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Title: A History of Champagne - With Notes on the Other Sparkling Wines of France
Author: Vizetelly, Henry
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A History of Champagne - With Notes on the Other Sparkling Wines of France" ***

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                         Transcriber's Note:

This e-text is based on the 1882 edition. The original spelling, as
well as the use of punctuation and quotation marks, have been retained.

The following errors have been corrected:

    # p. xi: 'Sauturnes' --> 'Sauternes'
    # p. 52: 'which ne declares' --> 'which he declares'
    # p. 154: 'its owes' --> 'it owes'
    # p. 204: 'Bonaporte' --> 'Bonaparte'
    # p. 220: 'histriographer' --> 'historiographer'
    # p. 229: 'Reputatiou' --> 'Reputation'
    # p. 256: 'Saint-Poray' --> 'Saint-Péray'
    # Footnote 412: 'tho gas' --> 'the gas'

The caret symbol (^) characterises subsequent superscript text; [oe] is
the symbol for the oe-ligature. [asterism] depicts a corresponding
typographical symbol. The following text variations have been marked by
special characters:

    Italic:       underscores (_italic_)
    Bold:         equals signs (=bold=)
    Small caps:   forward slashes (/small caps/)
    Underlined:   tildes (~underlined~)

              [Illustration: A SUPPER UNDER THE REGENCY.]

                               A HISTORY



                             WITH NOTES ON


                          BY HENRY VIZETELLY,

                             SHERRY,' ETC.


                   ILLUSTRATED WITH 350 ENGRAVINGS.


                           NEW YORK._ 1882.



The present is the first instance in which the history of any wine
has been traced with the same degree of minuteness as the history of
the still and sparkling wines of the Champagne has been traced in the
following pages. And not only have the author's investigations extended
over a very wide range, as will be seen by the references contained in
the footnotes to this volume, but during the past ten years he has paid
frequent visits to the Champagne--to its vineyards and vendangeoirs,
and to the establishments of the chief manufacturers of sparkling wine,
the preparation of which he has witnessed in all its phases. Visits
have, moreover, been made to various other localities where sparkling
wines are produced, and more or less interesting information gathered
regarding the latter. In the pursuit of his researches, the author's
position as wine juror at the Vienna and Paris Exhibitions opened up to
him many sources of information inaccessible to others less favourably
circumstanced, and these his general knowledge of wine, acquired during
many years' careful study, enabled him to turn to advantageous account.

The numerous illustrations scattered throughout the present volume
have been derived from every available source that suggested itself.
Ancient /MSS./, early-printed books, pictures and pieces of sculpture,
engravings and caricatures, all of greater or less rarity, have been
laid under contribution; and in addition, nearly two hundred original
sketches have been made under the author's immediate superintendence,
with the object of illustrating the principal localities and their more
picturesque features, and depicting all matters of interest connected
with the growth and manipulation of the various sparkling wines which
are here described.

In the preparation of this work, and more particularly the historical
portions of it, the author has been largely assisted by his nephew, Mr.
Montague Vizetelly, to whom he tenders his warmest acknowledgments for
the valuable services rendered by him.

It should be stated that portions of the volume, relating to the
vintaging and manufacture of sparkling wines generally, have been
previously published under the title of _Facts about Champagne and
other Sparkling Wines_, but they have been subjected to considerable
extension and revision before being permitted to reappear in their
present form.

    St. Leonards-on-Sea, February 1882.


    /Part I./


    /Early Renown of the Champagne Wines./


    The vine in Gaul--Domitian's edict to uproot it--Plantation of
    vineyards under Probus--Early vineyards of the Champagne--Ravages
    by the Northern tribes repulsed for a time by the Consul
    Jovinus--St. Remi and the baptism of Clovis--St. Remi's
    vineyards--Simultaneous progress of Christianity and the
    cultivation of the vine--The vine a favourite subject of ornament
    in the churches of the Champagne--The culture of the vine
    interrupted, only to be renewed with increased ardour--Early
    distinction between 'Vins de la Rivière' and 'Vins de la
    Montagne'--A prelate's counsel respecting the proper wine
    to drink--The Champagne desolated by war--Pope Urban II., a
    former Canon of Reims Cathedral--His partiality for the wine of
    Ay--Bequests of vineyards to religious establishments--Critical
    ecclesiastical topers--The wine of the Champagne causes poets to
    sing and rejoice--'La Bataille des Vins'--Wines of Auviller and
    Espernai le Bacheler                                               1


    /The Wines of the Champagne from the Fourteenth to the Seventeenth

    Coronations at Reims and their attendant banquets--Wine
    flows profusely at these entertainments--The wine-trade of
    Reims--Presents of wine from the Reims municipality--Cultivation
    of the vineyards abandoned after the battle of Poitiers--Octroi
    levied on wine at Reims--Coronation of Charles V.--Extension
    of the Champagne vineyards--Abundance of wine--Visit to Reims
    of the royal sot Wenceslaus of Bohemia--The Etape aux Vins at
    Reims--Increased consumption of beer during the English occupation
    of the city--The Maid of Orleans at Reims--The vineyards and
    wine-trade alike suffer--Louis XI. is crowned at Reims--Fresh
    taxes upon wine followed by the Mique-Maque revolt--The Rémois
    the victims of pillaging foes and extortionate defenders--The
    Champagne vineyards attacked by noxious insects--Coronation of
    Louis XII.--François Premier, the Emperor Charles V., Bluff King
    Hal, and Leo the Magnificent all partial to the wine of Ay--Mary
    Queen of Scots at Reims--State kept by the opulent and libertine
    Cardinal of Lorraine--Brusquet, the Court Fool--Decrease in the
    production of wine around Reims--Gifts of wine to newly-crowned
    monarchs--New restrictions on vine cultivation--The wine of the
    Champagne crowned at the same time as Louis XIII.--Regulation price
    for wine established at Reims--Imposts levied on the vineyards by
    the Frondeurs--The country ravaged around Reims--Sufferings of the
    peasantry--Presents of wine to Marshal Turenne and Charles II. of
    England--Perfection of the Champagne wines during the reign of
    Louis XIV.--St. Evremond's high opinion of them--Other contemporary
    testimony in their favour--The Archbishop of Reims's niggardly gift
    to James II. of England--A poet killed by Champagne--Offerings by
    the Rémois to Louis XIV. on his visit to their city               12


    /Invention and Development of Sparkling Champagne./

    The ancients acquainted with sparkling wines--Tendency of Champagne
    wines to effervesce noted at an early period--Obscurity enveloping
    the discovery of what we now know as sparkling Champagne--The Royal
    Abbey of Hautvillers--Legend of its foundation by St. Nivard and
    St. Berchier--Its territorial possessions and vineyards--The monks
    the great viticulturists of the Middle Ages--Dom Perignon--He
    marries wines differing in character--His discovery of sparkling
    white wine--He is the first to use corks to bottles--His secret for
    clearing the wine revealed only to his successors Frère Philippe
    and Dom Grossart--Result of Dom Perignon's discoveries--The wine
    of Hautvillers sold at 1000 livres the queue--Dom Perignon's
    memorial in the Abbey-Church--Wine flavoured with peaches--The
    effervescence ascribed to drugs, to the period of the moon, and
    to the action of the sap in the vine--The fame of sparkling
    wine rapidly spreads--The Vin de Perignon makes its appearance
    at the Court of the Grand Monarque--Is welcomed by the young
    courtiers--It figures at the suppers of Anet and Chantilly, and
    at the orgies of the Temple and the Palais Royal--The rapturous
    strophes of Chaulieu and Rousseau--Frederick William I. and the
    Berlin Academicians--Augustus the Strong and the page who pilfered
    his Champagne--Horror of the old-fashioned _gourmets_ at the
    innovation--Bertin du Rocheret and the Marshal d'Artagnan--System
    of wine-making in the Champagne early in the eighteenth
    century--Bottling of the wine in flasks--Icing Champagne with the
    corks loosened                                                    34


    /The Battle of the Wines./

    Temporary check to the popularity of sparkling Champagne--Doctors
    disagree--The champions of Champagne and Burgundy--Péna and his
    patient--A young Burgundian student attacks the wine of Reims--The
    Faculty of Reims in arms--A local Old Parr cited as an example
    in favour of the wines of the Champagne--Salins of Beaune and
    Le Pescheur of Reims engage warmly in the dispute--A pelting
    with pamphlets--Burgundy sounds a war-note--The Sapphics of
    Benigné Grenan--An asp beneath the flowers--The gauntlet picked
    up--Carols from a coffin--Champagne extolled as superior to all
    other wines--It inspires the heart and stirs the brain--The
    apotheosis of Champagne foam--Burgundy, an invalid, seeks a
    prescription--Impartially appreciative drinkers of both wines--Bold
    Burgundian and stout Rémois, each a jolly tippling fellow--Canon
    Maucroix's parallel between Burgundy and Demosthenes and Champagne
    and Cicero--Champagne a panacea for gout and stone--Final decision
    in favour of Champagne by the medical faculty of Paris--Pluche's
    opinion on the controversy--Champagne a lively wit and Burgundy a
    solid understanding--Champagne commands double the price of the
    best Burgundy--Zealots reconciled at table                        47


    /Progress and Popularity of Sparkling Champagne./

    Sparkling Champagne intoxicates the Regent d'Orléans and the
    _roués_ of the Palais Royal--It is drunk by Peter the Great at
    Reims--A horse trained on Champagne and biscuits--Decree of Louis
    XV. regarding the transport of Champagne--Wine for the _petits
    cabinets du Roi_--The _petits soupers_ and Champagne orgies of
    the royal household--A bibulous royal mistress--The Well-Beloved
    at Reims--Frederick the Great, George II., Stanislas Leczinski,
    and Marshal Saxe all drink Champagne--Voltaire sings the praises
    of the effervescing wine of Ay--The Commander Descartes and
    Lebatteux extol the charms of sparkling Champagne--Bertin
    du Rocheret and his balsamic molecules--The Bacchanalian
    poet Panard chants the inspiring effects of the vintages of
    the Marne--Marmontel is jointly inspired by Mademoiselle de
    Navarre and the wine of Avenay--The Abbé de l'Attaignant and
    his fair hostesses--Breakages of bottles in the manufacturers'
    cellars--Attempts to obviate them--The early sparkling wines
    merely _crémant_--_Saute bouchon_ and _demi-mousseux_--Prices
    of Champagne in the eighteenth century--Preference given to
    light acid wines for sparkling Champagne--Lingering relics
    of prejudice against _vin mousseux_--The secret addition of
    sugar--Originally the wine not cleared in bottle--Its transfer
    to other bottles necessary--Adoption of the present method
    of ridding the wine of its deposit--The vine-cultivators the
    last to profit by the popularity of sparkling Champagne--Marie
    Antoinette welcomed to Reims--Reception and coronation of Louis
    XVI. at Reims--'The crown, it hurts me!'--Oppressive dues and
    tithes of the _ancien régime_--The Fermiers Généraux and their
    hôtel at Reims--Champagne under the Revolution--Napoleon at
    Epernay--Champagne included in the equipment of his satraps--The
    Allies in the Champagne--Drunkenness and pillaging--Appreciation
    of Champagne by the invading troops--The beneficial results which
    followed--Universal popularity of Champagne--The wine a favourite
    with kings and potentates--Its traces to be met with everywhere   57


    /Champagne in England./

    The strong and foaming wine of the Champagne forbidden his troops
    by Henry V.--The English carrying off wine when evacuating
    Reims on the approach of Jeanne Darc--A legend of the siege
    of Epernay--Henry VIII. and his vineyard at Ay--Louis XIV.'s
    present of Champagne to Charles II.--The courtiers of the
    Merry Monarch retain the taste for French wine acquired in
    exile--St. Evremond makes the Champagne flute the glass of
    fashion--Still Champagne quaffed by the beaux of the Mall and
    the rakes of the Mulberry Gardens--It inspires the poets and
    dramatists of the Restoration--Is drank by James II. and William
    III.--The advent of sparkling Champagne in England--Farquhar's
    _Love and a Bottle_--Mockmode the Country Squire and the witty
    liquor--Champagne the source of wit--Port-wine and war combine
    against it, but it helps Marlborough's downfall--Coffin's poetical
    invitation to the English on the return of peace--A fraternity of
    chemical operators who draw Champagne from an apple--The influence
    of Champagne in the Augustan age of English literature--Extolled
    by Gay and Prior--Shenstone's verses at an inn--Renders Vanbrugh's
    comedies lighter than his edifices--Swift preaches temperance
    in Champagne to Bolingbroke--Champagne the most fashionable
    wine of the eighteenth century--Bertin du Rocheret sends it
    in cask and bottle to the King's wine-merchant--Champagne at
    Vauxhall in Horace Walpole's day--Old Q. gets Champagne from
    M. de Puissieux--Lady Mary's Champagne and chicken--Champagne
    plays its part at masquerades and bacchanalian suppers--Becomes
    the beverage of the ultra-fashionables above and below
    stairs--Figures in the comedies of Foote, Garrick, Coleman, and
    Holcroft--Champagne and real pain--Sir Edward Barry's learned
    remarks on Champagne--Pitt and Dundas drunk on Jenkinson's
    Champagne--Fox and the Champagne from Brooks's--Champagne smuggled
    from Jersey--Grown in England--Experiences of a traveller in the
    Champagne trade in England at the close of the century--Sillery
    the favourite wine--Nelson and the 'fair Emma' under the influence
    of Champagne--The Prince Regent's partiality for Champagne
    punch--Brummell's Champagne blacking--The Duke of Clarence
    overcome by Champagne--Curran and Canning on the wine--Henderson's
    praise of Sillery--Tom Moore's summer fête inspired by Pink
    Champagne--Scott's Muse dips her wing in Champagne--Byron's
    sparkling metaphors--A joint-stock poem in praise of Pink
    Champagne--The wheels of social life in England oiled by
    Champagne--It flows at public banquets and inaugurations--Plays its
    part in the City, on the Turf, and in the theatrical world--Imparts
    a charm to the dinners of Belgravia and the suppers of
    Bohemia--Champagne the ladies' wine _par excellence_--Its influence
    as a matrimonial agent--'O the wildfire wine of France!'          83

    /Part II./


    /The Champagne Vinelands--The Vineyards of the River./

    The vinelands in the neighbourhood of Epernay--Viticultural area
    of the Champagne--A visit to the vineyards of 'golden plants'--The
    Dizy vineyards--Antiquity of the Ay vineyards--St. Tresain and
    the wine-growers of Ay--The Ay vintage of 1871--The Mareuil
    vineyards and their produce--Avernay; its vineyards, wines, and
    ancient abbey--The vineyards of Mutigny and Cumières--Damery
    and 'la belle hôtesse' of Henri Quatre--Adrienne Lecouvreur
    and the Maréchal de Saxe's matrimonial schemes--Pilgrimage to
    Hautvillers--Remains of the Royal Abbey of St. Peter--The ancient
    church--Its quaint decorations and monuments--The view from the
    heights of Hautvillers--The abbey vineyards and wine-cellars in the
    days of Dom Perignon--The vinelands of the Côte d'Epernay--Pierry
    and its vineyard cellars--The Moussy, Vinay, and Ablois St. Martin
    vineyards--The Côte d'Avize--Chavot, Monthelon, Grauves, and
    Cuis--The vineyards of Cramant and Avize, and their light delicate
    white wines--The Oger and Le Mesnil vineyards--Vertus and its
    picturesque ancient remains--Its vineyards planted with Burgundy
    grapes from Beaune--The red wine of Vertus a favourite beverage of
    William III. of England                                          117


    /The Champagne Vinelands--The Vineyards of the Mountain./

    The wine of Sillery--Origin of its renown--The Maréchale
    d'Estrées a successful Marchande de Vin--The Marquis de Sillery
    the greatest wine-farmer in the Champagne--Cossack appreciation
    of the Sillery produce--The route from Reims to Sillery--Henri
    Quatre and the Taissy wines--Failure of the Jacquesson
    system of vine cultivation--Château of Sillery--Wine-making
    at M. Fortel's--Sillery sec--The vintage at Verzenay and
    the vendangeoirs--Renown of the Verzenay wine--The Verzy
    vineyards--Edward III. at the Abbey of St. Basle--Excursion
    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 Champagne plains--Wine-making at Mailly--The
    village in the wood--Château and park of Louvois, Louis le
    Grand's War Minister--The vineyards of Bouzy--Its church-steeple,
    and the lottery of the great gold ingot--Pressing grapes at
    the Werlé vendangeoir--Still red Bouzy--Ambonnay--A pattern
    peasant vine-proprietor--The Ambonnay vintage--The vineyards of
    Ville-Dommange and Sacy, Hermonville and St. Thierry--The still red
    wine of the latter                                               130


    /The Vines of the Champagne and the System of Cultivation./

    A combination of circumstances essential to the production of
    good Champagne--Varieties of vines cultivated in the Champagne
    vineyards--Different classes of vine-proprietors--Cost of
    cultivation--The soil of the vineyards--Period and system of
    planting the vines--The operation of 'provenage'--The 'taille' or
    pruning, the 'bêchage' or digging--Fixing the vine-stakes--Great
    cost of the latter--Manuring and shortening back the vines--The
    summer hoeing around the plants--Removal of the stakes after the
    vintage--Precautions adopted against spring frosts--The Guyot
    system of roofing the vines with matting--Forms a shelter from
    rain, hail, and frost, and aids the ripening of the grapes--Various
    pests that prey upon the Champagne vines--Destruction caused
    by the Eumolpe, the Chabot, the Bêche, the Cochylus, and the
    Pyrale--Attempts made to check the ravages of the latter with the
    electric light                                                   140


    /The Vintage in the Champagne./

    Period of the Champagne vintage--Vintagers summoned by
    beat of drum--Early morning the best time for plucking
    the grapes--Excitement in the neighbouring villages at
    vintage-time--Vintagers at work--Mules employed to convey the
    gathered grapes down the steeper slopes--The fruit carefully
    examined before being taken to the wine-press--Arrival of the
    grapes at the vendangeoir--They are subjected to three squeezes,
    and then to the 'rébêche'--The must is pumped into casks and left
    to ferment--Only a few of the vine-proprietors in the Champagne
    press their own grapes--The prices the grapes command--Air of
    jollity throughout the district during the vintage--Every one
    is interested in it, and profits by it--Vintagers' fête on St.
    Vincent's-day--Endless philandering between the sturdy sons of toil
    and the sunburnt daughters of labour                             148


    /The Preparation of Champagne./

    The treatment of Champagne after it comes from the wine-press--The
    racking and blending of the wine--The proportions of red and
    white vintages composing the 'cuvée'--Deficiency and excess
    of effervescence--Strength and form of Champagne bottles--The
    'tirage' or bottling of the wine--The process of gas-making
    commences--Details of the origin and development of the
    effervescent properties of Champagne--The inevitable breakage of
    bottles which ensues--This remedied by transferring the wine
    to a lower temperature--The wine stacked in piles--Formation of
    sediment--Bottles placed 'sur pointe' and daily shaken to detach
    the deposit--Effect of this occupation on those incessantly
    engaged in it--The present system originated by a workman of
    Madame Clicquot's--'Claws' and 'masks'--Champagne cellars--Their
    construction and aspect--Raw recruits for the 'Regiment de
    Champagne'--Transforming the 'vin brut' into Champagne--Disgorging
    and liqueuring the wine--The composition of the liqueur--Variation
    in the quantity added to suit diverse national tastes--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 round the world            154


    /Reims and its Champagne Establishments./

    The city of Reims--Its historical associations--The Cathedral--Its
    western front one of the most splendid conceptions of the
    thirteenth century--The sovereigns crowned within its
    walls--Present aspect of the ancient archiepiscopal city--The
    woollen manufactures and other industries of Reims--The city
    undermined with the cellars of the great Champagne firms--Reims
    hotels--Gothic house in the Rue du Bourg St. Denis--Renaissance
    house in the Rue de Vesle--Church of St. Jacques: its gateway
    and quaint weathercock--The Rue des Tapissiers and the Chapter
    Court--The long tapers used at religious processions--The Place
    des Marchés and its ancient houses--The Hôtel de Ville--Statue
    of Louis XIII.--The Rues de la Prison and du Temple--Messrs.
    Werlé & 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--Remains of the Commanderie--The forty-five
    cellars of the Clicquot-Werlé establishment--Our tour of inspection
    through them--Ingenious dosing 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                                       168


    /Reims and its Champagne Establishments/ (_continued_).

    The house of Louis Roederer founded by a plodding German
    named Schreider--The central and other establishments of the
    firm--Ancient house in the Rue des Elus--The gloomy-looking Rue
    des Deux Anges and prison-like aspect of its houses--Inside
    their courts the scene changes--Handsome Renaissance house and
    garden, a former abode of the canons of the Cathedral--The
    Place Royale--The Hôtel des Fermes and the statue of the 'wise,
    virtuous, and magnanimous Louis XV.'--Birthplace of Colbert in
    the Rue de Cérès--Quaint Adam and Eve gateway in the Rue de
    l'Arbalète--Heidsieck & Co.'s central establishment in the Rue de
    Sedan--Their famous 'Monopole' brand--The firm founded in the last
    century--Their extensive cellars inside and outside Reims--The
    matured wines shipped by them--The Boulevard du Temple--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--Various
    Champagne firms located in this quarter of Reims--The Rue du
    Tambour and the famous House of the Musicians--The Counts de la
    Marck assumed former occupants of the latter--The Brotherhood of
    Minstrels of Reims--Périnet & Fils' establishment in the Rue St.
    Hilaire--Their cellars of three stories in solid masonry--Their
    soft, light, and delicate wines--A rare still Verzenay--The firm's
    high-class Extra Sec                                             179


    /Reims and its Champagne Establishments/ (_continued_).

    La Prison de Bonne Semaine--Mary Queen of Scots at Reims--Messrs.
    Pommery & 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 tower and grotto--The handsome
    castellated Pommery establishment--The spacious cellier and
    huge carved cuvée tuns--The descent to the cellars--Their great
    extent--These lofty subterranean chambers originally quarries,
    and subsequently places of refuge of the early Christians and
    the Protestants--Madame Pommery's splendid cuvées of 1868 and
    1874--Messrs. de St. Marceaux & 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 & Co.'s various wines--The establishment of Veuve
    Morelle & Co., successors to Max Sutaine--The latter's 'Essai sur
    le Vin de Champagne'--The Sutaine family formerly of some note at
    Reims--Morelle & Co.'s cellars well adapted to the development
    of sparkling wines--The various brands of the house--The Porte
    Dieu-Lumière                                                     188



    The connection of Epernay with the production of wine of
    remote date--The town repeatedly burnt and plundered--Hugh the
    Great carries off all the wine of the neighbourhood--Vineyards
    belonging to the Abbey of St. Martin in the eleventh, twelfth,
    and thirteenth centuries--Abbot Gilles orders the demolition of
    a wine-press which infringes the abbey's feudal rights--Bequests
    of vineyards in the fifteenth century--Francis I. bestows Epernay
    on Claude Duke of Guise in 1544--The Eschevins send a present
    of wine to their new seigneur--Wine levied for the king's camp
    at Rethel and the strongholds of the province by the Duc de
    Longueville--Epernay sacked and fired on the approach of Charles
    V.--The Charles-Fontaine vendangeoir at Avenay--Destruction of
    the immense pressoirs of the Abbey of St. Martin--The handsome
    Renaissance entrance to the church of Epernay--Plantation of the
    'terre de siége' with vines in 1550--Money and wine levied on
    Epernay by Condé and the Duke of Guise--Henri Quatre lays siege
    to Epernay--Death of Maréchal Biron--Desperate battle amongst the
    vineyards--Triple talent of the 'bon Roy Henri' for drinking,
    fighting, and love-making--Verses addressed by him to his 'belle
    hôtesse' Anne du Puy--The Epernay Town Council make gifts of wine
    to various functionaries to secure their good-will--Presents of
    wine to Turenne at the coronation of Louis XIV.--Petition to
    Louvois to withdraw the Epernay garrison that the vintage may be
    gathered in--The Duke and Duchess of Orleans at Epernay--Louis
    XIV. partakes of the local vintage at the maison abbatiale on his
    way to the army of the Rhine--Increased reputation of the wine of
    Epernay at the end of the seventeenth century--Numerous offerings
    of it to the Marquis de Puisieux, Governor of the town--The Old
    Pretender presented at Epernay with twenty-four bottles of the
    best--Sparkling wine sent to the Marquis de Puisieux at Sillery,
    and also to his nephew--Further gifts to the Prince de Turenne--The
    vintage destroyed by frost in 1740--The Epernay slopes at this
    epoch said to produce the most delicious wine in Europe--Vines
    planted where houses had formerly stood--The development of the
    trade in sparkling wine--A 'tirage' of fifty thousand bottles
    in 1787--Arthur Young drinks Champagne at Epernay at forty sous
    the bottle--It is surmised that Louis XVI., on his return from
    Varennes, is inspired by Champagne at Epernay--Napoleon and his
    family enjoy the hospitality of Jean Remi Moët--King Jerome
    of Westphalia's true prophecy with regard to the Russians and
    Champagne--Disgraceful conduct of the Prussians and Russians
    at Epernay in 1814--The Mayor offers them the free run of his
    cellars--Charles X., Louis Philippe, and Napoleon III. accept the
    'vin d'honneur' at Epernay--The town occupied by German troops
    during the war of 1870-1                                         195


    /The Champagne Establishments of Epernay and Pierry./

    Early records of the Moët family at Reims and Epernay--Jean Remi
    Moët, the founder of the commerce in Champagne wines--Extracts from
    old account-books of the Moëts--Jean Remi Moët receives the Emperor
    Napoleon, the Empress Josephine, and the King of Westphalia--The
    firm of Moët & Chandon constituted--Their establishment in the
    Rue du Commerce--The delivery and washing of new bottles--The
    numerous vineyards and vendangeoirs of the firm--Their cuvée made
    in vats of 12,000 gallons--The bottling of the wine--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.--The original vaults
    known as Siberia--Scene in the packing-hall--Messrs. Moët &
    Chandon's large and complete staff--The famous 'Star' brand of the
    firm--Perrier-Jouët's château, offices, and cellars--Classification
    of the wine of the house--The establishment of Messrs. Pol
    Roger & Co.--Their large stock of the fine 1874 vintage--The
    preparations for the tirage--Their vast fireproof cellier and
    its temperature--Their lofty and capacious cellars--Pierry
    becomes a wine-growing district consequent upon Dom Perignon's
    discovery--Esteem in which the growths of the Clos St. Pierre were
    held--Cazotte, author of _Le Diable Amoureux_, and guillotined
    for planning the escape of Louis XVI. from France, a resident at
    Pierry--His contest with the Abbot of Hautvillers with reference
    to the abbey tithes of wine--The Château of Pierry--Its owner
    demands to have it searched to prove that he is not a forestaller
    of corn--The vineyards and Champagne establishment of Gé-Dufaut &
    Co.--The reserves of old wines in the cellars of this firm--Honours
    secured by them at Vienna and Paris                              205


    /Some Champagne Establishments at Ay and Mareuil./

    The _bourgade_ of Ay and its eighteenth-century château--Gambling
    propensities of a former owner, Balthazar Constance Dangé-Dorçay--
    Appreciation of the Ay vintage by Sigismund of Bohemia, Leo X.,
    Charles V., Francis I., and Henry VIII.--Bertin du Rocheret
    celebrates this partiality in triolets--Estimation of the Ay wine
    in the reigns of Charles IX. and Henri III.--Is a favoured drink
    with the leaders of the League, and with Henri IV., Catherine de
    Medicis, and the courtiers of that epoch--The 'Vendangeoir d'Henri
    Quatre' at Ay--The King's pride in his title of Seigneur d'Ay and
    Gonesse--Dominicus Baudius punningly suggests that the 'Vin d'Ay'
    should be called 'Vinum Dei'--The merits of the wine sung by poets
    and extolled by wits--The Ay wine in its palmy days evidently not
    sparkling--Arthur Young's visit to Ay in 1787--The establishment of
    Deutz & Geldermann--Drawing off the cuvée there--Mode of excavating
    cellars in the Champagne--The firm's new cellars, vineyards, and
    vendangeoir--M. Duminy's cellars and wines--The house founded
    in 1814--The new model Duminy establishment--Picturesque old
    house at Ay--Messrs. Pfungst Frères & Co.'s cellars--Their
    finely-matured dry Champagnes--The old church of Ay and its
    numerous decorations of grapes and vine-leaves--The sculptured
    figure above the Renaissance doorway--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 & Co.--The handsome carved gigantic cuvée-tun--The
    cellars and their lofty shafts--The wines of the firm            217


    /Champagne Establishments at Avize and Rilly./

    Avize the centre of the white grape district--Its situation and
    aspect--The establishment of Giesler & 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 of the Avize and Cramant
    vineyards 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       229


    /Sport in the Champagne./

    The Champagne forests the resort of the wild-boar--Departure of
    a hunting-party in the early morning to a boar-hunt--Rousing
    the boar from his lair--Commencement of the attack--Chasing the
    boar--His course is checked by a bullet--The dogs rush on in full
    pursuit--The boar turns and stands at bay--A skilful marksman
    advances and gives him the _coup de grâce_--Hunting the wild-boar
    on horseback in the Champagne--An exciting day's sport with M.
    d'Honnincton's boar-hounds--The 'sonnerie du sanglier' and the
    'vue'--The horns sound in chorus 'The boar has taken soil'--The
    boar leaves the stream, and a spirited chase ensues--Brought to
    bay, he seeks the water again--Deathly struggle between the boar
    and a full pack of hounds--The fatal shot is at length fired,
    and the 'hallali' is sounded--As many as fifteen wild-boars
    sometimes killed at a single meet--The vagaries of some tame
    young boars--Hounds of all kinds used for hunting the wild-boar
    in the Champagne--Damage done by boars to the vineyards and the
    crops--Varieties of game common to the Champagne                 235

    /Part III./


    /Sparkling Saumur and Sparkling Sauternes./

    The sparkling wines of the Loire often palmed off as
    Champagne--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--Touraine the favourite residence of the
    earlier French monarchs--After a night's carouse at the epoch
    of the Renaissance--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. 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--Recognition accorded to the wine at the Concours
    Régional d'Angoulême                                             241


    /The Sparkling Wines of Burgundy, the Jura, and the South of

    Sparkling wines of the Côte d'Or at the Paris Exhibition of
    1878--Chambertin, Romanée, and Vougeot--Burgundy wines and
    vines formerly presents from 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 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               251


    /Facts and Notes respecting Sparkling Wines./

    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
    crus 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 in which to lay down
    Champagne--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                                    258


                           [Illustration: A

                         HISTORY OF CHAMPAGNE]

                             WITH NOTES ON

                        OTHER SPARKLING WINES.

