our tour through the Champagne vineyards and wine-cellars here comes to
an end. It is true there are important establishments at Châlons,
notably those of Jacquesson et fils, the Perriers, Freminet et fils, and
Jacquard frères, the cellars of the first-named being, perhaps,
unrivalled in the Champagne. As, however, any description of these
establishments would be little else than a recapitulation of something
we have already said, we content ourselves with merely notifying their
existence, and bring our Facts about Champagne to a close with the
translation of a poem from the pen of M. Amaury de Cazanove of Avize:--


  Less for thy grace and glory, land of ours,
        Than for thy dolour, dear;
        Let the grief go, and here--
  Here’s to thy skies, thy women and thy flowers!
  France! take the toast, thy women and thy roses,
    France! to thy wine, more wealth unto thy store!
  And let the lips a grievous memory closes
    Smile their proud smile once more!

  Swarthy Falernian, Massica the Red,
        Were ye the nectars poured
        At the great gods’ broad board?
  No, poor old wines, all but in name long dead,
  Nectar’s Champagne, the sparkling soul of mirth,
    That bubbling o’er with laughing gas,
    Flashes gay sunbeams in the glass,
  And like our flag goes proudly round the earth.

  “I am the blood Burgundian sunshine makes;
        A fine old feudal knight
        Of bluff and boisterous might,
  Whose casque feels--ah, so heavy when one wakes!”
  “And I, the dainty Bordeaux, violets’
    Perfume, and whose rare rubies gourmets prize.
  My subtile savour gets
    In partridge wings its daintiest allies.”

  Ah, potent chiefs, Bordeaux and Burgundy.
        If we must answer make,
        This sober counsel take:
  Messeigneurs, sing your worth less haughtily,
  For ’tis Champagne, the sparkling soul of mirth,
    That bubbling o’er with laughing gas,
    Flashes gay sunbeams in the glass,
  And like our flag goes proudly round the earth.

  Aye, ’tis the true, the typic wine of France;
    Aye, ’tis our heart that sparkles in our eyes,
  And higher beats for every dire mischance;
    It was the wit that made our fathers wise,
      That made their valour gallant, gay,
  When plumes were stirr’d by winds of waving swords,
  And chivalry’s defiance spoke the words:
        “À vous, Messieurs les Anglais, les premiers!”

  Let the dull beer-apostle till he’s hoarse
        Vent his small spleen and spite,
        Fate fill his sleepless night
  With nightmares of invincible remorse!
  We sing Champagne, the sparkling soul of mirth,
    That bubbling o’er with laughing gas,
    Flashes gay sunbeams in the glass,
  And like our flag goes proudly round the earth.




The Sparkling Wines of the Loire often palmed off as Champagnes--
  The Finer qualities Improve with Age-- Anjou the Cradle of the
  Plantagenet Kings-- Saumur and its Dominating Feudal Château and
  Antique Hôtel de Ville-- Its Sinister Rue des Payens and Steep
  Tortuous Grande Rue-- The Vineyards of the Coteau of Saumur--
  Abandoned Stone Quarries converted into Dwellings-- The Vintage in
  Progress-- Old-fashioned Pressoirs-- The Making of the Wine-- The
  Vouvray Vineyards-- Balzac’s Picture of La Vallée Coquette-- The
  Village of Vouvray and the Château of Moncontour-- Vernou with its
  Reminiscences of Sully and Pépin-le-Bref-- The Vineyards around
  Saumur-- Remarkable Ancient Dolmens-- Ackerman-Laurance’s
  Establishment at Saint-Florent-- Their Extensive Cellars, Ancient
  and Modern-- Treatment of the Newly-Vintaged Wine-- The Cuvée--
  Proportions of Wine from Black and White Grapes-- The Bottling and
  Disgorging of the Wine and Finishing Operations-- The Château of
  Varrains and the Establishment of M. Louis Duvau aîné-- His Cellars
  a succession of Gloomy Galleries-- The Disgorging of the Wine
  accomplished in a Melodramatic-looking Cave-- M. Duvau’s Vineyard--
  His Sparkling Saumur of Various Ages-- Marked Superiority of the
  more Matured Samples-- M. Alfred Rousteaux’s Establishments at
  Saint-Florent and Saint-Cyr-- His convenient Celliers and extensive
  Cellars-- Mingling of Wine from the Champagne with the finer
  Sparkling Saumur-- His Vineyard at La Perrière-- M. E. Normandin’s
  Sparkling Sauternes Manufactory at Châteauneuf-- Angoulême and its
  Ancient Fortifications-- Vin de Colombar-- M. Normandin’s Sparkling
  Sauternes Cuvée-- His Cellars near Châteauneuf-- High recognition
  accorded to the Wine at the Concours Régional d’Angoulême.

After the Champagne Anjou is the French province which ranks next in
importance for its production of sparkling wines. Vintaged on the banks
of the Loire, these are largely consigned to the English and other
markets, labelled Crême de Bouzy, Sillery and Ay Mousseux, Cartes Noires
and Blanches, and the like, while their corks are branded with the names
of phantom firms, supposed to be located at Reims and Epernay. As a rule
these wines come from around Saumur, but they are not necessarily the
worse on that account, for the district produces capital sparkling
wines, the finer qualities of which improve greatly by being kept for a
few years. One curious thing shown to us at Saumur was the album of a
manufacturer of sparkling wines containing examples of the many hundred
labels ticketed with which his produce had for years past been sold. Not
one of these labels assigned to the wines the name of their real maker
or their true birthplace, but introduced them under the auspices of
mythical dukes and counts, as being manufactured at châteaux which are
so many “castles in Spain,” and as coming from Ay, Bouzy, Châlons,
Epernay, Reims, and Verzenay, but never by any chance from Saumur.


Being produced from robuster growths than the sparkling wines of the
Department of the Marne, sparkling saumur will always lack that
excessive lightness which is the crowning grace of fine champagne, still
it has only to be kept for a few years instead of being drunk shortly
after its arrival from the wine-merchant for its quality to become
greatly improved and its intrinsic value to be considerably enhanced. We
have drunk sparkling saumur that had been in bottle for nearly twenty
years, and found the wine not only remarkably delicate, but, singular to
say, with plenty of effervescence.

To an Englishman Anjou is one of the most interesting of the ancient
provinces of France. It was the cradle of the Plantagenet Kings, and
only ten miles from Saumur still repose the bones of Henry, the first
Plantagenet, and Richard of the Lion Heart, in the so-called Cimetière
des Rois of the historic abbey of Fontevrault. The famous vineyards of
the Coteau de Saumur, eastward of the town and bordering the Loire,
extend as far as here, and include the communes of Dampierre, Souzay,
Varrains, Chacé, Parnay, Turquant, and Montsoreau, the last-named within
three miles of Fontevrault, and chiefly remarkable through its seigneur
of ill-fame, Jean de Chambes, who instigated his wife to lure Boissy
d’Amboise to an assignation in order that he might more surely poignard
him. Saumur is picturesquely placed at the foot of this bold range of
heights near where the little river Thouet runs into the broad and rapid
Loire. A massive-looking old château perched on the summit of an
isolated crag stands out grandly against the clear sky and dominates the
town, the older houses of which crouch at the foot of the lofty hill and
climb its steepest sides. The restored antique Hôtel de Ville, in the
pointed style, with its elegant windows, graceful belfry, and florid
wrought-iron balconies, stands back from the quay bordering the Loire.
In the rear is the Rue des Payens, whither the last of the Huguenots of
this “metropolis of Protestantism,” as it was formerly styled, retired,
converting their houses into so many fortresses to guard against being
surprised by their Catholic adversaries. Adjacent is the steep tortuous
Grande Rue, of which Balzac--himself a Tourangeau--has given such a
graphic picture in his _Eugénie Grandet_, the scene of which is laid at
Saumur. To-day, however, only a few of its ancient carved timber houses,
quaint overhanging corner turrets, and fantastically-studded massive oak
doors have escaped demolition.

The vineyards of the Coteau de Saumur, yielding the finest wines, are
reached by the road skirting the river, the opposite low banks of which
are fringed with willows and endless rows of poplars, which at the time
of our visit were already golden with the fading tints of autumn.
Numerous fantastic windmills crown the heights, the summit of which is
covered with vines, varied by dense patches of woodland. Here, as
elsewhere along the banks of the Loire, the many abandoned quarries
along the face of the hill have been turned by the peasants into cosy
dwellings by simply walling-up the entrances while leaving, of course,
the necessary apertures for doors and windows. Dampierre, the first
village reached, has many of these cave-dwellings, and numbers of its
houses are picturesquely perched up the sides of the slope. The holiday
costumes of the peasant women encountered in the neighbourhood of Saumur
are exceedingly quaint, their elaborate and varied head-dresses being
counterparts of _coiffures_ in vogue so far back as three and four
centuries ago.

Quitting the banks of the river, we ascend a steep tortuous road shut in
on either side by high stone walls--for hereabouts all the best
vineyards are scrupulously inclosed--and finally reach the summit of the
heights, whence a view is gained over what the Saumurois proudly style
the grand valley of the Loire. Everywhere around the vintage is going
on. The vines are planted rather more than a yard apart, and those
yielding black grapes are trained, as a rule, up tall stakes, although
some few are trained espalier fashion. Women dexterously detach the
bunches with pruning-knives and throw them into the _seilles_--small
squat buckets with wooden handles--the contents of which are emptied
from time to time into baskets--the counterpart of the chiffonnier’s
_hotte_, and coated with pitch inside so as to close all the crevices of
the wickerwork--which the _portes-bastes_ carry slung to their backs.
When white wine is being made from black grapes for sparkling saumur the
grapes are conveyed in these baskets forthwith to the underground
pressoirs in the neighbouring villages before their skins get at all
broken in order that the wine may be as pale as possible in colour.

The black grape yielding the best wine in the Saumur district is the
breton, said to be the same as the carbinet-sauvignon, the leading
variety in the grand vineyards of the Médoc. Other species of black
grapes cultivated around Saumur are the varennes, yielding a soft and
insipid wine of no kind of value, and the liverdun, or large gamay, the
prevalent grape in the Mâconnais, and the same which in the days of
Philippe-le-Hardi the _parlements_ of Metz and Dijon interdicted the
planting and cultivation of. The prevalent white grapes are the large
and small pineau blanc, the bunches of the former being of an
intermediate size, broad and pyramidal in shape, and with the berries
close together. These have fine skins, are oblong in shape, and of a
transparent yellowish-green hue tinged with red, are very sweet and
juicy, and as a rule ripen late. As for the small pineau, the bunches
are less compact, the berries are round and of a golden tint, are finer
as well as sweeter in flavour, and ripen somewhat earlier than the fruit
of the larger variety.

We noticed as we drove through the villages of Champigny and
Varrains--the former celebrated for its fine red wines, and more
especially its crû of the Clos des Cordeliers--that hardly any of the
houses had windows looking on to the narrow street, but that all were
provided with low openings for shooting the grapes into the cellar
where, when making red wine, they are trodden, but when making white
wine, whether from black or white grapes, they are invariably pressed.
Each of the houses had its ponderous porte-cochère and low narrow portal
leading into the large inclosed yard at its side, and over the high
blank walls vines were frequently trained and pleasantly varied their
dull grey monotony.

The grapes on being shot into the openings just mentioned fall through a
kind of tunnel into a reservoir adjacent to the heavy press, which is
invariably of wood and of the old-fashioned cumbersome type. They are
forthwith placed beneath the press and usually subjected to five
separate squeezes, the must from the first three being reserved for
sparkling wine, while that from the two latter, owing to its being more
or less deeply tinted, only serves for table wine. The must is at once
run off into casks in order that it may not ferment on the grape-skins
and imbibe any portion of their colouring matter. Active fermentation
speedily sets in and lasts for a fortnight or three weeks according to
whether the temperature chances to be high or low.

The vintaging of the white grapes takes place about a fortnight later
than the black grapes, and is commonly a compound operation, the best
and ripest bunches being first of all gathered just as the berries begin
to get shrivelled and show symptoms of approaching rottenness. It is
these selected grapes that yield the best wine. The second gathering,
which follows shortly after the first, includes all the grapes remaining
on the vines, and yields a wine perceptibly inferior in quality. The
grapes on their arrival at the press-house are generally pressed
immediately and the must is run off into tuns to ferment. At the
commencement these tuns are filled up every three or four days to
replace the fermenting must which has flowed over; afterwards any waste
is made good at the interval of a week, and then once a fortnight, the
bungholes of the casks being securely closed towards the end of the
year, by which time the first fermentation is over.

It should be noted that the Saumur sparkling wine manufacturers draw
considerable supplies of the white wine required to impart lightness and
effervescence to their _vin préparé_ from the Vouvray vineyards. Vouvray
borders the Loire a few miles from the pleasant city of Tours, which
awakens sinister recollections of truculent Louis XI., shut up in his
fortified castle of Plessis-lez-Tours, around which Scott has thrown the
halo of his genius in his novel of _Quentin Durward_. On proceeding to
Vouvray from Tours we skirt a succession of poplar-fringed meadows
stretching eastward in the direction of Amboise along the right bank of
the Loire; and after a time a curve in the river discloses to view a
range of vine-clad heights extending some distance beyond the village of
Vouvray. Our route lies past the picturesque ruins of the abbey of
Marmoûtier and the Château des Roches--one of the most celebrated
castles of the Loire--the numerous excavations in the soft limestone
ridge on which they are perched being converted as usual into houses,
magazines, and wine-cellars. We proceed through the village of
Rochecorbon, and along a road winding among the spurs of the Vouvray
range, past hamlets, half of whose inhabitants live in these primitive
dwellings hollowed out of the cliff, and finally enter the charming
Vallée Coquette, hemmed in on all sides with vine-clad slopes. Here a
picturesque old house, half château half homestead, was pointed out to
us as a favourite place of sojourn of Balzac, who speaks of this rocky
ridge as “inhabited by a population of vine-dressers, their houses of
several stories being hollowed out in the face of the cliff, and
connected by dangerous staircases hewn in the soft stone. Smoke curls
from most of the chimneys which peep above the green crest of vines,
while the blows of the cooper’s hammer resound in several of the
cellars. A young girl trips to her garden over the roofs of these
primitive dwellings, and an old woman, tranquilly seated on a ledge of
projecting rock, supported solely by the thick straggling roots of the
ivy which spreads itself over the disjointed stones, leisurely turns her
spinning-wheel regardless of her dangerous position.” The picture
sketched by the author of _La Comédie Humaine_, some forty years ago,
has scarcely changed at the present day.

At the point where the village of Vouvray climbs half-way up the
vine-crested ridge the rapid-winding Cise throws itself into the Loire,
and on crossing the bridge that spans the tributary stream we discern on
the western horizon, far beyond the verdant islets studding the swollen
Loire, the tall campaniles of Tours Cathedral, which seem to rise out of
the water like a couple of Venetian towers. Vouvray is a trim little
place, clustered round about with numerous pleasant villas in the midst
of charming gardens. The modern château of Moncontour here dominates the
slope, and its terraced gardens, with, their fantastically-clipped trees
and geometric parterres, rise tier above tier up the face of the
picturesque height that overlooks the broad fertile valley, with its
gardens, cultivated fields, patches of woodland, and wide stretches of
green pasture which, fringed with willows and poplars, border the
swollen waters of the Loire. Where the river Brenne empties itself into
the Cise the Coteau de Vouvray slopes off towards the north, and there
rise up the vine-clad heights of Vernou, yielding a similar but inferior
wine to that of Vouvray. The village of Vernou is nestled under the
hill, and near the porch of its quaint little church a venerable elm
tree is pointed out as having been planted by Sully, Henry IV.’s able
Minister. Here, too, an ancient wall, pierced with curious arched
windows, and forming part of a modern building, is regarded by popular
tradition as belonging to the palace in which Pépin-le-Bref, father of
Charlemagne, lived at Vernou.

The communes of Dampierre, Souzay, and Parnay, in the neighbourhood of
Saumur, produce still red wines rivalling those of Champigny, besides
which all the finest white wines are vintaged hereabouts--in the
Perrière, the Poilleux, and the Clos Morain vineyards, and in the
Rotissans vineyard at Turquant. Wines of very fair quality are also
grown on the more favourable slopes extending southwards along the
valley of the Thouet, and comprised in the communes of Varrains, Chacé,
St. Cyr-en-Bourg, and Brézé. The whole of this district, by the way,
abounds with interesting archæological remains. While visiting the
vineyards of Varrains and Chacé we came upon a couple of
dolmens--vestiges of the ancient Celtic population of the valley of the
Loire singularly abundant hereabouts. Brézé, the marquisate of which
formerly belonged to Louis XVI.’s famous grand master of the
ceremonies--immortalized by the rebuff he received from Mirabeau--boasts
a noble château on the site of an ancient fortress, in connection with
which there are contemporary excavations in the neighbouring limestone,
designed for a garrison of 500 or 600 men. Beyond the vineyards of
Saint-Florent, westward of Saumur and on the banks of the Thouet, is an
extensive plateau partially overgrown with vines, where may be traced
the remains of a Roman camp. Moreover, in the southern environs of
Saumur, in the midst of vineyards producing exclusively white wines,
is one of the most remarkable dolmens known. This imposing structure,
perfect in all respects save that one of the four enormous stones which
roof it in has been split in two, and requires to be supported, is no
less than 65 feet in length, 23 feet in width, and 10 feet high.


At Saint-Florent, the pleasant little suburb of Saumur, skirting the
river Thouet, and sheltered by steep hills formed of soft limestone,
offering great facilities for the excavation of extensive cellars, the
largest manufacturer of Saumur sparkling wines has his establishment.
Externally this offers but little to strike the eye. A couple of
pleasant country houses, half hidden by spreading foliage, stand at the
two extremities of a spacious and well-kept garden, beyond which one
catches a glimpse of some outbuildings sheltered by the vine-crowned
cliff, in which a labyrinth of gloomy galleries has been hollowed out.
Here M. Ackerman-Laurance, the extent of whose business ranks him as
second among the sparkling wine manufacturers of the world, stores
something like 10,000 casks and several million bottles of wine.

At the commencement of the present century, in the days when, as Balzac
relates in his _Eugénie Grandet_, the Belgians bought up entire vintages
of Saumur wine, then largely in demand with them for sacramental
purposes, the founder of the Saint-Florent house commenced to deal in
the ordinary still wines of the district. Nearly half a century ago he
was led to attempt the manufacture of sparkling wines, but his efforts
to bring them into notice failed, and he was on the point of abandoning
his enterprise when an order for one hundred cases revived his hopes,
and led to the foundation of the present vast establishment. As already
mentioned, for many miles all the heights along the Loire have been more
or less excavated for stone for building purposes, so that every one
hereabouts who grows wine or deals in it has any amount of cellar
accommodation ready to hand. It was the vast extent of the galleries
which M. Ackerman _père_ discovered already excavated at Saint-Florent
that induced him to settle there in preference to Saumur. Extensive,
however, as the original vaults were, considerable additional
excavations have from time to time been found necessary; and to-day the
firm is still further increasing the area of its cellars, which already
comprise three principal avenues, each the third of a mile long, and no
fewer than sixty transverse galleries, the total length of which is
several miles. One great advantage is that the whole are on the ordinary


Ranged against the black uneven walls of the more tortuous ancient
vaults which give access to these labyrinthine corridors are thousands
of casks of wine--some in single rows, others in triple tiers--forming
the reserve stock of the establishment. As may be supposed, a powerful
vinous odour permeates these vaults, in which the fumes of wine have
been accumulating for the best part of a century. After passing beneath
a massive stone arch which separates the old cellars from the new,
a series of broad and regularly-proportioned galleries are reached,
having bottles stacked in their tens of thousands on either side.
Overhead the roof is perforated at regular intervals with circular
shafts, affording both light and ventilation, and enabling the
temperature to be regulated to a nicety. In these lateral and transverse
galleries millions of bottles of wine in various stages of preparation
are stacked.

We have explained that in the Champagne it is the custom for the
manufacturers of sparkling wine to purchase considerable quantities of
grapes from the surrounding growers, and to press these themselves, or
have them pressed under their own superintendence. At Saumur only those
firms possessing vineyards make their own _vin brut_, the bulk of the
wine used for conversion into sparkling wine being purchased from the
neighbouring growers. On the newly-expressed must arriving at
M. Ackerman-Laurance’s cellars it is allowed to rest until the
commencement of the ensuing year, when half of it is mixed with wine in
stock belonging to last year’s vintage, and the remaining half is
reserved for mingling with the must of the ensuing vintage. The blending
is accomplished in a couple of colossal vats hewn out of the rock, and
coated on the inside with cement. Each of these vats is provided with
200 paddles for thoroughly mixing the wine, and with five pipes for
drawing it off when the amalgamation is complete. Usually the _cuvée_
will embrace 1,600 hogsheads, or 80,000 gallons of wine, almost
sufficient for half a million bottles. A fourth of this quantity can be
mixed in each vat at a single operation, and this mixing is repeated
again and again until the last gallon run off is of precisely the same
type as the first. For the finer qualities of sparkling saumur the
proportion of wine from the black grapes to that from white is generally
at the rate of three or four to one. For the inferior qualities more
wine from white than from black grapes is invariably used. Only in the
wine from white grapes is the effervescent principle retained to any
particular extent; but, on the other hand, the wine from black grapes
imparts both quality and vinous character to the blend.

The blending having been satisfactorily accomplished, the wine is stored
in casks, never perfectly filled, yet with their bungholes tightly
closed, and slowly continues its fermentation, eating up its sugar,
purging itself, and letting fall its lees. Three months later it is
fined. It is rarely kept in the wood for more than a year, though
sometimes the superior qualities remain for a couple of years in cask.
Occasionally it is even bottled in the spring following the vintage;
still, as a rule, the bottling of sparkling saumur takes place during
the ensuing summer months, when the temperature is at the highest as
this insures to it a greater degree of effervescence. At the time of
bottling its saccharine strength is raised to a given degree by the
addition of the finest sugar-candy, and henceforward the wine is
subjected to precisely the same treatment as is pursued with regard to

It is in a broad but sombre gallery of the more ancient vaults--the
roughly-hewn walls of which are black from the combined action of
alcohol and carbonic acid gas--that the processes of disgorging the wine
of its sediment, adding the syrup, filling up the bottles with wine to
replace that which gushes out when the disgorging operation is
performed, together with the re-corking, stringing, and wiring of the
bottles, are carried on. The one or two adjacent shafts impart very
little light, but a couple of resplendent metal reflectors, which at a
distance one might fancy to be some dragon’s flaming eyes, combined with
the lamps placed near the people at work, effectually illuminate the


Another considerable manufacturer of sparkling saumur is M. Louis Duvau
aîné, owner of the château of Varrains, in the village of the same name,
at no great distance from the Coteau de Saumur. His cellars adjoin the
château, a picturesque but somewhat neglected structure of the last
century, with sculptured medallions in high relief above the lower
windows, and florid vases surmounting the mansards in the roof. In front
is a large rambling court shaded with acacia and lime trees, and
surrounded by outbuildings, prominent among which is a picturesque
dovecote, massive at the base as a martello tower, and having an elegant
open stone lantern springing from its bell-shaped roof. The cellars are
entered down a steep incline under a low stone arch, the masonry above
which is overgrown with ivy in large clusters and straggling creeping
plants. We soon come upon a deep recess to the right, wherein stands a
unique cumbersome screw-press, needing ten or a dozen men to work the
unwieldy capstan which sets the juice flowing from the crushed grapes
into the adjacent shallow trough. On our left hand are a couple of
ancient reservoirs, formed out of huge blocks of stone, with the
entrance to a long vaulted cellar filled with wine in cask. We advance
slowly in the uncertain light along a succession of gloomy galleries
with moisture oozing from their blackened walls and roofs, picking our
way between bottles of wine stacked in huge square piles and rows of
casks ranged in tiers. Suddenly a broad flood of light shooting down a
lofty shaft throws a Rembrandtish effect across a spacious and most
melodramatic-looking cave, roughly hewn out of the rock, and towards
which seven dimly-lighted galleries converge. On all sides a scene of
bustling animation presents itself. From one gallery men keep arriving
with baskets of wine ready for the disgorger; while along another
bottles of wine duly dosed with syrup are being borne off to be
decorated with metal foil and their distinctive labels. Groups of
workmen are busily engaged disgorging, dosing, and re-corking the
newly-arrived bottles of wine; corks fly out with a succession of loud
reports suggestive of the irregular fire of a party of skirmishers;
a fizzing, spurting, and spluttering of the wine next ensues, and is
followed by the incessant clicking of the various apparatus employed in
the corking and wiring of the bottles.

Gradual inclines conduct to the two lower tiers of galleries, for the
cellars of M. Duvau consist of as many as three stories. Down below
there is naturally less light, and the temperature, too, is sensibly
colder. Advantage is taken of this latter circumstance to remove the
newly-bottled wine to these lower vaults whenever an excessive
development of carbonic acid threatens the bursting of an undue
proportion of bottles, a casualty which among the Saumur sparkling wine
manufacturers ranges far higher than with the manufacturers of
champagne. For the economy of time and labour a lift, raised and lowered
by means of a capstan worked by horses, is employed to transfer the
bottles of wine from one tier of cellars to another.

The demand for sparkling saumur is evidently on the increase, for
M. Duvau, at the time of our visit, was excavating extensive additional
cellarage. The subsoil at Varrains being largely composed of marl, which
is much softer than the tufa of the Saint-Florent coteau, necessitated
the roofs of the new galleries being worked in a particular form in
order to avoid having recourse to either brickwork or masonry. Tons of
this excavated marl were being spread over the soil of M. Duvau’s
vineyard in the rear of the château, greatly, it was said, to the
benefit of the vines, whose grapes were all of the black variety;
indeed, scarcely any wine is vintaged from white grapes in the commune
of Varrains.

At M. Duvau’s we went through a complete scale of sparkling saumurs,
commencing with the younger and less matured samples, and ascending step
by step to wines a dozen and more years old. Every year seemed to
produce an improvement in the wine, the older varieties gaining greatly
in delicacy and softening very perceptibly in flavour.

Another sparkling saumur manufacturer of note is M. Alfred Rousteaux,
to-day the sole proprietor of the well-known brand of Morlet and
Rousteaux, a firm established for many years at Saint-Florent.
M. Rousteaux’s cellars here are excavated in the tufa cliff which rises
behind the little suburban village, and are all on one level. The
galleries, though somewhat winding and irregular, are broad and roomy,
and in them about 400,000 bottles of wine undergoing the necessary
treatment are piled up in stacks or placed _sur pointe_. The original
firm had only been in existence a few years when they found that their
Saint-Florent establishment was inadequate to the requirements of a
largely-increasing business, and they started the branch establishment
of La Perrière at Saint-Cyr, near Tours, but on the opposite bank of the
Loire. Here are a handsome residence and gardens, a spacious court, and
convenient celliers where the bottling of the wine is effected, together
with extensive and well-constructed cellars in which a like quantity of
wine to that contained in the cellars at Saint-Florent is stored. With
his finer sparkling wines M. Rousteaux mixes a certain proportion of
wine from the Champagne district, and thus secures a degree of lightness
unattainable when the _cuvée_ is exclusively composed of Saumur
vintages. At La Perrière M. Rousteaux has a vineyard of upwards of sixty
acres, yielding the best wine of the district, which is noted, by the
way, for its excellent growths. Hereabouts a succession of vineyard
slopes stretch from one to another of the many historic châteaux along
this portion of the Loire, the romantic associations of which render the
Touraine one of the most interesting provinces of France. Near Tours
besides the vineyards of Saint-Cyr are those of Joué and Saint-Avertin;
the two last situate on the opposite bank of the Cher, where the little
town of Joué, perched on the summit of a hill in the midst of vineyards,
looks over a vast plain known by the country people as the Landes de
Charlemagne, the scene, according to local tradition, of Charles
Martel’s great victory over the Saracens. The Saint-Avertin vineyards
extend towards the east, stretching almost to the forest of Larçay, on
the borders of the Cher, where Paul Louis Courier, the famous vigneron
pamphleteer of the Restoration, noted alike for his raillery, wit, and
satire, fell beneath the balls of an assassin. A noticeable crû in the
neighbourhood of Tours is that of Cinq Mars, the ruined château of which
survives as a memorial of the vengeance of Cardinal Richelieu, who,
after having sent its owner to the scaffold, commanded its massive walls
and towers to be razed “_à hauteur d’infamie_” as we see them now.

Finding that sparkling wines were being made in most of the
wine-producing districts of France, where the growths were sufficiently
light and of the requisite quality, Messrs. E. Normandin and Co.
conceived the idea of laying the famous Bordeaux district under
contribution for a similar purpose, and, aided by a staff of experienced
workmen from Epernay, they have succeeded in producing a sparkling
sauternes. Sauternes, as is well known, is one of the finest of white
wines, soft, delicate, and of beautiful flavour, and its transformation
into a sparkling wine has been very successfully accomplished. Messrs.
Normandin’s head-quarters are in the thriving little town of
Châteauneuf, in the pleasant valley of the Charente, and within fifteen
miles of Angoulême, a famous old French town, encompassed by ancient
ramparts and crumbling corner towers, and which, dominated by the lofty
belfry of its restored semi-Byzantine cathedral, rising in a series of
open arcades, spreads itself picturesquely out along a precipitous
height, watered at its base by the rivers Anguienne and Charente.
Between Angoulême and Châteauneuf vineyard plots dotted over with walnut
trees, or simple rows of vines divided by strips of ripening maize, and
broken up at intervals by bright green pastures, line both banks of the
river Charente. The surrounding country is undulating and picturesque.
Poplars and elms fringe the roadsides, divide the larger fields and
vineyards, and screen the cosy-looking red-roofed farmhouses, which
present to the eyes of the passing tourist a succession of pictures of
quiet rural prosperity.


Châteauneuf communicates with the Sauternes district by rail, so that
supplies of wine from there are readily obtainable. Vin de
Colombar--a famous white growth which English and Dutch cruisers used to
ascend the Charente to obtain cargoes of when the Jerez wines were shut
out from England by the Spanish War of Succession--vintaged principally
at Montignac-le-Coq, also enters largely into Messrs. Normandin and
Co.’s sparkling sauternes _cuvée_. This colombar grape is simply the
semillon--one of the leading varieties of the Sauternes
district--transported to the Charente. The remarkably cool cellars where
the firm store their wine, whether in wood or bottle, have been formed
from some vast subterranean galleries whence centuries ago stone was
quarried, and which are situated about a quarter of an hour’s drive from
Châteauneuf, in the midst of vineyards and cornfields. The wine is
invariably bottled in a cellier at the head establishment, but it is in
these cellars where it goes through the course of careful treatment
similar to that pursued with regard to champagne.


In order that the delicate flavour of the wine may be preserved the
liqueur is prepared with the finest old sauternes, without any addition
of spirit, and the dose is administered with the most improved modern
appliance, constructed of silver, and provided with crystal taps. At the
Concours Régional d’Angoulême of 1877, the jury, after recording that
they had satisfied themselves by the aid of a chemical analysis that the
samples of sparkling sauternes submitted to their judgment were free
from any foreign ingredient, awarded to Messrs. Normandin and Co. the
only gold medal given in the Group of Alimentary Products.

Encouraged, no doubt, by the success obtained by Messrs. Normandin and
Co. with their sparkling sauternes, the house of Lermat-Robert and Co.,
of Bordeaux, have recently introduced a sparkling barsac, samples of
which were submitted to the jury at the Paris Exhibition of 1878.



Sparkling Wines of the Côte d’Or at the Paris Exhibition--
  Chambertin, Romanée, and Vougeot-- Burgundy Wines and Vines formerly
  the Presents of Princes-- Vintaging Sparkling Burgundies-- Their
  After-Treatment in the Cellars-- Excess of Breakage-- Similarity of
  Proceeding to that followed in the Champagne-- Principal
  Manufacturers of Sparkling Burgundies-- Sparkling Wines of Tonnerre,
  the birthplace of the Chevalier d’Eon-- The Vin d’Arbanne of
  Bar-sur-Aube-- Death there of the Bastard de Bourbon-- Madame de la
  Motte’s Ostentatious Display and Arrest there-- Sparkling Wines of
  the Beaujolais-- The Mont-Brouilly Vineyards-- Ancient Reputation of
  the Wines of the Jura-- The Vin Jaune of Arbois beloved of Henri
  Quatre-- Rhymes by him in its Honour-- Lons-le-Saulnier-- Vineyards
  yielding the Sparkling Jura Wines-- Their Vintaging and Subsequent
  Treatment-- Their High Alcoholic Strength and General Drawbacks.

Sparkling wines are made to a considerable extent in Burgundy, notably
at Beaune, Nuits, and Dijon, and though as a rule heavier and more
potent than the subtile and delicate-flavoured wines of the Marne, still
some of the higher qualities, both of the red and white varieties,
exhibit a degree of refinement which those familiar only with the
commoner kinds can scarcely form an idea of. At the Paris Exhibition of
1878 we tasted, among a large collection of the sparkling wines of the
Côte d’Or, samples of Chambertin, Romanée, and Vougeot of the highest
order. Although red wines, they had the merit of being deficient in that
body which forms such an objectionable feature in sparkling wines of a
deep shade of colour. M. Regnier, the exhibitor of sparkling red
vougeot, sent, moreover, a white sparkling wine from the species of
grape known locally as the clos blanc de Vougeot. These wines, as well
as the Chambertin, came from the Côte de Nuits, the growths of which are
generally considered of too vigorous a type for successful conversion
into sparkling wine, preference being usually given to the produce of
the Côte de Beaune. Among the sparkling burgundies from the last-named
district were samples from Savigny, Chassagne, and Meursault, all famous
for their fine white wines.

Burgundy ranks as one of the oldest viticultural regions of Central
Europe, and for centuries its wines have been held in the highest
renown. In the Middle Ages both the wines and vines of this favoured
province passed as presents from one royal personage to another, just as
grand _cordons_ are exchanged between them now-a-days. The fabrication
of sparkling wine, however, dates no further back than some sixty years
or so. The system of procedure is much the same as in the Champagne,
and, as there, the wine is mainly the produce of the pineau noir and
pineau blanc varieties of grape. At the vintage, in order to avoid
bruising the ripened fruit and to guard against premature fermentation,
the grapes are conveyed to the pressoirs in baskets instead of the large
oval vats termed _balonges_, common to the district. They are placed
beneath the press as soon as possible, and for superior sparkling wines
only the juice resulting from the first pressure and known as the _mère
goutte_, or mother drop, is employed. For the ordinary wines that
expressed at the second squeezing of the fruit is mingled with the
other. The must is at once run off into casks which have been previously
sulphured to check, in a measure, the ardour of the first fermentation
and lighten the colour of the newly-made wine. Towards the end of
October, when this first fermentation is over, the wine is removed to
the cellars, or to some other cool place, and in December it is racked
into other casks. In the April following it is again racked to insure
its being perfectly clear at the epoch of bottling in the month of May.
The sulphuring of the original casks having had the effect of slightly
checking the fermentation and retaining a certain amount of saccharine
in the wine, it is only on exceptional occasions that the latter is
artificially sweetened previous to being bottled.


A fortnight after the tirage the wine commonly attains the stage known
as _grand mousseux_, and by the end of September the breakage will have
amounted to between 5 and 8 per cent., which necessitates the taking
down the stacks of bottles and piling them up anew. The wine as a rule
remains in the cellars for fully a couple of years from the time of
bottling until it is shipped. Posing the bottles _sur pointe_, agitating
them daily, together with the disgorging and liqueuring of the wine, is
accomplished precisely as in the Champagne.

Among the principal manufacturers of sparkling burgundies are Messrs.
André and Voillot, of Beaune, whose sparkling white Romanée, Nuits, and
Volnay are well and favourably known in England; M. Louis Latour, also
of Beaune, and equally noted for his sparkling red Volnay, Nuits, and
Chambertin, as for his sparkling white varieties; Messrs. Maire et fils,
likewise of Beaune; M. Labouré-Goutard and Messrs. Geisweiller et fils,
of Nuits; Messrs. Marey and Liger-Belair, of Nuits and Vôsne; and
M. Regnier, of Dijon.

In the department of the Yonne--that is, in Lower Burgundy--sparkling
wines somewhat alcoholic in character have been made for the last
half-century at Tonnerre, where the Chevalier d’Eon, that enigma of his
epoch, was born. The Tonnerre vineyards are of high antiquity, and for
sparkling wines the produce of the black and white pineau and the white
morillon varieties of grape is had recourse to. The vintaging is
accomplished with great care, and only the juice which flows from the
first pressure is employed. This is run off immediately into casks which
are hermetically closed when the fermentation has subsided. The
after-treatment of the wine is the same as in the Champagne. Sparkling
wines are likewise made at Epineuil, a village in the neighbourhood of
Tonnerre, and at Chablis, so famous for its white wines, about ten miles

An effervescing wine known as the Vin d’Arbanne is made at Bar-sur-Aube,
some fifty miles north-east of Tonnerre, on the borders of Burgundy, but
actually in the province of Champagne, although far beyond the limits to
which the famed viticultural district extends. It was at Bar-sur-Aube
where the Bastard de Bourbon, chief of the sanguinary gang of
_écorcheurs_ (flayers), was sewn up in a sack and flung over the parapet
of the old stone bridge into the river beneath by order of Charles VII.;
and here, too, Madame de la Motte, of Diamond Necklace notoriety, was
married, and in after years made a parade of the ill-gotten wealth she
had acquired by successfully fooling that infatuated libertine the
Cardinal Prince de Rohan, until her ostentatious display was cut short
by her arrest. This Vin d’Arbanne is produced from pineaux and white
gamay grapes, which, after being gathered with care at the moment the
dew falls, are forthwith pressed. The wine is left on its lees until the
following February, when it is racked and fined, the bottling taking
place when the moon is at the full in March.

Red and white sparkling wines are made to a small extent at Saint-Lager,
in the Beaujolais, from wine vintaged in the Mont-Brouilly vineyards,
one of the best known of the Beaujolais crûs. Mont-Brouilly is a lofty
hill near the village of Cercie, and is covered from base to summit on
all its sides with vines of the gamay species, rarely trained at all,
but left to trail along the ground at their own sweet will. At the
vintage, as we witnessed it, men and women--young, middle-aged, and
old--accompanied by troops of children, were roaming all over the slopes
dexterously nipping off the bunches of grapes with their thumb and
finger nails and flinging them into the little wooden tubs with which
they were provided. The pressing of the grapes and the after-treatment
of the wine destined to become sparkling are the same in the Beaujolais
as in Upper and Lower Burgundy.

The red, straw, and yellow wines of the Jura have long had a high
reputation in the East of France, and the _vin jaune_ of Arbois, an
ancient fortified town on the banks of the Cuisance, besieged and sacked
in turn by Charles of Amboise, Henri IV., and Louis XIV., was one of the
favourite beverages of the tippling Béarnais who styled himself Seigneur
of Ay and Gonesse, and who acquired his liking for it while sojourning
during the siege of Arbois at the old Château des Arsures. In one of
Henri Quatre’s letters to his minister Sully we find him observing,
“I send you two bottles of Vin d’Arbois, for I know you do not detest
it.” A couple of other bottles of the same wine are said to have
cemented the king’s reconciliation with Mayenne, the leader of the
League, and the lover of La Belle Gabrielle is moreover credited with
having composed at his mistress’s table some doggrel rhymes in honour of
the famous Jura crû:--

  “Come, little page, serve us aright,
    The crown is often heavy to bear;
  So fill up my goblet large and light
    Whenever you find a vacancy there.
  This wine is surely no Christian wight,
    And yet you never complaint will hear
    That it’s not baptised with water clear.
        Down my throat I pour
        The old Arbois;
  And now, my lords, let us our voices raise,
  And sing of Silenus and Bacchus the praise!”