                                PART I.


                /Early Renown of the Champagne Wines./

    The vine in Gaul--Domitian's edict to uproot it--Plantation of
    vineyards under Probus--Early vineyards of the Champagne--Ravages
    by the Northern tribes repulsed for a time by the Consul
    Jovinus--St. Remi and the baptism of Clovis--St. Remi's
    vineyards--Simultaneous progress of Christianity and the
    cultivation of the vine--The vine a favourite subject of ornament
    in the churches of the Champagne--The culture of the vine
    interrupted, only to be renewed with increased ardour--Early
    distinction between 'Vins de la Rivière' and 'Vins de la
    Montagne'--A prelate's counsel respecting the proper wine
    to drink--The Champagne desolated by war--Pope Urban II., a
    former Canon of Reims Cathedral--His partiality for the wine of
    Ay--Bequests of vineyards to religious establishments--Critical
    ecclesiastical topers--The wine of the Champagne causes poets to
    sing and rejoice--'La Bataille des Vins'--Wines of Auviller and
    Espernai le Bacheler.


Although the date of the introduction of the vine into France is
lost in the mists of antiquity, and though the wines of Marseilles,
Narbonne, and Vienne were celebrated by Roman writers prior to the
Christian era, many centuries elapsed before a vintage was gathered
within the limits of the ancient province of Champagne. Whilst the
vine and olive throve in the sunny soil of the Narbonnese Gaul, the
frigid climate of the as yet uncultivated North forbade the production
of either wine or oil.[1] The 'forest of the Marne,' now renowned
for the vintage it yields, was then indeed a dark and gloomy wood,
the haunt of the wolf and wild boar, the stag and the auroch; and
the tall barbarians of Gallia Comata, who manned the walls of Reims
on the approach of Cæsar, were fain to quaff defiance to the Roman
power in mead and ale.[2] Though Reims became under the Roman dominion
one of the capitals of Belgic Gaul, and acquired an importance to
which numerous relics in the shape of temples, triumphal arches,
baths, arenas, military roads, &c., amply testify; and though the
Gauls were especially distinguished by their quick adoption of Roman
customs, it appears certain that during the sway of the twelve Cæsars
the inhabitants of the present Champagne district were forced to
draw the wine, with which their amphoræ were filled and their pateræ
replenished, from extraneous sources. The vintages of which Pliny and
Columella have written were confined to Gallia Narboniensis, though the
culture of the vine had doubtless made some progress in Aquitaine and
on the banks of the Saône, when the stern edict of the fly-catching
madman Domitian, issued on the plea that the plant of Bacchus usurped
space which would be better filled by that of Ceres, led (/A.D./ 92) to
its total uprooting throughout the Gallic territory.


For nearly two hundred years this strange edict remained in force,
during which period all the wine consumed in the Gallo-Roman dominions
was imported from abroad. Six generations of men, to whom the cheerful
toil of the vine-dresser was but an hereditary tale, and the joys of
the vintage a half-forgotten tradition, had passed away when, in 282,
the Emperor Probus, a gardener's son, once more granted permission to
cultivate the vine, and even exercised his legions in the laying-out
and planting of vineyards in Gaul.[3] The culture was eagerly resumed,
and, as with the advancement of agriculture and the clearance of
forests the climate had gradually improved, the inhabitants of the
more northern regions sought to emulate their southern neighbours in
the production of wine. This concession of Probus was hailed with
rejoicing; and some antiquaries maintain that the triumphal arch at
Reims, known as the Gate of Mars, was erected during his reign as a
token of gratitude for this permission to replant the vine.[4]


[Illustration: THE GATE OF MARS AT REIMS.]

By the fourth century the banks of the Marne and the Moselle were
clothed with vineyards, which became objects of envy and desire to
the yellow-haired tribes of Germany,[5] and led in no small degree
to the predatory incursions into the territory of Reims so severely
repulsed by Julian the Apostate and the Consul Jovinus, who had aided
Julian to ascend the throne of the Cæsars, and had combatted for him
against the Persians. Julian assembled his forces at Reims in 356,
before advancing against the Alemanni, who had established themselves
in Alsace and Lorraine; and ten years later the Consul Jovinus, after
surprising some of the same nation bathing their large limbs, combing
their long and flaxen hair, and 'swallowing huge draughts of rich and
delicious wine,'[6] on the banks of the Moselle, fought a desperate and
successful battle, lasting an entire summer's day, on the Catalaunian
plains near Châlons, with their comrades, whom the prospect of similar
indulgence had tempted to enter the Champagne. Valerian came to Reims
in 367 to congratulate Jovinus; and the Emperor and the Consul (whose
tomb is to-day preserved in Reims Cathedral) fought their battles o'er
again over their cups in the palace reared by the latter on the spot
occupied in later years by the church of St. Nicaise.

The check administered by Jovinus was but temporary, while the
attraction continued permanent. For nearly half a century, it is
true, the vineyards of the Champagne throve amidst an era of quiet
and prosperity such as had seldom blessed the frontier provinces of
Gaul.[7] But when, in 406, the Vandals spread the flame of war from the
banks of the Rhine to the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the ocean, Reims was
sacked, its fields ravaged, its bishop cut down at the altar, and its
inhabitants slain or made captive; and the same scene of desolation was
repeated when the hostile myriads of Attila swept across north-western
France in 451.


Happier times were, however, in store for Reims and its bishops and its
vineyards, the connection between the two last being far more intimate
than might be supposed. When Clovis and his Frankish host passed
through Reims by the road still known as the Grande Barberie, on his
way to attack Syagrius in 486, there was no doubt a little pillaging,
and the famous golden vase which one of the monarch's followers
carried off from the episcopal residence was not left unfilled by its
new owner. But after Syagrius had been crushed at Soissons, and the
theft avenged by a blow from the king's battle-axe, Clovis not only
restored the stolen vase, and made a treaty with the bishop St. Remi
or Remigius, son of Emilius, Count of Laon, but eventually became a
convert to Christianity, and accepted baptism at his hands. Secular
history has celebrated the fight of Tolbiac--the invocation addressed
by the despairing Frank to the God of the Christians; the sudden
rallying of his fainting troops, and the last desperate charge which
swept away for ever the power of the Alemanni as a nation. Saintly
legends have enlarged upon the piety of Queen Clotilda; the ability of
St. Remi; the pomp and ceremony which marked the baptism of Clovis at
Reims in December 496; the memorable injunction of the bishop to his
royal convert to adore the cross he had burnt, and burn the idols he
had hitherto adored; and the miracle of the Sainte Ampoule, a vial of
holy oil said to have been brought direct from heaven by a snow-white
dove in honour of the occasion. A pigeon, however, has always been
a favourite item in the conjuror's paraphernalia from the days of
Apolonius of Tyana and Mahomet down to those of Houdin and Dr. Lynn;
and modern scepticism has suggested that the celestial regions were
none other than the episcopal dovecot. Whether or not the oil was holy,
we may be certain that the wine which flowed freely in honour of the
Frankish monarch's conversion was ambrosial; that the fierce warriors
who had conquered at Soissons and Tolbiac wetted their long moustaches
in the choicest growths that had ripened on the surrounding hills; and
that the Counts and Leudes, and, judging from national habits, the King
himself, got royally drunk upon a _cuvée réservée_ from the vineyard
which St. Remi had planted with his own hands on his hereditary estate
near Laon, or the one which the slave Melanius cultivated for him just
without the walls of Reims.


For the saint was not only a converter of kings, but, what is of
more moment to us, a cultivator of vineyards and an appreciator of
their produce. Amongst the many miracles which monkish chroniclers
have ascribed to him is one commemorated by a bas-relief on the north
doorway of Reims Cathedral, representing him in the house of one of
his relatives, named Celia, making the sign of the cross over an empty
cask, which, as a matter of course, immediately became filled with
wine. That St. Remi possessed such an ample stock of wine of his own as
to have been under no necessity to repeat this miracle in the episcopal
palace is evident from the will penned by him during his last illness
in 530, as this shows his viticultural and other possessions to have
been sufficiently extensive to have contented a bishop even of the most
pluralistic proclivities.[8]

It is curious to note the connection between the spread of viticulture
and that of Christianity--a connection apparently incongruous, and yet
evident enough, when it is remembered that wine is necessary for the
celebration of the most solemn sacrament of the Church. Christianity
became the established religion of the Roman Empire about the first
decade of the fourth century, and Paganism was prohibited by Theodosius
at its close; and it is during this period that we find the culture of
the grape spreading throughout Gaul, and St. Martin of Tours preaching
the Gospel and planting a vineyard coevally. Chapters and religious
houses especially applied themselves to the cultivation of the vine,
and hence the origin of many famous vineyards, not only of the
Champagne but of France. The old monkish architects, too, showed their
appreciation of the vine by continually introducing sculptured festoons
of vine-leaves, intermingled with massy clusters of grapes, into the
decorations of the churches built by them. The church of St. Remi, for
instance, commenced in the middle of the seventh century, and touched
up by succeeding builders till it has been compared to a school of
progressive architecture, furnishes an example of this in the mouldings
of its principal doorway; and Reims Cathedral offers several instances
of a similar character.



Amidst the anarchy and confusion which marked the feeble sway of the
long-haired Merovingian kings, whom the warlike Franks were wont to
hoist upon their bucklers when investing them with the sovereign power,
we find France relapsing into a state of barbarism; and though the
Salic law enacted severe penalties for pulling up a vine-stock, the
prospect of being liable at any moment to a writ of ejectment, enforced
by the aid of a battle-axe, must have gone far to damp spontaneous
ardour as regards experimental viticulture. The tenants of the Church,
in which category the bulk of the vine-growers of Reims and Epernay
were to be classed, were best off; but neither the threats of bishops
nor the vengeance of saints could restrain acts of sacrilege and
pillage. During the latter half of the sixth century Reims, Epernay,
and the surrounding district were ravaged several times by the
contending armies of Austrasia and Neustria; and Chilperic of Soissons,
on capturing the latter town in 562, put such heavy taxes on the vines
and the serfs that in three years the inhabitants had deserted the
country. Matters improved, however, during the more peaceful days of
the ensuing century, which witnessed the foundation of numerous abbeys,
including those of Epernay, Hautvillers, and Avenay; and the planting
of fresh vineyards in the ecclesiastical domains by Bishop Romulfe and
his successor St. Sonnace, the latter, who died in 637, bequeathing
to the church of St. Remi a vineyard at Villers, and to the monastery
of St. Pierre les Dames one situate at Germaine, in the Mountain of
Reims.[9] The sculptured saint on the exterior of Reims Cathedral, with
his feet resting upon a pedestal wreathed with vine-leaves and bunches
of grapes, may possibly have been intended for one of these numerous
wine-growing prelates.


The mighty figure of Charlemagne, overshadowing the whole of Europe
at the commencement of the ninth century, appears in connection with
Reims, where, begirt with paladins and peers, he entertained the
ill-used Pope Leo III. right royally during the 'festes de Noel'
of 805. The monarch who is said to have clothed the steep heights
of Rudesheim with vines was not indifferent to good wine; and the
vintages of the Champagne doubtless mantled in the magic goblet
of Huon de Bordeaux, and brimmed the horns which Roland, Oliver,
Doolin de Mayence, Renaud of Montauban, and Ogier the Dane, drained
before girding on their swords and starting on their deeds of high
emprise--the slaughter of Saracens, the rescue of captive damsels, and
the discomfiture of felon knights--told in the fables of Turpin and the
'chansons de geste.' That the cultivation of the grape, and above all
the making of wine, had been steadily progressing, is clear from the
fact that the distinction between the 'Vins de la Rivière de Marne' and
the 'Vins de la Montagne de Reims' dates from the ninth century.[10]

This era is, moreover, marked by the inauguration of that long series
of coronations which helped to spread the popularity of the Champagne
wines throughout France by the agency of the nobles and prelates taking
part in the ceremony. Sumptuous festivities marked the coronation of
Charlemagne's son Louis in 816; and the officiating Archbishop Ebbon
may have helped to furnish the feast with some of the produce from
the vineyard he had planted at Mont Ebbon, generally identified with
the existing Montebon, near Mardeuil. It is of this vineyard that
Pardulus, Bishop of Laon, speaks in a letter addressed by him to
Ebbon's successor, the virtuous Hincmar, who assumed the crozier in
845, proffering him counsels as to the best method of sustaining his
failing health. After telling him to avoid eating fish on the same day
that it is caught, insisting that salted meat is more wholesome than
fresh, and recommending bacon and beans cooked in fat as an excellent
digestive, he proceeds: 'You must make use of a wine which is neither
too strong nor too weak--prefer, to those produced on the summit of the
mountain or the bottom of the valley, one that is grown on the slopes
of the hills, as towards Epernay, at Mont Ebbon; towards Chaumuzy, at
Rouvesy; towards Reims, at Mersy and Chaumery.' The Champagne vineyards
suffered grievously from the internal convulsions which marked the
period when the sceptre of France was swayed by the feeble hands of
the dregs of the Carlovingian race. The Normans, who threatened Reims
and sacked Epernay in 882, swept over them like devouring locusts; and
their annals during the following century are written in letters of
blood and flame.

Times were indeed bad for the peaceful vine-dressers in the tenth
century, when castles were springing up in every direction; when might
made right, and the rule of the strong hand alone prevailed; and when
the firm belief that the end of the world was to come in the year
1000 led men to live only for the present, and seek to get as much
out of their fellow-creatures as they possibly could. Such natural
calamities as that of 919, when the wine-crop entirely failed in the
neighbourhood of Reims, were bad enough; but the continual incursions
of the Hungarians, whose arrows struck down the peasant at the plough
and the priest at the altar, and the memory of whose pitiless deeds
yet survives in the term 'ogre;' the desperate contest waged for ten
years by Heribert of Vermandois to secure the bishopric of Reims for
his infant son, during which hardly a foot of the disputed territory
remained unstained by blood; the repeated invasions of Otho of Germany;
and the struggle between Hugh Capet and Charles of Lorraine for the
titular crown of France,--left traces harder to be effaced. Reims
underwent four sieges in about sixty years; and Epernay, that most
hapless of towns, was sacked at least half a score of times, and twice
burnt, one of the most conscientiously executed pillagings being that
performed in 947 by Hugh the Great, who, as it was vintage-time,
completely ravaged the whole country, and carried off all the wine.[11]

Under the rule of the Capetian race matters improved as regarded
foreign foes, though the archbishops had in the early part of the
eleventh century to abandon Epernay, Vertus, Fismes, and their
dependencies to the family of Robert of Vermandois, who had assumed the
title of Counts of Champagne, to be held by them as fiefs. The fame
of the schools of Reims, where future popes and embryo emperors met
as class-mates; the festive gatherings which marked the coronation of
Henry I. and Philip I.; the great ecclesiastical council held by Leo
IX., which procured for the city the nickname of 'little Rome;' and the
growing importance of the Champagne fairs, the great meeting-places
throughout the Middle Ages of the merchants of Spain, Italy, and
the Low Countries,--favoured the prosperity of the district and the
production of its wine. Urban II., a native of Châtillon, who wore
the triple crown from 1088 to the close of the century, was, prior
to his elevation to the chair of St. Peter, a canon of Reims, under
the name of Eudes or Odo, and, tippling there in company with his
fellow-clerics, acquired a taste for the wine of Ay, which he preferred
to all others in the world.[12] Pilgrims to Rome found penance light
and pardon easily obtained when they bore with them across the Alps, in
addition to staff and scrip, a huge 'leathern bottel' of that beloved
vintage which warmed the pontiff's heart and whetted his wit for the
delivery of those soul-stirring orations at Placentia and Clermont,
wherein he appealed to the chivalry of Western Europe to hasten to the
rescue of the Holy Sepulchre from the hands of the infidel.

The result of these appeals was felt by the vine-cultivators of the
Champagne in more ways than one, and their case recalls that of the
petard-hoisted engineer. The virtuous, the speculative, and the
enthusiastic who followed Peter the Hermit and Walter the Penniless
to the plains of Asia Minor suffered at the hands of the vicious, the
prudent, and the practical, who remained at home and passed their time
in pillaging the estates of their absent neighbours. The abbatial
vineyards suffered like the others; and the monks of St. Thierry,
in making peace with Gerard de la Roche and Alberic Malet in 1138,
complained bitterly of wine violently extorted during two years from
growers on the ecclesiastical estate and of a levy made upon their

The efforts of Henry of France, a warlike prelate, who built fortresses
and attacked those of the robber-nobles, and of Louis VII., who avenged
the wrongs of the church of Reims on the Counts of Roucy, served to
improve matters; and we may be sure that whenever the monks did get
hold of a repentant or dying sinner, they made him pay pretty dearly
for peace with them and Heaven. Colin Musset, the early Champenois
poet, thought that the best use to which money could be put was to
spend it in good wine.[14] Churchmen, however, managed to secure the
desired commodity without any such outlay, for numerous charters of the
twelfth and thirteenth centuries show lords, sick or about starting
for the crusades, making large gifts to abbeys and monasteries; and
many a strip of fair and fertile vineland was thus added, thanks to
a judicious pressure on the conscience, to the already extensive
possessions of the two great monasteries of Reims, St. Remi and St.
Nicaise, and also to that of St. Thierry. The Templars, too, whose
reputation as wine-bibbers was only inferior to that of the monks, if
we may credit the adage which runs,

    'Boire en templier, c'est boire à plein gosier;
    Boire en cordelier, c'est vuider le cellier,'

and who, prior to the catastrophe of 1313, had a commandery at Reims,
possessed either vineyards, or _droits de vinage_, at numerous spots,
including Epernay, Hermonville, Ludes, and Verzy; while the separate
community of these 'Red Monks' installed at Orilly had estates at
Ay, Damery, and Mareuil. The hospital of St. Mary at Reims also
reckoned amongst its possessions vineyards at Moussy, bequeathed by
Canon Pontius and Tebaldus Papelenticus. The wine, which in 1215 the
treasurer of the chapter of Reims Cathedral obtained from that body
an acknowledgment of his right to on the anniversaries of the deaths
of Bishops Ebalus and Radulf, and that to which the sub-treasurer and
carpenter were severally entitled, was no doubt in part derived from
the vineyard planted in 1206 by Canon Giles at the Porte Mars and
bequeathed by him to the chapter, and the one which Canon John de Brie
had purchased at Mareuil and had similarly bequeathed.[15] Although
papal bulls and archiepiscopal warrants had forbidden the levying of
the _droit de vinage_ on wine vintaged by religious communities, in
1252 Pope Innocent IV. had to reprove the barons for interfering with
the monastic vintages in the neighbourhood of Reims, and to threaten
them with excommunication if they repeated their offence.[16]


(From a window of Chartres Cathedral).]

These ecclesiastical topers, as a rule, were sufficiently critical
of the quality of the liquor meted out to them, and an agreement
respecting the dietary of the Abbey of St. Remi, at Reims, drawn up in
1218 between the Abbot Peter and a deputation of six monks representing
the rest of the brethren, provides that the wine procured for the
latter should be improved by two-thirds of the produce of the Clos de
Marigny being set apart for their exclusive use. Ten years later, to
put a stop to further complaints on the part of these worthy rivals of
Rabelais' Frère Jean des Entonnoirs, Abbot Peter was fain to agree that
two hundred hogsheads of wine should be annually brought from Marigny
to the abbey to quench the thirst of his droughty flock, and that if
the spot in question failed to yield the required amount the deficiency
should be made up from his own private and particular vineyards at
Sacy, Villers-Aleran, Chigny, and Hermonville.[17]

We can readily picture these

                      'jolly fat friars
    Sitting round the great roaring fires
    With their strong wines;'

or the cellarer quietly chuckling to himself as he loosened the spiggot
of the choicest casks--

    'Between this cask and the abbot's lips
    Many have been the sips and slips;
    Many have been the draughts of wine,
    On their way to his, that have stopped at mine.'


The monks were in the habit of throwing open their monasteries to all
comers, under pretext of letting them taste the wine they had for sale,
until, in 1233, an ecclesiastical council at Beziers prohibited this
practice on account of the scandal it created. Petrarch has accused
the popes of his day of persisting in staying at Avignon when they
could have returned to Rome, simply on account of the goodness of
the wines they found there. Some similar reasons may have led to the
selection of Reims, during the twelfth century, as a place for holding
great ecclesiastical councils presided over by the sovereign pontiff
in person; and no doubt 'Bibimus papaliter' was the motto of Calixtus,
Innocent, and Eugenius when the labours of the day were done, and they
and their cardinals could chorus, _apropos_ of those of the morrow,

    'Bonum vinum acuit ingenium
        Venite potemus.'


The kings of France may have preferred the wines of the Orleanais and
the Isle of France, and the monarchs of England have been content to
vary the vintages of their patrimony of Guienne with an occasional
draught of Rhenish; but the wines of the river Marne certainly found
favour at Troyes, where the Counts of Champagne, to whom Epernay had
been ceded as a fief, held a court little inferior in state to that
of a sovereign prince. The native vintage mantled in the goblets and
beakers that graced the board where they sat at meat amidst their
knights and barons, whilst minstrels sang and jongleurs tumbled
and glee-maidens danced at the lower end of the hall. It fired the
fancy of the poet Count Thibault, to whom tradition has ascribed the
introduction of the Cyprus grape into France on his return from the
Crusades,[18] and helped the flow of the amorous strains which he
addressed to Blanche of Castille. Nor was he the only versifier of the
time who could exclaim, with his compatriot Colin Musset, that 'good
wine caused him to sing and rejoice.'[19] Other local songsters, such
as Doete de Troyes, Eustache le Noble, and Guillaume de Machault,
sought inspiration at their native Helicon, and were equally ready with
Colin Musset to appreciate a gift of

                'barrelled wine,
    Cold, strong, and fine,
    To drink in hot weather,'[20]

in return for their rhymes. It was this wine that the gigantic
John Lord of Joinville, Seneschal of Champagne under Thibault, and
chronicler of the Seventh Crusade, was in the habit of consuming warm
and undiluted, by the advice of his physicians, on account, as he
himself mentions, of his 'large head and cold stomach;' a practice
which seems to have scandalised that pious and ascetic monarch St.
Louis, who was careful to temper his own potations with water. The
king was most likely not unacquainted with the wine, as a roll of the
expenses incurred at his coronation at Reims, in 1226, shows that 991
livres were spent in wine on that occasion, when, in consequence of the
vacancy of the archiepiscopal see, the crown was placed upon his head
by Jacques de Bazoche, Bishop of Soissons.


Henry of Andelys, a compatriot of the engineer Brunel, who flourished,
if a poet can be said to flourish, in the latter half of the thirteenth
century, has extolled the wines of Epernay and Hautvillers, and
mentioned that of Reims, in his poem entitled the 'Bataille des Vins.'
He informs us at the outset that 'the great King Philip Augustus,' whom
state records prove to have had a score of vineyards in different parts
of France,[21] was very fond of 'good white wine.' Anxious to make a
choice of the best, he issued invitations to all the most renowned
_crûs_, French and foreign, and forty-six different vintages responded
to this appeal; amongst them Hautvillers and Epernay, described as
'vin d'Auviler' and 'vin d'Espernai le Bacheler.' The king's chaplain,
an English priest, makes a preliminary examination, resulting in
the summary rejection of many competitors, till at length, as
Argenteuil--'clear as oil'--and Pierrefitte are disputing as to their
respective merits, Epernay and Hautvillers simultaneously exclaim,
'Argenteuil, thou wishest to degrade all the wines at this table. By
God, thou playest too much the part of constable. We excel Châlons and
Reims, remove gout from the loins, and support all kings.'[22] But
lo, up jumps the 'vin d'Ausois,' the 'Osey' of so many of our English
mediæval poets, with the reproach, 'Epernay, thou art too disloyal;
thou hast not the right of speaking in court;'[23] and enumerates
the blessings which he and his demoiselle 'la Mosele' confer upon
the Germans.[24] La Rochelle in turn reproves Ausois, and extols the
strength of his own wines, and those of Angoulême, Bordeaux, Saintes,
and Poitou, and boasts of the welcome accorded to them in the northern
states of Europe, including England, to which the districts he mentions
then belonged.[25]


(From a /MS./ of the Dialogues de St. Grégoire).]

The vintages of the then little kingdom of France put in a
counter-claim for finesse and flavour as opposed to strength, and
maintain that they do not harm those who drink them. The dispute
becomes general, and the wines, heated with argument, exhale a perfume
of 'balsam and amber,' till the hall where they are met resembles a
terrestial paradise. The chaplain, after conscientiously tasting the
whole of them, formally excommunicated with bell, book, and candle all
the beer brewed in England and Flanders, and then went incontinently to
bed, and slept for three days and three nights without intermission.
The king thereupon made an examination himself, and named the wine
of Cyprus pope, and that of Aquilat[26] cardinal, and created of the
remainder three kings, five counts, and twelve peers, the names of
which, unfortunately, have not been preserved.



        /The Wines of the Champagne from the Fourteenth to the
                         Seventeenth Century./

    Coronations at Reims and their attendant banquets--Wine
    flows profusely at these entertainments--The wine-trade of
    Reims--Presents of wine from the Reims municipality--Cultivation
    of the vineyards abandoned after the battle of Poitiers--Octroi
    levied on wine at Reims--Coronation of Charles V.--Extension
    of the Champagne vineyards--Abundance of wine--Visit to Reims
    of the royal sot Wenceslaus of Bohemia--The Etape aux Vins at
    Reims--Increased consumption of beer during the English occupation
    of the city--The Maid of Orleans at Reims--The vineyards and
    wine-trade alike suffer--Louis XI. is crowned at Reims--Fresh
    taxes upon wine followed by the Mique-Maque revolt--The Rémois
    the victims of pillaging foes and extortionate defenders--The
    Champagne vineyards attacked by noxious insects--Coronation of
    Louis XII.--François Premier, the Emperor Charles V., Bluff King
    Hal, and Leo the Magnificent all partial to the wine of Ay--Mary
    Queen of Scots at Reims--State kept by the opulent and libertine
    Cardinal of Lorraine--Brusquet, the Court Fool--Decrease in the
    production of wine around Reims--Gifts of wine to newly-crowned
    monarchs--New restrictions on vine cultivation--The wine of the
    Champagne crowned at the same time as Louis XIII.--Regulation price
    for wine established at Reims--Imposts levied on the vineyards by
    the Frondeurs--The country ravaged around Reims--Sufferings of the
    peasantry--Presents of wine to Marshal Turenne and Charles II. of
    England--Perfection of the Champagne wines during the reign of
    Louis XIV.--St. Evremond's high opinion of them--Other contemporary
    testimony in their favour--The Archbishop of Reims's niggardly gift
    to James II. of England--A poet killed by Champagne--Offerings by
    the Rémois to Louis XIV. on his visit to their city.