In more modern times the Jura, not content with the fame of the historic
yellow wines of Arbois and the deservedly-esteemed straw wines of
Château-Châlon, has produced large quantities of sparkling wine, the
original manufacture of which commenced as far back as a century ago.
To-day the principal seats of the manufacture are at Arbois and
Lons-le-Saulnier, the latter town the capital of the department and one
of the most ancient towns of France. Originally founded by the Gauls on
the banks of the Vallière, in a little valley bordered by lofty hills,
which are to-day covered with vines, it was girded round with
fortifications by the Romans. Subsequently the Huns and the Vandals
pillaged it; then the French and the Burgundians repeatedly contested
its possession, and it was only definitively acquired by France during
the reign of Louis XIV. Rouget de l’Isle, the famous author of the
“Marseillaise,” was born at Lons-le-Saulnier, and here also Marshal Ney
assembled and harangued his troops before marching to join Napoleon,
whom he had promised Louis XVIII. to bring back to Paris in an iron

The vineyards whence the principal supplies for these sparkling wines
are derived are grouped at varying distances around Lons-le-Saulnier at
L’Etoile, Quintigny, Salins, Arbois, St. Laurent-la-Roche, and Pupillin,
with the Jura chain of mountains rising up grandly on the east. The best
vineyards at L’Etoile--which lies some couple of miles from
Lons-le-Saulnier, surrounded by hills, planted from base to summit with
vines--are La Vigne Blanche, Montmorin, and Montgenest. At Quintigny,
the wines of which are less potent than those of Arbois, and only retain
their effervescent properties for a couple of years, the Paridis,
Prémelan, and Montmorin vineyards are held in most repute, while at
Pupillin, where a soft agreeable wine is vintaged, the principal
vineyards are the Faille and the Clos. The vine cultivated for the
production of sparkling wines are chiefly the savagnin, or white pineau,
the melon of Poligny, and the poulsard, a black variety of grape held
locally in much esteem.


At the vintage, which commences towards the end of October and lasts
until the middle of the following month, all the rotten or unripe grapes
are carefully set aside and the sound ones only submitted to the action
of a screw-press. After the must has flowed for about half-an-hour the
grapes are newly collected under the press and the screw again applied.
The produce of this double operation is poured into a vat termed a
_sapine_, where it remains until bubbles are seen escaping through the
_chapeau_ that forms on the surface of the liquid. The must is then
drawn off--sometimes after being fined--into casks, which the majority
of wine-growers previously impregnate with the fumes of sulphur. When in
cask the wine is treated in one of two ways; either the casks are kept
constantly filled to the bunghole, causing the foam which rises to the
surface during the fermentation to flow over, and thereby leave the wine
comparatively clear, or else the casks are not completely filled, in
which case the wine requires to be racked several times before it is in
a condition for fining. This latter operation is effected about the
commencement of February, and a second fining follows if the first one
fails to render the wine perfectly clear. At the tirage, which
invariably takes place in April, the Jura wines rarely require any
addition of sugar to insure an ample effervescence. After bottling they
are treated in exactly the same manner as the vintages of the Marne are
treated by the great champagne manufacturers. In addition to white
sparkling wine a pink variety, with natural effervescent properties, is
made by mixing with the savagnin and melon grapes a certain proportion
of the poulsard species, from which the best red wines of the Jura are

One of the principal sparkling wine establishments at Lons-le-Saulnier
is that of M. Auguste Devaux, founded in the year 1860. He manufactures
both sweet and dry wines, which are sold largely in France and elsewhere
on the Continent, and have lately been introduced into England. Their
alcoholic strength is equivalent to from 25° to 26° of proof spirit,
being largely above the dry sparkling wines of the Champagne, which the
Jura manufacturers regard as a positive advantage rather than an obvious
drawback. M. Devaux’s principal brand is the Fleur de l’Etoile, of
which, he has white, pink, and amber-coloured varieties, quoted by him
at merely three francs the bottle for the grand years.

Besides being too spirituous, the sparkling wines of the Jura are
deficient in refinement and delicacy. The commoner kinds, indeed,
frequently have a pronounced unpleasant flavour, due to the nature of
the soil, to careless vinification, or to the inferior quality of
liqueur with which the wines have been dosed. Out of some fifty samples
of all ages and varieties which in my capacity of juror I tasted at the
Paris Exhibition I cannot call to mind one that a real connoisseur of
sparkling wines would care to admit to his table.



Sparkling Wines of Auvergne, Guienne, Dauphiné, and Languedoc--
  Sparkling Saint-Péray the Champagne of the South-- Valence with its
  Reminiscences of Pius VI. and Napoleon I.-- The “Horns of Crussol”
  on the Banks of the Rhône-- Vintage Scene at Saint-Péray-- The Vines
  and Vineyards Producing Sparkling Wine-- Manipulation of Sparkling
  Saint-Péray-- Its Abundance of Natural Sugar-- The Cellars of M. de
  Saint-Prix and Samples of his Wines-- Sparkling Côte-Rotie,
  Château-Grille, and Hermitage-- Annual Production and Principal
  Markets of Sparkling Saint-Péray-- Clairette de Die-- The Porte
  Rouge of Die Cathedral-- How the Die Wine is Made-- The Sparkling
  White and Rose-Coloured Muscatels of Die-- Sparkling Wines of
  Vercheny and Lagrasse-- Barnave and the Royal Flight to Varennes--
  Narbonne formerly a Miniature Rome, now Noted merely for its Wine
  and Honey-- Fête of the Black Virgin at Limoux-- Preference given to
  the New Wine over the Miraculous Water-- Blanquette of Limoux and
  How it is Made-- Characteristics of this Overrated Wine.

Sparkling wines are made after a fashion in several of the southern
provinces of France--in Auvergne, at Clermont-Ferrand, under the shadow
of the lofty Puy de Dôme; in Guienne, at Astaffort, the scene of a
bloody engagement during the Wars of Religion in which the Protestant
army was cut to pieces when about to cross the Garonne; at Nérac, where
frail Marguerite de Valois kept her dissolute Court, and Catherine de
Médicis brought her flying squadron of fascinating maids of honour to
gain over the Huguenot leaders to the Catholic cause; and at Cahors, the
Divina, or divine fountain of the Celts, and the birthplace of Pope John
XXII., of Clement Marot, the early French poet, and of Léon Gambetta; in
Dauphiné, at Die, Saint-Chef, Saint-Péray, and Largentière, so named
after some abandoned silver mines, and where the vines are cultivated
against low walls rising in a series of terraces from the base to the
summit of the lofty hills; and in Languedoc, at Brioude, where St.
Vincent, the patron saint of the vinedressers, suffered martyrdom, and
where it is the practice to expose the must of the future sparkling wine
for several nights to the dew in order to rid it of its reddish colour;
also at Linardie, and, more southward still, at Limoux, whence comes the
well-known effervescing Blanquette.

Principal among the foregoing is the excellent wine of Saint-Péray,
commonly characterised as the champagne of the South of France. The
Saint-Péray vineyards border the Rhône some ten miles below the
Hermitage coteau--the vines of which are to-day well-nigh destroyed by
the phylloxera--but are on the opposite bank of the river. Our visit to
Saint-Péray was made from Valence, in which dull southern city we had
loitered in order to glance at the vast Hôtel du Gouvernement--where
octogenarian Pius VI., after being spirited away a prisoner from Rome
and hurried over the Alps in a litter by order of the French Directory,
drew his last breath while silently gazing across the rushing river at
the view he so much admired--and to discover the house in the Grande
Rue, numbered 4, in an attic of which history records that Napoleon I.,
when a sub-lieutenant of artillery in garrison at Valence, resided, and
which he quitted owing three and a-half francs to his pastrycook.

We crossed the Rhône over one of its hundred flimsy suspension bridges,
on the majority of which a notice warns you neither to smoke nor run,
and were soon skirting the base of a lofty, bare, precipitous rock, with
the “horns of Crussol,” as the peasants term two tall pointed gables of
a ruined feudal château, perched at the dizzy edge, and having a
perpendicular fall of some five or six hundred feet below. The château,
which formerly belonged to the Dukes of Uzès, recognised by virtue of
the extent of their domains as _premiers pairs de France_, was not
originally erected in close proximity to any such formidable precipice.
The crag on which it stands had, it seems, been blasted from time to
time for the sake of the stone, until on one unlucky occasion when too
heavy a charge of powder was employed, the entire side of the rock,
together with a considerable portion of the château itself, were sent
flying into the air. The authorities, professing to regard what remained
of the edifice as an historical monument of the Middle Ages, hereupon
stepped in and prohibited the quarry being worked for the future.

Passing beneath the cliff, one wound round to the left and dived into a
picturesque wooded dell at the entrance to a mountain pass, then crossed
the rocky bed of a dried-up stream and drove along an avenue of
mulberry-trees, which in a few minutes conducted us to Saint-Péray,
where one found the vintage in full operation. Carts laden with tubs
filled with white and purple grapes, around which wasps without number
swarmed, were arriving from all points of the environs and crowding the
narrow streets. Any quantity of grapes were seemingly to be had for the
asking, for all the pretty girls in the place were gorging themselves
with the luscious-looking fruit. In the coopers’ yards bran-new casks
were ranged in rows in readiness for the newly-made wine, and through
open doorways, and in all manner of dim recesses, one caught sight of
sturdy men energetically trampling the gushing grapes under their bare
feet, and of huge creaking wine-presses reeking with the purple juice.
It was chiefly common red wine, of an excellent flavour, however, that
was being made in these nooks and corners, the sparkling white wine,
known as Saint-Péray, being manufactured in larger establishments, and
on more scientific principles. It is from a white species of grape known
as the petite and grosse rousette--the same which yields the white
Hermitage--that the champagne of the south is produced, and the
vineyards where they are cultivated occupy all the more favourable
slopes immediately outside the village, the most noted being the
Coteau-Gaillard, Solignaes, Thioulet, and Hungary.

Although there is a close similarity between the manufacture of
champagne and the effervescing wine of Saint-Péray, there are still one
or two noteworthy variations. For a wine to be sparkling it is requisite
that it should ferment in the bottle, a result obtained by bottling it
while it contains a certain undeveloped proportion of alcohol and
carbonic acid, represented by so much sugar, of which they are the
component parts. This ingredient has frequently to be added to the
Champagne wines to render them sparkling, but the wine of Saint-Péray in
its natural state contains so much sugar that any addition would be
deleterious. This excess of saccharine enables the manufacturer to
dispense with some of the operations necessary to the fabrication of
champagne, which, after fermenting in the cask, requires a second
fermentation to be provoked in the bottle, whereas the Saint-Péray wine
ferments only once, being bottled immediately it comes from the

The deposit in the wine after being impelled towards the neck of the
bottle is got rid of by following the same system as is pursued in the
Champagne, but no liqueur whatever is subsequently added to the wine. On
the other hand, it is a common practice to reduce the over-sweetness of
sparkling Saint-Péray in years when the grapes are more than usually
ripe by mixing with it some old dry white wine.

At Saint-Péray we visited the cellars of M. de Saint-Prix, one of the
principal wine-growers of the district. The samples of effervescing wine
which he produced for us to taste were of a pale golden colour, of a
slightly nutty flavour, and with a decided suggestion of the spirituous
essence known to be concentrated in the wine, one glass of which will go
quite as far towards elevating a person as three glasses of champagne.
Keeping the wine for a few years is said materially to improve its
quality, to the sacrifice, however, of its effervescent properties.
M. de Saint-Prix informed us that he manufactured every year a certain
quantity of sparkling Côte-Rotie, Château-Grillé, and Hermitage. The
principal markets for the Saint-Péray sparkling wines--the production of
which falls considerably short of a million bottles per annum--are
England, Germany, Russia, Holland, and Belgium.


The other side of the Rhône is fruitful in minor sparkling wines, chief
amongst which is the so-called Clairette de Die, made at the town of
that name, a place of some splendour, as existing antiquities show, in
the days of the Roman dominion in Gaul. Later on, Die was the scene of
constant struggles for supremacy between its counts and bishops, one of
the latter having been massacred by the populace in front of the
cathedral doorway--ever since known by the sinister appellation of the
Porte Rouge--and Catholics and Huguenots alike devastated the town in
the troublesome times of the Reform. Clairette de Die is made
principally from the blanquette or malvoisie variety of grape, which,
after the stalks have been removed, is both trodden with the feet and
pressed. The must is run off immediately into casks, and four-and-twenty
hours later it is racked into other casks, a similar operation being
performed every two or three days for the period of a couple of months,
when the fermentation having subsided the wine is fined and usually
bottled in the following March. Newly-made Clairette de Die is a sweet
sparkling wine, but it loses its natural effervescence after a couple of
years, unless it has been treated in the same manner as champagne, which
is rarely the case. The wine enjoys a reputation altogether beyond its

In addition to the well-known Clairette, some of the wine-growers of Die
make sparkling white and rose-coloured muscatels of superior quality,
which retain their effervescent properties for several years.
A sparkling wine is also made some ten miles from Die, on the road to
Saillans, in a district bounded on the one side by the waters of the
Drôme, and on the other by strange mountains with helmet-shaped crests.
The centre of production is a locality called Vercheny, composed of
several hamlets, one of which, named Le Temple, was the original home of
the family of Barnave. The impressionable young deputy to the National
Assembly formed one of the trio sent to bring back the French royal
family from Varennes after their flight from Paris. It will be
remembered how, under the influence of Marie Antoinette and Madame
Elizabeth, Barnave became transformed during the journey into a faithful
partisan of their unhappy cause, and that he eventually paid the penalty
of his devotion with his life.

In the extreme south of France, and almost under the shadow of the
Pyrenees, a sparkling wine of some repute is made at a place called
Lagrasse, about five-and-twenty miles westward of Narbonne, the
once-famous Mediterranean city, the maritime rival of Marseilles, and in
its palmy days, prior to the Christian era, a miniature Rome, with its
capitol, its curia, its decemvirs, its consuls, its prætors, its
questors, its censors, and its ediles, and which boasted of being the
birthplace of three Roman Emperors. To-day Narbonne has to content
itself with the humble renown derived from its delicious honey and its
characterless full-bodied red wines. Limoux, so celebrated for its
Blanquette, lies a long way farther to the west, behind the Corbières
range of mountains that join on to the Pyrenees, and the jagged peaks,
deep barren gorges, and scarred sides of which have been witness of many
a desperate struggle during the century and a half when they formed the
boundary between France and Spain.

We arrived at Limoux just too late for the famous fête of the Black
Virgin, which lasts three weeks, and attracts crowds of southern
pilgrims to the chapel of Our Lady of Marseilles, perched on a little
hill some short distance from the town, with a fountain half-way up it,
whose water issues drop by drop, and has the credit of possessing
unheard-of virtues. The majority of pilgrims, however, exhibit a decided
preference for the new-made wine over the miraculous water, and for
one-and-twenty days something like a carnival of inebriety prevails at

Blanquette de Limoux derives its name from the species of grape it is
produced from, and which we believe to be identical with the malvoisie,
or malmsey. Its long-shaped berries grow in huge bunches, and dry
readily on the stalks. The fruit is gathered as tenderly as possible,
care being taken that it shall not be in the slightest degree bruised,
after which it is spread out upon a floor to admit of the sugar it
contains becoming perfect. The bad grapes having been carefully picked
out, and the pips extracted from the remaining fruit, the latter is now
trodden, when the must, after being filtered through a strainer, is
placed in casks, where it remains fermenting for about a week, during
which time any overflow is daily replenished by other must reserved for
the purpose. The wine is again clarified and placed in fresh casks with
the bungholes only lightly closed until all sensible fermentation has
ceased, when they are securely fastened up. The bottling takes place in
the month of March, and the wine is subsequently treated much after the
same fashion as sparkling Saint-Péray, excepting that it is generally
found necessary to repeat the operation of _dégorgement_ three, if not
as many as four times.

Blanquette de Limoux is a pale white wine, the saccharine properties of
which have become completely transformed into carbonic acid gas and
alcohol. It is, consequently, both dry and spirituous, deficient in
delicacy, and altogether proves a great disappointment. At its best it
may, perhaps, rank with sparkling Saint-Péray, but unquestionably not
with any average champagne.



Origin of Sparkling Hock and Moselle-- Sparkling German Wines First
  Made on the Neckar-- Heilbronn, and Gotz von Berlichingen of the
  Iron Hand-- Lauteren of Mayence and Rambs of Trèves turn their
  attention to Sparkling Wines-- Change of late years in the Character
  of Sparkling Hocks and Moselles-- Difference between them and
  Moussirender Rheinwein-- Vintaging of Black and White Grapes for
  Sparkling Wine-- The Treatment which German Sparkling Wines
  Undergo-- Artificial Flavouring and Perfuming of Sparkling
  Moselles-- Fine Natural Bouquet of High Class Sparkling Hocks--
  Impetus given to the Manufacture of German Sparkling Wines during
  the Franco-German War-- Annual Production-- Deinhard and Co.’s
  Splendid New Cellars at Coblenz-- The Firm’s Collection of Choice
  Rhine and Moselle Wines-- Their Trade in German Sparkling Wines--
  Their Sources of Supply-- The Vintaging and After-Treatment of their
  Wines-- Characteristics of their Sparkling Hocks and Moselles.

The reader is by this time aware that sparkling wines are not indebted
for their effervescent properties to any particular variety of vine or
quality of soil, although some species of grapes yield a wine possessing
a higher degree of effervescence than others. Any wine, in fact, can be
rendered sparkling, although only wines of a certain lightness of body
and which are at the same time delicate and clean to the taste--being
devoid of anything approaching to a _goût de terroir_--are really suited
to the purpose. Given a wine containing sufficient saccharine, either
natural or applied, and duly regulate its temperature, and it is easy
enough to render it sparkling. The Germans discovered this long ago when
they first transformed the acidulous wines of the Rhine into what we
term sparkling hocks.

The rise of this industry dates from the epoch of the final downfall of
Napoleon I., when the officers of the armies of occupation acquired more
than a passing liking for the exhilarating products of Clicquot and
Moët, carrying it, in fact, home with them, and so disseminating a taste
for the sparkling wines of France throughout the North of Europe. In
Germany the wealthy few only were able to indulge in it, and the
consumption was for a long time exceedingly limited. When, however,
after many years of peace, riches began to accumulate, some shrewd men
set themselves to ascertain whether the German wines could not be
rendered sparkling like the French. This was satisfactorily and speedily
settled in the affirmative; but the great difficulty was to find the
requisite capital for the large preliminary investment necessary to the
establishment of a manufactory of sparkling wine on even a moderate
scale, and from which no return could be counted on for the first three
years. Eventually this was overcome; but the new wines, being in the
first instance altogether different in character from champagne, found
but little favour in the country of their production. It was different,
however, in England, where they speedily succeeded in establishing
themselves under the designations of sparkling hock and sparkling
moselle, and from this time forward they have retained their position in
the English market.

It is generally asserted that sparkling wines were first manufactured in
Germany more than half a century ago from the inferior Neckar grape both
at Esslingen and Heilbronn--the latter rendered memorable by the
exploits of Götz von Berlichingen, whose iron hand distributed blows
which effectually “cured headache, toothache, and every other human
malady.” Subsequently, towards 1830, a former _chef de cave_ at Madame
Clicquot’s establishment at Reims came to Herr Lauteren, of Mayence, and
suggested to him to engage in the manufacture of sparkling Rhine wines,
a proposal which the latter soon afterwards profited by; and eight years
later Herr Rambs, of Trèves, vineyard proprietor and wine-merchant,
aided by a French cellarman, made the earliest attempt to manufacture
sparkling moselles, their first trials in this direction resulting in a
breakage amounting to fifty per cent.

For some years the great anxiety of manufacturers of sparkling hocks was
to render their wines as much as possible like champagne, which was only
to be accomplished by disguising their true flavour and dosing them
largely with syrup. In this form they satisfied, and indeed still
satisfy, their German and Russian consumers; but of late years England
has set the example of a decided preference for the drier kinds of
sparkling wines, the result being that the character of the wines
destined for the English market has undergone a complete change.


Next to its sweetness the principal difference between German champagne,
or Moussirender Rheinwein as it is usually called, for Continental
consumption, and sparkling hocks designed for the English and other
markets, consists in the former being made principally from black
grapes, pressed immediately they are gathered and not allowed to ferment
in their skins, while the latter are made almost exclusively from white
grapes. The vineyards yielding the black grapes used for these sparkling
wines are mainly situated at Ingelheim, midway between Bingen and
Mayence, and in the Ahr valley, between Coblenz and Cologne. At the
black grape vintage, which precedes the gathering of the white varieties
by some three or four weeks, the fruit is conveyed to the press in high
tubs, carried on men’s backs, and holding about 40lbs. apiece. The old
wooden presses are mostly employed, although of late small transportable
presses with iron screws, and of French manufacture, are coming into
use. In order that the wine may be pale in colour, the grapes, which,
like those of the Champagne, are of the pineau variety, are pressed as
soon as possible after the gathering; the pressure applied is, moreover,
rapid and not too strong, and the must is separated forthwith from the
skins and stalks. On the other hand, the white grapes used in the making
of German sparkling wine, and which are almost exclusively of the
far-famed riesling species, are treated precisely as when making still
Rhine wine--that is, they are crushed in the vineyards by means of
grape-mills, and afterwards pressed in the usual way. The must for
sparkling wines, whether from black or white grapes, is run at once into
casks to ferment. If possible it is conveyed in large casks known as
stucks--immediately after the pressing, and before fermentation
begins--to the manufacturer’s cellars in town; but if this cannot be
accomplished it remains in the cellars of the district until the first
fermentation is over, which is in December or January. It is then racked
off its lees, and the produce of black and white grapes is blended
together, only a small proportion of the former entering into the
composition of true sparkling hock, which should retain in a marked
degree the subtile and fragrant perfume of the riesling grape.

The process pursued in the manufacture of sparkling hocks is the same as
that followed with regard to champagnes. The quantity of grape sugar
generated in these Northern German latitudes being far from large, both
hocks and moselles invariably need a small addition of saccharine,
previous to their being put into bottle, to insure the requisite
effervescence, whereas in the Champagne the practice of adding sugar
with this object is not the uniform rule. After the wine is bottled it
remains in a cool cellar for eighteen months or a couple of years, being
constantly shaken during this period, in the same way as champagne, in
order to force the sediment to deposit itself near to the cork. By this
time the added as well as the natural sugar contained in the wine has
become converted into alcohol and carbonic acid; and after the sediment
has been expelled from the bottle the operation of dosing, or
flavouring, the wine takes place.

Sparkling hocks intended both for the German and Russian markets are
frequently almost cloying in their sweetness, as much as one-fifth of
syrup being often added to four-fifths of wine. The sparkling moselles,
too, for Russia, and not unfrequently for England also, are largely
dosed with the preparation of elder-flowers, which imparts to them their
well-known muscatel flavour and perfume. The manufacturers say they are
doing their best to abandon this absurd practice of artificially
perfuming sparkling moselles; but many of their customers, and
especially those in the English provinces, stipulate for the scented
varieties, possibly from an erroneous belief in their superiority.
Effervescing Rhine wines of the highest class have a marked and refined
flavour, together with a very decided natural bouquet. Moreover, they
retain their effervescent properties for a considerable time after being
uncorked, and appear to the taste as light, if not precisely as
delicate, as the finer champagnes, although in reality such is not the
case; for all sparkling hocks possess greater body than even the
heaviest champagnes, and cannot, therefore, be drunk with equal freedom.

Great impetus was given to the manufacture of German sparkling wines
during the war of 1870, when the Champagne was in a measure closed to
the outside world. At this epoch the less scrupulous manufacturers,
instigated by dishonest speculators, boldly forged both the brands on
the corks and the labels on the bottles of the great Reims and Epernay
firms, and sent forth sparkling wines of their own production to the
four quarters of the globe as veritable champagnes of the highest class.
The respectable houses acted more honestly, and, as it turned out, with
better policy, for by maintaining their own labels and brands they
extended the market for their produce, causing German sparkling wines to
be introduced under their true names into places where they had never
penetrated before, the result being a considerable increase in the
annual demand, even after the stores of the champagne manufacturers were
again open to all the world.

Owing to this increased demand, and the deficient supply of suitable
Rhine wines at a moderate price, the manufacturers of sparkling hocks
are reduced to buy much of their raw wine at a distance, and are to-day
large purchasers of the growths of the Palatinate, which are less
delicate than the vintages of the Rheingau, besides being deficient in
that fine aroma which distinguishes genuine hock. A leading manufacturer
computes that between four-and-a-half and five million bottles of
sparkling wine are made annually in Germany, where there are no fewer
than fifty manufacturing establishments. The principal market is Great
Britain, which consumes some two millions of bottles annually; a million
bottles are drunk at home; while the remainder is divided among the
North of Europe, the United States, India, Australia, China, and Japan.
The cheapness of these wines is, no doubt, largely in their favour.

At Coblenz, the capital of Rhenish Prussia, and one of the strongest
fortresses in the world, the so-called blue Moselle mingles its waters
with those of the Rhine, and hence the original Roman name of
Confluentia. With so favourable a situation it is not surprising that
the city should be the abode of several important firms trading in the
wines of the two rivers. At the head of these is the well-known house of
Deinhard and Co., dealing extensively both in the magnificent still
vintages of the Rheingau and the Moselle, and the higher-class sparkling
wines of these districts. In the resident partner, Herr Julius Wegeler,
I was pleased to meet again my courteous colleague of the Wine Jury of
the Vienna Exhibition, and accompanied by him I went over their
establishment on the Clemens Platz--one of the most perfect and
admirably appointed in Germany. The firm was founded in 1798 by Herr
F. Deinhard, who in 1806, when Coblenz was in the hands of the French,
secured a ninety-nine years’ lease of some cellars under an old convent
at the low rental of 30 francs per annum, and to-day this curious
document exists amongst the archives of the firm. Rents of wine-cellars
were low enough in those days of uncertainty and peril, when commerce
was at a standstill and Europe gazed panic-stricken on the course of
warlike events; nevertheless, for such a trifle as 30 francs a year of
course no very extensive entrepôt could have been rented. To-day Messrs.
Deinhard’s new cellars on the Clemens Platz alone cover an area of
nearly 43,000 square feet, besides which they have several other vaults
stored with wine in various quarters of the city, the whole giving
employment to upwards of eighty workmen and a score of coopers. Their
Clemens Platz establishment was only completed in the autumn of 1875,
when it was formally inaugurated in presence of the Empress Augusta, who
left behind her the following graceful memento of her visit:--

  “In grateful attachment to Coblenz, in full appreciation of a work
  which does honour to the town and to the firm, I wish continued
  prosperity to both.


    “German Empress and Queen of Prussia.”



The proximity of the establishment to the Rhine did not allow of the
cellars being excavated to a greater depth than 30 feet below the
surface--a mere trifle when compared with the depth of many vaults in
the Champagne. Any lower excavation, however, would have been attended
with danger, and as it is, when the Rhine rose to an unusual height in
March, 1876, the water percolated through the soil and inundated the
lower cellars to a height of 5 feet. Above these vaults is a
corresponding range of buildings of picturesque design and substantial
construction, divided like the cellars into three aisles, each 210 feet
in length and 23 feet broad. One of the arches of the façade looking on
to the courtyard is decorated with a graceful and characteristic
bas-relief, an engraving of which is subjoined.


The cellars, containing 1,400 stucks, as they are termed, of still
wines--the stuck being equal to 1,500 bottles--present a striking
appearance with their long vistas of vaulted arcades, admirably built of
brick, and illuminated by innumerable gas jets, aided by powerful
reflectors at the extremities of the three aisles. The capacious
elliptical-headed casks, ranged side by side in uninterrupted sequence,
contain the choicest German vintages, including the grand wines of the
Rheingau--Johannisberger, Steinberger, Rudesheimer, Rauenthaler, and the
like; the red growths of Assmannshausen and Walporzheim; Deidesheimers,
with rare bouquets and of tender tonical flavour; Liebfrauenmilch, of
flowery perfume; the finest Moselles from Josefshof and Scharzhofberg,
Brauneberg and Berncastel, with other growths too numerous to mention,
of grand years, and from the best situations.

The sparkling wines stored in separate vaults form to-day an important
item in Messrs. Deinhard’s business. In 1843 the firm made their first
cuvée, consisting of less than 10,000 bottles. Four years later their
cuvée amounted to over 50,000 bottles. A falling off was shown during
the revolutionary epoch, and business only recovered its normal
condition in 1851, since which time it has gradually increased as the
wines have grown in favour, until in 1875 the tirage of 1874 vintage
wines exceeded half a million bottles.

Messrs. Deinhard draw their supplies of wine from white grapes, for
conversion into sparkling wines, from the Rhine, the Main, the Moselle,
and the Palatinate, giving preference to the produce of the riesling
grape, as to this the wine is indebted for its natural bouquet. The
proportion of wine from black grapes, mingled with the other wines, is
vintaged by themselves in the Ahr valley and at Ingelheim on the Rhine.
The Ahr, in summer a rippling streamlet and in winter a rushing torrent,
falls into the Rhine about twenty miles below Coblenz. The soil of the
neighbouring hills seems peculiarly adapted for the growth of black
grapes, one of the best of German red wines being produced in the
vineyards adjacent to the village of Walporzheim. In order that the wine
may be as pale as possible, the black grapes are pressed as soon after
gathering as they can be, and only the juice resulting from the first
pressure is reserved, the subsequently extracted must being sold to the
small growers of the neighbourhood. The newly-made wine is brought in
casks to Coblenz, and rests for eight weeks while completing its
fermentation. It is then racked into stucks and double stucks, and is
blended in casks of the latter capacity during the early part of the
following year, great care being taken to preserve the bouquet of the
white grapes, with which view, contrary to the practice followed in the
Champagne, only a moderate proportion of wine from black grapes enters
into the blend.


Next comes the fining, and four weeks afterwards the wine is newly
racked. The bottling takes place during May or June, when any deficiency
of natural saccharine in the wine is supplied by the addition of pure
sugar-candy. At Messrs. Deinhard’s the wine is bottled at a temperature
of 72° Fahr., and the bottles remain resting on large stone tables until
the fermentation is completed, and the saccharine is converted into
alcohol and carbonic acid gas. This result is commonly obtained in
ordinary hot weather in eight days’ time, most of the breakage taking
place during this interval. If on being tested with a manometer the wine
should indicate too high a pressure, it is at once removed to a cool
cellar, consequently the average total breakage rarely exceeds 2¼ per
cent. The wine is now left quiet for at least a year, and if possible
for two years, after which the bottles are placed on stands in the
customary inverted position, and shaken daily for a period of six weeks,
in order to dislodge the sediment and force it against the cork. German
workmen are far less expert at this operation than their fellows in the
Champagne, as few of the former can manage more than their
four-and-twenty thousand bottles per diem. The disgorgement and
liqueuring of the wine is accomplished at Messrs. Deinhard’s and other
German establishments in precisely the same fashion as is followed in
the Champagne.


The dry sparkling hocks we tasted here had the real riesling flavour and
the fine natural perfume common to this grape. In preparing them no
attempt had been made to imitate champagne; but, on the other hand,
every care had been taken to preserve the true hock character with its
distinguishing freshness of taste combined with a lightness which wines
containing liqueur in excess could never have exhibited. The sparkling
moselles, too, depended not on any imparted muscatel flavour and
perfume, but on their own natural bouquet and the flavour they derive
from the schistous soil in which these wines are grown.



From Coblenz to Rüdesheim-- Ewald and Co.’s Establishment and its
  Pleasant Situation-- Their Fine Vaulted Cellars and Convenient
  Accessories-- Their Supplies of Wine drawn from the most favoured
  Localities-- The Celebrated Vineyards of the Rheingau-- Eltville and
  the extensive Establishment of Matheus Müller-- His Vast Stocks of
  Still and Sparkling German Wines-- The Vineyards laid under
  contribution for the latter-- M. Müller’s Sparkling Johannisberger,
  Champagne, and Red Sparkling Assmannshauser-- The Site of
  Gutenberg’s Birthplace at Mayence occupied by the Offices and
  Wine-cellars of Lauteren Sohn-- The Sparkling Wine Establishment of
  the Firm, and their Fine Collection of Hocks and Moselles-- The
  Hochheim Sparkling Wine Association-- Foundation of the
  Establishment-- Its Superior Sparkling Hocks and Moselles-- The
  Sparkling Wine Establishments of Stock and Sons at Creuznach in the
  Nahe Valley, of Kessler and Co. at Esslingen, on the Neckar, and of
  M. Oppmann at Wurzburg-- The Historic Cellars of the King of Bavaria
  beneath the Residenz-- The Establishment of F. A. Siligmüller.


Ascending the Rhine from Coblenz--past many an ancient ruined castle,
past restored Stolzenfels, the historic Königs-stuhl, the romantic
Liebenstein and Sterrenberg, the legendary Lurlei, the tribute-exacting
Pfalz, and the old town of Bacharach, famous in the Middle Ages for its
wine mart--we eventually come to Lorch, where the Wisper brook flows
into the Rhine, and the grand wine-producing district known as the
Rheingau begins. A few miles higher up are the vineyards of
Assmannshausen, dominated by the Niederwald, and yielding the finest red
wine in all Germany. Then passing by Bishop Hatto’s legendary tower we
emerge from the gorge of the Rhine and soon reach Rüdesheim, crouched at
the foot of lofty terraced vineyards, which, according to doubtful
tradition, were planted with Burgundy and Orleans vines by Charlemagne.
Rüdesheim, like other antiquated little Rhine-side towns, boasts its
ancient castle with its own poetical legend, while many modern houses
have sprung up there of late years, and signs of further development are
apparent on all sides. In the outskirts of the town there are a couple
of sparkling wine establishments, the one nigh the railway station on
the western side belonging to Messrs. Dietrich and Co., while eastwards
on a picturesque slope overlooking the Rhine, and in the midst of
extensive pleasure-grounds, is the establishment of Messrs. Ewald and
Co., who date from the year 1858, and rank to-day amongst the leading
shippers of sparkling hocks and moselles to England.


Here are handsome and capacious buildings aboveground, and two floors of
cellars comprising five vaults, each 160 feet in length and 30 feet
broad. The lower vaults, 40 feet from the surface, are arched over and
walled with stone, while the upper ones are faced with brick, both being
floored with concrete and slanting towards the centre to allow of the
wine from bottles that have burst running off. Each range of cellars is
separately ventilated by shafts, generally kept open in winter and
closed in the summer so as to maintain a temperature not exceeding 47°
Fahr. in the lower cellars and under 52° in those above. Moreover, with
the view of conducing to this result the cellars have an ice well
communicating with them.

Late in the spring, when the newly-bottled wine indicates a sufficient
number of atmospheres to insure a satisfactory effervescence, it is
deposited in the lower vaults, the upper ones being devoted to reserve
wines in wood and wines awaiting the process of disgorgement, or
undergoing their daily shaking in order to force the deposit against the
cork. Aboveground there are rooms for storing the liqueur, the corks,
and the packing-cases, and in a spacious apartment, provided with three
lifts for communicating with the cellars beneath, the wine is blended
and bottled, and in due time disgorged and packed. In very warm weather,
however, it is found preferable for the disgorging and its attendant
operations to be performed in the cooler temperature of the cellars.
Messrs. Ewald formerly tested the strength of their bottles with a
manometer before using them, but for some time past they have given up
the practice, feeling convinced that it was productive of more harm than
good. Glass is an amorphous and unelastic substance which, although it
will stand a high pressure once, often succumbs when put to a second
test by the action of the fermenting wine. The firm calculate their
annual breakage at from 2½ to 3 per cent.

Messrs. Ewald being installed almost in the heart or the Rheingau can
readily draw their supplies of wine from the most favoured localities.
Johannisberg is within a few miles of Rüdesheim, and in those years
when, owing to the grapes not having thoroughly ripened, the wine is
only of intermediate value as a still wine, it serves admirably for
conversion into sparkling wine, retaining as it does its powerful
bouquet. Ingelheim, too, noted for its vineyards of black grapes, whose
produce is much sought after for blending with the finer sparkling Rhine
wines, is only a few miles higher up the river, on the opposite bank.
The drier varieties of sparkling hocks and moselles shipped by Messrs.
Ewald to England have the merit of retaining all the fine flavour and
natural perfume of the higher-class growths from which, as a rule, these
wines are prepared.


Above Rüdesheim the waters of the Rhine expand, the left bank of the
river, if still lofty, is no longer precipitous, while the right
continues almost flat so soon as the Rochusberg is left behind. Between
here and Eltville all the more celebrated vineyards of the Rheingau are
passed in rapid succession--Geisenheim-Rothenberg, Johannisberg,
Steinberg, Marcobrunn, Kiedrich-Grafenberg, Rauenthal, and others. At
Eltville--the former capital of the Rheingau, and where Gunther, of
Schwarzburg, resigned his crown to Charles IV., and died poisoned, it is
said, by his successful rival--we find one of the most extensive wine
establishments in Germany, that of Matheus Müller, who enjoys a high
reputation in England both for his still and sparkling hocks and
moselles. His stock ordinarily consists of from 800 to 1,000
stuck--equivalent to a quarter of a million gallons--of still Rhine and
Moselle wines, much of it of the best years, and from vineyards of
repute, together with nearly a million bottles of sparkling wines stored
in his cellars at Eltville and on the road to Erbach, the aggregate
length of which is some 3,400 feet. The sparkling wines repose in long
cool vaulted galleries similar to many cellars in the Champagne, while
the still wines are stored in capacious subterranean halls each 100
yards in length.


For his higher-class sparkling hocks Herr Müller derives his principal
supplies from the Rheingau, partly from his own vineyards at Eltville,
Rauenthal, and Hattenheim, and partly by purchases at Erbach,
Hallgarten, Œstrich, Winkel, Johannisberg, Geisenheim, and Rudesheim;
while for his best sparkling moselles, Berncastel, Graach, Trèves, and
the Saar districts are laid under contribution. The Palatinate growths
of Dürkheim, Deidesheim, Mussbach, Haardt, Rhodt, &c., serve as the
basis for the medium and cheaper sparkling hocks, and for sparkling
moselles of a corresponding character such wines as Zeltinger,
Rachtiger, Erdener, Aldegonder, Winninger, &c., are used. Ingelheim and
Heidesheim furnish the wine from black grapes necessary in a subordinate
degree to all sparkling hocks, and very freely had recourse to when it
is desired to impart a champagne character to the wine, as is commonly
the case when this is intended for consumption in Germany. Herr Müller
invariably presses the black grapes himself, in order that the wine may
be as light in colour as possible. As the house annually lays down large
stocks of _vin brut_ it is under no necessity of drawing upon them until
they have attained the requisite maturity and developed all their finer

The dry sparkling hocks and moselles, such as are shipped by Herr Müller
to England and its colonies, receive a large addition of liqueur when
destined for the Russian market. His sparkling Johannisberger and
high-class sparkling moselle from Rheingau and Moselle wines of superior
vintages are of delicate flavour and great softness, and are frequently
shipped without any liqueur whatever. Besides Moussirender Rheinwein of
a champagne character, and largely consumed in Germany and Belgium, Herr
Müller makes a veritable champagne from wine imported by him from the
Champagne district. His shipments also include red sparkling
Assmannshauser--the result of a blend of Assmannshauser, Ingelheimer,
and other red Rhenish wines--aromatic and full-bodied, and dry or
moderately sweet according to the country to which it is intended to be


The trade in German sparkling wines has numerous representatives at
Mayence--the sec of St. Boniface, the apostle of the Germans, and the
birthplace of Gutenberg, whose fame is universal. The pioneer of
printing was born in a house at the corner of the Emmerans and Pfandhaus
gasse, the site of which is to-day occupied by the residence of three
members of the firm of C. Lauteren Sohn, established at Mayence so far
back as 1794, and one of the first in Germany to devote itself to the
manufacture of sparkling wines. In 1830 the firm profited by an offer
made to them by a cellarman who had been for many years in the service
of Madame Clicquot at Reims. The Emmerans-gasse, where the chief
establishment of the firm is situated, is in the older quarter of
Mayence--in the midst of a network of intricate winding streets bordered
by picturesque tall gabled houses and edifices of the Spanish type where
ornamental oriel windows with quaint supports, medallions, and
bas-reliefs of varied design continually catch the eye, and saints look
down upon one from almost every corner. Passing under the gateway of the
house where Gutenberg was born, and in the rear of which Lauteren Sohn
have their offices, cooperage, and cellars for still wines, we notice on
our left hand a tablet commemorating the birth of the inventor of
printing in these terms:--

  “Gensfleisch House. Family residence of the inventor of the art of
  printing, John Gensfleisch of Gutenberg, who in the year 1398 was
  here born. Christian Lauteren has dedicated on the site of the
  ancient house this memorial to the immortal inventor, Jan. 29, 1825.”