The coronations at Reims served, as already remarked, to attract within
the walls of the old episcopal city all that was great, magnificent,
and noble in France. The newly-crowned king, with that extensive
retinue which marked the monarch of the Middle Ages; the great vassals
of the crown scarcely less profusely attended; the constable, the
secular and ecclesiastical peers, and the host of knights and nobles
who assisted on the occasion, were wont at the conclusion of the
ceremony to hold high revelry in the spacious temporary banqueting-hall
reared near the cathedral. It is to be regretted that the _menus_ of
these banquets have not been handed down to us in their entirety; but
a few fragmentary excerpts show that from a comparatively early period
there was no lack of wine, at any rate. A remonstrance addressed to
Philip the Fair, after his coronation in 1286, by the archbishop and
burghers, asks that they may be relieved of a certain proportion of the
sum levied on them for the cost of the ceremony, on the ground that
there still remained over for the king's use no less than seven score
tuns of wine from the banquet. Some idea may be formed of the quantity
of wine brought regularly into the city from the circumstance of the
king having Reims surrounded by walls in 1294, and levying a duty on
the wine imported to pay for them, and by the value attached to the
'rouage'[27] of the Mairie St. Martin, claimed by the chapter of Reims
Cathedral in 1300.


At the coronation of Charles IV., in 1322, wine flowed in rivers.
Amongst the unconsumed provisions returned by the king's pantler,
Pelvau dou Val, to the burghers, 'vin de Biaune et de Rivière'--that
is, of Beaune and of the Marne--figures for a value of 384 livres
5 sols 2 deniers.[28] The arrangements of the coronation had been
intrusted to the minister of finances, Pierre Remi, who certainly
played the part of the unjust steward. In the first place, he made
the cost of the ceremony amount to 21,000 livres, whereas none of his
predecessors had spent more than 7,000 livres. His opening move had
been to seize upon the greater part of the corn and all the ovens in
Reims 'for the king's use,' and to sell bread to the townsfolk and
visitors at his own price for a fortnight prior to the coronation.
After the ceremony he appropriated in like manner all the plate and
napery, and all the cooking utensils and kitchen furniture, together
with whatever had been left over, in the shape of wine, wax, fish,
bullocks, pigs, and similar trifles. The wine thus taken was estimated
at 1500 livres, part of which he sold to two bourgeois of Reims, and
kept the rest, together with forty-four out of the fifty muids, or
hogsheads, of salt provided.[29] Retributive justice overtook him, for
the chronicler of his ill-doings chuckles over the fact that he was
hanged as high as Haman on a gibbet he had himself erected at Paris.
Things went off better at the coronation of King Philip, in 1328, when
the total amount expended in the three hundred poinçons of the wine of
Beaune, St. Pourçain, and the Marne consumed was 1675 livres 2 sols 3
deniers.[30] Part of this flowed through the mouth of the great bronze
stag before which criminals condemned by the archiepiscopal court used
to be exposed, but which at coronation times was placed in the Parvis
Notre Dame, and spouted forth the 'claré dou cerf,' for the preparation
of which the town records show that the grocer O. la Lale received 16


The importance of the wine-trade of Reims at the commencement of the
fourteenth century is evidenced by the fact of there being at this
epoch _courtiers de vin_, or wine-brokers, the right of appointing
whom rested with the eschevins--a right which, vainly assailed by the
archbishop in 1323, was confirmed to the municipal power by several
royal decrees.[32] The burghers of Reims were fully cognisant of the
merits of their wine, and certainly spared no trouble to make others
acquainted with them. When the eschevins dined with the archbishop in
August 1340 they contributed thirty-two pots of wine as their share
of the repast, in addition to sundry partridges, capons, and rabbits.
All visitors to the town on business, and all persons of distinction
passing through it, were regaled with an offering of from two to four
gallons from the cellars of Jehan de la Lobe, or Petit Jehannin, or
Raulin d'Escry, or Baudouin le Boutellier, or Remi Cauchois, the
principal tavern-keepers. The provost of Laon, the bailli and the
receveur of Vermandois, the eschevins of Châlons, the Bishop of
Coustances, Monseigneur Thibaut de Bar, Monseigneur Jacques la Vache
(the queen's physician), the Archdeacon of Reims, and the 'two lords
of the parliament deputed by the king to examine the walls,' were a
few of the recipients of this hospitality, which was also extended to
such inferior personages as a varlet of Verdun and the varlet of the
eschevins of Abbeville.

[Illustration: THE BATTLE OF CRÉCY

(From a /MS./ of Froissart's Chronicles).]

Two 'flasks,' purchased for threepence-halfpenny from Petit Jehannin,
served to warm the eloquence of Maistre Baudouin de Loingnis when he
pleaded for the town on the subject of the fortifications in 1345; and
when, in 1340, the Archbishop of Narbonne, the Bishop of Poitiers,
and sundry other dignitaries passed through Reims with heavy hearts
on their way to St. Omer, to negotiate a truce with Edward of England
after the fatal battle of Sluys, the municipality expended five
shillings and threepence in a poinçon of wine to cheer them on their
way. There was probably plenty to spare, since on the outbreak of
hostilities with England the town-crier had received one penny for
making proclamation that no one should remove any wine from the town
during the continuance of the contest. The advent of a messenger of
Monseigneur Guillaume Pinson, who brought 'closed letters' to the
eschevins informing them of the invasion of King Edward, does not
seem to have spoilt the digestion of those worthy gentlemen, since
they partook of their annual gift of wine and their presentation lamb
at Easter 1346; but there were sore hearts in the old city when one
Jenvier returned from Amiens with the tidings that their best and
bravest had fallen under the banner of John de Vienne, their warlike
prelate, on the field of Crécy. Perhaps to the state of depression
that followed is due the fact that there are no records of festivities
at the coronation of King John the Good in 1350, though we find the
citizens seeking two years later to propitiate the evil genius of
France, Charles the Bad of Navarre, by the gift of a queue of wine
costing five crowns.

During the frightful anarchy prevailing after the battle of Poitiers,
when the victorious English and the disbanded forces of France made
common cause against the hapless peasants, the fields and vineyards
of Reims remained uncultivated for three years,[33] and the people of
the archbishopric would have perished of hunger had they not been able
to get food and wine from Hainault. Despite the prohibitions of the
regent, the nobles pillaged the country around Reims and ravaged the
vineyards from June to August 1358, and the havoc they wrought exceeded
even that accomplished during the Jacquerie. Nor were matters improved
by the advent of the English king, Edward III., when, on the wet St.
Andrew's-day of 1359, he sat down before the town with his host, which
starved and shivered throughout the bitter and tempestuous winter,
despite the comfort derived from the 'three thousand vessels of wine'
captured by Eustace Dabreticourt in 'the town of Achery, on the river
of Esne.'[34] But the Rémois stood firm behind the fortifications
reared by Gaucher de Châtillon till the following spring, when the
victor of Crécy drew off his baffled forces, consoling them with the
promise of bringing them back during the ensuing vintage, and made a
reluctant peace at Bretigny.[35]


Yet, though plague and famine in turn almost depopulated the city, the
importance of its vineyards augmented from this time forward. In 1361
the citizens, who had already been in the habit of granting 'aides'
to the king out of the dues levied on the wine sold in the town,
obtained leave to impose an _octroi_ on wine, in order to maintain
their fortifications. Henceforward the connection between the wines
and the walls of Reims became permanent. The _octroi_ was from time to
time renewed or modified in various ways by different monarchs; but
their decrees always commenced with a preliminary flourish concerning
the necessity of keeping the walls of so important a city in good
order, and the admirable opportunity afforded of so doing by the
ever-increasing prosperity of the trade in wine. Conspicuous amongst
the few existing fragments of the circuit of walls and towers with
which Reims was formerly begirt is the tower of which a view is here

The Rémois, although willing enough to tax themselves for the defence
of their city, submitted the reverse of cheerfully to the preliminary
levies of provisions, wines, meats, and other things necessary, made by
the king's 'maistres d'hôtel' for the coronation of Charles V., which
took place on the 19th May 1364, at a cost to the town of 7712 livres
15 sols 5 deniers parisis.[37] The citizens had, however, something to
gaze at for their money, if that were any consolation. The king and his
queen (Jeanne de Bourbon) were accompanied by King Peter of Cyprus;
Wenceslaus, King of Bohemia and Duke of Brabant; the Dukes of Burgundy
and Anjou; the Counts of Eu, Dampmartin, Tancarville, and Vaudemont,
and many other prelates and lords, who did full justice to the good
cheer provided for the great feasts and solemnities taking place during
the five days of the royal sojourn.[38] The crown, borne by Philip
of Burgundy, the king's youngest brother, having been placed upon
Charles's head by the Archbishop Jean de Craon, that prelate proceeded
to smear the royal breast and brow with what the irreverent Republicans
of the eighteenth century designated 'sacred pomatum,' from the Sainte
Ampoule presented to him by the Bishop of Laon, amidst the enthusiastic
applause of nobles and prelates.[39]


(From a /MS./ Histoire de Charles V.).]

The great planting of vines in the Champagne district plainly dates
from the last quarter of the fourteenth century, at which epoch
large exports of wine to the provinces of Hainault and Flanders, and
especially to the ports of Sluys, are noted. In a list of the revenues
of the archbishopric of Reims, drawn up by Richard Pique towards
1375, are included patches of vineland and annual payments of wine
from almost every village and hamlet within twenty miles of Reims;
though it is only fair to mention that many of the places enumerated
produce to-day wines of very ordinary character, which, although they
have a local habitation, have certainly failed to secure themselves a
name.[40] A general return of church property made to the Bailli of
Vermandois, the king's representative in 1384, at a time when Charles
VI. was busily engaged in confiscating whatever he could lay hands on,
shows that the religious establishments of Reims were equally well
endowed with vineyards. These were mostly situate to the north-east
and south-west of Reims, or in the immediate vicinity of the city;
and according to their owners, whose object was of course to offer
as few temptations as possible to the monarch, they frequently cost
more to dress than they brought in.[41] In the return furnished by the
archbishop in the following year, he complains that, owing to the great
plantation of vines throughout the district, the right of licensing the
brewing of ale and beer had failed to bring him in any revenue for the
past three years. This prelate, by the way, seems to have loved his
liquor like many of his predecessors, judging from the inventory made
after his death, in 1389, of the contents of his cellars.[42] All this
abundance of wine was not without its fruits; and we find the clerk
of Troyes asserting that liars swarm in Picardy as drunkards do in
Champagne, where a man not worth a rap will drink wine every day;[43]
and a boast in the chanson of the Comte de Brie to the effect that the
province abounded in wheat, wine, fodder, and litter.[44]

Under these circumstances it is not at all surprising that that
renowned vinous soaker, King Wenceslaus (surnamed the Drunkard) of
Bohemia, found ample opportunities for self-indulgence when he visited
Reims to confer with Charles VI. on the subject of the schism of the
popes of Avignon, then desolating the Church--certainly a very fit
subject for a drunkard and a madman to put their heads together about.
No sooner had the illustrious visitor alighted at the Abbey of St.
Remi--to-day the Hôtel Dieu--where quarters had been assigned him, than
he expressed a wish to taste the wine of the district, with the quality
of which he had long been acquainted. The wine was brought, and tasted
again and again in such conscientious style that when the Dukes of
Bourbon and Berri came to escort him to dinner with the king they found
him dead-drunk and utterly unfit to treat of affairs of State, still
less those of the Church. The same kind of thing went on daily--the
'same old drunk,' as the nigger expressed it, lasting week after week;
and the French monarch, who must have surely had a lucid interval,
resolved to profit by his guest's weakness. Accordingly he gave special
orders to the cup-bearers, at a grand banquet at which matters were
to be finally settled, to be particularly attentive in filling the
Bohemian king's goblet. This they did so frequently that the royal sot,
overcome by wine, yielded during the discussion following the repast
whatever was asked of him; whilst his host probably returned special
thanks to St. Archideclin, the supposed bridegroom of the marriage of
Cana, whom the piety of the Middle Ages had transformed into a saint
and created the especial patron of all appertaining to the cellar. This
triumph of wine over diplomacy occurred in 1397.[45]

A charter of Charles VI., dated July 1412, which gave the municipal
authorities of Reims the sole right of appointing sworn wine-brokers,
expressly mentions that the trade of the town was chiefly based upon
the wine grown in the environs.[46] The wine, the charter states, when
stored in the cellars of the town, was customarily sold by brokers,
who of their own authority were in the habit of levying a commission
of twopence, and even more, per piece, selling it to the person who
offered them most, and taking money from both buyer and seller. To
remedy this state of things, from which it was asserted the trade had
begun to suffer, it was decreed that every broker should take an oath,
before the Captain of Reims and the eschevins, to act honestly and
without favour, and not to receive more than one penny commission. In
the case of his receiving more, both he and the seller of the wine were
to forfeit two-pence-halfpenny to the town.

[Illustration: CHURCH OF ST. REMI, REIMS.]

The sales of wine mainly took place at the Etape aux Vins, where most
of the wine-merchants were established, the busiest time being during
the three great annual fairs, when no duties were levied. The old
Etape aux Vins is now the Rue de l'Etape, jocularly styled the Rue de
Rivoli of Reims, on account of the arcades formed by the projecting
upper floors of its fifteenth-and sixteenth-century houses, which rest
upon wooden and stone pillars. To-day the casino and the principal
restaurants of the city are installed here; still the locality retains
much the same aspect as it presented in the days when Remi Cauchois
and Huet Hurtaut stood here and chaffered with the peasants who had
brought their casks of wine on creaking wains into the city; when S. de
Laval glided in search of a customer among the long-gowned fur-capped
merchants of the Low Countries; when bargains were closed by a
God's-penny and wetted with a stoup of Petit Jehannin's best; and when
files of wine-laden wagons rolled forth from the northern gates of the
city to gladden the thirsty souls of Hainault and Flanders.

Some of the wine had, however, a nobler destination. An order of
payment addressed by the town council to the receiver, and dated March
23, 1419, commands him to pay Jacques le Vigneron the sum of 78 livres
12 sols for six queues of 'vin blanc et clairet,' presented to the
fierce Duke of Burgundy, Jean sans Peur, at the high price of about
11_s._ each.[47] Nor did his son Philip, the self-styled 'Prince of the
best wines in Christendom,' disdain to draw bridle in order to receive
eleven poinçons of 'vin claret' when hastening,

    'Bloody with spurring, fiery red with speed,'

through Reims to avenge his father's murder at the Bridge of
Montereau.[48] The devastating results of the terrible struggle for
supremacy waged between the Armagnacs and Burgundians, and of the
invasion of Henry V. of England, are evidenced in the facts that when,
in fear and trembling, the Reims council resolved to allow Duke Philip
to enter the town in 1425, at the head of four thousand horse, they
could only offer him one queue of Beaune, one queue of red, and one
queue of white wine; and to the duchess the following year one queue of
Beaune and one of French wine; and that wine sent to l'Isle Adam, at
the siege of Nesle, cost as much as 19 livres, or nearly 16_s._, the

[Illustration: RUE DE L'ETAPE, REIMS.]


Reims had passed under the sway of England by the Treaty of Troyes
in 1420, the Earl of Salisbury becoming governor of the Champagne.
The scarcity of wine, and the liking of the new possessors for their
national beverage, is shown by a prohibition issued by the town council
in 1427 against using wheat for making beer; and a statement of Gobin
Persin, that he had sold more treacle--a famous medicinal remedy in the
Middle Ages--during the past half year than in the four years previous,
owing to people complaining that they were swollen up from drinking
malt liquor. The English, however, at their abrupt departure from the
city on the arrival of Charles and the Maid of Orleans, proved their
partiality for the wine of Reims by carrying off as many wagonloads of
it as they could manage to lay their hands on.


(From a tapestry of the fifteenth century).]

The gallant knights and patriot nobles who followed the Maid of Orleans
to Reims, and witnessed the coronation of Charles VII. in 1429,
despised, of course, the drink of their island foes, and moistened
throats grown hoarse with shouting 'Vive le roi' with the choice
vintage of the neighbouring slopes, freely drawn forth from the most
secret recesses of the cellars of the town in honour of the glorious
day. And no doubt Dame Alice, widow of Raulin Marieu, and hostess of
the Asne royé (the Striped Ass), put a pot of the very best before the
father of 'Jehane la Pucelle,' and did not forget, either, to score
it down in the little bill of twenty-four livres which she was paid
out of the _deniers communs_ for the old fellow's entertainment.[49]
For the next ten years, however, the note of war resounded through the
country, the hill-sides bristled with lances in lieu of vine-stakes,
and instead of money spent for wine for presentation to guests of a
pacific disposition, the archives of the town display a long list of
sums expended in the purchase of arms, artillery, and ammunition, for
the especial accommodation of less pleasant visitors, in repairing
fortifications, and in payments to men charged with watching day and
night for the coming of the foe.

The excesses of the licentious followers of Potton de Xaintrailles and
Lahire were worse than those of the English and Burgundians, spite of
the four hundred and five livres which had been paid to men-at-arms
and archers from the neighbouring garrisons, 'engaged by the city of
Reims to guard the surrounding country, in order that the wine might be
vintaged and brought into the said city and the vineyards dressed,'[50]
and bitter were the complaints addressed in 1433 to the king on the
falling off of the wine trade which had resulted therefrom. The ravages
of the terrible 'Escorcheurs' led, in 1436, to fresh complaints and
to an additional duty on each queue of 'wine of Beaune, of the Marne,
and of other foreign districts' sold wholesale at Reims, the receipts
to be spent in warlike preparations and on the fortifications. Some of
this went to Lahire as a recompense for defending the district from
'the great routs and companies' that sought to invade it, he having,
presumably on the principle of setting a thief to catch a thief,
been made Bailli of Vermandois. In troublous times like these it was
necessary to secure the good will of men in power and authority,
and hence the town records comprise numerous offerings of money,
fine linen cloths, and wine given to various nobles 'out of grace
and courtesy' for their good will and 'good and agreeable services,
pleasures, and love.' Madame Katherine de France (the widow of Henry
V.), the Chancellor of France, the Constable Richemont, Lahire (Bailli
of Vermandois), the bastard Dunois, the Archbishop of Narbonne, the
Count de Vendôme, and many other nobles and dignitaries, were in turn
recipients of such gifts; and the visit of King Charles the Victorious,
in 1440, was celebrated by their profuse distribution.[51]


(From a /MS./ of the Propriétaire des Choses).]

Despite the complete expulsion of the English from France, a depression
in trade still continued; and in 1451 the lieutenant of the town was
sent to court to complain that, owing to the exactions of the farmers
of the revenue, merchants would no longer come to Reims to buy wine.
Louis XI., who was crowned at Reims on 15th August 1461, entered the
city in great pomp, accompanied by Philip, Duke of Burgundy, and his
son the Count of Charolais, afterwards Charles the Bold; the Duke of
Bourbon, the Duke of Cleves, and his brother the Lord of Ravenstein,
all three nephews of Duke Philip; the Counts of St. Pol, Angoulême,
Eu, Vendôme, Nassau, and Grandpré; Messire Philip of Savoy, and many
others,--'all so richly dressed that it was a noble sight to see,'
remarks Enguerrand de Monstrelet. Prior to being crowned, the king
handed his sword to Duke Philip, and requested the latter to bestow
upon him the honour of knighthood, which the duke did, and afterwards
gave the accolade to several other persons of distinction. The
coronation, with its accompaniment of 'many beautiful mysteries and
ceremonies,' was performed by Archbishop Jean Juvénal des Ursins,
assisted by the Cardinal of Constance, the Patriarch of Antioch, a
papal legate, four archbishops, seventeen bishops, and six abbots. At
its close the twelve peers of France[52] dined at the king's table; and
after the table was cleared the Duke of Burgundy knelt and did homage
for Burgundy, Flanders, and Artois, other lords following his example.


(From painted-glass windows in Evreux Cathedral).]

Louis XI., on his accession, found himself in presence of an exhausted
treasury, and cast about for an expedient to fill it. The wine
he drunk at his coronation at Reims may have suggested the dues
which, only a month afterwards, he decreed should be levied on this
commodity, in conjunction with an impost on salt. The inhabitants
of the archiepiscopal city found it impossible to believe in such a
return for their wonted hospitality, and the vine-growers assailed the
collectors furiously. The affair resulted in a general outbreak, known
as the Mique-Maque, and in the final hanging, branding, mutilating,
and banishing of a number of individuals, half of whom, it may fairly
be presumed, were innocent. The wars between France and Burgundy were
also severely felt by the Rémois, whose territory was ravaged by the
followers of Charles the Bold after Montlhery, and who suffered almost
as much at the hands of their friends as at those of their foes. The
garrison put into the town shared amongst themselves the country for
a circuit of eight leagues, the meanest archer having a couple of
villages, whence he exacted, at pleasure, corn, wood, provisions, and
wine, the latter in such profusion that the surplus was sold in the
streets, the smallest allowance for each lance being a queue, valued at
ten livres, monthly. In 1470 and the following years large subsidies of
wine were, moreover, despatched from time to time to the king's army
in the field; a cartload being judiciously sent to General Gaillard,
'as he is well disposed towards us, and it is necessary to cultivate
such people.' Complaints made in 1489 set forth that in consequence of
the _octroi_ of the river Aisne, which had been established six years
previously, the merchants of Liège, Mezières, and Rethel, instead
of coming to Reims to buy wine, were obtaining their supplies from
Orleans. The landing of Henry VII. of England, in 1495, spread new
alarms throughout the Champagne, and orders were given for all the
vine-stakes within a radius of two leagues of Reims to be pulled up, so
that the enemy might be prevented from cooking provisions or filling up
the moats of the fortifications with them.

Pillaging foes and extortionate defenders were bad enough, but the
vine-growers had yet other enemies, to wit, certain noxious little
insects, which were in the habit of feeding on the young buds, though
there is no record that they were ever so troublesome at Reims as they
were in other parts of the Champagne, notably at Troyes, where on the
Friday after Pentecost 1516 they were formally and solemnly enjoined
by Maître Jean Milon to depart within six days from the vineyards of
Villenauxe, under pain of anathema and malediction.[53] A century and a
half later these insects renewed their ravages, and were exorcised anew
by the rural dean of Sézanne, on the order of the Bishop of Troyes.


(From a /MS./ Calendar).]


(From a /MS./ Calendar).]


(Facsimile of a woodcut in the Cosmographie Universelle, 1549).]


(From a painting on wood of the fifteenth century).]

The close of the fifteenth century witnessed another coronation, that
of the so-styled 'Father of his People,' Louis XII., celebrated with
all due splendour in May 1498. The six ecclesiastical peers--principal
among whom was the Cardinal Archbishop of Reims, Guillaume Briconnet,
in rochet and stole, mitre and crozier; and the six representatives
of the secular peerages, Burgundy, Normandy, Aquitaine, Flanders,
Toulouse, and Champagne--solemnly invested their sovereign with sword,
spurs, ring, orb, sceptre, crown, and all the other outward symbols
of royalty; whilst the vaulted roof rang with the acclamations of
the people assembled in the nave, and the triumphant peals from the
heralds' silver trumpets, on the banneroles of which was emblazoned the
monarch's favourite badge, the hedgehog. Trumpet-blowing and shouting
being both provocative of thirst, peers and people did ample justice to
the wine freely provided for all comers on this occasion.


Francis I. was crowned at Reims in January 1515; and on the occasion
of his visiting the city sixteen years afterwards, twenty poinçons
of wine were offered to him and sixty to his suite, so that this
bibulous monarch had a good opportunity of comparing various growths
of the Mountain and the River with the wine from his own vineyards
at Ay; and possibly the Emperor Charles V. did his best to institute
similar comparisons on his self-invited incursion into the district
in 1544. For not only did these two great rivals, but also our own
Bluff King Harry and the magnificent Leo X., have each their special
commissioner stationed at Ay to secure for them the finest vintages of
that favoured spot, the renown of which thenceforward has never paled.
The wine despatched for their consumption was most likely sent direct
from the vineyards in carefully-sealed casks; but the bulk of the river
growths came to Reims for sale, and helped to swell the importance of
the town as an emporium of the wine-trade. When Mary Queen of Scots
came to Reims, a mere child, in 1550, four poinçons of good wine, with
a dozen peacocks and as many turkeys, were presented to her. There
are no records, however, of any further offerings to her when, as
the widowed queen of Francis II., she visited Reims at Eastertide in
1561, and again during the summer of the same year, shortly before her
final departure from France. On these occasions she was the guest, by
turns, of her aunt Renée de Lorraine, at the convent of St. Pierre les
Dames,--to-day a woollen factory,--and of her uncle, the 'opulent and
libertine' Charles de Lorraine, Cardinal and Archbishop of Reims, at
the handsome archiepiscopal palace, where this powerful prelate resided
in unwonted state. As the rhyme goes--

    'Bishop and abbot and prior were there,
        Many a monk and many a friar,
        Many a knight and many a squire,
    With a great many more of lesser degree
    Who served the Lord Primate on bended knee.
          Never, I ween,
          Was a prouder seen,
    Read of in books, or dreamt of in dreams,
    Than the Cardinal Lord Archbishop of Reims.'

Brusquet, the court fool of Henry II., Francis II., and Charles IX.,
was a great favourite with this princely prelate, and accompanied him
several times on his embassies to foreign states. Brusquet's wit was
much appreciated by the cardinal, and has been highly extolled by
Brantome; but most of the specimens handed down to us will not bear
repetition, much less translation, from their coarseness. When the
cardinal was at Brussels in 1559, negotiating the peace of Cateau
Cambresis with Philip II., Brusquet one day at dessert jumped on to the
table, and rolled along the whole length, wrapping himself up like a
mummy in the cloth, with all the knives, forks, and spoons, as he went,
and rolling over at the further end. The emperor, Charles V., who was
the host, was so delighted that he told him to keep the plate himself.
Brusquet had great dread of being drowned, and objected one day to
go in a boat with the cardinal. 'Do you think any harm can happen to
you with me, the pope's best friend?' said the latter. 'I know that
the pope has power over earth, heaven, and purgatory,' said Brusquet;
'but I never heard that his dominion extended over water.' It is not
unlikely that the effigy forming one of the corbels beneath the chapter
court gateway, and representing a fool in the puffed and slashed shoes
and bombasted hose of the Renaissance, with his bauble in his hand, may
be intended for Brusquet; for in the Middle Ages the ecclesiastical
councils had forbidden dignitaries of the Church to have fools of their


It was in the grand hall of the archiepiscopal palace of Reims--an
apartment which is very little changed from the days when Charles
Cardinal de Lorraine entertained Henry II., Francis II., and Charles
IX. in succession--that the coronation banquets at this epoch used to
take place. Of the richness and beauty of the internal decorations of
this interesting edifice some idea may be gained from the accompanying


The stock of wine at Reims at the period of Mary's first visit must
have been very low, owing to the continued requisitions of it for
armies in the field, for 'German reiters at Attigny,' and 'Italian
lansquenets at Voulzy;' and no doubt its production subsequently
decreased to some extent from the orders issued to the surrounding
villagers to destroy all their ladders and vats lest they should fall
into the hands of the enemy, at the epoch of the threatened approach of
the German Emperor in 1552.

At the coronation of Francis II. in 1559, and at that of Charles IX.
(the future instigator of the massacre of St. Bartholomew) two years
later, the citizens of Reims presented the newly-crowned monarchs with
the customary gifts of Burgundy and Champagne wines.[55] In the latter
instance, however, the gift met with an unexpected return, inasmuch
as the king, after the fashion of Domitian, issued an edict in 1566,
ordering that vines should only occupy one-third of the area of a
canton, and that the remaining two-thirds should be arable and pasture
land. When the forehead of Henry III., the last of the treacherous race
of Valois, was touched with the holy oil by the Cardinal de Guise, the
wine of Reims for the first time was alone used to furnish forth the
attendant banquet, and the appreciative king modified his brother's
edict to a simple recommendation to the governors of provinces to see
that the planting of vines did not lead to a neglect of other labours.
During this reign the wine of Ay reached the acme of renown, and came
to be described as 'the ordinary drink of kings and princes.'[56]


(Facsimile of a woodcut of the period).]