Messrs. Lauteren’s cellars for sparkling wines extend mainly under an
old monastery, and comprise a succession of large vaulted galleries
connected by narrow passages with arched entrances. Here are stacked
some 800,000 bottles of wine in varying conditions of maturity. Messrs.
Lauteren bottle their wines in August, instead of fully two months
earlier according to the usual practice, in the belief that the system
they pursue is more conducive to perfect effervescence, besides being
attended with less breakage, owing to the newly-bottled wine escaping
the heat of the summer. All the arrangements at this establishment are
very complete. There is a place for everything, and everything is to be
found in its place. Adjoining the courtyard, where new bottles are
stacked beneath open ornamental sheds, are the tasting-room and the
apartment where the operations of disgorging, dosing, and re-corking are
performed. The liqueur added by the firm to their sparkling wines is
kept in bottle from three to five years before being used. In the
tasting-room we were shown a variety of sparkling hocks and moselles,
the former with all the distinguishing characteristics of fine Rhine
wine, the older samples having gained considerably in softness. A dry
Cabinet specimen submitted to us exhibited a fine bouquet and much
delicacy of flavour. The moselles we found particularly interesting,
made as they were of genuine wines from some of the best vineyards of
the Moselle district.

The largest German sparkling wine establishment is at Hochheim, which,
although, situated on the banks of the Main, and several miles distant
from its confluence with the Rhine, has curiously enough supplied us
with a generic name under which we inconsistently class the entire
produce of the Rhine vineyards. Behind the Hochheim railway station
there rises a long low slope, planted from base to summit with vines,
a portion of which are screened on the north by a plain-looking church
and a weather-stained deanery. The vines thus sheltered yield the famous
Dom Dechanei, the finest Hochheimer known. Some short distance off in a
westerly direction are the extensive premises of the Hochheim Sparkling
Wine Association, whose brands are well known in England. The firm of
Burgeff and Co., whose business the association acquired in 1858 and
subsequently considerably extended, was founded in 1837. At this
establishment all the arrangements are of the most perfect character.
The bottles are cleaned by a machine employing ten persons, and turning
out several thousand bottles a day. All the bottles moreover, before
being used, have their strength tested by an ingenious apparatus which
subjects them to three or four times the pressure they are likely to
undergo when filled with wine. Pumps, bottle-washing machine, and the
revolving casks in which the sugar is dissolved for the liqueur, are all
moved by steam, and the association even manufactures the gas used for
lighting up the establishment. We tasted here several sparkling hocks
distinguished by their high flavour and refinement, with sparkling
moselles vintaged in the best localities and equally excellent in

Sparkling hocks and moselles are made by Messrs. Stock and Sons at
Creuznach, a favourite watering-place in the romantic Nahe valley, noted
for the picturesque porphyry cliffs which occasionally rise
precipitously at the river’s edge. Creuznach, where a capital wine is
vintaged, on the southern slopes of the Schlossberg, is at no great
distance from Bingen. Messrs. Stock and Sons’ establishment dates from
1862, and their sparkling wines are mainly made from white grapes, only
about one-eighth of white wine from black grapes entering into their
composition. The latter is vintaged at Ingelheim, the grapes being
pressed under the firm’s own superintendence, and only the must
resulting from the first squeeze of the press being used. The wine from
riesling grapes is usually from the Rhine, and with it is mingled a
certain quantity of wine vintaged on the Hessian plain. The vintage
generally occurs at the end of October, and the firm remove the new wine
to their cellars at Creuznach early in the ensuing spring, and bottle it
in the May or June following. They make both dry and sweet varieties of
sparkling wines, and their principal markets are England, Germany, the
East and West Indies, the United States, and Australia.


The establishment of G. C. Kessler and Co. at Esslingen--formerly one of
the most important of the free imperial cities, and picturesquely
situated on the Neckar--was founded as far back as 1826, and claims to
be the oldest sparkling wine factory in Germany. The wine employed comes
from vineyards in the vicinity of Heilbronn, and others in the Rheingau
and the Grand Duchy of Baden, and is more or less a blend of the
clevener, traminer, rulander, riesling, and elbling varieties of grape.
The vintage takes place in October, and the bottling of the wine is
effected during the following summer. Messrs. Kessler and Co. treat
their wines after the system pursued at the Clicquot champagne
establishment, in which the founder of the Esslingen house held an
important position for a period of nearly twenty years. The wines are
prepared sweet or dry according to the market they are destined for. The
principal business of the firm is with Germany, but they also export to
England, the United States, the East Indies, and Australia. Their wines
have met with favourable recognition at various exhibitions, notably
that of Paris in 1867, when a silver medal was awarded them; and at
Vienna in 1873, where they received a medal for progress.


Wurzburg, one of the most antiquated and picturesque of German cities,
is noted for its sparkling Franconian wines vintaged partly in the
vineyards that overspread the tall chalk hills which close in around the
quaint old university town. The most famous of these vineyards are the
Leist and the Stein, the first-named sloping downward towards the Main
from the foot of the picturesque Marienberg fort, which, perched on the
summit of a commanding height, dominates the city and forms so
conspicuous an object in all the views of it. The extensive buildings of
the fort not only shield the vines from the winds, but reflect the sun’s
rays upon them, thereby materially conducing to the perfect ripening of
the grapes at a much earlier period than is customary. The Stein
vineyard is situated on the opposite side of the Main, and when viewed
from the picturesque bridge, studded with incongruous colossal
statues--such as Joseph and the Virgin Mary in close proximity to
Charlemagne and Pépin--seems to rise up as an immense rampart behind the
city. Here the river acts as a reflector, throwing back the sun’s rays
on the lower portions of the slope, where the finest wine is naturally
vintaged. An altogether inferior growth is produced on the hill to the
north, known as the Middle Stein, and also in the Harfe vineyard,
situated in the rear of the latter. The prevalent vines in the Würzburg
district are the riesling, the traminer, the elbling, and the rulander,
or pineau gris.

The first sparkling wine establishment at Würzburg was founded in 1842
by Herr Oppmann, the Royal cellar-master, who died in 1866. The position
held by this individual was one of considerable importance, for the King
of Bavaria is the largest wine-grower in his own dominions, and stores
the produce of his vineyards in the famous cellars extending beneath one
of the wings of the deserted Residenz, erected at an epoch when Würzburg
was subject to episcopal rule. These cellars, vaulted in stone, are on a
vast scale, and possibly unequalled in the world. You descend a broad
flight of steps, flanked by ornamental iron balustrades, and encounter
half-way down a miniature tun, guarded by the Bavarian lions posted in a
niche in the wall. Following your guide with lighted candles, you pass
between rows upon rows of capacious casks filled with the wine last
vintaged, and various wines of recent years; large metal
chandeliers--fantastically adorned with innumerable coloured bottles and
glasses, and designed to light up the cellars on festive occasions--here
and there descending from the arched roof. Eventually you arrive at a
gallery where huge casks are poised on massive wooden frames in double
tiers one above the other. These cellars are said to be capable of
holding upwards of 500 casks, but at the time of our visit there were
scarcely half that number, and only a mere fraction of these were filled
with wine. The cellars no longer contain any of that archaic wine
vintaged in 1546, for which they were formerly celebrated. Indeed, all
the historic vintages, once their boast, were removed some years ago to
Munich and deposited in the Royal cellars there. Of the ancient
ornamental tuns holding their ten thousand gallons each, which the
Würzburg cellars formerly contained, only a single one remains,
constructed in the year 1784. This tun, carved on the front with the
Bavarian arms, is about the dimensions of a fair-sized apartment, and
being no longer filled with wine, a Diogenes of the period might take up
his abode in it with perfect comfort. Herr Michael Oppmann, who has
succeeded to the establishment founded by his father, prepares several
varieties of white sparkling Franconian wine, with two kinds of red, and
also sparkling hocks and moselles. The first-named wines are vintaged in
the best vineyards of Lower Franconia, in the valley of the Main, and
the Baden Oberland, the finer qualities being principally produced from
the black clevener grape, usually vintaged the first or second week in
October. The white grape vintage occurs some fortnight or more later,
and the wine is bottled either late in the spring or during the coming
summer. Its after-manipulation differs in no respect from that pursued
with reference to champagne. Herr Oppmann, whose wines have met with
favourable recognition at various foreign and home Exhibitions, prepares
both sweet and dry varieties. Their chief market is Germany, although
they are exported in fair quantities to Belgium, England, and Northern

Another sparkling wine establishment was founded at Würzburg by Herr
F. A. Siligmuller in 1843. The wine from white grapes employed by him is
vintaged partly in his own vineyards on the Stein and the Harfe, and
partly in other Main vineyards, at Randersacker, Escheradorf, &c., the
wine used by him from red grapes coming from the Baden Oberland around
the so-called Kaisers-stuhl--an isolated vine-clad dolerite mountain
bordering the Rhine, and on the verge almost of the Black Forest--and
from the neighbourhood of Offenburg, one of the ancient imperial free
towns, which has lately raised a statue to Sir Francis Drake, “the
introducer,” as the inscription says, “of the potato into Europe.” The
vintage here, which commences fully a fortnight earlier than around
Würzburg, usually takes place about the beginning of October, and the
wine is bottled in the height of the following summer. Herr
Siligmuller’s wines, of which there are four qualities, were awarded a
medal for progress at the Vienna Exhibition of 1873.




Sparkling Voslauer-- The Sparkling Wine Manufactories of Graz--
  Establishment of Kleinoscheg Brothers-- Vintaging and Treatment of
  Styrian Champagnes-- Sparkling Red, Rose, and White Wines of
  Hungary-- The Establishment of Hubert and Habermann at Pressburg--
  Sparkling Wines of Croatia, Galicia, Bohemia, Moravia, Dalmatia, the
  Tyrol, Transylvania, and the Banat-- Neuchâtel Champagne-- Sparkling
  Wine Factories at Vevay and Sion-- The Vevay Vineyards--
  Establishment of De Riedmatten and De Quay-- Sparkling Muscatel,
  Malmsey, Brachetto, Castagnolo, and Lacryma Christi of Italy--
  Sparkling Wines of Spain, Greece, Algeria, and Russia-- The Krimski
  and Donski Champagnes-- The Latter Chiefly Consumed at the Great
  Russian Fairs.

Sparkling wines are made in various parts of Austria and Hungary, and of
late years their produce has been largely on the increase. At Voslau, in
the vicinity of the picturesque and fashionable summer watering-place of
Baden, about twenty miles south of Vienna, Herr R. Schlumberger, one of
my colleagues on the wine jury at the Vienna and Paris Exhibitions of
1873 and ’8, makes a white sparkling Voslauer--introduced into England
some years since--from the blue portuguese, the burgundy (the pineau
noir), the rulander (the pineau gris), and the riesling varieties of
grape. It is, however, at Graz, the capital of Styria, picturesquely
situated on the river Mur, and surrounded by lofty mountains, where
sparkling wines are made upon the largest scale and with the most
success. By far the principal manufactory is that of Kleinoscheg
Brothers, founded in the year 1850, at an epoch when the larger Styrian
wine-growers were directing their attention to the general improvement
of their vineyards. The firm gained their knowledge of sparkling wines
by practical experience acquired in the Champagne itself, and to-day
they unquestionably produce some of the best sparkling wines that are
made out of France. They possess extensive vineyards of their own, and
are also large purchasers of wines from the best districts, including
Pettau, Radkersburg, the Picherergebirge, and Luttenberg, the latter
yielding the finest wine which Styria produces, vintaged from the mosler
or furmint--that is, the Tokay variety of grape.

White wine from the clevener grape, understood to be identical with the
pineau noir of Burgundy and the Champagne, and vintaged early in
October, forms the basis of the sparkling wines manufactured by
Kleinoscheg Brothers. The produce of several other grapes, however,
enters in a limited degree into the blend, including the riesling, the
rulander or pineau gris, and the portuguese, the gathering of which is
usually delayed several weeks later, and is sometimes even deferred
until the end of November. The first and second pressings of the black
grapes yield a white must as in the Champagne, while the third and
fourth give a pink wine of which the firm make a speciality.

The wines, which are treated precisely after the system pursued in the
Champagne, are bottled during the months of July and August, and are
made either sweet or dry according to the country they are destined for.
Considerable shipments of the dry pale Styrian champagne take place to
England, where the firm also send a delicate sparkling muscatel and a
sparkling red burgundy, which will favourably compare with the best
sparkling wines of the Côte d’Or. They have also a large market for
their wines in Austria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland, and export to
British North America, the East Indies, China, Japan, and Australia.
From the year 1855 up to the present time the firm of Kleinoscheg
Brothers have been awarded no less than sixteen medals for their
sparkling wines at various important home and foreign exhibitions.

At Marburg on the river Drave, in the vicinity of the Bacher Mountains,
which stretch far into Carinthia, and have their lower slopes covered
with vines, Herr F. Auchmann has established a successful sparkling wine
manufactory. The raw wine comes from the vineyards around Marburg and
from Pettau, some ten or twelve miles lower down the Drave. The vintage
commonly lasts from the middle of October until the middle of November.
Black grapes of the clevener and portuguese varieties are pressed as in
the Champagne, so as to yield a white must, with which a certain portion
of white wine from the mosler or furmint grape is subsequently mingled.
The bottling takes place as early as April or May. The wines are
principally consumed in Austria, but are also exported to Russia, Italy,
Egypt, the Danubian Principalities, Australia, &c.

Sparkling wines seem to be made in various parts of Hungary, judging
from the samples sent to the Vienna and Paris Exhibitions from Pesth,
Pressburg, Oedenburg, Pécs, Velencze, and Kolozsvár. Rose-colour wines
are evidently much in favour with the respective manufacturers, several
of whom make sparkling red wines as well, but with none of the success
of their Styrian neighbours. The best Hungarian sparkling wines we have
met with are those of Hubert and Habermann, made at Pressburg, the
former capital of Hungary, where its kings, after being crowned, used to
ride up the Königsberg brandishing the sword of St. Stephen towards the
four points of the compass in token of their determination to defend the
kingdom against all enemies. The white sparkling wines are made
exclusively from white grapes grown in the neighbouring vineyards of
Bösing, Geñnau, and St. Georgen, but the firm make red sparkling wines
as well from the produce of the Ratzersdorf and Wainor vineyards. The
vintage takes place some time in October, and the wines are bottled both
in the spring and autumn, but never until they are fully twelve months
old. With these variations the system pursued with regard to the wines
is the same as is followed in the Champagne. There are several other
sparkling wine manufacturers at Pressburg, and the principal market for
these wines is Austro-Hungary, but shipments of them are made to
England, the United States, India, Roumania, and Servia. The production
of sparkling wine in Hungary is now estimated to amount to one million
bottles annually.

In Croatia Prince Lippe-Schaumburg has established a sparkling
wine manufactory at Slatina, where he produces a so-called
Riesling-Champagner, and it would appear from the collection of
Austro-Hungarian sparkling wines exhibited at Vienna by Herr Bogdan Hoff
of Cracow, that these wines are also made at Melnik, in Bohemia, at
Bisenz in Moravia, at Sebenicodi Maraschino in Dalmatia, at Botzen in
the Tyrol, at Tasnad in Transylvania, and at Weiss-Kirchen in the Banat.
All these wines had been submitted to examination at the Imperial
œno-chemical laboratory at Klosterneuberg, and one was not surprised to
find that the majority were pronounced to be of too robust a character
for transformation into sparkling wines.

Switzerland long since turned its attention to the manufacture of
sparkling wines, not, however, to meet the requirements of its own
population, but those of the many tourists with well-lined purses who
annually explore its valleys, lakes, and mountains. Neuchâtel champagne
has met with a certain amount of success, and at the present time there
are a couple of establishments devoted to its production, the best known
being that of Bouvier frères. There are, moreover, sparkling wine
manufactories at Vevay in the Vaud Canton, and at Sion in the Valais. In
the Canton of Neuchâtel the best Swiss red wines are produced--notably
Cortaillod and Faverge of a ruby hue and Burgundy-like flavour--and the
sparkling wine manufacturers of the district wisely blend a considerable
proportion of wine from black grapes with that from white when making
their _cuvées_. Vaud, on the other hand, being noted for white wines
bearing some resemblance to certain Rhine growths, it is of these that
sparkling wines are exclusively made at Vevay.

The Vevay vineyards occupy the heights which skirt the Lake of Geneva on
its northern side. The innumerable terraces, steep and difficult of
access to the toiling vine-dresser, on which the vines are planted, are
the result of centuries of patient labour. Here the vine seems to
flourish at an altitude of more than 1,800 feet above the sea level.
To compensate for the deficiency of sunshine the leaves are largely
stripped from the vines so as to expose the fruit, and thereby assist
its ripening.

The sparkling wine factory at Sion, bordering the river Rhône, in the
Canton of the Valais, was established in 1872 by MM. de Riedmatten and
De Quay, who derive their raw wine from vineyards in the immediate
neighbourhood, almost all of which have a southern exposure, and occupy
gentle slopes. The soil chiefly consists of a decomposed limestone
schist, locally termed “brisé.” In these vineyards, and more especially
the district known as the Clavaux, some of the best and most alcoholic
wines in Switzerland are produced.

The firm originally experimented with the choicer and more powerful
growths, and, as may be imagined, soon discovered they were not well
adapted for conversion into sparkling wines. To-day they limit
themselves to wines produced from what is known as the “fendant” variety
of grape, said by some to be identical with the German riesling, and by
others to be of the same type as the French chasselas. The vintage in
the Valais is the earliest in Switzerland, taking place in favourable
years at the close of September, but ordinarily in the course of
October. Some fine white candy syrup is added to the wine at the epoch
of bottling, in order to provoke the requisite effervescence, which it
does so effectually that the tirage is obliged to take place some time
between November and May, as at any other period the temperature would
be too high and the bottles would burst. MM. Riedmatten and De Quay have
two varieties of sparkling wine--their Carte Blanche, which goes under
the name of Mont Blanc, and is rather sweet, and their Carte Verte known
as Glacier de Rhône, a drier variety and finding a readier sale.

Of late years, since many improvements have been effected in Italy both
in the cultivation of the vineyards and the vintaging of the wine,
numerous attempts have been made, although on the whole with but
indifferent success, to produce a good sparkling wine. The principal
seat of the manufacture is Asti, where the Societa Unione Enofila make
considerable quantities of a common strong sweet sparkling wine, as well
as a sparkling muscatel. Alessandria, Ancona, Bologna, Castagnolo,
Genoa, Modena, Naples, Palermo, and Treviso also profess to make
sparkling wines, but only in insignificant quantities. Alessandria
produces sparkling malmsey and red sparkling brachetto; and on the
Marquis Della Stufa’s estate of Castagnolo a sparkling wine is
manufactured from the currajola variety of grape, one of the best in the
Tuscan vineyards. The vines at Castagnolo are cultivated in accordance
with the French system, and at the vintage all unripe and unsound grapes
are thrown aside. There is an evident flavour of the muscat grape in the
Castagnolo sparkling wine, which has the merit of lightness and of being
well made. The alcoholic strength is equivalent to rather more than 20°
of proof spirit, and the highest quality wine is remarkable for its
excessive dryness in comparison with all other samples of Italian
sparkling wines that we have met with. Naples appears to confine itself
to producing sparkling white lacryma christi, for which, as a curiosity,
there exists a certain demand.

Spain of late years has shown itself equally ambitious with Italy to
achieve distinction in the production of sparkling wines, and at the
Paris Exhibition of 1878 there were samples from the majority of the
wine centres skirting the Mediterranean coast, including Gerona,
Barcelona, Tarragona, and Valencia. Other samples come from Logroño,
in the north of Spain; and years ago sparkling wine used to be made at
Villaviciosa, on the Bay of Biscay. To Paris there were also sent
samples of sparkling orange wine, an agreeable beverage, and
unquestionably preferable to the majority of Spanish sparkling wines
composed of the juice of the grape.

Greek sparkling wines, said to be of very fair quality, are made at
Athens, Corinth, and Tripoliza, and are exported in moderate quantities
to Russia. Algeria, too, is turning its attention to the production of
sparkling wines, but solely for home consumption, and at the Paris
Exhibition there was a sparkling wine from Uruguay, but of execrable

The sparkling wines of the Crimea and the Don, known in Russia
respectively as Krimski and Donski champagnes, are described as being
superior to much of the wine which passes in England under the name of
champagne. In Russia it is the fashion to speak contemptuously of them,
just as rhubarb and gooseberry champagne is spoken of in England, still
these Crimean and Don products are genuine wines, and, though somewhat
sweet, may be drunk with satisfaction and in moderate quantities with
impunity. One of the best Donski brands is that of Abrahamof, and as
much as six roubles per bottle is demanded for the finer qualities at
Novoi Tscherkash. About a million bottles of the Donski champagne are
exported annually, but the wine finds its principal market at the great
Russian fairs, where almost every important bargain is “wetted” with
sparkling Donski.



Earliest Efforts at Wine-Making in America-- Failures to Acclimatise
  European Vines-- Wines Made by the Swiss Settlers and the Mission
  Fathers-- The Yield of the Mission Vineyards-- The Monster Vine of
  the Montecito Valley-- The Catawba Vine and its General
  Cultivation-- Mr. Longworth one of the Founders of American
  Viticulture-- Fresh Attempts to make Sparkling Wine at Cincinnati--
  Existing Sparkling Wine Manufactures there-- Longfellow’s Song in
  Praise of Catawba-- The Kelley Island Wine Company-- Vintaging and
  Treatment of their Sparkling Wines-- Decrease of Consumption-- The
  Vineyards of Hammondsport-- Varieties of Grapes used for Sparkling
  Wines-- The Vintage-- After-Treatment of the Wines-- The Pleasant
  Valley and Urbana Wine Companies and their Various Brands--
  Californian Sparkling Wines-- The Buena Vista Vinicultural Society
  of San Francisco-- Its Early Failures and Eventual Success in
  Manufacturing Sparkling Wines-- The Vintage in California-- Chinese
  Vintagers-- How the Wine is Made-- American Spurious Sparkling

From the earliest period of the colonisation of America the vine appears
to have attracted the attention of the settlers, and it is said that as
early as 1564 wine was made from the native grape in Florida. The first
attempts to establish a regular vineyard date, however, from 1620, and
would seem to have been made in Virginia with European vines, the
prospects having become sufficiently encouraging in 1630 for the
colonists to send for French vine-dressers to tend their plants. The
latter were subsequently accused of ruining the vines by their bad
treatment, but most likely this was an error, it having since been made
evident that European vines cannot be successfully cultivated east of
the Rocky Mountains, where the phylloxera vastatrix prevails. It was in
vain that William Penn made repeated attempts to acclimatise European
vines in Pennsylvania, that the Swiss emigrants--vine-growers from the
Lake of Geneva--made similar trials, they having expended ten thousand
dollars to no purpose. In vain, in Jessamine county, Kentucky, Pierre
Legaud laboured in the environs of Philadelphia, and Lakanal, the member
of the French Convention, experimented in Tennessee, Ohio, and Alabama;
all their efforts to introduce the Old World vines proved futile. The
attempts that were made by Swiss settlers at Vevay, in Indiana, with the
indigenous plants were more successful, and after a time they managed to
produce some palatable wine from the Schuylkill muscatel.

Towards the latter part of the 18th century the Mission Fathers had
succeeded in planting vineyards in California. It is known that in 1771
the vine was cultivated there, and the San Gabriel Mission in the county
of Los Angeles, some 300 miles S.E. of San Francisco, is said to have
possessed the first vineyard. A prevalent belief is, that the vines were
from roots or cuttings obtained from either Spain or Mexico, but it is
also conjectured that they were some of the wild varieties known to be
scattered over the country, while a third theory suggests that as
attempts to make wine from the wild grapes would most likely have proved
a failure, the Fathers planted the seeds of raisins which had come from
Spain. The culture must have progressed rapidly, if, as stated, there
were planted at San Gabriel in a single spring no fewer than 40,000
vines. These mission vines were mainly of two sorts, the one yielding a
white grape with a musky flavour, and the other a dark blue fruit. The
latter was the favourite, doubtless from its produce bearing some
resemblance to the red wines of Old Castile.

From San Gabriel the planting of the vine extended from mission to
mission until each owned its patch of vineland. At the time of the
arrival of the Americans in 1846 the smallest of these was five acres in
extent, and others as many as thirty acres, and it is calculated the
average yield was from 700 to 1,000 gallons of wine per acre. This was
owing first to the exceeding richness of the soil, and secondly to its
being well irrigated. If the celebrated mission vine grown on one of the
sunny slopes overlooking the lovely Montecito valley near Santa Barbara
on the blue Pacific had many fellows in the Fathers’ vineyards, the
above estimate can hardly be an exaggerated one. The stem of this vine,
which is four feet four inches in circumference at the ground, rises
eight feet before branching out. The branches, under which the country
people are fond of dancing, and which are supported by fifty-two
trellises, extend over more than 5,000 square feet. This monster vine
produces annually from five to six tons of grapes, and one year it
yielded no fewer than 7,000 bunches, each from one to four pounds in
weight. It is irrigated by water from the hot springs, situated a few
miles distant, and is believed to be from half to three-quarters of a
century old.

Viticulture and vinification languished in the United States until
attention was called in 1826 to the catawba vine by Major Adlum,
of Georgetown, near Washington, who thought that by so doing he was
conferring a greater benefit on his country than if he had liquidated
its national debt. This vine, which is derived from the wild _Vitis
labrusca_, was first planted on an extensive scale by Nicholas
Longworth, justly looked upon as one of the founders of American
viticulture, and gradually supplanted all others, remaining for many
years the principal plant cultivated along the banks of the Ohio--the
so-called “Rhine of America”--until, ceaselessly attacked by rot,
mildew, and leaf-blight, it was found necessary in many places to
supplant it by more robust varieties.

Mr. Longworth, about the year 1837, among his numerous experiments at
Cincinnati, included that of making sparkling wines from the catawba,
isabella, and other varieties of grapes, and to-day there are several
manufactories of sparkling catawba and other wines in the capital of
Ohio--the self-named “Queen city,” which its detractors have jocularly
dubbed Porcopolis on account of the immense trade done there in smoked
and salted pork. The chief sparkling wine establishments at Cincinnati
are those of Messrs. Werk and Sons, whose sparkling catawba obtained a
medal for progress at the Vienna Exhibition in 1873, and who have,
moreover, largely experimented with ives’ and virginia seedlings,
delaware and other grapes, in making effervescent wines, though only
with doubtful success. Another Cincinnati firm is that of Messrs. George
Bogen and Co., whose sparkling wines also met with recognition at

The reader will remember Longfellow’s well-known song extolling catawba
wine, which, with more than a poet’s licence, he ranks above the best of
the Old World vintages:--

    “There grows no vine
    By the haunted Rhine,
  By Danube or Guadalquivir,
    Nor on island nor cape,
    That bears such a grape
  As grows by the Beautiful River.

    “Very good in its way
    Is the Verzenay,
  Or the Sillery, soft and creamy,
    But Catawba wine
    Has a taste more divine,
  More dulcet, delicious, and dreamy.”

On Kelley’s Island, Erie county, also in the State of Ohio, a wine
company, established in 1866, and trading principally in still wines,
makes sparkling wines upon a considerable scale exclusively from the
catawba variety of grape, which is cultivated in its highest perfection
both on the islands of Lake Erie and along a narrow slip of territory
not two miles long bordering the southern shore of the lake, and also in
the vicinity of Lake Keuka, near Hammondsport, N.Y. The Kelley Island
Wine Company, as it is styled, presses the grapes between the middle of
October and the end of November, and bottles from about the 20th May
until the commencement of July in the year following. Its brands are
Island Queen, Nonpareil, and Carte Blanche. Ninety-five per cent. of the
wines are dry, and the tendency of the market is in favour of a still
drier article. Shipments are principally confined to the United States,
the great centre of the trade being St. Louis, on the Mississippi, which
has its own sparkling wine establishments, and to-day disputes with
Chicago the title of Queen of the West. The company keep some 100,000
bottles of sparkling wines in stock, and possess facilities for bottling
five times that quantity whenever the demand might warrant such a step
being taken. Of recent years, however, economy has been the rule in
American society, and the market for native sparkling wines at any rate
is to-day a reduced one.

At Hammondsport, south of Lake Keuka--in other words, Crooked Lake--and
in the State of New York, the establishments of the Pleasant Valley and
Urbana wine companies, devoting their attention to both still and
sparkling wines, are installed. The region, which enthusiastic writers
now term the Champagne of America, was colonised in 1793, and vines of
the catawba and isabella varieties were first planted for the purpose of
making wine in 1854. At the present time there are about 8,000 acres
under cultivation with all the better species of vines. The produce from
black and white grapes is mingled for the sparkling wines of the
district. Of the former but two kinds are considered suitable, the
concord and the isabella, both being varieties of the indigenous
labrusca, or so-called foxy-flavoured grape. The concord is a hardy and
productive plant, producing large and compact bunches of large round
sweet grapes, yielding a wine of the obnoxious foxy flavour. The
isabella is an equally hardy and productive variety, and its bunches are
of good size, although not compact. Its berries, too, are large, oval,
and juicy, and marked by a strong musky aroma.

Of the white, or rather pale-coloured grapes--for their hue is usually a
reddish one--used for sparkling wines, the principal is the catawba,
also of the labrusca variety. The branches are large and tolerably
compact; the berries, too, are above the medium size, and have a rich
vinous and pronounced musky flavour. Other so-called white species of
grapes are the diana and the iona, both, of them seedlings of the
catawba; the delaware, the bunches of which are rather small but
compact, the berries round, extremely juicy and fresh-tasting, but sweet
and aromatic, the wine produced from which is noted for its fragrant
bouquet; and, lastly, the walter, a variety obtained by crossing the
delaware with the diana. The bunches and berries of the walter are of
medium size; the flavour, like that of the delaware, is sweet and
aromatic; and the grape is, moreover, remarkable for its agreeable


The vintage usually commences about the end of September or the
commencement of October, and the grapes, after being carefully sorted,
are run through a small mill, which breaks the skins, and admits of the
juice running the more readily out when the fruit is placed beneath the
press. The latter is worked with a metal screw, and the must is
conducted through pipes or hose to casks holding from two to four
thousand gallons each, in which it ferments. During the following May
the wine is carefully blended, and the operation of bottling commences
and lasts for about two or three months. The newly-bottled wine is at
first stored in a warm place in order to start the fermentation again,
and when the bottles commence to burst it is removed to the subterranean
vaults, where it remains stacked in a horizontal fashion until the time
arrives to force the sediment down upon the corks. This is accomplished
precisely as in the Champagne, the subsequent disgorging and liqueuring
being also effected according to the orthodox French system. Altogether
a couple of years elapse between the epoch of bottling and shipment, and
during this interval each bottle is handled upwards of two hundred

The Pleasant Valley Wine Company, established in 1860 for the commerce
of still wines, in which it continues to do an extensive business,
commenced five years later to make sparkling wines. It grows its own
grapes and consumes annually about 1,500 tons of fruit, bottling from
200,000 to 300,000 bottles of sparkling wine in the course of the year.
Its brands are the Great Western, of which there is a dry and an extra
dry variety, the Carte Blanche, and the Pleasant Valley. Even the extra
dry variety of the first-named wine tastes sweet in comparison with a
moderately dry champagne, in addition to which its flavour, though
agreeable, is certainly too pronounced for a sparkling wine of high
quality. The wines, which secured a medal for progress at the Vienna
Exhibition of 1873, are sold in every city in the United States, and the
company also does a small but increasing trade with England and South

The Urbana Wine Company, also established at Hammondsport at the same
epoch as its rival, deals, like the latter, in still wines as well. It
has three brands--the Gold Seal, of which there is an extra dry variety,
the Imperial, and the Royal Rose. At Vienna a diploma of merit was
awarded to these wines, for which a considerable market is found
throughout the United States and in the West Indies and South America.
The Urbana Wine Company produces excellent sparkling wines of singular
lightness and of delicate though distinctive flavour. In our judgment
the drier varieties are greatly to be preferred. The prices of all the
American sparkling wines are certainly high, being almost equivalent to
the price of first-class champagnes taken at Reims and Epernay.

In California the manufacture of sparkling wines is carried on with
considerable success, and at the Vienna Exhibition the Buena Vista
Vinicultural Society of San Francisco was awarded a medal for progress
for the excellent samples it sent there. The society was originally
organised by Colonel Haraszthy, the pioneer in recent times of
Californian viticulture. It commenced manufacturing sparkling wines with
the assistance of experienced workmen from Epernay and Ay; but the
endeavours, extending over some three or four years, were attended with
but indifferent success, very few _cuvées_ proving of fair quality,
whilst with the majority the wine had to be emptied from the bottles and
distilled into brandy. The son of Colonel Haraszthy subsequently
succeeded, in conjunction with Mr. Isidor Landsberger, of San Francisco,
in discovering the cause of these failures, and for ten years past the
wine has been constantly improving in quality owing to the increased use
of foreign grapes, which yield a _vin brut_ with a delicate bouquet and
flavour approaching in character to the finer champagnes. The wine is
perfectly pure, no flavouring extracts or spirit being employed in the
composition of the liqueur, which, is composed merely of sugar-candy
dissolved in fine old wine. A French connoisseur pronounces sparkling
Sonoma to be the best of American sparkling wines, “clean and fresh,
tasting, with the flavour of a middle-class Ay growth, as well as
remarkably light and delicate, and possessed of considerable
effervescence.” The Sonoma valley vineyards produce the lightest wines
of all the Californian growths, some of the white varieties indicating
merely 15° of proof spirit, and the red ones no more than 17½°.

The vintage takes place towards the end of October, and the grapes are
gathered by Chinamen, who will each pick his 12 to 14 cwt. of grapes a
day for the wage of a dollar. Light wooden boxes are used for holding
the grapes, which are stripped from their stalks on their arrival at the
press-house, and then partially crushed by a couple of revolving
rollers. An inclined platform beneath receives them, and after the
expressed juice has been run off into cask they are removed to the
press, and the must subsequently extracted is added to that forced out
by the rollers. When white wine is being made from black grapes the
pressure is less continuous, and the must is of course separated at once
from the skins. The fermentation, which is violent for some ten or
twelve hours, ceases in about a fortnight, providing a temperature of
from 70° to 75° Fahr. is maintained in the vaults. The wine is racked at
the new year, and again before the blending and bottling of it in the

The Californian sparkling wines not only find a market in the eastern
States, but are sent across the Pacific to the Sandwich Islands, Japan,
China, and even to wine-producing Australia, which has not yet succeeded
in producing sparkling wines of its own.

The manufacture of spurious sparkling wines is carried on to some extent
in the United States. The raw wine is cleared by fining it with albumen
or gelatine and with alum; the latter substance imparting to it great
brilliancy. After being dosed with a flavoured syrup the wine is charged
like soda-water with carbonic acid gas by placing the bottles under a
fountain, and as this gas is derived from marble dust and sulphuric
acid, it is liable to be impregnated with both lead and copper, which
have the effect of disorganising alike the wine and the consumers of
it--nausea, headache, and other ills resulting from drinking sparkling
wines made under such conditions.



Dry and Sweet Champagnes-- Their Sparkling Properties-- Form of
  Champagne Glasses-- Style of Sparkling Wines Consumed in Different
  Countries-- The Colour and Alcoholic Strength of Champagne--
  Champagne Approved of by the Faculty-- Its Use in Nervous
  Derangements-- The Icing of Champagne-- Scarcity of Grand Vintages
  in the Champagne-- The Quality of the Wine has little influence on
  the Price-- Prices realised by the Ay and Verzenay Crûs in Grand
  Years-- Suggestions for Laying down Champagnes of Grand Vintages--
  The Improvement they Develop after a few Years-- The Wine of 1874--
  The proper kind of Cellar to lay down Champagne in-- Advantages of
  Burrow’s Patent Slider Wine Bins-- Increase in the Consumption of
  Champagne-- Tabular Statement of Stocks, Exports, and Home
  Consumption from 1844-5 to 1877-8-- When to Serve Champagne at a
  Dinner Party-- Charles Dickens’s dictum that its proper place is at
  a Ball-- Advantageous Effect of Champagne at an ordinary British
  Dinner Party-- Sparkling Wine Cups.

When selecting a sparkling wine one fact should be borne in mind--that
just as, according to Sam Weller, it is the seasoning which makes the
pie mutton, beef, or veal, so it is the liqueur which renders the wine
dry or sweet, light or strong. A really palatable dry champagne,
emitting the fragrant bouquet which distinguishes all wines of fine
quality, free from added spirit, is obliged to be made of the very best
_vin brut_, to which necessarily an exceedingly small percentage of
liqueur will be added. On the other hand, a sweet champagne can be
produced from the most ordinary raw wine--the Yankees even claim to have
evolved it from petroleum--as the amount of liqueur it receives
completely masks its original character and flavour. This excess of
syrup, it should be remarked, contributes materially to the wine’s
explosive force and temporary effervescence, but shortly after the
bottle has been uncorked the wine becomes disagreeably flat. A fine dry
wine, indebted as it is for its sparkling properties to the natural
sweetness of the grape, does not exhibit the same sudden turbulent
effervescence. It continues to sparkle, however, for a long time after
being poured into the glass owing to the carbonic acid having been
absorbed by the wine itself instead of being accumulated in the vacant
space between the liquid and the cork, as is the case with wines that
have been highly liqueured. Even when its carbonic acid gas is exhausted
a good champagne will preserve its fine flavour, which the effervescence
will have assisted to conceal. Champagne, it should be noted, sparkles
best in tall tapering glasses; still these have their disadvantages,
promoting as they do an excess of froth when the wine is poured into
them, and almost preventing any bouquet which the wine possesses from
being recognised.