In the troubles which followed the death of Henry III., when the east
of France was laid desolate in turn by Huguenots and Leaguers, Germans
and Spaniards; when Reims became a chief stronghold of the Catholics,
who formed a kind of Republic there, and the remaining towns and
villages of the district changed masters almost daily, the foragers
of the party of Henry of Navarre and that of the League caused great
tribulation amongst the vine-dressers and husbandmen of the Montagne
and of the Marne. In 1589 very little wine could be vintaged around
Reims 'through the affluence of enemies,' dolefully remarks a local
analist.[57] After the battle of Ivry, Reims submitted to the king,
but many of the surrounding districts, Epernay among the number, still
sided with his opponents. Epernay fell, however, in 1592, after a cruel
siege; and in the autumn of the same year the leaders of the respective
parties met at the church of St. Tresain, at Avenay, and agreed to a
truce during the ensuing harvest, in order that the crops of corn and
wine might be gathered in--a truce known as the Trève des Moissons. The
yield turned out to be of very good quality, the new wine fetching from
40 to 70 livres the queue.[58]

The system of cultivation prevailing in the French vineyards at this
epoch must have been peculiar, since the staple agricultural authority
of the day states that, to have an abundant crop and good wine, all
that was necessary was for the vine-dresser to wear a garland of ivy,
and for crushed acorns and ground vetches to be put in the hole at
the time of planting the vine-shoots; that, moreover, grapes without
stones could be obtained by taking out the pith of the young plant,
and wrapping the end in wet paper, or sticking it in an onion when
planting; that to get grapes in spring a vine-shoot should be grafted
on a cherry-tree; and that wine could be made purgative by watering
the roots of the vine with a laxative, or inserting some in a cleft


    Church of St. Jacques.  The Cathedral.   Mont de la Pompelle.
                                                    Church of St. Remi.
    Tower of St. Victor.    Porte de Vesle.      Porte de Dieu Lumière.
                                                 Porte de Flèchambault.


(From an engraving of the period).]

In the seventeenth century the still wine of the province of
Champagne was destined, like the setting sun, to gleam with well-nigh
unparalleled radiance up to the moment of its almost total eclipse.
Continual care and untiring industry had resulted in the production
of a wine which seems to have been renowned beyond all others for a
delicate yet well-developed flavour peculiarly its own, but of which
the wonderful revolution effected by the invention of sparkling wine
has left but few traces. In 1604 the yield was so abundant that the
vintagers were at their wits' end for vessels to contain their wine;
but three years later so poor a vintage took place as had not been
known within the memory of man. During the winter the cold was so
intense that wine froze not only in the cellars, but at table close to
the fire, and by the ensuing spring it had grown so scarce that the
veriest rubbish fetched 80 livres the queue at Reims.[60] In 1610, at
the banquet following the coronation of Louis XIII., the only wine
served was that of Reims, at 175 livres, or about 7_l._, the queue; and
the future _raffinés_ of the Place Royale who assisted at that ceremony
were by no means the men to forget or neglect an approved vintage
after once tasting it. Champagne, it has been said, was crowned at the
same time with the king, and of the two made a better monarch. Five
years later a complaint, addressed to the king on the subject of the
_fermiers des aides_ trying to levy duties on goods sold at the fairs,
asserted it was notorious that the chief commerce of Reims consisted
of wines. According to the police ordinances of 1627, the price of
these was fixed three times a year, namely, at Martinmas, Mid-Lent, and
Midsummer; and tavern-keepers were bound to have a tablet inscribed
with the regulation price fixed outside their houses, and were not
allowed to sell at a higher rate, under a penalty of 12 livres for the
first, and 24 livres for the second offence. Moreover, to encourage the
production of the locality, they were strictly forbidden to sell in
their taverns any other wine than that of the 'cru du pays et de huit
lieues es environs,' under pain of confiscation and a fine, the amount
of which was arbitrary. The vine-dressers too, in the same ordinances,
were enjoined to kill and burn all vine-slugs and other vermin, which
during 1621 and the two succeeding years had caused much damage.[61]



This rule must have been perforce relaxed during the troubles of the
Fronde, when for two years the troops of the Marshal du Plessis Praslin
lived as in a conquered country, indulging in drinking carousals in
the wine-shops of the towns, or marching in detachments from village
to village throughout the district, in order to prevent all those
who neglected to pay the contributions imposed from working in their
vineyards; when their leader, on the refusal of the Rémois to supply
him with money, ravaged the vineyards of the plains of les Moineaux
and Sacy; and when Erlach's foreigners at Verzy sacked the whole of
the Montagne from March until July 1650. As a consequence, people in
the following year were existing on herbs, roots, snails, blood, bread
made of bran, cats, dogs, &c., or dying by hundreds through eating
bread made of unripe wheat harvested in June; the ruin of the citizens
being completed, according to an eyewitness, at the epoch of dressing
the vines, owing to the lack of men to do the work.[62] A contemporary
writer, however, asserts that the vineyards still continued 'to cover
the mountains and to encircle the town of Reims like a crown of
verdure;' and that their produce not only supplied all local wants,
but, transported beyond the frontier, caused the gold of the Indies to
flow in return into the town, and spread its reputation afar.[63]


Such was the repute of the Champagne wines when Louis XIV. was crowned
at Reims in 1654, that all the great lords present on the occasion were
exceedingly anxious to partake of them, and no doubt regarded with
envious eyes the huge basket containing a hundred bottles of the best
which the deputies from Epernay had brought with them as a present to
the gallant Turenne. He at least was no stranger to the merits of the
wine, for the records of Epernay show that many a caque had found its
way to his tent during the two preceding years, when he was defending
the Champagne against Condé and his Spanish allies. In the same year
(1654), the Procureur de l'Echevinage speaks of the chief trade of
Reims as consisting in the sale of wine, of which the inhabitants
collect large quantities, both from the Montagne de Reims and the
Rivière de Marne, through the merchants who make this their special
trade--a trade sorely interrupted by the incursions of Montal and his
Spaniards in 1657 and 1658. Guy Patin too, writing in 1666, mentions
the fact of Louis XIV. making a present to Charles II. of England
of two hundred pièces of excellent wine--Champagne, Burgundy, and
Hermitage; and three years later is fain himself to exclaim, 'Vive le
pain de Gonesse, vive le bon vin de Paris, de Bourgogne, de Champagne!'
whilst Tavernier the traveller did his best to spread the fame of the
Champagne wine by presenting specimens to all the sovereigns whom he
had the honour of saluting during his journeyings abroad.[64]

It was about the eighth decade of this century, when the renown of the
Grand Monarque was yet at its apogee, and when for many years the soil
of the province had not been profaned by the foot of an invader, that
the still wine of the Champagne attained its final point of perfection.
The Roi Soleil himself, we are assured by St. Simon, never drank any
other wine in his life till about 1692, when his physician, the austere
Fagon, condemned his debilitated stomach to well-watered Burgundy, so
old that it was almost tasteless, and the king consoled himself with
laughing at the wry faces pulled by foreign nobles who sought and
obtained the honour of tasting his especial tipple.[65] An anonymous
Mémoire[66] written early in the ensuing century (1718) states that,
although their red wine had long before been made with greater care
and cleanliness than any other wine in the kingdom, the Champenois
had only studied to produce a _gray_, and indeed almost white, wine,
within the preceding fifty years. This would place about 1670 the first
introduction of the new colourless wine, obtained by gathering grapes
of the black variety with the utmost care at early dawn, and ceasing
the vintage at nine or ten in the morning, unless the day were cloudy.
Despite these precautions a rosy tinge--compared to that lent by a
dying sunset to the waters of a clear stream--was often communicated
to the wine, and led to the term 'partridge's eye' being applied to
it. St. Evremond, the epicurean Frenchman--who emigrated to the gay
court of Charles II. at Whitehall to escape the gloomy cell designed
for him in the Bastille--and the mentor of the Count de Grammont,
writing from London about 1674, to his brother 'profès dans l'ordre des
coteaux,'[67] the Count d'Olonne, then undergoing on his part a species
of exile at Orleans for having suffered his tongue to wag a little
too freely at court, says: 'Do not spare any expense to get Champagne
wines, even if you are at two hundred leagues from Paris. Those of
Burgundy have lost their credit amongst men of taste, and barely retain
a remnant of their former reputation amongst dealers. There is no
province which furnishes excellent wines for all seasons but Champagne.
It supplies us with the wines of Ay, Avenay, and Hautvillers, up to the
spring; Taissy, Sillery, Verzenai, for the rest of the year.'[68] 'The
wines of the Champagne,' elsewhere remarks this renowned _gourmet_,
'are the best. Do not keep those of Ay too long; do not begin those of
Reims too soon. Cold weather preserves the spirit of the River wines,
hot removes the _goût de terroir_ from those of the Mountain.' Writing
also in 1701, he alludes to the care with which the Sillery wines were
made forty years before.

Such a distinction of seasons would imply that wine, instead of
being kept, was drunk within a few months of its manufacture; though
this, except in the case of wine made as 'tocane,' which could not
be kept, would appear to be a matter rather of taste than necessity.
This custom of drinking it before fermentation was achieved, and
also the natural tendency of the wine of this particular region to
effervesce--a tendency since taken such signal advantage of by the
manufacturers of sparkling Champagne--are treated of in a work of
the period,[69] the author of which, after noting the excellence of
certain growths of Burgundy, goes on to say that, 'If the vintage in
the Champagne is a successful one, it is thither that the shrewd and
dainty hasten. There is not,' continues he, 'in the world a drink more
noble and more delicious; and it is now become so highly fashionable
that, with the exception of those growths drawn from that fertile and
agreeable district which we call in general parlance that of Reims, and
particularly from St. Thierry, Verzenay, Ay, and different spots of the
Mountain, all others are looked upon by the dainty as little better
than poor stuff and trash, which they will not even hear spoken of.' He
extols the admirable _sève_ of the Reims wine, its delicious flavour,
and its perfume, which with ludicrous hyperbole he pronounces capable
of bringing the dead to life. Burgundy and Champagne, he says, are both
good, but the first rank belongs to the latter, 'when it has not that
tartness which some debauchees esteem so highly, when it clears itself
promptly, and only works as much as the natural strength of the wine
allows; for it does not do to trust so much to that kind of wine which
is always in a fury, and boils without intermission in its vessel.'

Such wine, he maintains, is quite done for by the time Easter is over,
and only retains of its former fire a crude tartness very unpleasant
and very indigestible, which is apt to affect the chest of those who
drink it. He recommends that Champagne should be drunk at least six
months after the end of the year, and that the grayest wines should
always be chosen as going down more smoothly and clogging the stomach
less, since, however good the red wine may be as regards body, from
its longer _cuvaison_, it is never so delicate, nor does it digest so
promptly, as the others. He concludes, therefore, that it is better
to drink old wine, or at any rate what then passed as old wine, as
long as one can, in order not to have to turn too soon to the new
ones, 'which are veritable head-splitters, and from their potency
capable of deranging the strongest constitutions.' Above all, he urges
abstinence from such 'artificial mummeries' as the use of ice, 'the
most pernicious of all inventions' and the enemy of wine, though at
that time, he admits, very fashionable, especially amongst certain
'obstreperous voluptuaries,' 'who maintain that the wine of Reims is
never more delicious than when it is drunk with ice, and that this
admirable beverage derives especial charms from this fatal novelty.'
Ice, he holds, not only dispels the spirit and diminishes the flavour,
_sève_, and colour of the wine, but is most pernicious and deadly
to the drinker, causing 'colics, shiverings, horrible convulsions,
and sudden weakness, so that frequently death has crowned the most
magnificent debauches, and turned a place of joy and mirth into a
sepulchre.' Wherefore let all drinkers of Champagne _frappé_ beware.

Here we have ample proof of the popularity of the wines of the
Champagne, a popularity erroneously said to be due in some measure
to the fact that both the Chancellor le Tellier, father of Louvois,
and Colbert, the energetic comptroller-general of the state finances,
and son of a wool-merchant of Reims, possessed large vineyards in
the province.[70] Lafontaine, who was born in the neighbourhood,
declared his preference for Reims above all cities, on account of the
Sainte Ampoule, its good wine, and the abundance of other charming
objects;[71] and Boileau, writing in 1674, depicts an ignorant
churchman, whose library consisted of a score of well-filled hogsheads,
as being fully aware of the particular vineyard at Reims over which
the community he belonged to held a mortgage.[72] James II. of England
was particularly partial to the wine of the Champagne. When the
quinquennial assembly of the clergy was held in 1700, at the Château of
St. Germain-en-Laye, where he was residing, Charles Maurice le Tellier,
brother to Louvois and Archbishop of Reims, who presided, 'kept a grand
table, and had some Champagne wine that was highly praised. The King
of England, who rarely drank any other, heard of it, and sent to ask
some of the archbishop, who sent him six bottles. Some time afterwards
the king, who found the wine very good, sent to beg him to send some
more. The archbishop, more avaricious of his wine than of his money,
answered curtly that his wine was not mad, and therefore did not run
about the streets, and did not send him any.'[73] Du Chesne, who,
when Fagon became medical attendant to Louis XIV., succeeded him as
physician to the 'fils de France,' and who died at Versailles in 1707,
aged ninety-one, in perfect health, ascribed his longevity to his habit
of eating a salad every night at supper, and drinking only Champagne, a
_régime_ which he recommended to all.[74]

The wine was nevertheless the indirect cause of the death of the poet
Santeuil, who, although a canon of St. Victor, was very much fonder
of Champagne and of sundry other good things than he ought to have
been. A wit and a _bon vivant_, he was a great favourite of the Duc de
Bourbon, son of the Prince de Condé, whom he accompanied in the summer
of 1697 to Dijon. 'One evening at supper the duke amused himself with
plying Santeuil with Champagne, and going on from joke to joke, he
thought it funny to empty his snuff-box into a goblet of wine, and make
Santeuil drink it, in order to see what would happen. He was pretty
soon enlightened. Vomiting and fever ensued, and within forty-eight
hours the unhappy wretch died in the torments of the damned, but
filled with the sentiments of great penitence, with which he received
the sacraments and edified the company, who, though little given to
be edified, disapproved of _such a cruel experiment_.'[75] Of course
nothing was done, or even said, to the duke.

'Sire,' said the president of a deputation bringing specimens of the
various productions of Reims to the Grand Monarque when he visited the
city in 1666, 'we offer you our wine, our pears, our gingerbread, our
biscuits, and our hearts;' and Louis, who was a noted lover of the good
things of this life, answered, turning to his suite, 'There, gentlemen,
that is just the kind of speech I like.' To this day Reims manufactures
by the myriad the crisp finger-shaped sponge-cakes called 'biscuits de
Reims,' which the French delight to dip in their wine; juvenile France
still eagerly devours its _pain d'épice_, and the city sends forth far
and wide the baked pears which have obtained so enviable a reputation.
But the production of such wine as that offered to the king has long
since almost ceased, while its fame has been eclipsed tenfold by wine
of a far more delicious kind, the origin and rise of which has now to
be recounted. This is the sparkling wine of Champagne, which has been
fitly compared to one of those younger sons of good family, who, after
a brilliant and rapid career, achieve a position far eclipsing that of
their elder brethren, whose fame becomes merged in theirs.[76]



          /Invention and Development of Sparkling Champagne./

    The ancients acquainted with sparkling wines--Tendency of Champagne
    wines to effervesce noted at an early period--Obscurity enveloping
    the discovery of what we now know as sparkling Champagne--The Royal
    Abbey of Hautvillers--Legend of its foundation by St. Nivard and
    St. Berchier--Its territorial possessions and vineyards--The monks
    the great viticulturists of the Middle Ages--Dom Perignon--He
    marries wines differing in character--His discovery of sparkling
    white wine--He is the first to use corks to bottles--His secret for
    clearing the wine revealed only to his successors Frère Philippe
    and Dom Grossart--Result of Dom Perignon's discoveries--The wine
    of Hautvillers sold at 1000 livres the queue--Dom Perignon's
    memorial in the Abbey-Church--Wine flavoured with peaches--The
    effervescence ascribed to drugs, to the period of the moon, and
    to the action of the sap in the vine--The fame of sparkling
    wine rapidly spreads--The Vin de Perignon makes its appearance
    at the Court of the Grand Monarque--Is welcomed by the young
    courtiers--It figures at the suppers of Anet and Chantilly, and
    at the orgies of the Temple and the Palais Royal--The rapturous
    strophes of Chaulieu and Rousseau--Frederick William I. and the
    Berlin Academicians--Augustus the Strong and the page who pilfered
    his Champagne--Horror of the old-fashioned _gourmets_ at the
    innovation--Bertin du Rocheret and the Marshal d'Artagnan--System
    of wine-making in the Champagne early in the eighteenth
    century--Bottling of the wine in flasks--Icing Champagne with the
    corks loosened.

A sybarite of our day has remarked that the life of the ancient Greeks
would have approached the perfection of earthly existence had they
only been acquainted with sparkling Champagne. As, however, amongst
the nations of antiquity the newly-made wine was sometimes allowed
to continue its fermentation in close vessels, it may be conceived
that when freshly drawn it occasionally possessed a certain degree of
briskness from the retained carbonic acid gas.[77] Virgil's expression,

        'Ille impiger hausit
    Spumantem pateram,'[78]

demonstrates that the Romans--whose _patera_, by the way, closely
resembled the modern champagne-glass--were familiar with frothy and
sparkling wines, although they do not seem to have intentionally sought
the means of preserving them in this condition.[79]



The early vintagers of the Champagne can hardly have helped noting
the natural tendency of their wine to effervesce, the difficulty of
entirely overcoming which is exemplified in the precautions invariably
taken for the production of Sillery sec; indeed tradition claims for
certain growths of the Marne, from a period of remote antiquity,
a disposition to froth and sparkle.[80] Local writers profess to
recognise in the property ascribed by Henry of Andelys to the wine
of Chalons, of causing both the stomach and the heels to swell,[81]
a reference to this peculiarity.[82] The learned Baccius, physician
to Pope Sixtus V., writing at the close of the sixteenth century of
the wines of France, mentions those 'which bubble out of the glass,
and which flatter the smell as much as the taste,'[83] though he does
not refer to any wine of the Champagne by name. An anonymous author,
some eighty years later,[84] condemns the growing partiality for the
'great _vert_ which certain debauchees esteem so highly' in Champagne
wines, and denounces 'that kind of wine which is always in a fury,
and which boils without ceasing in its vessel.' Still he seems to
refer to wine in casks, which lost these tumultuous properties after
Easter. Necessity being the mother of invention, the inhabitants of
the province had in the sixteenth century already devised and put in
practice a method of allaying fermentation, and obtaining a settled
wine within four-and-twenty hours, by filling a vessel with 'small
chips of the wood called in French _sayette_,' and pouring the wine
over them.[85]

With all this, a conscientious writer candidly acknowledges that,
despite minute and painstaking researches, he cannot tell when what is
now known as sparkling Champagne first made its appearance. The most
ancient references to it of a positive character that he could discover
are contained in the poems of Grenan and Coffin, printed in 1711 and
1712; yet its invention certainly dates prior to that epoch,[86] and
earlier poets have also praised it. It seems most probable that the
tendency to effervescence already noted became even more marked in
the strong-bodied gray and 'partridge-eye' wines, first made from red
grapes about 1670, than in the yellowish wine previously produced, like
that of Ay, from white grapes,[87] and recommended, from its deficiency
in body, to be drunk off within the year.[88] These new wines, when in
a quasi-effervescent state prior to the month of March, offered a novel
attraction to palates dulled by the potent vintages of Burgundy and
Southern France;[89] and their reputation quickly spread, though some
old _gourmets_ might have complained, with St. Evremond, of the taste
introduced by _faux delicats_.[90] They must have been merely _cremant_
wines--for glass-bottle making was in its infancy, and corks as yet
unknown[91]--and doubtless resembled the present wines of Condrieu,
which sparkle in the glass on being poured out, during their first and
second years, but with age acquire the characteristics of a full-bodied
still wine. The difficulty of regulating their effervescence in
those pre-scientific days must have led to frequent and serious
disappointments. The hour, however, came, and with it the man.



In the year 1670, among the sunny vineyard slopes rising from the
poplar-fringed Marne, there stood in all its pride the famous royal
Abbey of St. Peter at Hautvillers. Its foundation, of remote antiquity,
was hallowed by saintly legend. Tradition said that about the middle
of the seventh century St. Nivard, Bishop of Reims, and his godson,
St. Berchier, were seeking a suitable spot for the erection of a
monastery on the banks of the river. The way was long, the day was
warm, and the saints but mortal. Weary and faint, they sat down to
rest at a spot identified by tradition with a vineyard at Dizy, to-day
belonging to Messrs. Bollinger, but at that time forming part of the
forest of the Marne. St. Nivard fell asleep, with his head in St.
Berchier's lap, when 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 afar off on the stump of a tree. Such an omen could
no more be neglected by a seventh-century saint than a slate full of
scribble by a nineteenth-century spiritualist, and accordingly the
site thus miraculously indicated was forthwith decided upon. Plans for
the edifice were duly drawn out and approved of, and the abbey rose
in stately majesty, the high altar at which St. Berchier was solemnly
invested with the symbols of abbatial dignity being erected upon the
precise spot occupied by the tree on which the snow-white dove had
alighted.[92] As time rolled on and pious donations poured in, the
abbey waxed in importance, although it was sacked by the Normans when
they ravaged the Champagne, and was twice destroyed by fire--once in
1098, and again in 1440--when each time it rose ph[oe]nix-like from its



In 1670 the abbey was, as we have said, in all its glory. True, it had
been somewhat damaged a century previously by the Huguenots, who had
fired the church, driven out the monks, sacked the wine-cellars, burnt
the archives, and committed sundry other depredations inherent to civil
and religious warfare; but the liberal contributions of the faithful,
including Queen Marie de Medicis, had helped to efface all traces of
their visit. The abbey boasted many precious relics rescued from the
Reformers' fury, the most important being the body of St. Helena, the
mother of Constantine the Great, which had been in its possession since
844, and attracted numerous pilgrims. The hierarchical status of the
abbey was high; for no less than nine archbishops had passed forth
through its stately portal to the see of Reims, and twenty-two abbots,
including the venerable Peter of Cluny, to various distinguished
monasteries. Its territorial possessions were extensive; for its abbot
was lord of Hautvillers, Cumières, Cormoyeux, Bomery, and Dizy la
Rivière, and had all manner of rights of _fourmage_, and _huchage_,
_vinage_, and _pressoir banal_, and the like,[93] to the benefit
of the monks and the misfortune of their numerous dependents. Its
revenues were ample, and no small portion was derived from the tithes
of fair and fertile vinelands extending for miles around, and from
the vineyards which the monks themselves cultivated in the immediate
neighbourhood of the abbey.


It should be remembered that for a lengthy period--not only in France,
but in other countries--the choicest wines were those produced in
vineyards belonging to the Church, and that the _vinum theologium_ was
justly held superior to all others. The rich chapters and monasteries
were more studious of the quality than of the quantity of their
vintages; their land was tilled with particular care, and the learning,
of which in the Middle Ages they were almost the sole depositaries,
combined with opportunities of observation enjoyed by the members of
these fraternities by reason of their retired pursuits, made them
acquainted at a very early period with the best methods of controlling
the fermentation of the grape and ameliorating its produce.[94] To
the monks of Bèze we owe Chambertin, the favourite wine of the first
Napoleon; to the Cistercians of Citaulx the perfection of that Clos
Vougeot which passing regiments saluted _tambour battant_; and the
Benedictines of Hautvillers were equally regardful of the renown of
their wines and vineyards. In 1636 they cultivated one hundred arpents
themselves,[95] their possessions including the vineyards now known as
Les Quartiers and Les Prières at Hautvillers, and Les Barillets, Sainte
Hélène, and Cotes-à-bras at Cumières, the last named of which still
retains a high reputation.


Over these vineyards there presided in 1670 a worthy Benedictine named
Dom Perignon, who was destined to gain for the abbey a more world-wide
fame than the devoutest of its monks or the proudest of its abbots.
His position was an onerous one, for the reputation of the wine was
considerable, and it was necessary to maintain it. Henry of Andelys had
sung its praises as early as the thirteenth century; and St. Evremond,
though absent from France for nearly half a score years, wrote of it
in terms proving that he had preserved a lively recollection of its
merits. Dom Perignon was born at Sainte Ménehould in 1638, and had
been elected to the post of procureur of the abbey about 1668, on
account of the purity of his taste and the soundness of his head. He
proved himself fully equal to the momentous task, devotion to which
does not seem to have shortened his days, since he died at the ripe
old age of seventy-seven. It was Dom Perignon's duty to superintend
the abbey vineyards, supervise the making of the wine, and see after
the tithes, paid either in wine or grapes[96] by the neighbouring
cultivators to their seignorial lord the abbot. The wine which thus
came into his charge was naturally of various qualities; and having
noted that one kind of soil imparted fragrance and another generosity,
while the produce of others was deficient in both of these attributes,
Dom Perignon, in the spirit of a true Benedictine, hit upon the happy
idea of 'marrying,' or blending, the produce of different vineyards
together,[97] a practice which is to-day very generally followed
by the manufacturers of Champagne. Such was the perfection of Dom
Perignon's skill and the delicacy of his palate, that in his later
years, when blind from age, he used to have the grapes of the different
districts brought to him, and, recognising each kind by its flavour,
would say, 'You must marry the wine of this vineyard with that of such


But the crowning glory of the Benedictine's long and useful life
remains to be told. He succeeded in obtaining for the first time in
the Champagne a perfectly white wine from black grapes, that hitherto
made having been gray, or of a pale-straw colour.[99] Moreover, by some
happy accident, or by a series of experimental researches--for the
exact facts of the discovery are lost for ever--he hit upon a method
of regulating the tendency of the wines of this region to effervesce,
and by paying regard to the epoch of bottling, finally succeeded in
producing a perfectly sparkling wine, that burst forth from the bottle
and overflowed the glass, and was twice as dainty to the palate, and
twice as exhilarating in its effects, as the ordinary wine of the
Champagne. A correlative result of his investigations was the present
system of corking bottles, a wisp of tow dipped in oil being the sole
stopper in use prior to his time.[100] To him, too, we owe not only
sparkling Champagne itself, but the proper kind of glass to drink it
out of. The tall, thin, tapering _flute_ was adopted, if not invented,
by him, in order, as he said, that he might watch the dance of the
sparkling atoms.[101] The exact date of Dom Perignon's discovery of
sparkling wine seems to be wrapped in much the same obscurity as
are the various attendant circumstances. It was certainly prior to
the close of the seventeenth century; as the author of an anonymous
treatise, printed at Reims in 1718, remarked that for more than twenty
years past the taste of the French had inclined towards sparkling
wines, which they had 'frantically adored,' though during the last
three years they had grown a little out of conceit with them.[102] This
would place it at 1697, at the latest.