Manufacturers of champagne and other sparkling wines prepare them dry or
sweet, light or strong, according to the markets for which they are
designed. The sweet wines go to Russia and Germany, the sweet-toothed
Muscovite regarding M. Louis Roederer’s syrupy product as the
_beau-idéal_ of champagne, and the Germans demanding wines with 20 or
more per cent. of liqueur, or nearly quadruple the quantity that is
contained in the average champagnes shipped to England. France consumes
light and moderately sweet wines; the United States gives a preference
to the intermediate qualities; China, India, and other hot countries
stipulate for light dry wines; while the very strong ones go to
Australia, the Cape, and other places where gold and diamonds and
such-like trifles are from time to time “prospected.” Not merely the
driest but the very best wines of the best manufacturers, and commanding
of course the highest prices, are invariably reserved for the English
market. Foreigners cannot understand the marked preference shown in
England for exceedingly dry sparkling wines. They do not consider that
as a rule they are drunk during dinner with the _plats_, and not at
dessert, with all kinds of sweets, fruits, and ices, as is almost
invariably the case abroad.

Good champagne is usually of a pale straw colour, but with nothing of a
yellow tinge about it. When its tint is pinkish this is owing to a
portion of the colouring matter having been extracted from the skins of
the grapes--a contingency which every pains are taken to avoid,
although, since the success achieved by the wine of 1874, slightly pink
wines are likely to be the fashion. The positive pink or rose-coloured
champagnes, such as were in fashion some thirty years ago, are simply
tinted with a small quantity of deep red wine. The alcoholic strength of
the drier wines ranges from 18° of proof spirit upwards, or slightly
above the ordinary Bordeaux, and under all the better-class Rhine wines.
Champagnes when loaded with a highly alcoholized liqueur will, however,
at times mark 30 degrees of proof spirit. The lighter and drier the
sparkling wine the more wholesome it is, the saccharine element in
conjunction with alcohol being not only difficult of digestion, but
generally detrimental to health.

The faculty are agreed that fine dry champagnes are among the safest
wines that can be partaken of. Any intoxicating effects are rapid but
exceedingly transient, and arise from the alcohol suspended in the
carbonic acid being applied rapidly and extensively to the surface of
the stomach. “Champagne,” said Curran, “simply gives a runaway rap at a
man’s head.” Dr. Druitt, equally distinguished by his studies upon wine
and his standing as a physician, pronounces good champagne to be “a true
stimulant to body and mind alike, rapid, volatile, transitory, and
harmless. Amongst the maladies which are benefited by it,” remarks he,
“is the true neuralgia, intermitting fits of excruciating pain running
along certain nerves, without inflammation of the affected part, often a
consequence of malaria, or of some other low and exhausting causes. To
enumerate the cases in which champagne is of service would be to give a
whole nosology. Who does not know the misery, the helplessness of that
abominable ailment, influenza, whether a severe cold or the genuine
epidemic? Let the faculty dispute about the best remedy if they please;
but a sensible man with a bottle of champagne will beat them all.
Moreover, whenever there is pain, with exhaustion and lowness, then
Dr. Champagne should be had up. There is something excitant in the wine;
doubly so in the sparkling wine, which the moment it touches the lips
sends an electric telegram of comfort to every remote nerve. Nothing
comforts and rests the stomach better, or is a greater antidote to

Champagne of fine quality should never be mixed with ice or iced water;
neither should it be iced to the extent champagnes ordinarily are, for,
in the first place, the natural lightness of the wine is such as not to
admit of its being diluted without utterly spoiling it, and in the next,
excessive cold destroys alike the fragrant bouquet of the wine and its
delicate vinous flavour. Really good champagne should not be iced below
a temperature of 50° Fahr., whereas exceedingly sweet wines will bear
icing down almost to freezing point, and be rendered more palatable by
the process. The above remarks apply to all kinds of sparkling wine.

In the Champagne what may be termed a really grand vintage commonly
occurs only once, and never more than twice, in ten years. During the
same period, however, there will generally be one or two other tolerably
good vintages. In grand years the crop, besides being of superior
quality, is usually abundant, and as a consequence the price of the raw
wine is scarcely higher than usual. Apparently from this circumstance
the sparkling wine of grand vintages does not command an enhanced value,
as is the case with other fine wines. It is only when speculators
recklessly outbid each other for the grapes or the _vin brut_, or when
stocks are low and the _vin brut_ is really scarce, that the price of
champagne appears to rise.

That superior quality does not involve enhanced price is proved by the
amounts paid for the Ay and Verzenay crûs in years of grand vintages.
During the present century these appear to have been 1802, ’06, ’11,
’18, ’22, ’25, ’34, ’42, ’46, ’57, ’65, ’68, and ’74--that is, thirteen
grand vintages in nearly eighty years. Other good vintages, although not
equal to the foregoing, occurred in the years 1815, ’32, ’39, ’52, ’54,
’58, ’62, ’64, and ’70. Confining ourselves to the grand years, we find
that the Ay wine of 1834, owing to the crop being plentiful as well as
good, only realised from 110 to 140 francs the pièce of 44 gallons,
although for two years previously this had fetched from 150 to 200
francs. In 1842 the price ranged from 120 to 150 francs, whereas the
vastly inferior wine of the year before had commanded from 210 to 275
francs. In 1846, the crop being a small one, the price of the wine rose,
and in 1857 the pièce fetched as much as from 480 to 500 francs, still
this was merely a trifle higher than it had realised the two preceding
years. In 1865 the price was 380 to 400 francs, and in 1868 about the
same, whereas the indifferent vintages of 1871, ’72, and ’73 realised
from 500 to 1,000 francs the pièce. It was very similar with the wine of
Verzenay. In 1834 the price of the pièce ranged from 280 to 325 francs,
or about the average of the three preceding years. In 1846, the crop
being scarce, the price rose considerably, while in 1857, when the crop
was plentiful, it fell to 500 francs, or from 5 to 20 per cent. below
that of the two previous years, when the yield was both inferior and
less abundant. In 1865 the price rose 33 per cent. above that of the
year before; still, although Verzenay wine of 1865 and 1868 fetched from
420 to 450 francs the pièce, and that of 1874 as much as 900 francs, the
greatly inferior vintages of 1872-73 commanded 900 and 1,030 francs the

Consumers of champagne, if wise, would profit by the circumstance that
quality has not the effect of causing a rise in prices, and if they were
bent upon drinking their favourite wine in perfection, as one meets with
it at the dinner-tables of the principal manufacturers, who only put old
wine of grand vintages before their guests, they would lay down
champagnes of good years in the same way as the choicer vintages of
port, burgundy, and bordeaux are laid down. Champagne of 1874 was a wine
of this description, with all its finer vinous qualities well developed,
and consequently needing age to attain not merely the roundness but the
refinement of flavour pertaining to a high-class sparkling wine. Instead
of being drunk a few months after it was shipped in the spring and
summer of 1877, as was the fate of much of the wine in question, it
needed being kept for three years at the very least to become even
moderately round and perfect. In the Champagne one had many
opportunities of tasting the grander vintages that had arrived at ten,
twelve, or fifteen years of age, and had thereby attained supreme
excellence. It is true their effervescence had moderated materially, but
their bouquet and flavour were perfect, and their softness and delicacy
something marvellous.

A great wine like that of 1874 will go on improving for ten years,
providing it is only laid down under proper conditions. These are,
first, an exceedingly cool but perfectly dry cellar, the temperature of
which should be as low as from 50° to 55° Fahr., or even lower if this
is practicable. The cellar, too, should be neither over dark nor light,
scrupulously clean, and sufficiently well ventilated for the air to be
continuously pure. It is requisite that the bottles should rest on their
sides to prevent the corks shrinking, and thus allowing both the
carbonic acid and the wine itself to escape. For laying down champagne
or any kind of sparkling wine an iron wine-bin is by far the best.
I much prefer the patent “slider” bins made by Messrs. W. and J. Burrow,
of Malvern, they being better adapted to the purpose than any other I am
acquainted with. In these the bottles rest on horizontal parallel bars
of wrought-iron, securely riveted into strong wrought-iron uprights,
both at the back and in front. The bins can be obtained of any
size--that is, to hold as few as two or as many as forty dozen--and they
can be had furnished with lattice doors, secured by a lock. One great
advantage is that with them there is no waste of space, for individual
compartments can be at once refilled with fresh bottles after the other
bottles have been removed. These “slider” bins are especially adapted
for laying down champagne, as they admit of the air circulating freely
around the bottles, thus conducing to the preservation of the metal foil
round their necks, and keeping the temperature of the wine both cool and



When binning the wine the bottles are held by their necks and slid into
their places with such ease and safety that a child might be entrusted
with the work. The bottles can be withdrawn from the bin with equal or
even greater facility. Breakage is avoided from each bottle having an
independent bearing, which prevents the upper bottles from either
falling or weighing down upon those below, and thereby crashing
together. The larger engraving shows a wine-cellar fitted up entirely
with. Burrow’s patent “slider” wine-bins, while the smaller represents a
bin adapted to laying down twenty dozens of champagne, and the
dimensions of which are merely 5 feet 8 inches by 3 feet.

Official Return by the Chamber of Commerce at Reims of The Trade in
Champagne Wines From April, 1844, To April, 1878.

                                   Number of    Number of   Total number
  Years, from     Manufacturers’   Bottles    Bottles sold  of Bottles
  April to April.     Stocks.      Exported.    in France.      Sold.

  1844-45           23,285,218     4,380,214     2,255,438    6,635,652
  1845-46           22,847,971     4,505,308     2,510,605    7,015,913
  1846-47           18,815,367     4,711,915     2,355,366    7,067,281
  1847-48           23,122,994     4,859,625     2,092,571    6,952,196
  1848-49           21,290,185     5,686,484     1,473,966    7,160,450
  1849-50           20,499,192     5,001,044     1,705,735    6,706,779
  1850-51           20,444,915     5,866,971     2,122,569    7,989,540
  1851-52           21,905,479     5,957,552     2,162,880    8,120,432
  1852-53           19,376,967     6,355,574     2,385,217    8,740,790
  1853-54           17,757,769     7,878,320     2,528,719   10,407,039
  1854-55           20,922,959     6,895,773     2,452,743    9,348,516
  1855-56           15,957,141     7,137,001     2,562,039    9,699,040
  1856-57           15,228,294     8,490,198     2,468,818   10,959,016
  1857-58           21,628,778     7,368,310     2,421,454    9,789,764
  1858-59           28,328,251     7,666,633     2,805,416   10,472,049
  1859-60           35,648,124     8,265,395     3,039,621   11,305,016
  1860-61           30,235,260     8,488,223     2,697,508   11,185,731
  1861-62           30,254,291     6,904,915     2,592,875    9,497,790
  1862-63           28,013,189     7,937,836     2,767,371   10,705,207
  1863-64           28,466,975     9,851,138     2,934,996   12,786,134
  1864-65           33,298,672     9,101,441     2,801,626   11,903,067
  1865-66           34,175,429    10,413,455     2,782,777   13,196,132
  1866-67           37,608,716    10,283,886     3,218,343   13,502,229
  1867-68           37,969,219    10,876,585     2,924,268   13,800,853
  1868-69           32,490,881    12,810,194     3,104,496   15,914,690
  1869-70           39,272,562    13,858,839     3,628,461   17,487,300
  1870-71           39,984,003     7,544,323     1,633,941    9,178,264
  1871-72           40,099,243    17,001,124     3,367,537   20,368,661
  1872-73           45,329,490    18,917,779     3,464,059   22,381,838
  1873-74           46,573,974    18,106,310     2,491,759   20,598,069
  1874-75           52,733,674    15,318,345     3,517,182   18,835,527
  1875-76           64,658,767    16,705,719     2,439,762   19,145,481
  1876-77           71,398,726    15,882,964     3,127,991   19,010,955
  1877-78           70,183,863    15,711,651     2,450,983   18,162,634

From the subjoined table it will be seen that the consumption of
champagne has almost trebled since the year 1844-5, a period of little
more than thirty years. Another curious fact to note is the immense
increase in the exports of the wine during the three years following the
Franco-German war, when naturally both the exports and home consumption
of champagne fell off very considerably. No reliable information is
available as to the actual quantity of champagne consumed yearly in
England, but this may be taken in round numbers at about four millions
of bottles. The consumption of the wine in the United States varies from
rather more than a million and a half to nearly two million bottles

Distinguished gourmets are scarcely agreed as to the proper moment
when champagne should be introduced at the dinner-table. Dyspeptic
Mr. Walker, of “The Original,” laid it down that champagne ought to be
introduced very early at the banquet, without any regard whatever to the
viands it may chance to accompany. “Give champagne,” he says, “at the
beginning of dinner, as its exhilarating qualities serve to start the
guests, after which they will seldom flag. No other wine produces an
equal effect in increasing the success of a party--it invariably turns
the balance to the favourable side. When champagne goes rightly nothing
can well go wrong.” These precepts are sound enough, still all
dinner-parties are not necessarily glacial, and the guests are not
invariably mutes. Before champagne can be properly introduced at a
formal dinner the conventional glass of sherry or madeira should
supplement the soup, a white French or a Rhine wine accompany the fish,
and a single glass of bordeaux prepare the way with the first _entrée_
for the sparkling wine, which, for the first round or two, should be
served, briskly and liberally. A wine introduced thus early at the
repast should of course be dry, or, at any rate, moderately so.

We certainly do not approve of Mr. Charles Dickens’s dictum that
champagne’s proper place is not at the dinner-table, but solely at a
ball. “A cavalier,” he said, “may appropriately offer at propitious
intervals a glass now and then to his danceress. There it takes its
fitting rank and position amongst feathers, gauzes, lace, embroidery,
ribbons, white satin, shoes, and eau-de-Cologne, for champagne is simply
one of the elegant extras of life.” This is all very well, still the
advantageous effect of sparkling wine at an ordinary British
dinner-party, composed as it frequently is of people pitchforked
together in accordance with the exigencies of the hostess’s
visiting-list, cannot be gainsayed. After the preliminary glowering at
each other, _more Britannico_, in the drawing-room, everybody regards it
as a relief to be summoned to the repast, which, however, commences as
chillily as the soup and as stolidly as the salmon. The soul of the
hostess is heavy with the anxiety of prospective dishes, the brow of the
host is clouded with the reflection that our rulers are bent upon
dragging us into war. Placed between a young lady just out and a dowager
of grimly Gorgonesque aspect, you hesitate how to open a conversation.
Your first attempts, like those of the Russian batteries on the Danube,
are singularly ineffectual, only eliciting a dropping fire of
monosyllables. You envy the placidly languid young gentleman opposite,
limp as his fast-fading camellia, and seated next to Belle Breloques,
who is certain, in racing parlance, to make the running for him. But
even that damsel seems preoccupied with her fan, and, despite her
_aplomb_, hesitates to break the icy silence. The two City friends of
the host are lost in mute speculation as to the future price of indigo
or Ionian Bank shares, while their wives seem to be mentally summarising
the exact cost of each other’s toilettes. Their daughters, or somebody
else’s daughters, are desperately jerking out monosyllabic responses to
feeble remarks concerning the weather, lawn tennis, operatic
_débutantes_, the gravel in the Row, the ill-health of the Princess, and
kindred topics from a couple of F.O. men. Little Snapshot, the wit, on
the other side of the Gorgon, has tried to lead up to a story, but has
found himself, as it were, frozen in the bud. When lo! the butler softly
sibillates in your ear the magic word “champagne,” and as it flows,
creaming and frothing, into your glass, a change comes over the spirit
of your vision.

The hostess brightens, the host coruscates. The young lady on your right
suddenly develops into a charming girl, with becoming appreciation of
your pet topics and an astounding aptness for repartee. The Gorgon
thaws, and implores Mr. Snapshot, whose jests are popping as briskly as
the corks, not to be so dreadfully funny, or he will positively kill
her. Belle Breloques can always talk, and now her tongue rattles faster
than ever, till the languid one arouses himself like a giant refreshed,
and gives her as good as he gets. The City men expatiate in cabalistic
language on the merits of some mysterious speculation, the prospective
returns from which increase with each fresh bottle. One of their wives
is discussing the E.C.U. and the S.S.C. with a hitherto silent curate,
and the other is jabbering botany to a red-faced warrior. The juniors
are in full swing, and ripples of silvery laughter rise in accompaniment
to the beaded bubbles all round the table. And all this is due to
champagne, that great unloosener not merely of tongues but of
purse-strings, as is well known to the secretaries of those charitable
institutions which set the wine flowing earliest at their anniversary

       *       *       *       *       *

A few recipes for sparkling wine cups gathered from various sources will
conclude our work. Not having personally tested these we leave the
responsibility of them to their respective authors--Soyer, Tovey,
Terrington (“Cooling Cups and Dainty Drinks”), &c.--premising that it is
the merest folly to use a high-class champagne or a fine sparkling hock
for a beverage of this description. Sparkling saumur, or the
newly-introduced sparkling sauternes, and the cheaper hocks and
moselles, will do equally well at a greatly reduced cost. In all cases,
too, the kind of liqueur, the amount of sugar, and the flavouring with
borage, verbena, pine-apple, or cucumber, may be varied to suit
individual tastes. For soda or seltzer water we have invariably
substituted Apollinaris, which is far better adapted for effervescent
drinks of this description by reason of its purity and softness, its
freedom from any distinct flavour, and above all its powerful natural

Soyer’s elaborate recipe for champagne cup for a large party is as

  Prepare three ounces of oleo-saccharine by rubbing some lumps of
  sugar against the outside of a lemon or Seville orange and scraping
  away the sugar as it absorbs the essential oil contained in the rind
  of the fruit. Put the oleo-saccharine with the juice of four lemons
  in a vessel, add a quart bottle of Apollinaris water (Soyer says
  soda-water, but Apollinaris is certainly preferable), and stir well
  together until the sugar is dissolved. Then pour in one quart of
  syrup of orgeat and whip the mixture up well with an egg whisk in
  order to whiten it. Next add a pint of cognac brandy, a quarter of a
  pint of Jamaica rum and half a pint of maraschino; strain the whole
  into a bowl, adding plenty of pounded ice if the weather is warm,
  and pour in three bottles of champagne, stirring the mixture well
  with the ladle while doing so in order to render the cup creamy and

A less potent and pretentious beverage, and better suited for a summer
drink, is the subjoined:--

  Dissolve two tablespoonfuls of powdered sugar in a quart of
  Apollinaris water. Add a wineglass of curaçoa, a sprig of green
  borage or a couple of slices of cucumber with the juice and fine
  shavings of the outside peel of a lemon, and a pound of bruised ice.
  After the whole has been well stirred pour in the champagne and

Other recipes are as follows:--

  Prepare an ounce of oleo-saccharine, add to it a large wineglass of
  maraschino, a liqueur glass of cognac, and the juice of half a
  lemon. Mix well together, and add several slices of pine-apple, and
  a large lump or two of ice. On to this pour first a large bottle of
  Apollinaris water, and next a bottle of sparkling wine.

  Mix with the contents of a bottle of chablis or sauternes a liqueur
  glass of chartreuse and a tablespoonful or two of powdered loaf
  sugar. When the latter is dissolved throw in a pound and a half of
  pounded ice and a sprig of borage. Pour over these a quart of
  Apollinaris water and a bottle of sparkling saumur. For the chablis
  or sauternes half a bottle of light claret may be substituted.

  To a gill of good pale sherry add a liqueur glass of maraschino and
  a few lumps of sugar which have been well rubbed over the rind of a
  Seville orange, the juice of which is also to be added to the
  mixture. After the sugar is dissolved throw in a sprig of borage or
  a slice or two of cucumber and some pounded ice. Then add a quart
  bottle of Apollinaris water and a bottle of champagne or some other
  sparkling wine.

The following cup for a party of twenty is said to be of Russian

  Pour on to some sprigs of borage or a few slices of cucumber a pint
  of sherry and half a pint of brandy, then rub off the fine outside
  peel of a lemon with a few lumps of sugar, and add these with the
  strained juice of the lemon and of three oranges. Pour into the
  mixture half a pint of curaçoa, a wineglass of noyau, a couple of
  bottles of German seltzer-water, three bottles of soda-water, and
  three bottles of champagne. Sweeten and ice to taste.