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
found out a method of clearing wine, so as to preserve it perfectly
limpid and free from all deposit, without being obliged, like all who
sought to rival him in its production, to _dépoter_ the bottles--that
is, to decant their contents into fresh ones.[103] This secret, which
helped to maintain the high reputation of the wine of Hautvillers when
the manufacture of sparkling Champagne had extended throughout the
district, he guarded even better than he was able to guard the apple of
his eye. At his death, in 1715, he revealed it only to his successor,
Frère Philippe, who, after holding sway over vat and vineyard for
fifty years, died in 1765, imparting it with his latest breath to
Frère André Lemaire. Revoked perforce from his functions by the French
Revolution, he in turn, before his death about 1795, communicated it
to Dom Grossart, who exults over the fact that whilst the greatest
Champagne merchants were obliged to _dépoter_, the monks of Hautvillers
had never done so.[104] Dom Grossart, who had counted the Moëts amongst
his customers, died in his turn without making any sign, so that the
secret of Perignon perished with him. Prior to that event, however,
the present system of _dégorgeage_ was discovered, and eventually
_dépotage_ was no longer practised.[105]

The material result of Dom Perignon's labours was such that one of the
presses of the abbey bore this inscription: 'M. de Fourville, abbot of
this abbey, had me constructed in the year 1694, and that same year
sold his wine at a thousand livres the queue.'[106] Their moral effect
was so complete that his name became identified with the wine of the
abbey. People asked for the wine of Perignon, till they forgot that
he was a man and not a vineyard,[107] and within a year of his death
his name figures amongst a list of the wine-producing slopes of the
Champagne.[108] His reputation has outlasted the walls within which he
carried on his labours, and his merits are thus recorded, in conventual
Latin of the period, on a black-marble slab still to be seen within the
altar-steps of the abbey-church of Hautvillers.[109]


    D . O . M .
    OBIIT ÆTATIS 77^o.
    ANNO 1715


The anonymous _Mémoire_ of 1718 gives, with an amount of preliminary
flourish which would imply a doubt as to the accuracy of the statement
made, the secret mode said to have been employed by Dom Perignon to
improve his wine, and to have been confided by him a few days before
his death to 'a person worthy enough of belief,' by whom it was in turn
communicated to the writer. According to this, a pound of sugar-candy
was dissolved in a _chopine_ of wine, to which was then added five or
six stoned peaches, four sous' worth of powdered cinnamon, a grated
nutmeg, and a _demi septier_ of burnt brandy; and the whole, after
being well mixed, was strained through fine linen into a _pièce_ of
wine immediately after fermentation had ceased, with the result of
imparting to it a dainty and delicate flavour. Dom Grossart, however,
in his letter to M. Dherbès, distinctly declares that 'we never did put
sugar into our wine.'[110] This _collature_, in which peaches play a
part, was probably made use of by some wine-growers; and the peach-like
flavour extolled by St. Evremond in the wine of Ay may have been due
to it, or to the practice then and long afterwards followed of putting
peach-leaves in the hot water with which the barrels were washed out,
under the idea that this improved the flavour of the wine.[111]

Opinions were widely divided as to the cause of the effervescence
in the wines of Hautvillers, for the connection between sugar and
fermentation was then undreamt of, although Van Helmont had recognised
the existence of carbonic acid gas in fermenting wine as early as 1624.
Some thought it due to the addition of drugs, and sought to obtain it
by putting not only alum and spirits of wine, but positive nastinesses,
into their wine.[112] Others ascribed it to the greenness of the wine,
because most of that which effervesced was extremely raw; and others
again believed that it was influenced by the age of the moon at the
epoch of bottling. Experience undoubtedly showed that wine bottled
between the vintage and the month of May was certain to effervesce, and
that no time was more favourable for this operation than the end of
the second quarter of the moon of March. Nevertheless, as the wines,
especially those of the Mountain of Reims, were not usually matured at
this epoch, it was recommended, in order to secure a ripe and exquisite
sparkling wine, to defer the bottling until the ascent of the sap in
the vine between the tenth and fourteenth day of the moon of August;
whereas, to insure a _non mousseux_ wine, the bottling ought to take
place in October or November.[113]

The fame of the new wine, known indifferently as _vin de Perignon_,
_flacon pétillant_, _flacon mousseux_, _vin sautant_, _vin mousseux_,
_saute bouchon_, &c., and even anathematised as _vin du diable_--for
the present term, _vin de Champagne_, was confined as yet to the still
or quasi-still growths--quickly spread. Never, indeed, was a discovery
more opportune. At the moment of its introduction the glory of France
was on the wane; Colbert, Louvois, and Luxembourg were dead; the Treaty
of Ryswick had been signed; famine and deficit reared their threatening
heads, and lo, Providence offered this new consolation for all outward
and inward ills. With the King it could only find scant favour. The
once brilliant Louis was now a bigoted and almost isolated invalid. His
debilitated stomach, ruined by long indulgence, could scarcely even
support the old Burgundy--so old that it was almost tasteless--which
Fagon had prescribed as his sole beverage some years before;[114] and
the popping of sparkling Champagne corks would have scandalised the
quiet _tête-à-tête_ repasts which he was wont to partake of with the
pious Madame de Maintenon.[115]



But the men who were to be the future _roués_ of the Regency were
in the flower of youthful manhood in 1698, and the recommendation
of Comus had with them more weight than the warnings of Æsculapius.
At the joyous suppers of Anet, where the Duc de Vendôme laid aside
the laurels of Mars to wreathe his brows with the ivy of Bacchus; at
the Temple, where his brother, the Grand Prior, nightly revived the
most scandalous features of the orgies of ancient Rome; at the Palais
Royal, where the future Regent was inaugurating that long series of
_petits soupers_ which were ultimately to cost the lives of himself and
his favourite daughter; and at Chantilly, where the Prince de Conti
sought successfully to reproduce a younger and brighter Versailles,
the pear-shaped flasks, 'ten inches high, including the four or five
of the neck,'[116] stamped with the arms of the noble hosts, and
secured with Spanish wax,[117] were an indispensable adjunct to the
festivities of the table. A story is told of the Marquis de Sillery,
who had turned his sword into a pruning-knife, and applied himself to
the cultivation of the paternal vineyards, having first introduced the
sparkling wine bearing his name at one of the Anet suppers, when, at a
given signal, a dozen of blooming young damsels, scantily draped in the
guise of Bacchanals, entered the room, bearing apparently baskets of
flowers in their hands, but which, on being placed before the guests,
proved to be flower-enwreathed bottles of the new sparkling wine.[118]
If ever a beverage was intended for the pleasures of society, it was
certainly this one, which it was said Nature had made especially for
the French,[119] who found in its discovery a compensation for the
victories of Marlborough.

Chaulieu, the poetic abbé, and the favourite of both the Vendômes,
hailed this new product of his native province in rapturous strophes.
In an invitation to supper addressed to his friend, the Marquis de la
Fare, in 1701, he describes how

    'Of fivescore clear glasses the number and brightness
    Make up for of dishes the absence and lightness,
        And the foam, sparkling pure,
        Of fresh delicate wine
        For Fortune's frail lure
    Blots out all regret in this memory of mine.'[120]

In a letter to St. Evremond, he mentions sundry wonderful things that
should happen 'if the Muses were as fond of the wine of Champagne
as the poet who writes this to you;' and, in one to the Marquis de
Dangeau, jestingly remarks that

    'St. Maur's harsher muse
    All flight will refuse,
    Unless you sustain
    Her wings with Champagne.'[121]

Replying to an invitation to Sonning's house at Neuilly on July 20,
1707, he says that when he comes it will be wonderful to see how the
Champagne will be drained from the tall glasses known as _flutes_.[122]
That the Champagne he extols was a sparkling wine is established in a
poetical epistle to Madame D., in answer to her complaint that the wine
he had sent her did not froth as when they supped together, and in this
he also speaks of its newness.

His brother-rhymster, Jean Baptiste Rousseau, who must not be
confounded with the philosophic Jean Jacques, invited Chaulieu to join
him at Neuilly, in mingling the water of Hippocrene with the wine of
Hautvillers,[123] and announced to the Champagne-loving Marquis d'Ussé,
_apropos_ of the latter's favourite source of inspiration, that even

    'Ph[oe]bus will no more go climbing
        For water up Helicon's mount,
    But admit, as a source of good rhyming,
        Champagne excels Hippocrene's fount.'[124]

Such general attention did the subject attract that Frederick William
II. of Prussia actually proposed to the Academy of Arts and Sciences
at Berlin the question, 'Why does Champagne foam?' for solution. The
Academicians, with unexpected sharpness, petitioned the King for a
supply of the beverage in question on which to experiment. But the
parsimonious monarch was equal to the occasion, and a solitary dozen
of the wine was all he would consent to furnish them with. His ally,
Augustus the Strong of Saxony, was the hero of a ludicrous adventure
connected with sparkling Champagne. At a banquet given to him at
Dresden, a page, who had surreptitiously appropriated a bottle of
this costly beverage, and hidden it in the breast of his coat, had to
approach the King. The heat and motion combined had imparted briskness
to the wine, out popped the cork, and the embroidered garments and
flowing periwig of Mr. Carlyle's 'Man of Sin' were drenched with the
foaming liquid. The page fell on his knees and roared for mercy, and
the King, as soon as he recovered from his bursts of laughter, freely
forgave him his offence.

The success of Dom Perignon's wine caused a revolution in the
wine-production of the province, and gave rise to numerous imitations,
despite the outcry raised against sparkling wine by many _gourmets_,
and even by the wine-merchants themselves, who complained that they
had to pander to what they regarded as a depraved taste. The elder
Bertin du Rocheret, father of the _lieutenant criminel_ and a notable
dealer in wine, was much opposed to it.[125] Marshal de Montesquiou
d'Artagnan, the gallant assailant of Denain, had ordered some wine of
him, and he writes in reply, on November 11, 1711: 'I have chosen three
poinçons of the best wine of Pierry at 400 francs the queue, not to be
drawn off as _mousseux_--that would be too great a pity. Also a poinçon
to be drawn off as _mousseux_ at 250 francs the queue; or, if you will
only go as far as 180 francs, it will froth just as well, or better.
Also a poinçon of _tocane_ of Ay to be drunk this winter--that is to
say, it should be drunk by Shrovetide--at 300 francs the queue: this
wine is very fine.'[126]

On the 27th December 1712 the Marshal writes: 'With regard to my wine
being made _mousseux_, many prefer that it should be so; and I should
not be vexed, provided it does not in any way depreciate its quality.'
On the 18th October of the following year the stern _laudator temporis
acti_ describes how the bottling has been carried out, 'in order that
your wines might be _mousseux_, without which I should not have done
it, and perhaps you would have found it better, but it would not have
had the merit of being _mousseux_, which in my opinion is the merit of
a poor wine, and only proper to beer, chocolate, and whipped cream.
Good Champagne should be clear and fine, should sparkle in the glass,
and should flatter the palate, as it never does when it is _mousseux_,
but has a smack of fermentation; hence it is only _mousseux_ because it
is working.'

The converted Marshal replies on October 25th: 'I was in the wrong
to ask you to bottle my wine so that it might be _mousseux_; it is a
fashion that prevails everywhere, especially amongst young people.
For my own part, I care very little about it; but I wish the wine to
be clear and fine, and to have a strong Champagne bouquet.' In the
following December Bertin, in answer to the Marshal's request for three
quartaux of wine, says: 'Will you kindly let me know at what date you
propose to drink this wine? If it is to be drunk as _mousseux_, I shall
not agree with you.'

The allusion to the time of year at which the wine was to be drunk
throws a light upon a practice of the day, confirmed by other passages
in this correspondence. Much of the wine made was drunk as _vin
bourru_ fined, but not racked off, at the beginning of the year, or
as _tocane_, which was apt to go off if kept beyond Shrovetide. This
speedy consumption and the careful choice made of the grapes intended
for _vin mousseux_ militated against the formation in the bottles of
that deposit, which, up to the commencement of the present century,
when the system of _dégorgeage_ was introduced, could only be remedied
by _dépotage_,[127] though, as we have seen, the Abbey of Hautvillers
had a secret method, carefully guarded, of checking its formation.[128]

It is singular that the presence of a natural _liqueur_--the
consequence of a complete but not excessive ripeness of the grape, and
at present considered one of the highest qualities of the wine--was, at
the commencement of the eighteenth century, regarded as a disease. The
_Mémoire_ of 1718 states that when the wine has any liqueur, however
good it may otherwise be, it is not esteemed, and recommends the owner
to get rid of this 'bad quality' forthwith by putting a pint of new
milk warm from the cow into each _pièce_, stirring it well, letting
it rest three days, and then racking the wine off. At this epoch the
wine of the Champagne seems to have been preferred perfectly dry.[129]
In June 1716 the Marshal d'Artagnan reproached Bertin du Rocheret for
sending him Hautvillers wine of the preceding vintage which had turned
out _liquoreuse_. However, in August he felt forced to write that
it had become excellent, and similar experiences seem to have soon
removed all prejudices against this liqueur character. Bertin, in 1725,
speaks of it as one of the qualities of wine, and charges for it in
proportion; and six years later remarks that the English are as mad for
liqueur and colour in their wines as the French.[130]




                      /The Battle of the Wines./

    Temporary check to the popularity of Sparkling Champagne--Doctors
    disagree--The champions of Champagne and Burgundy--Péna and his
    patient--A young Burgundian student attacks the Wine of Reims--The
    Faculty of Reims in arms--A local Old Parr cited as an example
    in favour of the Wines of the Champagne--Salins of Beaune and
    Le Pescheur of Reims engage warmly in the dispute--A pelting
    with pamphlets--Burgundy sounds a war-note--The Sapphics of
    Benigné Grenan--An asp beneath the flowers--The gauntlet picked
    up--Carols from a Coffin--Champagne extolled as superior to all
    other wines--It inspires the heart and stirs the brain--The
    apotheosis of Champagne foam--Burgundy, an invalid, seeks a
    prescription--Impartially appreciative drinkers of both wines--Bold
    Burgundian and stout Rémois, each a jolly tippling fellow--Canon
    Maucroix's parallel between Burgundy and Demosthenes and Champagne
    and Cicero--Champagne a panacea for gout and stone--Final decision
    in favour of Champagne by the medical faculty of Paris--Pluche's
    opinion on the controversy--Champagne a lively wit and Burgundy a
    solid understanding--Champagne commands double the price of the
    best Burgundy--Zealots reconciled at table.

By a strange fatality the popularity of the sparkling wine of the
Champagne, which had helped to dissipate the gloom hanging over
court and capital during the last twenty years of the reign of Louis
Quatorze,[131] began to wane the year preceding that monarch's
death.[132] Dom Perignon too, as though stricken to the heart by this,
forthwith drooped and died. The inhabitants of the province once more
turned their attention to their red wines, which continued to enjoy
a high reputation during the first half of the century,[133] despite
the sweeping assertion that they were somewhat dry, rather flat, and
possessed a strong flinty flavour,[134] the _goût de terroir_ alluded
to by St. Evremond.


These red wines were not only sent to Paris in large quantities by
way of the Marne,[135] but commanded an important export trade, those
of the Mountain, which were better able to bear the journey than the
growths of the River, gracing the best-appointed tables of London,
Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and the North,[136] and especially of Flanders,
where they were usually sold as Burgundy.[137] It must not be lost
sight of that the yield of white sparkling wine from the _crûs d'élite_
was for a long time comparatively small, especially when contrasted
with that of to-day.[138] At a later period the manufacture of _vin
mousseux_ increased, notably in the districts south of the Marne,[139]
and drove out almost entirely the still red wine; the place of the
latter being supplied, as regards Holland, Belgium, and Northern
France, by the growths of Bordeaux, which were found to keep better in
damp climates.[140]


One cause of this falling off in the popularity of the sparkling wine
arose from the great battle which raged for many years respecting
the relative merits of Champagne and Burgundy. It was waged in the
schools, and not in the field; for the combatants were neither dashing
soldiers, brilliant courtiers, nor even gay young students, but potent,
grave, and reverend physicians--the wigged, capped, and gowned pedants
of the Diaphorus type whom Molière so piteously pilloried. The only
blood shed was that of the grape, excepting when some enthusiastic
Sangrado was impelled by a too conscientious practical examination into
the qualities of the vintage he championed to a more than ordinary
reckless use of the lancet. The contending armies couched pens instead
of lances, and marshalled arguments in array in place of squadrons.
They hurled pamphlets and theses at each others' heads in lieu of
bombshells, and kept up withal a running fire of versification, so that
the rumble of hexameters replaced that of artillery.


National pride, and perhaps a smack of envy at the growing popularity
of the still red wines of the Champagne, had, as far back as 1652, led
a hot-headed young Burgundian, one Daniel Arbinet, to select as the
subject of a thesis, maintained by him before the schools of Paris,
the proposition that the wine of Beaune was more delicious and more
wholesome than any other wine,[141] the remaining vintages of the
universe being pretty roughly handled in the thesis in question. The
Champenois contented themselves for the time being with cultivating
their vineyards and improving their wines, till in 1677, when these
latter had acquired yet more renown, M. de Révélois of Reims boldly
rushed into print with the assertion that the wine of Reims was the
most wholesome of all.[142] Though the first to write in its favour,
he was not the first doctor of eminence who had expressed an opinion
favourable to the wine of Champagne. Péna, a leading Parisian physician
of the seventeenth century, was once consulted by a stranger. 'Where
do you come from?' he inquired. 'I am a native of Saumur.' 'A native
of Saumur. What bread do you eat?' 'Bread from the Belle Cave.' 'A
native of Saumur, and you eat bread from the Belle Cave. What meat
do you get?' 'Mutton fed at Chardonnet.' 'A native of Saumur, eating
bread from the Belle Cave and mutton fed at Chardonnet. What wine do
you drink?' 'Wine from the Côteaux.'[143] 'What! You are a native
of Saumur; you eat bread from the Belle Cave, and mutton fed at
Chardonnet, and drink the wine of the Côteaux, and you come here to
consult me! Go along; there can be nothing the matter with you!'[144]

Burgundy remained silent in turn for nearly twenty years, when, lo, in
1696--probably just about the time when the popping of Dom Perignon's
corks began to make some noise in the world--a yet more opinionated
young champion of the Côte d'Or, Mathieu Fournier, a 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 Reims irritated the nerves, and
caused a predisposition to catarrh, gout, and other disorders, owing
to which Fagon, the King's physician, had forbidden them to his royal

[Illustration: LOUIS XIV.

(From a portrait of the time).]

Shocked at these scandalous assertions, the entire Faculty of Medicine
at the Reims University rose in arms in defence of their native
vintage. Its periwigged professors put their learned heads together
to discuss the all-important question, 'Is the wine of Reims more
agreeable and more wholesome than the wine of Burgundy?' and in
1700 Giles Culotteau embodied their combined opinions in a pamphlet
published under that title.[146] After extolling the liquid purity, the
excellent brightness, the divine flavour, the paradisiacal perfume,
and the great durability of the wines of Ay, Pierry, Verzy, Sillery,
Hautvillers, &c., as superior to those of any growth of Burgundy,
he instanced the case of a local Old Parr named Pierre Pieton, a
_vigneron_ of Hautvillers, who had married at the age of 110, and
reached that of 118 without infirmity, as a convincing proof of the
material advantages reaped from their consumption.



Salins, the _doyen_ of the Faculty of Medicine of Beaune, was intrusted
with the task of replying, and in 1704 bitterly assailed Culotteau's
thesis in a 'Defence of the Wine of Burgundy against the Wine of
Champagne,' which ran to five editions in four years. M. le Pescheur,
a doctor of Reims, vigorously attacked each of these editions in
succession, maintaining amongst other things that the wine of Reims
owed its renown to the many virtues discovered in it by the great lords
who had accompanied Louis XIV. to his coronation; and that if the King,
on the advice of his doctors, had renounced its use, his courtiers had
certainly not. He also asserted that England, Germany, and the North of
Europe consumed far more Champagne than they did Burgundy, and that it
would be transported without risk to the end of the world, Tavernier
having taken it to Persia, and another traveller to Siam and Surinam.



The partisanship quickly spread throughout the country, and the
respective admirers of Burgundy and Champagne pitilessly pelted each
other in prose and verse; for the two camps had their troubadours, who,
like those of old, excited the courage and ardour of the combatants.
The first to sound the warlike trumpet was Benigné Grenan, professor
at the college of Harcourt, who, with the rich vintage of his native
province bubbling at fever-heat through his veins, sought in 1711 to
crush Champagne by means of Latin sapphics, a sample of which has been
thus translated:

    'Lift to the skies thy foaming wine,
        That cheers the heart, that charms the eye;
    Exalt its fragrance, gift divine,
        Champagne, from thee the wise must fly!

    A poison lurks those charms below,
        An asp beneath the flowers is hid;
    In vain thy sparkling fountains flow
        When wisdom has their lymph forbid.

    'Tis, but when cloyed with purer fair
        We can with such a traitress flirt;
    So following Beaune with reverent air,
        Let Reims appear but at dessert.'[147]

The gauntlet thus contemptuously thrown down was promptly and
indignantly picked up by the Rector of the University of Beauvais, the
learned Dr. Charles Coffin, a native of Buzancy, near Reims, who in
the quiet retirement of the Picardian _Alma Mater_ had evidently not
forgotten to keep up his acquaintance with the vintage of his native
province. The Latin poem he produced in reply, under the title of
_Campania vindicata_,[148] had nothing in common with his lugubriously
sepulchral name, as may be seen by the following somewhat freely
translated extracts from it. After invoking the aid of a bottle of the
enlivening liquor whose praises he is about to sing, he exclaims:

    'As the vine, although lowly in aspect, outshines
        The stateliest trees by the produce it bears,
    So midst all earth's list of rich generous wines,
        Our Reims the bright crown of preëminence wears.

    The Massica, erst sang by Horace of old,
        To Sillery now must abandon the field;
    Falernian, nor Chian, could ne'er be so bold
        To rival the nectar Ay's sunny slopes yield.

    As bright as the goblet it sparklingly fills
        With diamonds in fusion, it foaming exhales
    An odour ambrosial, the nostril that thrills,
        Foretelling the flavour delicious it veils.

    At first with false fury the foam-bells arise,
        And creamily bubbling spread over the brim,
    Till equally swiftly their petulance dies
        In a purity that makes e'en crystal seem dim.'[149]


Praising the flavour of this nectar, which he declares is in every way
worthy of its appearance, he stoutly defends the wine from the charge
of unwholesomeness adduced against it by Grenan:

    'Despite the tongue of malice,
    No poison in thy chalice
      Was ever found, Champagne!
    Simplicity most loyal
    Was e'er thy boast right royal,
      And this thy wines retain.
    No harm lurks in the fire
    That helps thee to inspire
      The heart and spur the brain.'[150]


So far from causing inconvenience, he claims for Champagne the property
of keeping off both gout and gravel, neither of which, he says, is
known in Reims and its neighbourhood, and continues:

    'When on the fruit-piled board,
    Thy cups, with nectar stored,
      Commence their genial reign,
    The wisest, sternest faces
    Of mirth display the traces,
      And to rejoice are fain.
    As laughter's silv'ry ripple
    Greets every glass we tipple.
      Away fly grief and pain.'[151]

The jovial old rector with the sepulchral appellation then proceeds,
according to the most approved method of warfare, to carry the campaign
into the enemy's territory. He admits the nutritive and strengthening
properties of Burgundy, but demands what it possesses beyond these,
which are shared in common with it by many other vintages. He then
prophesies, with the return of peace,[152] the advent of the English to
buy the wine of Reims; and concludes by wishing that all who dispute
the merits of Champagne may find nothing to drink but the sour cider
of Normandy or the acrid vintage of Ivri. The citizens of Reims,
thoroughly alive to the importance of the controversy, were enchanted
with this production; they did not, however, crown the poet with
laurel, but more wisely and appropriately despatched to him four dozen
of their best red and gray wines, by the aid of which he continued to
tipple and to sing.

Grenan, resuming the offensive in turn, at once addressed an epistle
in Latin verse, in favour of Burgundy against Champagne, to Fagon, the
King's physician.[153] Complaining that the latter wine lays claim
unjustly to the first rank, he allows it certain qualities--brilliancy,
purity, limpidity, a subtle savour that touches the most blunted
palate, and an aroma so delicious that it is impossible to resist its
attractions. But he objects to its pretensions.

    'Its vinous flood, with swelling pride
        In foaming wavelets welling up,
    Pours forth its bright and sparkling tide,
        Bubbling and glittering in the cup.'[154]

He goes on to accuse the Champenois poet of being unduly inspired by
this wine, the effects of which he finds apparent in his inflated style
and his attempts to place Champagne in the first rank, and make all
other vintages its subjects; and he reiterates his allegations that,
unlike Burgundy, it affects both the head and the stomach, and is bound
to produce gout and gravel in its systematic imbibers. He concludes by
begging Fagon to pronounce in his favour, as having proved the virtues
of Burgundy on the King himself, whose strength had been sustained by
it. The retort was sharp and to the point, taking the form of a twofold
epigram from an anonymous hand:

    'To the doctor to go
        On behalf of your wine
    Is, as far as I know,
        Of its sickness a sign.

    Your cause and your wine
        Must be equally weak,
    Since to check their decline
        A prescription you seek.'[155]

Nor was the poet of the funereal cognomen backward in stepping into the
field; for he published a metrical decree, supposed to be issued by the
faculty of the island of Cos in the fourth year of the ninety-first
Olympiad,[156] in which, though a verdict is nominally given in favour
of Burgundy, Grenan's pleas on behalf of this wine are treated with
withering sarcasm.

But whilst these enthusiastic partisans thus belaboured one another,
there were not wanting impartial spirits who could recognise that there
were merits on both sides. Bellechaume, in an ode jointly addressed to
the two combatants,[157] adjures them to live at peace on Parnassus,
and, remembering that Horace praised both Falernian and Massica, to
jointly animate their muse with Champagne and Burgundy:

    'To learn the difference between
        The wine of Reims and that of Beaune,
    The fairest plan would be, I ween,
        To drink them both, not one alone.'[158]

Another equally judicious versifier called also on the Burgundian
champion[159] to cease the futile contest, since

    'Bold Burgundian ever glories
        With stout Remois to get mellow;
    Each well filled with vinous lore is
        Each a jolly tippling fellow.'[160]

And the learned Canon Maucroix of Reims exhibited a similar
conciliatory spirit in the ingenious parallel which he drew between
the two greatest orators of antiquity and the wines of the Marne
and the Côte d'Or. 'In the wine of Burgundy,' he observes, 'there
is more strength and vigour; it does not play with its man so much,
it overthrows him more suddenly,--that is Demosthenes. The wine of
Champagne is subtler and more delicate; it amuses more and for a
longer time, but in the end it does not produce less effect,--that is


The national disasters which marked the close of the reign of Louis
XIV. diverted public attention in some degree from the nugatory
contest;[162] and though Fontenelle sought to prove that a glass of
Champagne was better than a bottle of Burgundy,[163] the impartially
appreciative agreed with Panard that

    'Old Burgundy and young Champagne
    At table boast an equal reign.'[164]

But the doctors continued to disagree, and new generations of them
still went on wrangling over the vexed questions of supremacy and
salubrity. In 1739 Jean François carried the war into the enemy's camp
by maintaining at Paris that Burgundy caused gout; and a little later
Robert Linguet declared the wine of Reims to be as healthy as it was
agreeable. In 1777 Xavier, Regent of the Faculty of Medicine at the
Reims University, affirmed that not only did the once vilified _vin
mousseux_ share with the other wines of the Champagne the absence of
the tartarous particles which in many red wines are productive of
gout and gravel, but that the gas it contained caused it to act as a
dissolvent upon stone in the human body, and was also invaluable, from
its antiseptic qualities, in treating putrid fevers.[165] Further,
the appropriately named Champagne Dufresnay established, to his own
satisfaction and that of his colleagues, that the wine was superior to
any other growth, native or foreign.[166] At length, in 1778, when the
bones of the original disputants were dust, and their lancets rust, on
the occasion of a thesis being defended before the Faculty of Medicine
of Paris, a verdict was formally pronounced by this body in favour of
the wine of the Champagne.[167]




           /Progress and Popularity of Sparkling Champagne./

    Sparkling Champagne intoxicates the Regent d'Orléans and the
    _roués_ of the Palais Royal--It is drunk by Peter the Great at
    Reims--A horse trained on Champagne and biscuits--Decree of Louis
    XV. regarding the transport of Champagne--Wine for the _petits
    cabinets du Roi_--The _petits soupers_ and Champagne orgies of
    the royal household--A bibulous royal mistress--The Well-Beloved
    at Reims--Frederick the Great, George II., Stanislas Leczinski,
    and Marshal Saxe all drink Champagne--Voltaire sings the praises
    of the effervescing wine of Ay--The Commander Descartes and
    Lebatteux extol the charms of sparkling Champagne--Bertin
    du Rocheret and his balsamic molecules--The Bacchanalian
    poet Panard chants the inspiring effects of the vintages of
    the Marne--Marmontel is jointly inspired by Mademoiselle de
    Navarre and the wine of Avenay--The Abbé de l'Attaignant and
    his fair hostesses--Breakages of bottles in the manufacturers'
    cellars--Attempts to obviate them--The early sparkling wines
    merely _crémant_--_Saute bouchon_ and _demi-mousseux_--Prices
    of Champagne in the eighteenth century--Preference given to
    light acid wines for sparkling Champagne--Lingering relics
    of prejudice against _vin mousseux_--The secret addition of
    sugar--Originally the wine not cleared in bottle--Its transfer
    to other bottles necessary--Adoption of the present method
    of ridding the wine of its deposit--The vine-cultivators the
    last to profit by the popularity of sparkling Champagne--Marie
    Antoinette welcomed to Reims--Reception and coronation of Louis
    XVI. at Reims--'The crown, it hurts me!'--Oppressive dues and
    tithes of the _ancien régime_--The Fermiers Généraux and their
    hôtel at Reims--Champagne under the Revolution--Napoleon at
    Epernay--Champagne included in the equipment of his satraps--The
    Allies in the Champagne--Drunkenness and pillaging--Appreciation
    of Champagne by the invading troops--The beneficial results which
    followed--Universal popularity of Champagne--The wine a favourite
    with kings and potentates--Its traces to be met with everywhere.


Whilst doctors went on shaking their periwigged heads, and debating
whether sparkling Champagne did or did not injure the nerves and
produce gout, the timid might hearken to their counsels, but there were
plenty of spirits bold enough to let the corks pop gaily, regardless of
all consequences. The wine continued in high favour with the _viveurs_
of the capital, and especially with the brilliant band of titled
scoundrels who formed the Court of Philippe le Débonnaire. 'When my son
gets drunk,' wrote, on the 13th August 1716, the Princess Charlotte
Elizabeth of Bavaria, the Regent's mother, 'it is not with strong
drinks or spirituous liquors, but pure wine of Champagne;'[168] and
as the pupil of the Abbé Dubois very seldom went to bed sober,[169]
he must have consumed a fair amount of the fluid in question in the
course of his career. Even his boon companion, the Duke de Richelieu,
is forced to admit that there was a great deal more drunkenness about
him than was becoming in a Regent of France; and that, as he could not
support wine so well as his guests, he often rose from the table drunk,
or with his wits wool-gathering. 'Two bottles of Champagne,' remarks
the duke in his _Chronique_, 'had this effect upon him.'

Desirous, seemingly, that such enjoyments should not be confined to
himself alone, he abolished in 1719 sundry dues on wine in general,
whilst his famous, or rather infamous, suppers conduced to the vogue
of that sparkling Champagne which was an indispensable accompaniment
of those _décolleté_ repasts. It unloosed the tongues and waistcoats
of the _roués_ of the Palais Royal, the Nocés, Broglios, Birons,
Brancas, and Canillacs; it lent an additional sparkle to the bright
eyes of Mesdames de Parabère and de Sabran, and inspired the scathing
remark from the lips of one of those fair frail ones, that 'God, after
having made man, took up a little mud, and used it to form the souls of
princes and lackeys.' It played its part, too, at the memorable repast
at which the Regent and his favourite daughter so scandalised their
hostess, the Duchess of Burgundy, and at the fatal orgie shared by the
same pair on the terrace of Meudon.

[Illustration: THE REGENT D'ORLÉANS (From the picture by Santerre).]

The example set in such high quarters could not fail to be followed.
Champagne fired the sallies of the wits and versifiers whom the Duchess
of Maine gathered around her at Sceaux, and stimulated the madness
which seized upon the whole of Paris at the bidding of the financier
Law. It frothed, too, in the goblets which Bertin du Rocheret had
the honour of filling with his own hand for Peter the Great, on the
passage of the Northern Colossus through Reims in June 1717; and
its consumption was increased by a decree of 1728, which especially
provided that people proceeding to their country seats might take with
them for their own use a certain quantity of this wine free of duty.

A curious purpose to which the wine was applied appeared from a wager
laid by the Count de Saillans--one of the most famous horsemen of his
day, and already distinguished by similar feats--to the effect that he
would ride a single horse from the gate of Versailles to the Hôtel des
Invalides within an hour. His wife, fearing the dangerous descent from
Sèvres towards Paris, prevailed on the King to prohibit him from riding
in person; but a valet, whose neck was of course of no moment, was
allowed to act as his deputy in essaying the feat. The horse selected
was carefully fed for some days beforehand on biscuits and Champagne.
Crowds assembled to witness the attempt, which was made on May 9, 1725,
and resulted in the valet's coming in two and a half minutes behind
time. Whether this was due to the badness of the roads, as was alleged,
or to the singular _régime_ adopted for the animal selected, remains a
moot question.[170]

Champagne won equal favour in the eyes of Louis XV., as in those
of the curious compound of embodied vices who had watched over the
welfare of the kingdom during his minority, though it is true that at a
comparatively early age--in the year 1731--he had, on representations
that over-production of wine was lowering its value, prohibited the
planting of fresh vineyards without his permission under a penalty of
3000 francs, and had renewed this prohibition the year following.[171]

[Illustration: LOUIS XV. WHEN YOUNG

(From a picture of the epoch).]


(From the 'Routes de France').]

The royal repasts at La Muette, Marly, and Choissy were, however,
enlivened with wine from the Champagne; for we find Bertin du Rocheret
in 1738 despatching thirty pieces of the still wine to M. de Castagnet
for the _petits cabinets du Roi_,[172] and the eldest of the fair
sisters La Nesle, Madame de Mailly, the 'Queen of Choissy' and
_maîtresse en titre_, in 1740 reforming the cellar management, and
suppressing the _petits soupers_ and Champagne orgies of the royal
household.[173] Her conduct in this respect seems, however, not to
have been dictated by motives of virtue, but rather by the conviction
that the wine was too precious to be consumed by inferiors. We are
assured that the countess loved wine, and above all that of Champagne,
and that she could hold her own against the stoutest toper. 'She has
been reproached with having imparted this taste to the King, but it is
probable that his Majesty was naturally inclined that way.'[174]


(From the collection of the 'Chansons de Laborde').]

When, in 1741, the 'Well-Beloved' passed through Reims, Dom Chatelain,
after rejoicing over the year's vintage having been a very fine one,
adds that it was drunk to a considerable extent and with the greatest
joy in the world during the ten days that the King remained in the
city. 'It was no longer a question,' he exclaims exultingly, 'of
sending for Burgundy or Laon wine.' Three years later, when traversing
the Champagne, on his way to Metz, he again halted at Reims; and after
hearing mass, 'retired to the Archevêché, where the Corps de la Ville
presented his Majesty with the wines of the town, which he ordered
to be taken to his apartments.'[175] Wine was also presented to the
Prince de Soubise, Governor of the Champagne; the Duke de Villeroy, M.
d'Argenson, and the Count de Joyeuse; whilst, for the benefit of the
populace, four fountains of the same fluid flowed at the corners of the
Place de l'Hôtel de Ville.[176] In like manner, at the inauguration of
that 'brazen lie,' the statue of this same Louis XV., in 1767, wine
flowed in rivers from the different fountains of the city.[177]

The satyr-like sovereign of France was by no means the only monarch
of his time who appreciated sparkling Champagne. Frederick the Great
has praised its consoling powers in the doggerel which Voltaire was
engaged to turn into poetry; and George II. of England at St. James's,
and Stanislas Leczinski of Poland at Nancy, both quaffed of the
same vintage of Ay despatched in 1754 from the cellars of Bertin du
Rocheret. Marshal Saxe, during his sojourn in 1745 at Brussels, where
he held a quasi-royal court, of which Mademoiselle de Navarre was the
bright particular star, drew an ample supply of Champagne from the
cellars of that lady's father, Claude Hevin de Navarre of Avenay, who
had established himself as a wine merchant in the Belgian capital.[178]
Despite, too, the continued outcry of some connoisseurs,[179] the
_vin mousseux_ became the universal source of inspiration for the
cabaret-haunting poets of that graceless witty epoch.[180] Voltaire,
all unmoved by the excellent still Champagne with which he and the Duke
de Richelieu had been regaled at Epernay by Bertin du Rocheret in May
1735, persisted in singing the praises of the effervescing wine of Ay,
in the sparkling foam of which he professed to find the type of the
French nation:[181]

    'Chloris and Eglé, with their snowy hands,
    Pour out a wine of Ay, whose prisoned foam,
    Tightly compressed within its crystal home,
    Drives out the cork; 'midst laughter's joyous sound
    It flies, against the ceiling to rebound.
    The sparkling foam of this refreshing wine
    The brilliant image of us French does shine.'

The Commander Descartes seems not to have been afraid to extol the
charms of the sparkling wine to the younger Bertin du Rocheret, as
stern a decrier of its merits as his father had previously been. In a
letter dated December 1735, asking for 'one or two dozen bottles of
sparkling white wine, neither _vert_ nor _liquoreux_, "I should like,"
he says, "some

    Of that delectable white wine
        Which foams and sparkles in the glass,
        And seldom mortal lips does pass;
    But cheers, at festivals divine,
        The gods to whom it owes its birth,
        Or else the great, our gods on earth."'[182]

Amongst other versifiers of this epoch enamoured with the merits of the
wine may be cited Charles Lebatteux, professor of rhetoric at Reims
University, who in 1739 composed an ode, 'In Civitatem Remensam,'
containing the following invocation to Bacchus:

    ''Tis not on the icy-topped mountains of Thrace,
    Or those of Rhodope, thy favours I trace--
        Not there to invoke thee I'd roam.
    No! Reims sees thee reign sovereign lord o'er her hills;
    There I offer my vows, and the nectar that thrills
        To my soul I will seek close at home.

    Whether Venus-like rising midst foam sparkling white,
    Or wrapped in a mantle of rose rich and bright,
        Thou seekest my senses to fire,
    Come aid me to sing, for my Muse is full fain
    To owe on this day each melodious strain
        To the fervour 'tis thine to inspire.'[183]

Bertin du Rocheret, who by no means shared his friend Voltaire's
admiration for the sparkling vintage of Ay, sang the praises of the
still wine of the Champagne after the following fashion in 1741:

    'No, such blockheads do not sip
        Of that most delicious wine;
    Soul of love and fellowship,
        Sweet as truly 'tis benign.
    No, their palate, spoilt and worn,
        Craves adult'rate juice to drain;
    Poison raw which we should scorn,
        Beverage fit for frantic brain.
    Let us, therefore, hold as fools
        Such as now feign to despise
    Those _balsamic molecules_
        Horace used to sing and prize.

    No, such blockheads do not sip
        Of that most delicious wine;
    Soul of joy and fellowship,
        Sweet as truly 'tis benign.
    Of that wine, so purely white,
        Which the sternest mood makes pass,
    And which sparkles yet more bright
        In your eyes than in my glass.
    Drink, then, drink; I pledge you, dear,
        In the nectar old we prize;
    Sparkling in our glasses clear,
        But more brightly in your eyes.'[184]


Marmontel, the author of _Bélisaire_ and editor of the _Mercure de
France_, found inspiration in his youthful days in the sparkling wine
of Champagne. He describes, in somewhat fatuous style, the results of
an invitation he received from Mademoiselle de Navarre to pass some
months with her in 1746 at Avenay, where her father owned several
vineyards, and where, she added, 'It will be very unfortunate if with
me and some excellent vin de Champagne you do not produce good verses.'
He tells how, in stormy weather, she insisted, on account of her fear
of lightning, on dining in the cellars, where, 'in the midst of fifty
thousand bottles of Champagne, it was difficult not to lose one's
head;' and how he was accustomed to read to her the verses thus jointly
inspired when seated together on a wooded hillock, rising amidst the
vineyards of Avenay.[185]

The foregoing in some degree recalls the circumstances under which
Gluck, whose fame began to be established about this epoch, was
accustomed to seek his musical inspirations. The celebrated composer of
_Orpheus_ and _Iphegenia in Aulis_ was wont, when desirous of a visit
from the 'divine afflatus,' to seat himself in the midst of a flowery
meadow with a couple of bottles of Champagne by his side. By the time
these were emptied, the air he was in search of was discovered and
written down.

The lively and good-humoured Abbé de l'Attaignant, whose occupations
as a canon of Reims Cathedral seem to have allowed him an infinite
quantity of spare time to devote to versifying, addressed some rather
indifferent rhymes to Madame de Blagny on the cork of a bottle of
Champagne exploding in her hand;[186] and in some lines to Madame de
Boulogne, on her pouring out Champagne for him at table, he maintains
that the nectar poured out by Ganymede to Jupiter at his repasts must
yield to this vintage.[187]

That boon convivialist Panard--who flourished at the same epoch, and
was one of the chief songsters of the original Caveau, and a man of
whom it was said that, 'when set running, the tide of song flowed on
till the cask was empty'--has not neglected sparkling Champagne in
his Bacchanalian compositions. The 'La Fontaine of Vaudeville,' as
Marmontel dubbed him, does not hesitate to admit that he preferred
the popping of Champagne corks to the martial strains of drum and
trumpet.[188] The wine, moreover, furnishes him with frequent
illustrations for his code of careless philosophy.

    'Doctor for vintner vials fills
        Most carefully, with lymph of wells.
    Champagne, that grew on Nanterre's hills,
        Vintner in turn to doctor sells.
    So still we find, as on we jog
    Throughout the world, 'tis dog bite dog.'[189]

Elsewhere Panard gives expression to the Bacchanalian sentiment, which
he seems to have made his rule of life, in the following terms:

    'Let's quit this vain world, with its pleasures that cloy,
    A destiny tranquil and sweet to enjoy:
        Descend to my cellar, and there taste the charms
    Of Champagne and Beaune;
        Our pleasure will there be without the alarms
        Of any joy queller;
    For the _ennui_ that often mounts up to the throne
        Will never descend to the cellar.'[190]

The poet appears to have rivalled one of the characters in his piece,
_Les Festes Sincères_ (represented on the 5th October 1744 on the
occasion of the King's convalescence), who, after describing how wine
was freely proffered to all comers, said that he had contented himself
with thirty glasses, 'half Burgundy and half Champagne.'

In a piece of verse entitled 'La Charme du Vaudeville à Table,' Panard
sketches in glowing colours the inspiriting effect of sparkling
Champagne upon such a joyous company of periwigged beaux and patched
and powdered beauties as we may imagine to be assembled at the
hospitable board of some rich financier of the epoch.

          ''Tis then some joyous guest
          A flask, filled with the best
    Of Reims or Ay, securely sealed, holds up;
          He deftly cuts the string,
          Aloft the cork takes wing;
          The rest with eager eyes
          Thrust glasses t'wards the prize,
    And watch the nectar foaming o'er the cup.

          They sip, they drink, they laugh,
          And then anew they quaff
    Their bumpers, crowned above the brim with foam
          That gives to laughter birth,
          And makes fresh bursts of mirth.
          Its spirit and its fire
          Unto the brain aspire,
    And rouse the wit of which this is the home.'[191]


To its praise he also devotes a poetic _tour de force_, the concluding
verses of which may thus be rendered:

    'Thanks to the bowl
    That cheers my soul,
        No care can make me shrink.
    The foam divine
    Of this gray wine,[192]
        I think,

    When it I drain,
    Gives to each vein
        A link.
    Source of pure joy,
    Without alloy,
        Come, dear one, fain I'd drink!

    Divine Champagne,
    All grief and pain
        In thee I gladly sink.
    All ills agree
    Away from thee
        To slink.

    Sweet to the nose
    As new-blown rose
        Or pink.
    With gifts that ease
    And charms that please,
        Come, dear one, fain I'd drink!'[193]

Despite the success achieved by the _vin mousseux_, merchants, owing to
the excessive breakage of the bottles--of the cause of which and of the
means of stopping it they were equally ignorant--often saw their hopes
of fortune fly away with the splintered fragments of the shattered
glass.[194] The following passages from the /MS./ notes of the founder
of one of the first houses of Reims, written in 1770, would imply
some knowledge of the fact that a _liquoreux_ wine was likely to lead
to a destructive _casse_, and also that the importance of the trade
in sparkling Champagne was far greater during the first half of the
eighteenth century than is usually supposed.[195] The /MS./ in question
says: 'In 1746 I bottled 6000 bottles of a very _liquoreux_ wine; I
had only 120 bottles of it left. In 1747 there was less _liqueur_; the
breakage amounted to one-third of the whole. In 1748 it was more vinous
and less _liquoreux_; the breakage was only a sixth. In 1759 it was
more _rond_, and the breakage was only a tenth. In 1766 the wine of
Jacquelet was very _rond_; the breakage was only a twentieth.'[196]

The writer then proceeds to recommend, as a means of preventing
breakage, that the wine should not be bottled till the _liqueur_
had almost disappeared, and that, if necessary, fermentation should
be checked by well beating the wine. But as at that epoch there was
really no means of effectually testing this disappearance, and as the
beating theory was an utterly fallacious one, the followers of his
precepts remained with the sad alternative of producing in too many
instances either _mousses folles_ and their inevitable accompaniment of
disastrous breakage, or wine so mature as to be incapable of continuing
its fermentation in bottle, and producing _mousse_ at all.[197]

It is therefore evident that much of the sparkling wine drunk at the
commencement of the last century was what we should call _crémant_, or,
as it was then styled, _sablant_,[198] as otherwise the breakage would
have been something frightful. Bertin du Rocheret plainly indicates
after 1730 a difference between the fiercely frothing kinds, to which
the term _saute bouchon_ or pop-cork was applied, and wine that was
merely _mousseux_.[199] The price of the former is the highest, ranging
up to 3 livres 6 sols, whilst that of the _bon mousseux_ does not
exceed 50 sols, the difference in the two being no doubt based to a
certain extent on the loss by breakage.[200]

Hence, too, a partiality for weak sour growths for making _vin
mousseux_, as, although science could give no reason, experience
showed that with these the breakage would be less than with those of a
saccharine nature.[201] Thus Bertin writes in 1744 that the vineyards
of Avize, planted for the most part in 1715, and almost entirely with
white grapes, only produced a thin wine, with a tartness that caused
it to be one of the least esteemed in the district; but that 'since
the mania for the _saute bouchon_, that abominable beverage, which has
become yet more loathsome from an insupportable acidity,' the Avize
wines had increased in value eightfold.[202] To this acidity the Abbé
Bignon refers in a poem of 1741, in which, protesting against the
partiality for violently effervescing wines, he says:

    'Your palate is a cripple
    Worn out by fiery tipple,
    Or else it would prefer juice
    Of grapes to fizzing verjuice.'[203]

This serves to explain the preference so long accorded by _gourmets_ to
the finer _non mousseux_ wines, full of aroma and flavour, and often
sugary and _liquoreux_, but looked upon by the general public up to the
close of the eighteenth century as inferior to those which were sharp,
strong, and even sourish, but which effervesced well.[204] Lingering
relics of prejudice against sparkling wine existed as late as 1782,
when that conscientious observer, Legrand d'Aussy, remarked that since
it had been known that sparkling wines were green wines bottled in
spring, when the universal revolution of Nature causes them to enter
into fermentation, they had not been so much esteemed, the _gourmets_
of that day preferring those which did not sparkle.[205]

It was not till the close of the eighteenth century that any attempt
was openly made to improve sparkling Champagne by the addition of
sugar.[206] Science then came forward to prove that such an addition
was not contrary to the nature of wine, and that fermentation converted
the saccharine particles of the must into alcohol, and increased the
vinosity.[207] Several growers began to profit by this discovery of
Chaptal, though, as a rule, those who followed his recommendations in
secret were loudest in asserting that Providence alone had rendered
their wine better than that of their neighbours.[208] M. Nicolas
Perrier of Epernay, an ex-monk of Prémontré, pointed out, at the
beginning of the present century, that up to that period sugar was
only regarded as a means of rendering the wine more pleasant to drink,
and had always been added after fermentation, and as late as possible.
This practice was favoured by the tyrannical routine reigning among
the peasants of not tasting the wine till December or January, when in
1800 a decisive experience confirmed the value of the new discoveries.
Numerous demands for wine during the vintage led to anticipations of
a brisk and speedy sale, and sugar was thereupon added at the time of
the first fermentation, merely with the view, however, of bringing the
wine more forward for the buyer to taste. The result went beyond the
expectations entertained; and at Ay wines of the second class, commonly
called _vins de vignerons_, rose to a price previously unheard of.[209]

The present system of clearing the wine in bottles was not practised
formerly. People were then not so particular about its perfect
limpidity; besides which the wine consumed at the beginning of the
year[210] had not time to deposit, and that bottled as _mousseux_,
owing to its being originally made from carefully-selected grapes,
formed very little sediment in the flask.[211] The method of _collage_
employed at the Abbey of Hautvillers is said to have preserved the
wines from this evil. Whether this method transpired, or other people
discovered it, is unknown; but certainly Bertin du Rocheret transmitted
it, or something very similar, in July 1752 to his correspondent in
London, who bottled Champagne wines regularly every year.[212]

The necessity of ridding the wine of the deposit which deprived it of
its limpidity was, however, recognised later on. At first no other
method suggested itself, excepting to _dépoter_ it--that is, to decant
it into another bottle; a plan fraught, in the case of sparkling wines,
with several disadvantages. At the commencement of the present century,
however, the system of _dégorgeage_ was substituted.[213] As at first
practised, each bottle was held neck downwards, and either shaken
or tapped at the bottom to detach the sediment, the operation being
constantly repeated until the deposit had settled in the neck, when it
was driven out by the force of the explosion which followed upon the
removal of the cork. Somewhat later the plan now followed of placing
the bottles in sloping racks and turning them every day was adopted, to
the great saving of time and labour. Its discovery has been popularly
attributed to Madame Clicquot; but the fact is the suggestion emanated
from a person in her employ named Müller. The idea is said to have
simultaneously occurred to a workman in Marizet's house of the name of

Although the advent of such a delectable beverage as sparkling
Champagne proved of much benefit to the world in general, and the
wine-merchants of Reims and Epernay in particular, those most
immediately concerned in its production had little or no reason to
rejoice over its renown. The hapless peasants, from whose patches of
vineyard it was to a great extent derived, were the last to profit by
its popularity. Bidet, writing in 1759, foreshadows the misery which
marked the last thirty years of the _ancien régime_.[214] Speaking
of the important trade in wine carried on by the city of Reims, he
urges that this would in reality be benefited by the old decrees,
prohibiting the planting of new vineyards in the Champagne, being
enforced to the letter. Extensive plantations of vines in land suitable
for the growth of corn had doubled and even tripled the value of arable
land, and caused a rise in the price of wheat. Manure, so necessary
to bring these new plantations into bearing, and wood, owing to the
demand for vine-stakes, barrel-staves, &c., had risen to thrice their
former value. Recent epidemics had cost the lives of a large number
of vine-dressers, and public _corvées_ occupied the survivors a great
part of the year, and hence a considerable increase in the cost of
cultivation, landowners having to pay high wages to labourers from
a distance. 'Putting together all these excessive charges, with the
crushing dues levied in addition upon vine-land as well as upon the
sale and transport of wine, the result will infallibly be that the more
profitable the wine-trade formerly was to Reims and to the vineyards
of the environs, the more it will languish in the end, till it becomes
a burden to all the vineyard owners.' Happily these gloomy forebodings
have since been completely falsified.


Reims accorded an enthusiastic welcome to the youthful and ill-fated
Marie Antoinette, on her passage through the city on May 12, 1770,
shortly after her arrival in France;[215] and five years subsequently
the Rémois were regaled with the splendours of a coronation, when
the young King, Louis XVI., and his radiant Queen passed beneath
the elaborately wrought escutcheon surmounting the Porte de
Paris, expressly forged by a blacksmith of Reims in honour of the
occasion,[216] and received from the hands of the Lieutenant des
Habitans the three silver keys of the city.[217] The King was crowned
on the 11th June by the Cardinal Archbishop of Reims, Charles Antoine
de la Roche Aymon, a prelate who had previously baptised, confirmed,
and married him, when the six lay peers were represented by Monsieur
(the Count of Provence), the Count d'Artois, the Dukes of Orleans,
Chartres, and Bourbon, and the Prince de Condé. The royal train was
borne by the Prince de Lambesq; the Marshal de Clermont Tonnerre
officiated as Constable; and the sceptre, crown, and hand of justice
were carried respectively by the Marshals de Contades, de Broglie,
and de Nicolai.[218] How the ill-fated King exclaimed, as the crown
of Charlemagne was placed upon his brow, 'It hurts me,' even as
Henri III. had cried, under the same circumstances, 'It pricks me,'
and how his natural benevolence led him to slur over that portion
of the coronation oath in which he ought to have bound himself to
exterminate all heretics, are matters of history. An innovation to
be noted is, that at the banquet at the archiepiscopal palace, after
the ceremony, the youthful sovereign did _not_ sit alone in solitary
state beneath a canopy of purple velvet, ornamented with golden fleurs
de lis, with his table encumbered by the great gold _nef_, the crown
and the sceptres, the Constable, sword in hand, close by him, and the
Grand Echanson and Ecuyer Tranchant tasting his wine and cutting his
food,[219] circumstances under which 'the roast must be without savour
and the Ai without bouquet.'[220] The King on this occasion admitted
his brothers to his board; and the ecclesiastical peers, the lay peers,
the ambassadors, and the great officers of the crown formed, as usual,
four groups at the remaining tables, whilst the Queen and her ladies
witnessed the gustatory exploits from a gallery.


(From a painting by Moreau).]

The frightful oppression of _tailles_, _aides_, _corvées_,
_gabelles_, and other dues that crushed the hapless peasant in the
pre-Revolutionary era, weighed with especial severity upon the
_vigneron_. In virtue of the _droit de gros_, the officers could at any
hour make an inventory of his wine, decree how much he might consume
himself, and tax him for the remainder.[221] The _fermiers généraux_,
who farmed the taxes of the province, became his sleeping partners,
and had their share in his crop.[222] In a vineyard at Epernay, upon
four pieces of wine, the average produce of an arpent, and valued at
600 francs, the _ferme_ levied first 30 francs, and then when the
pieces were sold 75 francs more.[223] The ecclesiastical tithe was also
a heavy burden, at Hautvillers the eleventh of the wine being taken
as _dismes_, at Dizy the twelfth, and at Pierry the twentieth.[224]
The result was one continuous struggle of trickery on the part of the
grower, and cunning on that of the officers.[225] The visits of the
latter were paid almost daily, and their registers recorded every drop
of wine in the cellars of the inhabitants.[226]


But the wine had by no means acquitted all its dues. The merchant
buying it had to pay another 75 francs to the _ferme_ before
despatching it to the consumer. When he did despatch it, the _ferme_
strictly prescribed the route it was to take, any deviation from this
being punished by confiscation; and it had to pay at almost every step.
Transport by water was excessively onerous from constantly recurring
tolls, and by land whole days were lost in undergoing examinations and
verifications and making payments.[227] The commissionnaire charged
with the conveyance of Bertin du Rocheret's wine to Calais from Epernay
had from 70 to 75 francs per poinçon. Despite all these drawbacks, the
export trade must have been considerable, for we are told that prior to
the Revolution the profits on supplying two or three abbeys of Flanders
were sufficient to enable a wine-merchant of Reims to live in good

On arriving at the town where it was to be drunk, the wine was subject
to a fresh series of charges--_octroi_, _droit de détail_, _le billot_,
_le cinquième en sus l'impôt_, _jaugeage_, _courtage_, _gourmettage_,
&c.--frequently ranging up to 60 or 70 francs.[229] All this really
affected the grower; for if the retail consumer, inhibited by high
prices, could not buy, the former was unable to sell. At this epoch
vine-grower and pauper were synonymous terms.[230] In certain districts
of the Champagne the inhabitants actually threw their wine into the
river to avoid paying the duties, and the Provincial Assembly declared
that 'in the greater part of the province the slightest increase in
duty would cause all the husbandmen to abandon the soil.'[231] It
is scarcely to be wondered at that under such a system of excessive
taxation the _fermiers généraux_, who all made good bargains with the
State, should have amassed immense fortunes, whilst denying themselves
no kind of luxury and enjoyment. They built themselves princely hotels,
rivalled the nobility and even the Court in the splendour of their
entertainments, grasped at money for the sensual gratification it would
purchase, and loved pleasure for its own sake, and women for their
beauty and _complaisance_. The _fermiers généraux_ of the province of
Champagne had their bureaux, known as the Hôtel des Fermes, at Reims,
and, after the town-hall, this was the handsomest civil edifice in the
city. Erected in 1756 from designs by Legendre, it occupies to-day the
principal side of the Place Royale. On the pediment of the façade is a
bas-relief of Mercury, the god of commerce, in company with Penelope
and the youthful Pan, surrounding whom are children engaged with the
vintage and with bales of wool, typical of the staple trades of the
capital of the Champagne.



(From a print published at the commencement of the Revolution).]