Here is a recipe for a cup made with chablis and sparkling red

  With a bottle of chablis mix a liqueur-glass of chartreuse and then
  dissolve in it some powdered sugar. Add two pounds of ice in largish
  lumps, a slice or two of cucumber, and a sprig of lemon-scented
  verbena, or substitute for these a few slices of pine-apple. Pour in
  a quart bottle of Apollinaris water, mix well together, and add a
  bottle of sparkling burgundy just before serving.

The following refer to sparkling hock and moselle cups:--

  To a bottle of sparkling hock add a quarter of a pint of lemon water
  ice and a liqueur glass of pine-apple syrup. After mixing them add a
  slice of cucumber, a lump or two of ice, and a bottle of Apollinaris

  Add to the strained juice of a couple of lemons an ounce and a half
  or more of powdered loaf sugar and a wineglass of maraschino. Mix
  well, and pour in a couple of bottles of iced sparkling hock and a
  large bottle of iced Apollinaris water.

  Dissolve a couple of ounces of sugar in a gill of dry sherry, add
  the thin peel of half an orange, a few slices of pine-apple,
  peaches, or apricots, with some pounded ice, and then pour in a
  bottle of sparkling moselle and a bottle of Apollinaris water.

  With half a pint of lemon water ice mix a bottle of iced sparkling
  moselle, add a few drops of elder-flower water and a bottle of iced
  Apollinaris water. Instead of the lemon ice half the quantity of
  pine-apple ice may be used with the juice of half a lemon, and the
  elder-flower water may be dispensed with.



*** _In this list whenever a manufacturer has various qualities the
higher qualities are always placed first._

  [Transcriber’s Note:

  In the original text the tables were laid out in four columns:
    _Firms and Wholesale Agents._
    _Brands._ [Impress of Cork Design]
    _On side of Corks._
  For this e-text, the table has been changed to a list format, with
  the columns represented by levels of indentation. The “Brands” are
  indicated by the bracketed word [Cork]; the “Side of Cork” text--if
  any--is given in the same line as its associated Quality.

  The book included an errata sheet for the tables. It is shown here
  immediately after the tables themselves. The changes and corrections
  listed have _not_ been made in the text.]


  _Firms and Wholesale Agents._
    _Qualities._ / _On side of Corks._

  AYALA & CO., Ay
  Ayala, 7, Little Tower Street, London
  Rinck & Unger, 50, Park Place, New York
    Carte Blanche / Extra.
    Carte Noire / Première.

  BINET FILS & CO., Reims
  Rutherford & Browne, Old Trinity House, 5, Water Lane, London.
    Second / Binet fils & Cie. [_all varieties_]

  L. Mentzendorf, 6, Idol Lane, London.
  E. and J. Burke, 40, Beaver Street, New York.
    Very Dry Extra / Very Dry Extra quality.
    Dry Extra / Dry Extra quality.

  BRUCH-FOUCHER & CO., Mareuil
  L. Ehrmann, 34, Gt. Tower Street, London.
    Carte D’Or

  Fenwick, Parrot, & Co., 124, Fenchurch Street, London.
  Schmidt Bros., New York.
    Rich / England. [_both varieties_]

  DE CAZANOVE, C., Avize
  J. R. Hunter, 46, Fenchurch Street, London
    Extra / Extra qualité.

  J. R. Parkington & Co., 21, Crutched Friars, London.
    Gold Lack (Extra Dry and Dry) / Gold Lack.
    Cabinet (Extra Dry and Dry) / Cabinet.

  Woellworth & Co., 70, Mark Lane, London
    Carte Blanche (Dry and Rich)
    Verzenay (Dry and Rich)
    Sillery (Dry and Rich)

  DUMINY & CO., Ay
  Mogford, Courtenay, & Co., 16, Mark Lane, London
  Anthony Oechs, New Street, New York
    Extra / Maison fondée en 1814. [_both brands_]
    First / Maison fondée en 1814. [_both brands_]

  Hornblower & Co., 50, Mark Lane, London
  Gilmore & Gibson, Baltimore
  Mel & Sons, San Francisco
    Cabinet (Grand Vin) / Cabinet Grand Vin.
    Carte Blanche / Carte Blanche.
    Carte Noire / Carte Noire.
    Sillery Sec / Sillery Sec.
    Sillery / Sillery.
    Ay Mousseux / Ay.

  FISSE, THIRION, & Co., Reims
  Stallard and Smith, 25, Philpot Lane, London
    Cachet d’Or (Extra Dry and Medium Dry) / Cachet d’Or.
    Carte Blanche (Dry, Medium Dry, and Rich) / Carte Blanche.
    Carte Noire (Dry and Medium Dry). / Carte Noire.

  Cock, Russell, & Co., 63, Great Tower Street, London
  Hays & Co., 40, Day Street, New York
    Vin du Roi
  All these wines are prepared Extra Dry, Dry, or Rich.

  GIESLER & CO., Avize
  F. Giesler & Co., 32, Fenchurch Street, London.
  Purdy & Nicholas, 43, Beaver Street, New York
    Extra Superior
    India / India.

  HEIDSIECK & CO., Reims.
  Theodor Satow & Co., 141, Fenchurch Street, London
  Schmidt & Peters, 20, Beaver Street, New York
    Dry Monopole.
    Monopole (Rich)
    Dry Vin Royal
    Grand Vin Royal (Rich)

  Cuddeford & Smith, 66, Mark Lane, London
  O. de Saye, 18, South William Street, New York
  W. E. Hepp, 101, Gravier Street, New Orleans
    Carte d’Or, Dry / Carte d’Or, Sec.
    Carte d’Or / Carte d’Or.

  KRUG & Co., Reims
  Inglis and Cunningham, 60, Mark Lane, London
  A. Rocherau & Co., New York
  Hillman Bros. & Co., San Francisco
    Carte Blanche / Carte Blanche, England.
    Private Cuvée / Private Cuvée, England.
    First / England.

  MOËT & CHANDON, Epernay
  Simon & Dale, Old Trinity House, 5, Water Lane, London, Agents
      for Great Britain and the Colonies
  Renauld, François, & Co., 23, Beaver Street, New York
  J. Hope & Co., Montreal
    Brut / Imperial, England.
    Creaming / Creaming, England.
    Extra Superior / Extra Superior, England.
    Extra Dry Sillery
    White Dry Sillery / White Dry, England.
    First Quality / England.
    Second Quality

  MONTEBELLO, DUC DE, Mareuil-sur-Ay
  John Hopkins & Co., 26, Crutched Friars, London
  Cazade, Crooks, & Reynaud, 25, South William St., N.Y.
    Cuvée Extra / Cuvée Extra.
    Carte Blanche / Reserve.
    Carte Bleue / Cte. Bleue.
    Carte Noire / Cte. Noire.

  MUMM, G. H., & CO., Reims
  W. J. and T. Welch, 10, Corn Exchange Chambers, Seething Lane, London
  F. de Bary & Co., 41 and 43, Warren Street, New York
    Carte Blanche / Cuvée Extra.
    Extra Dry / Extra Dry.
    Extra / Extra.
    First / First.
    _For America only._
    Cordon Rouge / Cordon Rouge.
    Extra Dry / Extra Dry.
    Dry Verzenay / Dry Verzenay.

  MUMM, JULES, & CO., Reims
  Jules Mumm & Co., 3 & 4, Mark Lane, London
    Extra Dry

  John Barnett & Son, 36, Mark Lane, London
  Wood, Pollard, & Co., Boston, U.S.
  Hooper and Donaldson, San Francisco
    Cuvée Réservée (Extra Dry) / Cuvée Reservée.
    White Dry Sillery / White Dry Sillery.

  PERRIER-JOUËT & CO., Epernay
  A. Boursot & Co., 9, Hart Street, Crutched Friars, London
    Cuvée de Réserve / Extra
    Pale Dry Creaming

  PIPER, H., & CO., Reims (KUNKELMANN & CO.)
  W. Foster Newton & Son, 3, Maiden Lane, E.C., London
  John Osborn, Son, & Co., New York and Montreal
    Très-Sec (Extra Dry) / Kunkelmann & Co. [_all varieties_]
    Sec (Very Dry)
    Carte Blanche (Rich)

  PFUNGST FRÈRES & CIE., Ay, Epernay
  J. L. Pfungst & Co., 23, Crutched Friars, London
    Carte d’Or (Dry, Extra Dry, and Brut) / Carte d’Or.
    Sillery Crêmant (Extra Dry and Brut) / Sillery Crêmant.
    Carte Noire (Dry, Extra Dry, and Brut) / Carte Noire.
    Cordon Blanc (Full, Dry, and Extra Dry) / Cordon Blanc.

  POL ROGER & CO., Epernay
  Reuss, Lauteren, & Co., 39, Crutched Friars, London
    Vin Réservé.

  A. Hubinet, 24, Mark Lane, London
  Charles Graef, 65, Broad Street, New York
    Extra Sec (Vin Brut) / Veuve Pommery.

  Grainger & Son, 108, Fenchurch Street, London
    Carte Blanche / Reims, Carte Blanche, Gt.-Britain.

  Théophile Roederer & Co., 150, Fenchurch Street, London
    Crystal Champagne, Special Cuvée / Special Cuvée.
    Extra Reserve / Cuvée / Reserve Cuvée.
    Extra Superior Carte Blanche Dorée / Carte Blanche Dorée
    Extra Quality Carte Blanche / Carte Blanche.
    First Quality Carte Noire / Carte Noire.
    Verzenay / Verzenay.

  ROUSSILLON, J., & CO., Epernay
  J. Roussillon & Co., 15, New Broad Street, London
  D. St. Amant & Son, 13, South William Street, New York
    First Cuvée
    Second Cuvée
    Dry Verzenay
    Sillery Sec / 1874 Extra Sec.

  Ruinart, Père et Fils, 22, St. Swithin’s Lane, London
    Carte Anglaise
    Dry Pale Crêmant
    Extra Dry Sparkling
    Carte Blanche First

  Groves &, Co., 5, Mark Lane, London
  Hermann Batjer & Bro., New York
    Vin Brut
    Carte d’Or (Extra Dry) / Very dry.
    Bouzy Nonpareil (Dry) / Vin Sec.
    Carte Blanche (Medium)
    Second (Medium)
    Third (_id._)
    _For America only._
    Dry Royal


  _Firms and Wholesale Agents._
    _Qualities._ / _On side of Corks._

  ACKERMAN-LAURANCE, St. Florent, Saumur
  J. N. Bishop, 41, Crutched Friars, London
  Timothy Stevens, 29, Beaver Street, New York
  Chapin and Gore, 70, Monroe Street, Chicago
    Carte d’Or / Carte d’Or.
    Carte Rose / Carte Rose.
    Carte Bleue / Carte Bleue.
    Carte Noire / Carte Noire.

  DUVAU, LOUIS, Aîné, Château de Varrains, Saumur
  Jolivet and Canney, 3, Idol Lane, London
    Carte d’Or, Extra Superior
    Carte d’Argent, Extra
    Carte Blanche, Superior
    Carte Rose, Ordinary

  LORRAIN, JULES, Château De la Côte, Varrains, near Saumur
  J. Lorrain, 73, Great Tower Street, London
    Carte d’Or
    Carte Blanche
    Carte Rose
    Carte Bleue

  ROUSTEAUX, A., St. Florent, Saumur
  Cock, Russell, & Co., 63, Great Tower Street, London
  I. H. Smith’s Sons, Peck Slip, New York
  Law, Young, & Co., Montreal
    Sparkling Vouvray, Superior
    Sparkling Vouvray

  NORMANDIN, E., & CO., Châteauneuf-sur-Charente
  P. A. Maignen, 22, Great Tower Street, London
    Sparkling Sauternes (Extra Dry)
    Sparkling Sauternes (Dry)


  _Firms and Wholesale Agents._
    _Qualities._ / _On side of Corks._

  Cock, Russell, & Co., 63, Great Tower Street, London
  P. W. Engs and Sons, 131, Front Street, New York
    Romanée (White)
    Nuits (do.)
    Volnay (do.)
    Pink and Red Wines

  Reuss, Lauteren, & Co., 39, Crutched Friars, London
    Romanée (White)
    Nuits (do.)
    Volnay (do.)
    Saint-Péray (do.)
    Chambertin (Red)
    Nuits (do.)
    Volnay (do.)

  LIGER-BELAIR, COMTE, Nuits and Vôsne
  Fenwick, Parrot, & Co., 124, Fenchurch Street, London
    Carte d’Or (White)
    Carte Noire (do.)
    Carte Verte (do.)
    Carte Noire (Red)
    Carte Blanche (do.)


  _Firms and Wholesale Agents._
      _Qualities._ / _On side of Corks._

  DEINHARD & CO., Coblenz
  Deinhard & Co., 6, Idol Lane, London
  H. G. Schmidt & Co., 38, Beaver Street, New York

  EWALD & CO., Rudesheim-on-Rhine
  Simon and Dale, Old Trinity House, 5, Water Lane, London
    Sparkling Hock
    Nonpareil (Extra Dry and Dry)
    Sparkling Moselle Muscatel Nonp. (Dry)
    Sparkling Moselle (Nonp.)
    Scharzberg (Dry)

  F. Class & Co., 31, Crutched Friars, London
    Sparkling and Creaming Johannisberg
    Hochheim First (White or Red)
    Do. Second (do.)
    Do. Third (do.)
    Do. Fourth (do.)
  Hocks and Moselles

  KESSLER, G. C., & CO., Esslingen
  George Saurmann, 7, Cross Lane, St. Mary-at-Hill, London
    Kaiser Wein
    Sparkling Hock
    Do. Neckar

  LAUTEREN, C. SOHN, Mayence
  Reuss, Lauteren, & Co., 39, Crutched Friars, London
    Sparkling Johannisberg
    Hock No. 1
    Do. No. 2
    Do. No. 3
    Moselle, Dry, No. 1
    Do. No. 2
    Do. No. 3
    Moselle, Muscatel, No. 1
    Do. No. 2
    Do. No. 3

  M. Muller, 15, Philpot Lane, London
    Flower of Sparkling Johannisberg
    Sparkling Johannisberg
    Pearl of the Moselle
    Extra Superior Moselle
    Nonpareil Sparkling Moselle
    Nonpareil Sparkling Hock
    Fine Sparkling do.
    Fine Sparkling Moselle
    Sparkling Assmannshäuser, Superior (Red)
    Sparkling Assmannshäuser (do.)
    Sparkling Hock (Ordinary)
    Sparkling Moselle (do.)

    Franconia Wine:
    Stein Wine
    Blue Label
    White Label
    Sparkling Moselle, First
    Do. do., Second
    Do. Hock, First
    Do. do., Second

  SILIGMÜLLER, F. A., Würzburg
    Cabinet / Cabinet.
    Carte d’Or
    Carte Blanche
    Carte Noire

  STÖCK, JOS, & SÖHNE, Creuznach
  John Barnett & Son, 36, Mark Lane, London
    Johnnnisberg, supr.
    Scharzberg, do.
    Johannisberg, ordin.
    Scharzberg, do.
    Hock, superior
    Moselle, do.
    Hock, ordin.
    Moselle, do.
    Red Hock, First
    Do., Second
    Do., Third
    Do., Fourth


  _Firms and Wholesale Agents._
      _Qualities._ / _On side of Corks._

  Davis and Littlewood, 4 and 5, Botolph Lane, London
    Dry Pale Styrian Muscat Champagne.
    Dry Pale Styrian Champagne
    Sparkling Burgundy (Red)

  HUBERT & HABERMANN, Pressburg, Hungary
  C. O. Pattenhausen, 40, Great Tower Street, London
    Sparkling White
    Sparkling Red (Carlovitz)

  DE RIEDMATTEN, DE QUAY, & CIE., Sion, Valais, Switzerland
    Carte Verte, Glacier du Rhône
    Carte Blanche, Mont-Blanc


  _Firms and Wholesale Agents._
      _Qualities._ / _On side of Corks._

  KELLEY’S ISLAND WINE CO., Kelley’s Island, Ohio
    Island Queen
    Carte Blanche

  PLEASANT VALLEY WINE CO., Hammondsport, N.Y.
    Great Western (Dry and Extra Dry)
    Carte Blanche
    Pleasant Valley
    Paris Exposition

  URBANA WINE CO., Hammondsport, N.Y.
    Gold Seal (Extra Dry)
    Gold Seal
    Royal Rose

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Author’s errata sheet, first part]

_The subjoined corrections are necessary in the following brands
(See pages 226 and 227):--_

  FISSE, THIRION, & Co., Reims
  Stallard and Smith, 25, Philpot Lane, London
    Cachet d’Or. (Extra Dry and Medium Dry) / Cachet d’Or.
    Carte Blanche. (Dry, Medium Dry, and Rich) / Carte Blanche.
    Carte Noire. (Dry and Medium Dry). / Carte Noire.
  N.B.--The brand on the corks is an _anchor_ instead of an _eagle_.

  Cock, Russell, and Co.’s address is 23, Rood Lane, London.

  GIESLER & CO., Avize.
  The corks of the firm’s Extra Superior quality wine are branded
  “Extra Superior” on the side.

  The New York agent is F. O. de Luze, 18, South William Street,
  New York.
  W. E. Hepp is no longer M. Irroy’s agent for New Orleans.

       *       *       *       *       *

  [Author’s errata sheet, second part]

  The following are the correct brands of MM. de Saint-Marceaux & Co.:--

  Groves & Co., 5, Mark Lane, London
  Hermann Bätjer & Bro., New York
    Vin Brut
    Carte d’Or (Extra Dry) / Very dry.
    Bouzy Nonpareil (Dry) / Vin Sec.
    Carte Blanche (Medium)
    _For America only._
    Dry Royal
    Second (Medium)
    Third (_id._)

       *       *       *       *       *
           *       *       *       *
       *       *       *       *       *


Missing or incorrect punctuation in the List of Brands has been silently

Expressions such as “132lbs.” were consistently printed without space.

A number of words were printed both with and without umlaut. These have
generally been left unchanged:
  Wurzburg / Würzburg
  Rudesheim / Rüdesheim
  Muller / Müller (also Siligmüller / -muller)
Three occurrences of “Moët” were printed without dieresis. It has been
silently supplied.

Table of Contents:
  _last digit of page number invisible_
the future _roues_ of the Regency
  _accent on “roués” missing in original_
Baume’s aerometer
  _first “e” in “aerometer” illegible_
the Champenois winegrowers
  _printed at midline without usual hyphen_
Chapter V, first page _through_ “... the bulk of the new-made”
  _left edge of text missing:_
    manu/[fac]ture only just... (_at line break_)
    [res]ervoirs ...
    [bei]ng allowed ...
    [for]ty-four gallons ... (_number supplied from other passages_)
loosens the _agrafe_ securing the cork, Bang goes the latter
  _comma in original may be intentional_
from one to three per cent. of liqueur.
  _text has comma for period_
St. Marceaux and Co.’s New Establishment
  _text reads “Co.’”_
Those magnates of the champagne trade, Messrs. Moët and Chandon
  _text reads “Mesrs.”_
Messrs. Moët and Chandon give a banquet or a ball
  _period (full stop) invisible_
resting familiarly on the maréchal’s shoulder
  _period (full stop) invisible_
bounded by trees and garden-plats
  _text unchanged: probably correct_
the liqueur which Messrs. Giesler add so sparingly
  _text reads “Griesler”_
  _opening parenthesis missing_
having composed at his mistress’s table some doggrel rhymes
  _spelling unchanged_
restored Stolzenfels, the historic Königs-stuhl
  _text reads “Konigs-stuhl”_
vineyards of Bösing, Geñnau, and St. Georgen
  _spelling unchanged_
Societa Unione Enofila
  _accent missing in original_
cannot be gainsayed.
  _spelling unchanged_
  _spelling unchanged (two occurrences)_

_List of Brands_POMMERY, VEUVE, Reims
    _final “s” missing_

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