The revolutionary epoch presents a wide gap in the written history
of sparkling Champagne which no one seems to have taken the trouble
of filling, though this hiatus can be to some extent bridged over by
a glance at the caricatures of the period. It is evident from these
that Champagne continued to be the fashionable wine _par excellence_.
We can comprehend it was _de rigueur_ to 'fouetter le Champagne'[232]
at the epicurean repasts held at the _petits maisons_ of the rich
_fermiers généraux_, and that the _talons rouges_ of the Court of
Louis Seize were not averse to the payment of 3 livres 10 sols for
a bottle of this delightful beverage[233] when regaling some fair
_émule_ of Sophie Arnould or Mademoiselle Guimard in the _coulisses_.
One evening Mademoiselle Laguerre appeared on the stage as Iphigenia
unmistakably intoxicated. 'Ah,' interjected the lively Sophie, 'this
is not Iphigenia in Tauris, but Iphigenia in Champagne.' A proof of
the aristocratic status of the wine is furnished by a print entitled
_L'Accord Fraternel_, published at the very outset of the revolutionary
movement, when it was fondly hoped that the Three Orders of the States
General would unite in bringing about a harmonious solution to the
evils by which France was sorely beset. In this the burly well-fed
representative of the clergy holds out a bumper of Burgundy; the
peasant--not one of the lean scraggy labourers, with neither shirt
nor sabots,[234] prowling about half naked and hunger-stricken in
quest of roots and nettle-tops, but a regular stage peasant in white
stockings and pumps--grips a tumbler well filled with _vin du pays_;
while the nobleman, elaborately arrayed in full military costume, with
sword, cockade, and tie-wig all complete, delicately poises between
his finger and thumb a tall _flute_ charged with sparkling Champagne.
Moreover, we can plainly trace the exhilarating influence of the wine
upon the 'feather-headed young ensigns' at the memorable banquet given
to the officers of the Régiment de Flandre by the Gardes du Corps at
Versailles, on the 2d Oct. 1789.[235]


(From a sketch by Camille Desmoulins).]

Conspicuous amongst the titled topers of this period was the Viscount
de Mirabeau--the younger brother of the celebrated orator and a fervent
Royalist--nicknamed Mirabeau Tonneau, or Barrel Mirabeau, 'on account
of his rotundity, and the quantity of strong liquor he contains.'[236]
In a caricature dated 'An 1^{er} de la liberté,' and ascribed to
Camille Desmoulins,[237] with whom the viscount long waged a paper
war, his physical and bibacious attributes are very happily hit off.
His body is a barrel; his arms, pitchers; his thighs, rundlets; and
his legs inverted Champagne flasks; whilst in his left hand he holds a
foam-crowned _flute_, and in his right another of those flasks, two of
which he was credited with emptying at each repast.[238]


(From a caricature of the epoch).]

We have seen that the origin of many of the most famous _crûs_ of
France was due to monkish labours, and that at Reims, as elsewhere,
a large proportion of the ecclesiastical revenue was derived, either
directly or indirectly, from the vineyards of the district. This
was happily hit off in _Le Nouveau Pressoir du Clergé_, or _New
Wine-Press for the Clergy_, published in 1789. A man of the people
and a representative of the Third Estate, the latter in the famous
slouched hat and short cloak, are working the levers of a press, under
the influence of which a full-faced abbé is rapidly disgorging a shower
of gold. A yet more portly ecclesiastic, worthy to be the Archbishop
of Reims himself, is being led forward, in fear and trembling, to
undergo a like operation; whilst in the background a couple of his
compeers, reduced to the leanness of church-rats, are making off with
gesticulations of despair.


'Ventre St. Gris! Is this my grandson Louis?'

(Facsimile of a woodcut of the time.)]

The chief personal traits of Louis Seize, as depicted in numerous
contemporary memoirs, seem to have been a passion for making locks and
a gross and inordinate appetite. High feeding usually implies deep
drinking, and one may suppose that a wine so highly esteemed at Court
as Champagne was not neglected by the royal gourmand. Still there seems
to have been nothing in the unfortunate monarch's career to justify
the cruel caricature wherein he is shown with the ears and hoofs of a
swine wallowing in a wine-vat, with bottles, flasks, pitchers, cups,
goblets, glasses, and _flûtes_ of every variety scattered around him;
whilst Henri Quatre, who has just crossed the Styx on a visit to earth,
exclaims in amazement, 'Ventre St. Gris! is this my grandson Louis?' In
another caricature, entitled 'Le Gourmand,' and said to represent an
incident in the flight of the royal family from Paris, Louis XVI. is
shown seated at table--surrounded by stringed flasks of Champagne, with
the customary tall glasses--engaged in devouring a plump capon. His
Majesty is evidently annoyed at being interrupted in the middle of his
repast, but it is difficult to divine who the intruder is intended for.
He can scarcely be one of the commissioners despatched by the National
Assembly to secure the king's return to Paris, as the German hussars
drawn up in the doorway are inconsistent with this supposition. The
female figure before the looking-glass is of course intended for Marie
Antoinette, whilst the ungainly young cub in the background is meant
for the Dauphin in an evident tantrum with his nurse.[239]

As to the pamphleteers, who advocated the Rights of Man and aspersed
Marie Antoinette; the poets, who addressed their countless airy trifles
to Phyllis and Chloe; the penniless disciples of Boucher and Greuze;
and the incipient demagogues, briefless advocates, unbeneficed abbés,
discontented bourgeois, whose eloquence was to shatter the throne of
the Bourbons, they were fain for the time being to content themselves
with the _petit bleu_ of Argenteuil or Suresnes, consumed in company
with Manon or Margot, in one of the dingy smoky _cabarets_ which the
_café_ was so soon in a great measure to replace. When, however, their
day did come, we may be sure they denied themselves no luxury, and
sparkling Champagne would certainly have graced Danton's luxurious
repasts, and may possibly have played its part at the last repast of
the condemned Girondins. In '93, we find Champagne of 1779--the still
wine, of course--announced for sale at Lemoine's shop in the Palais
Royal; while a delectable compound, styled _crême de fleur d'orange
grillée au vin de Champagne_, was obtainable at Théron's in the Rue St.
Martin.[240] The sparkling wine can scarcely have failed to figure on
the _carte_ of the sumptuous repasts furnished by the _restaurateurs_,
Méot and Beauvillers, to the _de facto_ rulers of France,[241]
although in 1795 the price of wine generally in Paris had increased
tenfold.[242] Ex-_procureurs_ of the defunct Parliament carefully
hoarded all that remained of the Champagne formerly lavished upon them
by their ex-clients;[243] whilst the latter had to content themselves
with tea at London and beer at Coblenz.[244]


Although details respecting the progress of the Champagne wine-trade
at home and abroad at the outset of the present century are somewhat
scanty, we readily gather that the great popularity of the sparkling
wine throughout Europe dates from an event which, at the time of
its occurrence, the short-sighted Champenois looked upon as most
disastrous. This was the Allied invasion of 1814-15. Consumption,
so far as the foreign market was concerned, had been grievously
interrupted by the great upset in all commercial matters consequent
upon the wars of the Revolution and the Empire. It appears that the
white wines of Champagne were sent to Paris, Normandy, Italy, and,
'when circumstances permitted of it,' to England, Holland, Sweden,
Denmark, Russia, Spain, Portugal, and 'beyond the seas.' But the trade
had suffered greatly during the wars with Austria and Russia in 1806
and 1807; and in the following years the consumption of white wine had
fallen considerably, and a large number of wine-merchants had found
themselves unable to meet their engagements.[245]

The wine which Napoleon I. preferred is said to have been Chambertin;
still, his intimacy with the Moëts of Epernay could scarcely fail to
have led to a supply of the best sparkling Champagne from the cellars
he had deigned to visit in person. His satraps, who travelled with the
retinue of sovereign princes, included the wine in their equipment
wherever they went, and the popping of its mimic artillery echoed in
their tents the thunder of their victorious cannon. But comparatively
few foreign guests met at their tables; and as their foes had on their
side few victories to celebrate in a similar style, the knowledge of
sparkling Champagne outside France was confined to the comparatively
small number of persons of wealth and position able to pay an
extravagant price for it.

At length the fatal year, 1814, arrived, and the Allies swarmed across
the frontier after the 'nations' fight' at Leipzig. The Champagne
lying directly on the way to Paris saw some hard fighting and pitiless
plundering. The Prussians of Baron von Tromberg got most consumedly
drunk at Epernay. The Cossacks ravaged Rilly, Taissy, and the other
villages of the Mountain; and not being able to carry off all the wine
they found at Sillery, 'added to their atrocities,' in the words of an
anonymous local chronicler,[246] by staving in the barrels and flooding
the cellars. The Russians, under the renegade St. Priest, seized on
Reims, whetted their thirst with salt herrings till the retail price
of these dainties rose from 5 liards a pair to 3 sous apiece, and then
set to work to quench it with Champagne to such an extent that when
Napoleon suddenly swooped down upon the city like his own emblematic
eagle, a large number of them, especially among the officers, were
neither in a condition to fight nor fly.[247]

The immense body of foreign troops who remained quartered in the
east of France after the downfall of the Empire continued to pay
unabated devotion to the _dive bouteille_. Tradition has especially
distinguished the Russians, and relates how the Cossacks used to pour
Champagne into buckets, and share it with their horses. But the walking
sand-beds of North Germany, the swag-bellied warriors of Baden and
Bavaria, and the stanch topers of Saxony and Swabia must of a surety
have distinguished themselves. The votaries of Gambrinus, the beer
king, strove whether they could empty as many bottles of Champagne at
a sitting as they could flagons filled with the amber-hued beverage of
their native province; while the inhabitants of those districts where
the grape ripens sought to institute exhaustive comparisons between the
vintages they gathered at home and the growths of the favoured region
in which they now found themselves.

[Illustration: LES RUSSES À PARIS

(From a coloured print of the time).]

The Berliner was fain to acknowledge the superiority of the foam
engendered by Champagne over that crowning his favourite _weissbier_,
his own beloved _kuhle blonde_, and the beer-topers of Munich and
Dresden to give the preference to the exhilaration produced by quaffing
the wine of Reims and Epernay over that due to the consumption of
_bockbier_. The Nassauer and the Rhinelander had to admit certain
intrinsic merits in the vintages produced on the slopes of the Marne,
and found to be lacking in those grown on the banks of the Rhine, the
Ahr, the Main, and the Moselle. The Austrian recognised the superiority
of the wines of the Mountain over those of Voslau or the Luttenberg;
and the Magyar had to allow that the _crûs_ of the River possessed a
special charm which Nature had denied to his imperial Tokay. Even the
red-coated officers who followed 'Milord Vilainton' to the great review
at Mont Aimé, near Epernay, proved faithless to that palladium of the
British mess-table, their beloved 'black strop.' Claret might in their
eyes be only fit for boys and Frenchmen, and Port the sole drink for
men; but they were forced to hail Champagne as being, as old Baudius
had already phrased it, 'a wine for gods.'

[Illustration: LE DÎNER DE MILORD GOGO, 1816

(After a coloured print of the time).]

The officers of the Allied armies quartered in Paris after the
Hundred Days supplemented the charms of the Palais Royal--then in the
very apogee of its vogue as the true centre of Parisian life, with
its cafés, restaurants, theatres, gambling-houses, and Galeries de
Bois--with an abundance of sparkling Champagne. Royalty itself set the
example by indicating a marked preference for the wine, Louis Dixhuit,
according to a statement made by Wellington to Rogers, drinking nothing
else at dinner. To celebrate the victories of Leipsic and Waterloo or
a successful assault on the bank at Frascati's, to console for the
loss of a _grosse mise_ at No. 113 or of a comrade transfixed beneath
a lamp in the Rue Montpensier by a Bonapartist sword-blade, to win the
smiles of some fickle Aspasia of the Palais Royal Camp des Tartares or
to blot out the recollection of her infidelity, to wash down one of the
Homeric repasts in which the English prototypes of the 'Fudge Family
Abroad' indulged, the wine was indispensable; until, as a modern writer
has put it, 'Waterloo was avenged at last by the _gros bataillons_ of
the bankers at _roulette_ and _trente et quarante_, and by the sale
to the invaders of many thousand bottles of rubbishing Champagne at
twelve francs the flask.'[248] The rancorous enmity prevailing between
the officers of Bonapartist proclivities placed on half-pay and the
returned _émigrés_ who had accepted commissions from Louis XVIII.,
resulted, as is well known, in numerous hostile meetings. Captain
Gronow has dwelt upon the bellicose exploits of a gigantic Irish
officer in the _gardes du corps_, named Warren, who, when 'excited by
Champagne and brandy,'[249] was prepared to defy an army; and he tells
us that at Tortoni's there was a room set apart for such quarrelsome
gentlemen, where, after these meetings, they indulged in riotous
Champagne breakfasts.[250] At home, the British Government were being
twitted on their parsimony in limiting the supply of Champagne for
the table of the exiled Emperor at St. Helena to a single bottle per
diem, a circumstance which led Sir Walter Scott to protest against the
conduct of Lord Bathurst and Sir Hudson Lowe in denying the captive
'even the solace of intoxication.'

As is not unfrequently the case, out of evil came good. The assembled
nations had drunk of a charmed fountain, and it had excited a thirst
which could not be quenched. The Russians had become acquainted with
Champagne, which Talleyrand had styled '_le vin civilisateur par
excellence_,' and to love this wine was with them a very decided step
towards a liberal education. Millions of bottles, specially fortified
to the pitch of strength and sweetness suited for a hyperborean
climate, were annually despatched to the great northern empire from the
house of Clicquot; and later on the travellers of rival firms, eager
to secure a portion of this patronage, traversed the dominions of the
autocrat throughout their length and breadth, and poured their wines
in wanton profusion down the throats of one and all of those from whom
there appeared a prospect of securing custom.


From this influx of sparkling wine into the frozen empire of the Czar
the acceptance of civilisation--of rather a superficial character,
it is true--may be said to date. Had Peter the Great only preferred
Champagne to corn-brandy, the country would have been Europeanised long
ago. As it is, the wine has to-day become a recognised necessity in
higher class Russian society, and scandal even asserts that whenever it
is given at a dinner-party, the host is careful to throw the windows
open, in order that the popping of the corks may announce the fact
to his neighbours. Abroad the Russians are more reserved in their
manners; and though ranking amongst the best customers of the Parisian
_restaurateurs_ for high-class wines, it is only now and then that some
excited Calmuck is to be seen flooding the glasses of his companions
with Champagne in a public dining-room. The Russians, it should be
noted, have sought, and not unsuccessfully, to produce sparkling wines
of their own, more especially in the country of the Don Cossacks and
near the Axis.


Béranger might exclaim, with a poet's license, that he preferred a
Turkish invasion to seeing the wines of the Champagne profaned by
the descendants of the Alemanni;[251] but the merchants of Reims and
Epernay were of a different opinion. _Les militaires_ have always
affected Champagne; and a military aristocracy like that of the
Fatherland, in the cruel days when peace forbade any more free quarters
and requisitions, became as large purchasers of the wine as their
somewhat scanty revenues allowed of. Their example was followed to a
considerable extent by the self-made members of that plutocratic class
which modern speculation has caused to spring into life in Germany.
Advantage was speedily taken of this taste by their own countrymen,
who aimed at supplanting Champagne by sparkling wines grown on native
slopes. Nay more, the Germans, as a military nation, felt bound to
carry the war into the enemy's territory, and hence it is that many
important houses at Reims and Epernay are of German origin. Across the
Rhine patriotism has had to yield to popularity, and the stanchest
native topers have been forced to acknowledge, after due comparison in
smoky _wein stuben_ and gloomy _keller_, that, though the sparkling
wines of the Rhine and the Moselle are in their own way most excellent,
there is but one _Champagner-wein_, with Reims for its Mecca and
Epernay for its Medina.


Of England we shall elsewhere speak at length; but the speculative
trade of her colonies, with its sharp bargains, dead smashes, and large
profits could hardly be carried on without the wheels of the car of
Commerce and the tongues of her votaries being oiled with Champagne.
The Swiss have only proved the truth of the proverb that imitation
is the sincerest form of flattery by producing tolerable replicas of
Champagne at Neufchâtel, Vevay, and Sion. Northern, or, to speak by the
map, Scandinavian, Europe takes its fair share of the genuine article;
and although the economic Belgian is apt to accept sparkling Saumur and
Vouvray as a substitute, both he and his neighbour, the Dutchman, can
to the full appreciate the superiority of the produce of the Marne over
that of the Loire.

The Italian and the Spaniard may affect to outwardly despise a liquor
which they profess not to be able to recognise as wine at all; but the
former has to allow, _per Bacco_, that it excels in its particular
way his extolled Lacryma Christi, while the latter does not carry his
proverbial sobriety so far as to exclude the wine from repasts in
the upper circles of Peninsular society. Moreover, of recent years
they have both commenced making sparkling wines of their own. The
Austrian also produces sparkling wines from native vintages, notably
at Voslau, Graz, and Marburg; still this has not in any way lessened
his admiration for, or his consumption of, Champagne. The Greek is
ready enough to 'dash down yon cup of Samian wine,' provided there be a
goblet of Champagne close at hand to replace it with; and boyards and
magnates of the debateable ground of Eastern Europe not only imbibe
the sparkling wines of the Marne ostentatiously and approvingly, but
several of them have essayed the manufacture of _vin mousseux_ on their
own estates.

The East, the early home of the vine, and the first region to impart
civilisation, is perhaps the last to receive its reflux in the shape of
sparkling wine. But, the prohibition of the Prophet notwithstanding,
Champagne is to be purchased on the banks of the Golden Horn, and has
been imported extensively into Egypt in company with _opéra-bouffe_,
French _figurantes_, stock-jobbing, and sundry other matters of
foreign extraction under the _régime_ of the late Khedive. The land
of Iran has beheld with wonderment its sovereign freely quaffing the
fizzing beverage of the Franks in place of the wine of Shiraz. The
East Indies consume Champagne in abundance; for it figures not only
on the proverbially hospitable tables of the merchants and officials
of Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras, but at the symposia of most of the
rajahs, princes, nawabs, and other native rulers. The almond-eyed
inhabitant of 'far Cathay,' reluctant to abandon that strange
civilisation so diametrically opposed in all its details to our own,
continues to drink his native vintages, warm and out of porcelain
cups, and to regard the sparkling drink of the Fanquis as a veritable
'devils' elixir.' But his utterly differing neighbour, the Japanese, so
eager to welcome everything European, has gladly greeted the advent of
Champagne, and freely yielded to its fascination.

Turning to the undiscovered continent, we find sable sovereigns ruling
at the mouths of the unexplored rivers of Equatorial Africa fully
acquainted with Champagne, though disposed, from the native coarseness
of their taste, to rank it as inferior to rum; whilst the Arab, filled
with wonderment at the marvels of European civilisation which meet his
eye at Algiers, bears back with him to the _douar_, wrapped up in the
folds of his burnous, a couple of bottles of the wondrous effervescing
drink of the Feringhees as a testimony, even as Othere brought the
walrus-tooth to Alfred. One enthusiastic Algerian colonist has gone
so far as to prophesy the advent of the day when the products of the
native vineyards shall eclipse Champagne.[252] Let us hope, however,
in the interest of Algerian digestions, that this day is as yet far


With respect to the consumption of Champagne in the Western world,
the United States' exceeds that of any European country, England and
France alone excepted, despite the competition of sparkling Catawba and
of a certain diabolical imitation, the raw material of which, it is
asserted, is furnished not by the grapes of the Carolinas, the peaches
of New Jersey, or the apples of Vermont, but by the oil-wells of
Pennsylvania--in fact, petroleum Champagne. The _cabinet particulier_
seems to be an institution as firmly established in the leading
cities of the States as in Paris; and rumour says that drinking from
a Champagne-glass touched by a fair one's lips has replaced the New
England pastime of eating the same piece of maple-candy till mouths
meet. As regards the South American Republics, the popping of musketry
at each fresh _pronunciamento_ is certain to be succeeded by that of
Champagne-corks in honour of the success of one or the other of the
contending parties.

In Europe Champagne has continued to be, from the days of Paulmier and
Venner downwards, the drink of kings, princes, and great lords as they
described it. Take a list of the potentates of the present century,
and the majority of them will be found to have evinced at some time or
other a partiality for the wine. Louis XVIII. drank nothing else at
table. The late ruler of Prussia, Frederick William IV., had such a
penchant for Champagne of a particular manufacture, that he obtained
the cognomen of King Clicquot. The predecessor of Pio Nono, Gregory
XVI., rivalled him in this appreciation, and, terrible to relate, so
did the Commander of the Faithful, Abdul Medjid. The latter might,
however, have pleaded the excuse put forward by Abd-el-Kader, that
although the Prophet had forbidden wine, yet Champagne came into the
category of aerated waters, concerning which he had said nothing, a
remark justifying the title given to this wit-inspiring beverage of
being 'the father of _bons mots_.' Prince Bismarck, in the stormy
period of his youth, was in the barbarous habit of imbibing Champagne
mixed with porter; but at present he judiciously alternates it with old
Port. Marshal MacMahon and the King of the Belgians are said to drink
the pink variety of the _vin mousseux_ by preference.

[Illustration: 'SOUS LA TONNELLE'

(From a print of the time of the Restoration).]




[Illustration: 'AU BEAU SEXE!']

Naturally, in France as elsewhere, the sparkling vintage of the Marne
maintains its claims to be reckoned the wine of beauty and fashion,
and more especially in beauty's gayer hours. A glass of Champagne
and a _biscuit de Reims_ has been a refection which, though often
verbally declined, was in the end pretty sure to be accepted from the
days of the _merveilleuses_ and _incroyables_, through those of the
_lionnes_, down to the present epoch of the _cocodettes de la haute
gomme_. Neither at ceremonial banquets nor at ordinary dinner-parties
among our neighbours does Champagne hold, however, so prominent a
place as amongst ourselves, owing to the great variety of other
wines--all capable of appreciation by trained palates--entering into
the composition of these festive repasts. In fact, a _repas de noces_
is the only occasion on which Champagne flows in France with anything
like the freedom to which we are accustomed; and then it is that its
exhilarating effect is marked, as some portly old boy rises with
twinkling eye to propose the health of the bride, or of that _beau
sexe_ to which he feels bound to profess himself deeply devoted. At
such open-air gatherings as the races at Longchamps and Chantilly, the
_buffet_ will be besieged by a succession of frail fair ones in the
most elaborate _toilettes de courses_, seeking to nerve themselves to
witness a coming struggle, or to console themselves for the defeat
of the horse backed by their favoured admirer. And, when writing of
this wine, it is altogether impossible to omit a reference to those
_tête-à-tête_ repasts _en cabinet particulier_, of which it is the
indispensable adjunct. Its mollifying influence on the feminine heart
on occasions such as these has been happily hit off by Charles Monselet
in his _Polichinelle au Restaurant_:


    '/Polichinelle au Restaurant./


    In a cabinet of Vachette,
    Listens to the pressing lover;
    Who, before they've done their soup,
    Dares his passion to discover.


    Elbows resting on the cloth,
        Partly wrath--
    So much do his words astound--
    Resolute she to resist
        Being kissed,
    Draws her mantle closer round.


    Whilst in vain his cause he pressed,
        A third guest,
    Who in ice-pail by them slumbered,
    Rears above his wat'ry bed
        Silver head
    And long neck with ice encumbered.


    'Tis Champagne, who murmurs low,
        "Don't you know
    That when once you set me flowing,
    This fair rebel to Love's dart
        In her heart
    Soon will find soft passion glowing?


    This, if you will list to me,
        You shall see;
    Cease to swear by flames and fire,
    Cast aside each angry thought,
        As you ought,
    And at once cut through my wire,


    For I am the King Champagne,
        And I reign
    Over e'en the sternest lasses,
    When midst maddening song and shout
        I gush out,
    Flooding goblets, bumpers, glasses.


    As thus spoke the generous wine,
        Its benign
    Influence her heart 'gan soften.
    Who seeks such a cause to gain,
        To Champagne
    His success finds owing often.'[253]



                        /Champagne in England./

    The strong and foaming wine of the Champagne forbidden his troops
    by Henry V.--The English carrying off wine when evacuating
    Reims on the approach of Jeanne Darc--A legend of the siege
    of Epernay--Henry VIII. and his vineyard at Ay--Louis XIV.'s
    present of Champagne to Charles II.--The courtiers of the
    Merry Monarch retain the taste for French wine acquired in
    exile--St. Evremond makes the Champagne flute the glass of
    fashion--Still Champagne quaffed by the beaux of the Mall and
    the rakes of the Mulberry Gardens--It inspires the poets and
    dramatists of the Restoration--Is drank by James II. and William
    III.--The advent of sparkling Champagne in England--Farquhar's
    _Love and a Bottle_--Mockmode the Country Squire and the witty
    liquor--Champagne the source of wit--Port-wine and war combine
    against it, but it helps Marlborough's downfall--Coffin's poetical
    invitation to the English on the return of peace--A fraternity of
    chemical operators who draw Champagne from an apple--The influence
    of Champagne in the Augustan age of English literature--Extolled
    by Gay and Prior--Shenstone's verses at an inn--Renders Vanbrugh's
    comedies lighter than his edifices--Swift preaches temperance
    in Champagne to Bolingbroke--Champagne the most fashionable
    wine of the eighteenth century--Bertin du Rocheret sends it
    in cask and bottle to the King's wine-merchant--Champagne at
    Vauxhall in Horace Walpole's day--Old Q. gets Champagne from
    M. de Puissieux--Lady Mary's Champagne and chicken--Champagne
    plays its part at masquerades and bacchanalian suppers--Becomes
    the beverage of the ultra-fashionables above and below
    stairs--Figures in the comedies of Foote, Garrick, Coleman, and
    Holcroft--Champagne and real pain--Sir Edward Barry's learned
    remarks on Champagne--Pitt and Dundas drunk on Jenkinson's
    Champagne--Fox and the Champagne from Brooks's--Champagne smuggled
    from Jersey--Grown in England--Experiences of a traveller in the
    Champagne trade in England at the close of the century--Sillery
    the favourite wine--Nelson and the 'fair Emma' under the influence
    of Champagne--The Prince Regent's partiality for Champagne
    punch--Brummell's Champagne blacking--The Duke of Clarence
    overcome by Champagne--Curran and Canning on the wine--Henderson's
    praise of Sillery--Tom Moore's summer fête inspired by Pink
    Champagne--Scott's Muse dips her wing in Champagne--Byron's
    sparkling metaphors--A joint-stock poem in praise of Pink
    Champagne--The wheels of social life in England oiled by
    Champagne--It flows at public banquets and inaugurations--Plays its
    part in the City, on the Turf, and in the theatrical world--Imparts
    a charm to the dinners of Belgravia and the suppers of
    Bohemia--Champagne the ladies' wine _par excellence_--Its influence
    as a matrimonial agent--'O the wildfire wine of France!'


So great a favourite as Champagne now is with all classes in England,
the earliest notice of it in connection with our history nevertheless
represents it in a somewhat inimical light. For, according to an
Italian writer of the fifteenth century, 'the strong and foaming wine
of Champagne was found so injurious that Henry V. was obliged, after
the battle of Agincourt, to forbid its use in his army, excepting
when tempered with water.'[254] Although this may be the earliest
mention of the wine of the Champagne by name in association with our
own countrymen, opportunities had been previously afforded to them
of becoming acquainted with its assumed objectionable qualities. The
prelates who crossed 'the streak of silver sea' with Thurstan of York
to attend the ecclesiastical councils held at 'little Rome,' as Reims
was styled in the twelfth century, and the knights and nobles who
swelled the train of Henry II. when he did homage to Philip Augustus at
the latter's coronation, may be regarded as exceptionally fortunate,
or unfortunate, in this respect, since the bulk of the English
wine-drinkers of that day had to content themselves with the annual
shipments of Anjou and Poitevin wines from Nantes and La Rochelle.[255]
But the stout men-at-arms and death-dealing archers who followed the
third Edward to the gates of Reims in the days when

    ''Twas merry, 'twas merry in France to go,
    A yeoman stout with a bended bow,
    To venge the King on his mortal foe,
      And to quaff the Gascon wine,'

no doubt found consolation for some of the hardships they endured
during their wet and weary watches in the bitter winter of 1365 in the
familiarity they acquired with the vintages of the Mountain and the


And, their sovereign's prohibition notwithstanding, there is every
reason to believe that the heroes of Agincourt drank pottle-deep of
the forbidden beverage. The grim Earl of Salisbury bore no love to
the burghers of Reims;[256] but there is little likelihood that his
aversion extended to the wine of the province he ruled as governor,
and the garrisons of its various strongholds over which the red cross
of St. George triumphantly floated revelled on the best of 'the white
wyne and the rede.' In the days of hot fighting and keen foraging which
marked the close of Bedford's regency, there is ample evidence to show
that our countrymen had acquired and retained a very decided taste for
these growths. When Charles VII. entered Reims in triumph, with Jeanne
Darc by his side and the chivalry of France around him, the retreating
English garrison bore forth with them on the opposite side of the city
a string of wains piled high with casks of wine, the pillage of the
burghers' cellars.[257]

Tradition tells, too, how the English, besieged in the town of Epernay,
had gathered there great store of wine, and how this suggested to
their captain a cunning stratagem. Having caused a number of wagons to
be laden with casks of wine, he despatched them with a feeble escort
through the gate furthest from the beleaguering forces, as though
destined to Chalons as a place of safety. The French commander marked
this, and as soon as the convoy was well clear of the walls, a body
of horse came spurring after it in hot haste. The wagon-train halted;
there was a brief attempt to turn the laden vehicles homewards, and
then, seeing the hopelessness of this, the escort galloped back into
the town, and down swooped the Frenchmen on their prize. The ride had
been sharp; the day was hot, and the road dusty. So a score of the
captured casks were quickly broached; and as the generous fluid flowed
freely down the throats of the captors, it soon began to produce an
effect. Some of them, overcome by the heat and the wine, loosened
their armour, and stretched themselves at length on the ground; whilst
others, grouped around some fast emptying barrel, continued to quaff
from their helmets and other improvised drinking vessels confusion
to the 'island bull-dogs.' When lo, the gate of the town flew open;
an English trumpet rang out its note of defiance; and, with lances
levelled, the flower of the garrison poured forth like a living
avalanche upon the startled Frenchmen. Before they could make ready to
fight or fly, the foe was upon them, and their blood was soon mingling
on the dusty highway with the pools of wine which had gushed forth
from the abandoned casks. Hardly one escaped the slaughter; but local
tradition chuckles grimly as it notes that in revenge thereof every
man of the garrison was put to the edge of the sword on the subsequent
capture of the town by the French.[258]


At the close of the fruitless struggle against the growing power
of Charles the Victorious, we were fain to fall back, as of old,
upon the strong wines of south-western France, the vintages of
Bergerac, Gaillac, and Rabestens, shipped to us from the banks of the
Garonne,[259] and the luscious malmseys of the Archipelago, to which
were subsequently added the growths of southern Spain. The taste of the
wine of the Champagne must have been almost forgotten amongst us when
the growing fame of the vineyards of Ay attracted the notice of Bluff
King Hal. Most likely he and Francis I. swore eternal good fellowship
at the Field of the Cloth of Gold over a beaker of this regal liquor.
Once alive to its merits, the King, whose ambassadors, _pace_ John
Styles, seem to have had standing orders to keep an equally sharp look
out for wines or wives likely to suit the royal fancy, neglected no
opportunity of securing it in perfection. Like his contemporaries,
Charles V., Francis I., and Leo X., he stationed a commissioner at
Ay intrusted with the onerous duty of selecting a certain number of
casks of the best growths, and despatching them, carefully sealed, to
the cellars of Whitehall, Greenwich, and Richmond. The example set
by the monarch was, however, too costly a one to be followed by his
subjects, and the very name of Champagne probably remained unknown to
them for years to come. The poets and dramatists of the Elizabethan
era, who have left us so accurate a picture of the manners of their
day, and make such frequent allusions to the wines in vogue, do not
even mention Champagne; Gervase Markham preserves a like silence in
his _Modern Housewife_,[260] while the passages in Surflet's _Maison
Rustique_ extolling the wine of Ay are merely translations from the
original French edition.[261] And though Venner speaks of these wines
as excelling all others, he is careful to attribute their consumption
to the King and the nobles of France.[262]

The captive Queen of Scots, whose consumption of wine elicited dire
lament from one of her lordly jailers,[263] may have missed at
Fotheringay the vintage she had tasted in early life when enjoying
the hospitality of her uncle, Cardinal Charles of Lorraine, at Reims;
but to the half-hearted pedant, her son, the name of Epernay recalled
no convivial associations--it was merely the title of a part of his
slaughtered mother's appanage. Spanish influence and Spanish wine ruled
supreme at his Court; and though Rhenish crowned the goblets of many of
the high-souled cavaliers who rallied round King Charles and Henrietta
Maria, the bulk of the English nation remained faithful, till the close
of the Commonwealth, to their old favourites of the south of Spain and
the fragrant produce of the Canaries.


All this was altered when 'the King enjoyed his own again;' for
the Restoration made Champagne--that is, the still red wine of the
province--the most fashionable, if not the most popular, wine in
England. At the Court of Louis XIV. the future Merry Monarch and his
faithful followers had acquired a taste for the wines of France, and
they brought back this taste,[264] together with sundry others of a
far more reprehensible character, with them to England. One of the
first and most acceptable gifts of Louis to his brother-sovereign
on the latter's recall was 'two hundred hogsheads of excellent
wine--Champagne, Burgundy, and Hermitage.'[265] Returning home more
French than the French themselves, the late exiles ruminated on the
flesh-pots of Egypt, and sighed; and we can readily picture a gallant
who had seen hot service under Condé or Turenne exclaiming to his
friend and fellow-soldier:

    'Ah, Courtine, must we be always idle? Must we never see our
    glorious days again? When shall we be rolling in the lands of milk
    and honey, encamped in large luxuriant vineyards, where the loaded
    vines cluster about our tents, drink the rich juice just pressed
    from the plump grape?'[266]

And that friend replying:

    'Ah, Beaugard, those days have been; but now we must resolve to
    content ourselves at an humble rate. Methinks it is not unpleasant
    to consider how I have seen thee in a large pavilion drowning
    the heat of the day in Champagne wines--sparkling sweet as those
    charming beauties whose dear remembrance every glass recorded--with
    half a dozen honest fellows more.'[267]

Demand created supply, until, in 1667, a few years after the
Restoration, France furnished two-fifths of the amount of wine consumed
in the kingdom;[268] and the taste of the royal sybarite for the
light-coloured wines of the Marne seems to be hinted at in Malagene's

    'I have discovered a treasure of pale wine.... I assure you 'tis
    the same the King drinks of.'[269]

St. Evremond, who, though not precisely cast by Nature from 'the mould
of form,' fulfilled for many years the duties of arbiter elegantiarum
at Charles's graceless Court, decidedly did his best to render the
Champagne _flûte_ 'the glass of fashion.' Ever ready to speak in praise
of the wines of Ay, Avenay, and Reims,[270] the mentor of the Count de
Grammont strove by example as well as by precept to win converts to
his creed. In verse he declares that the beauties of the country fail
to console him for the absence of Champagne; regrets that the season
of the wines of the Marne is over, and that the yield of those of the
Mountain had failed; and shudders at the prospect of being obliged to
have recourse to the Loire, to Bordeaux, or to Cahors for the wine he
will have to drink.[271]


The lively Frenchman found plenty of native writers to reëcho him.
Champagne sparkles in all the plays of the Restoration, and seems the
fitting inspiration of their matchless briskness of dialogue. The
Millamours and Bellairs, the Carelesses and Rangers, the Sir Joskin
Jolleys and Sir Fopling Flutters, the _beaux_ of the Mall and the
rakes of the Mulberry and New Spring Gardens, the gay frequenters of
the Folly on the Thames and the _habitués_ of Pontack's Ordinary, whom
the contemporary dramatists transferred bodily to the stage of the
King's or the Duke's, are constantly tossing off bumpers of it. Their
lives would seem to have been one continuous round of love-making and
Champagne-drinking, to judge from the following 'catch,' sung by four
merry gentlemen at a period when, according to Redding, ten thousand
tuns of French wine were annually pouring into England:

        'The pleasures of love and the joys of good wine,
        To perfect our happiness, wisely we join;
        We to Beauty all day
        Give the sovereign sway,
        And her favourite nymphs devoutly obey.
    At the plays we are constantly making our court,
    And when they are ended we follow the sport

        To the Mall and the Park,
        Where we love till 'tis dark;
        Then sparkling Champaign[272]
        Puts an end to their reign;
        It quickly recovers
        Poor languishing lovers;
    Makes us frolic and gay, and drowns all our sorrow;
    But, alas, we relapse again on the morrow.'[273]


We learn, indeed, that under the influence of

    'powerful Champaign, as they call it, a spark can no more refrain
    running into love than a drunken country vicar can avoid disputing
    of religion when his patron's ale grows stronger than his

Probably it was owing to this quality of inspiring a tendency to
amativeness that ladies were sometimes expected to join in such

      'She's no mistress of mine
      That drinks not her wine,
    Or frowns at my friends' drinking motions;
      If my heart thou wouldst gain,
      Drink thy flask of Champaign;
    'Twill serve thee for paint and love-potions,'[275]

is the sentiment enunciated in chorus by four half-fuddled topers in
the New Spring Gardens. At the Mulberry Gardens we find that

    'Jack Wildish sent for a dozen more Champaign, and a brace of
    such girls as we should have made honourable love to in any other

With such manners and customs can we wonder at one gentleman
complaining how another

    'came where I was last night roaring drunk; swore--d--him!--he had
    been with my Lord Such-a-one, and had swallowed three quarts of
    Champaign for his share;'[277]

or have any call to feel surprised that such boon companions should

    'come, as the sparks do, to a playhouse too full of Champaign,
    venting very much noise and very little wit'?[278]

Champagne remains ignored in such books as the _Mystery of
Vintners_;[279] but although technical works may be silent, the poets
vie with the dramatists in extolling its exhilarating effects--effects
surely perceptible in the witty, careless, graceful verse with which
the epoch abounds. John Oldham--who, after passing his early years as a
schoolmaster, was lured into becoming, in the words of his biographer,
'at once a votary of Bacchus and Venus' by the patronage of Rochester,
Dorset, and Sedley in 1681, and who realised the fable of the pot of
brass and the pot of earthenware by dying from the effects of the
company he kept two years later--has given a list of the wines in vogue
in his day:

        'Let wealthy merchants, when they dine,
        Run o'er their witty names of wine:
    Their chests of Florence and their Mont Alchine,
    Their Mants, Champaigns, Chablees, Frontiniacks tell;
    Their aums of Hock, of Backrag [Bacharach] and Mosell.'[280]

He gives the wines of our 'sweet enemy' a high position, too, in his
_Dithyrambick, spoken by a Drunkard_, who is made to exclaim,

    'Were France the next, this round Bordeau shall swallow,
    Champaign, Langou [L'Anjou], and Burgundy shall follow.'[281]

Butler makes the hero of his immortal satire prepared to follow the old
Roman fashion with regard to his lady's name, and to

    'Drink ev'ry letter on't in stum,
    And make it brisk Champaign become;'[282]

and speaks of routed forces having

    'Recovered many a desperate campaign
    With Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champaign.'[283]

And Sir Charles Sedley, in an apologue written towards the close of
the century, tells how a doctor of his day was sorely troubled by the
unreasonable lives led by his patients, until

    'One day he called 'em all together,
    And, one by one, he asked 'em whether
    It were not better by good diet
    To keep the blood and humours quiet,
    With toast and ale to cool their brains
    Than nightly fire 'em with Champains.'[284]

In 1679 the peculiar ideas of political economy then prevailing led
to a formal prohibition of the importation of French wines, and the
consequent substitution in their place of those of Portugal. One can
imagine the consternation of the 'beaux' and 'sparks' at this fatal
decree, and the satisfaction of the few vintners whose cellars chanced
to be well stored with the forbidden vintages of France--with

    'The Claret smooth, red as the lips we press
    In sparkling fancy while we drain the bowl;
    The mellow-tasted Burgundy, and, quick
    As is the wit it gives, the gay Champagne.'[285]

But, Port wine and prohibitions notwithstanding, men of fashion of that
epoch were not entirely obliged to abandon their favourite potations,
since five thousand hogsheads of French wine were surreptitiously
landed on the south-west coast of England in a single year.[286]
Fortunately, too, for them, the Government came to the conclusion that
it was for the time being futile to fight against popular tastes, and
in 1685 the obnoxious prohibition was removed, with the result that,
two years later, the imports of French wine were registered as fifteen
thousand tuns--that is, sixty thousand hogsheads.[287]


On the outbreak of hostilities with France in 1689, the import of
French wines received a serious check, and as they vanished from the
revenue returns, so Champagne began to disappear from the social board
and the literature of the day. Strange to say, however, it was not only
the favourite wine of William III., but of his dethroned father-in-law,
James II. The red wines of the province of Champagne had always found
a ready sale in Flanders and the Low Countries,[288] and quickened the
minds of the stout seamen who fought against Blake and Rupert. The
variety produced from the Beaune grape at Vertus was the one patronised
by Macaulay's pet hero, the hook-nosed Dutchman,[289] whilst the exile
of St. Germain seems to have been more catholic in his tastes.[290]

Eagerly must the _gourmets_ of the day, when, 'if we did not love the
French, we coveted their wines,'[291] have hailed the return of a peace
which permitted them not only to indulge in their old favourites, but
to welcome a new attraction in the shape of sparkling Champagne. The
term 'sparkling' as applied to wine did not at the outset necessarily
mean effervescing, as in one of Farquhar's comedies we find Roebuck
comparing himself to 'a bumper of Claret, smiling and sparkling.'[292]
Towards the close of the century, however, we meet with sure proof of
the advent of the delectable beverage with which the worthy cellarer of
Hautvillers was the first to endow droughty humanity. The contemporary
dramatists were ever on the alert to shoot Folly as she flew. The stage
was really the mirror of that time, and those who wrote for it seized
on every passing whim, fashion, or fancy of the day. The introduction
of a new wine was certainly not to be missed by them, and the recently
discovered _vin mousseux_ of Dom Perignon is plainly referred to in
Farquhar's aptly-named comedy, _Love and a Bottle_, produced in 1698,
just after the Peace of Ryswick had allowed the reopening of trade with

The second scene of act ii. represents the lodgings of Mockmode, the
country squire, who aims at being 'a beau,' and who is discovered in
close confabulation with his landlady, the Widow Bullfinch:

    '_Mock._ But what's most modish for beverage now? For I suppose the
    fashion of that always alters with the clothes.

    _W. Bull._ The tailors are the best judges of that; but Champaign,
    I suppose.

    _Mock._ Is Champaign a tailor? Methinks it were a fitter name for a
    wig-maker. I think they call my wig a campaign.

    _W. Bull._ You're clear out, sir--clear out. Champaign is a fine
    liquor, which all great beaux drink to make 'em witty.

    _Mock._ Witty! O, by the universe, I must be witty! I'll drink
    nothing else; I never was witty in my life. Here, Club, bring us a
    bottle of what d'ye call it--the witty liquor.'

The Widow having retired, Club, Mockmode's servant, reënters with a
bottle and glasses.

    '_Mock._ Is that the witty liquor? Come, fill the glasses.... But
    where's the wit now, Club? Have you found it?

    _Club._ Egad, master, I think 'tis a very good jest.

    _Mock._ What?

    _Club._ Why, drinking. You'll find, master, that this same
    gentleman in the straw doublet, this same Will o' the Wisp, is a
    wit at the bottom. Here, here, master, how it puns and quibbles in
    the glass![293]

    _Mock._ By the universe, now I have it; the wit lies in the
    jingling! All wit consists most in jingling. Hear how the glasses
    rhyme to one another.... I fancy this same wine is all sold at
    Will's Coffee-house.'

Here we have a palpable hit at the source of inspiration indulged in
by many of the wits and rhymesters who gathered round 'glorious John
Dryden' within the hallowed walls of that famous rendezvous. And likely
enough, when they

    'were all at supper, all in good humour, Champaign was the word,
    and wit flew about the room like a pack of losing cards.'[294]

Farquhar seems, above all others, to have hailed the new wine with
pleasure. We all remember the 'red Burgundy' which saves Mirabel from
his perilous position in the cut-throats' den; but the flighty hero of
the _Inconstant_ is equally enthusiastic over sparkling wine when he

    'Give me the plump Venetian, brisk and sanguine, that smiles upon
    me like the glowing sun, and meets my lips like sparkling wine,
    her person shining as the glass, and spirit like the foaming

The benignant influence of the beverage is, moreover, referred to by
Farquhar in his epilogue to the _Constant Couple_, where, in alluding
to the critics, it is said that

    'To coffee some retreat to save their pockets,
    Others, more generous, damn the play at Locket's;
    But there, I hope, the author's fears are vain,
    Malice ne'er spoke in generous Champain.'[296]

Further, he makes Benjamin Wouldbe exclaim:

    'Show me that proud stoick that can bear success and Champain;
    philosophy can support us in hard fortune, but who can have
    patience in prosperity?'[297]

Farquhar shows his usual keen observation of the minutest features
of the life of his day in his allusion to the flask--the pear-shaped
_flacon_ in which Champagne made its _entrée_ into fashionable
life.[298] Archer, in his ditty on 'trifles,' thus warbles:

    'A flask of Champaign, people think it
        A trifle, or something as bad;
    But if you'll contrive how to drink it,
        You'll find it no trifle, egad!'[299]

Congreve, in evident reference to the still wine, thus writes to Mr.
Porter, husband of the celebrated actress, from Calais, August 11, 1700:

    'Here is admirable Champaign for twelvepence a quart, as good
    Burgundy for fifteenpence; and yet I have virtue enough to resolve
    to leave this place to-morrow for St. Omers, where the same wine is
    half as dear again, and may be not quite so good.'[300]

Champagne suffered like other French wines from the War of Succession
and the Methuen Treaty, by which the Government strove to pour
Port wine down the throats of the people. The poets and satirists,
supported by Dean Aldrich, 'the Apostle of Bacchus;' the miserly Dr.
Ratcliffe, who ascribed all diseases to the lack of French wines, and
imputed the badness of the vintages he was wont to place upon his
table to the difficulty he experienced in obtaining them; the jovial
Portman Seymour; the rich 'smell-feast' Pereira and General Churchill,
Marlborough's brother, together with a host of 'bottle companions,'
lawyers, and physicians, united to fight against this attempt.[301]
They would drink their old favourites, in spite of treaties, and
would praise them as they deserved; and means were found to gratify
their wishes. According to official returns, the nominal importation
of French wines fell in 1701 to a trifle over two thousand tons; and
though this quantity was only once exceeded up to 1786, the influence
of a steady demand, a short sea-passage, an extensive coast-line,
and a ridiculously inefficient preventive service in aid of the high
duty need to be taken into consideration. The contraband traders of
the beginning of the century smuggled French wine into England, just
as they continued to do at a later period into Scotland and Ireland,
when the taste for ardent spirits which sprang up in the Georgian era
rendered the surreptitious import of 'Nantz' and 'Geneva' the more
profitable transaction as regarded England. Farquhar throws light on
one method pursued when Colonel Standard hands Alderman Smuggler his
pocket-book, which he had dropped, with the remark:

    'It contains an account of some secret practices in your
    merchandising, amongst the rest, the counterpart of an agreement
    with a correspondent at Bordeaux about transporting French wine in
    Spanish casks.'[302]

That the Champenois were themselves aware of the appreciation in which
their wine was held in England is shown by a passage in Coffin's
_Campania vindicata_. Writing in 1712, the year before the ratification
of the Treaty of Utrecht, he calls on the Britons in presence of
returning peace to cross the seas, and instead of lavishing their
wealth to pleasure blood-stained Mars, to fill their ships with the
treasures of the Remois Bacchus, and bear home these precious spoils
instead of fatal trophies.[303]

Addison, referring to one source whence French wines were derived,

    'There is in this City a certain fraternity of Chymical Operators
    who work underground, in holes, caverns, and dark retirements,
    to conceal their mysteries from the eyes and observation of
    mankind. These subterraneous Philosophers are daily employed
    in the Transmigration of Liquors, and, by the power of Magical
    Drugs and Incantations, raise under the streets of _London_ the
    choicest products of the hills and valleys of _France_. They can
    squeeze _Bourdeaux_ out of a _Sloe_, and draw _Champagne_ from an

He tells us that

    'the person who appeared against them was a Merchant, who had by
    him a great magazine of wines, that he had laid in before the war:
    but these Gentlemen (as he said) had so vitiated the nation's
    palate, that no man could believe his to be _French_, because it
    did not taste like what they sold for such.'

For the defence it was urged that

    'they were under a necessity of making Claret if they would keep
    open their doors, it being the nature of Mankind to love everything
    that is Prohibited.'[305]

The enquiry,

    'And where would your beaux have Champaign to toast their
    mistresses were it not for the merchant?'[306]

is from a panegyrist of the more legitimate school of trade.

Altogether it is tolerably certain that Champagne--genuine or
fictitious, from grape or gooseberry--played a more important part in
the conviviality of the early portion of the eighteenth century than
might be supposed from the imports of the epoch, whilst there is little
doubt but that it helped to inspire some of the finest productions of
the Augustan age of English literature.

Gay places it first amongst the wines offered to a party of guests
entering a tavern, making the drawer exclaim:

    'Name, sirs, the wine that most invites your taste,
    Champaign or Burgundy, or Florence pure,
    Or Hock antique, or Lisbon new or old,
    Bourdeaux, or neat French wine, or Alicant.'[307]

This reference to Champagne most likely relates to the still wine; but
it is probably the sparkling variety which is alluded to in the verses
which Gay addressed to Pope on the completion of the _Iliad_ in 1720,
and wherein he represents General Wilkinson thus apostrophising as the
ship conveying the poet passes Greenwich:

    'Come in, my friends, here shall ye dine and lie;
        And here shall breakfast and shall dine again,
    And sup and breakfast on (if ye comply),
        For I have still some dozens of Champaign.'[308]

Witty Mat Prior, poet and diplomatist, was always ready to manifest his
contempt for the heavy fluid with which the Methuen treaty deluged our
island in place of the light fresh-tasting wines of France that had
cheered and inspired his earlier sallies. Writing whilst in custody on
a charge of treason between 1715 and 1717, and referring to the mind
under the name of Alma, he tells us how

    'By nerves about our palate placed,
    She likewise judges of the taste,
    Else (dismal thought!) our warlike men
    Might drink thick Port for fine Champagne.'[309]

He likewise inculcates a lesson of philosophy, especially suited to his
own situation at that moment, when he remarks of fortune:

    'I know we must both fortunes try,
    And bear our evils, wet or dry.

    Yet, let the goddess smile or frown,
    Bread we shall eat, or white or brown;
    And in a cottage or a court
    Drink fine Champagne or muddled Port.'[310]

There were many, no doubt, ready to emulate the hero of one of his
minor pieces, and

                      'from this world to retreat
    As full of Champagne as an egg's full of meat.'[311]

Shenstone gives expression to much the same sentiment as Prior when he
found 'his warmest welcome at an inn,' and wrote on the window-pane at

    ''Tis here with boundless power I reign,
        And every health which I begin
    Converts dull Port to bright Champagne;
        Such freedom crowns it at an inn.'[312]


Vanbrugh, whose writings were of a decidedly lighter character than
the edifices he erected, probably had recourse to Champagne to assist
him in the composition of the former, and neglected it when planning
the designs for the latter. These, indeed, would seem to have been
conceived under the influence of some such 'heavy muddy stuff' as the
'Norfolk nog,' which Lady Headpiece reproaches her husband for allowing
their son and heir to indulge in, saying:

    'Well, I wonder, Sir Francis, you will encourage that lad to swill
    such beastly lubberly liquor. If it were Burgundy or Champaign,
    something might be said for't; they'd perhaps give him some art and

Swift has given in his _Journal to Stella_ extensive information as
to the wines in vogue in London in 1710-13. He seems for his own part
to have been, as far as nature permitted him, an accommodating toper,
indulging, in addition to Champagne, in Tokay, Portugal, Florence,
Burgundy, Hermitage, 'Irish wine,' _i.e._ Claret, 'right French
wine,' Congreve's 'nasty white wine' that gave him the heartburn, and
Sir William Read's 'admirable punch.' He acknowledges that the more
fashionable beverages of the day were not to his taste. 'I love,'
writes he, 'white Portugal wine better than Claret, Champaign, or
Burgundy. I have a sad vulgar appetite.'[314] Still, while observing
due moderation, he did not entirely shun the lighter potations with
which the table of the luxurious and licentious St. John was so freely
supplied. On one occasion he writes:

    'I dined to-day by appointment with Lord Bolingbroke; but they fell
    to drinking so many Spanish healths in Champaign, that I stole away
    to the ladies and drank tea till eight.'[315]

And on another we find him refusing to allow his host to

    'drink one drop of Champaign or Burgundy without water.'[316]

Our countrymen do not appear to have taken heed of the controversy
regarding the respective merits of Champagne and Burgundy, but
thankfully accepted the goods that the gods and the sunny soil of
France provided them. The accusation, however, banded about by the
partisans of these rival vintages, of their tendency to produce gout,
had apparently been accepted as gospel truth over here in the first
decade of the century. Thus the Dean notes that he

    'dined with Mr. Secretary St. John, and staid till seven, but would
    not drink his Champaign and Burgundy, for fear of the gout.'[317]

When suffering from a rheumatic pain he displays commendable caution at
dinner with Mr. Domville, only drinking

    'three or four glasses of Champaign by perfect teasing,'[318]

for fear of aggravating his suffering. He is prompt, however, to
acknowledge himself mistaken:

    'I find myself disordered with a pain all round the small of my
    back, which I imputed to Champaign I had drunk, but find it to have
    been only my new cold.'[319]

The Dean does not appear to have been the only sufferer, for we find
him writing:

    'I called this evening to see Mr. Secretary, who had been very ill
    with the gravel and pains in his back, by Burgundy and Champaign,
    added to the sitting up all night at business; I found him drinking
    tea, while the rest were at Champaign, and was very glad of

Even Pope, the perforcedly abstemious, was lured into similar excesses
by the young Earl of Warwick and Colley Cibber, during his visits to
London, whilst engaged on his translation of the _Iliad_, and writes to

    'I sit up till two o'clock over Burgundy and Champagne.'[321]

A proof of the popularity of French wines at this period is found
in the fact that in 1713, the year of the Peace of Utrecht, the
registered imports, despite high duties, reached 2551 tuns, an amount
not exceeded till 1786. The Treaty of Commerce, with which Bolingbroke
(whose partiality to Champagne we have seen) and M. de Torcy sought to
supplement that of Peace, having fallen through, the tavern-keepers
put such a price on these wines that it was only members of the
fashionable world who could afford to have what was termed 'a good
Champagne stomach.'[322] Their vogue is confirmed by the order given to
her servant by a lady aspiring to take a leading position in the _beau
monde_ to

    'go to Mr. Mixture, the wine-merchant, and order him to send in
    twelve dozen of his best Champaign, twelve dozen of Burgundy, and
    twelve dozen of Hermitage,'[323]

as the entire stock for her cellar. 'Good wine' was indeed, in those
days, 'a gentleman.'

[Illustration: 'GOOD WINE A GENTLEMAN.']

The unvarying rule that the fashions set by the most select are
inevitably aped by the most degraded, so far as lies in their power, is
exemplified in the Tavern Scene of Hogarth's _Rake's Progress_, where
the table at which the hero and his _inamoratas_ are seated is set out
with the tall wine-glasses wherein

    'Champaign goes briskly round.'[324]


The Jacobites, faithful to their traditional ally, continued to toast
'the King over the water' by passing glasses charged with the sparkling
wine of France across a bowl filled to the brim with the pure element.
The middle classes clung to their beer, or at most indulged in Port and
punch; whilst the lower orders seem to have become seized with that
insane passion for ardent spirits which Hogarth satirised in his 'Gin
Lane,' and hailed with glee Sir Robert Walpole's

    Superior to Canary or Champagne,
    Geneva salutiferous to enhance.'[325]

[Illustration: 'THE KING OVER THE WATER.']


The registered imports of the wines of France--though figures in this
respect are, we admit, exceedingly deceptive--show a continuous falling
off, which reached its lowest ebb in 1746, during war time; and we may
be certain that when, after supper,

    'Champagne was the word for two whole hours by Shrewsbury

it was at the cost of a pretty penny. Although the recorded imports
of French wines show but little improvement with the return of peace
in 1748, we gather from other sources that the Champagne of 1749 met
with a ready market over here, and find Bertin du Rocheret writing
exultingly to his friend, the Marquis de Calvières, that the Champenois
were making the English pay the cost of the war.

The voluminous correspondence of Bertin du Rocheret gives some curious
information as to the manner in which the Champagne trade was carried
on with England during the second quarter of the eighteenth century.
From 1725 to 1754 he was in constant communication with Mr. James
Chabane, who seems to have been the Court wine-merchant, and to whom
he despatched at first ten, but during the latter portion of their
transactions seldom more than four, pièces of wine annually during
the winter months.[327] As regards the particular vintage consumed
in England, a preference evidently existed for that of Ay, though it
really appears as if Bertin was wont to introduce under this name the
then far cheaper growths of Avize. Such, at any rate, seems to have
been the case with the parcel of wine divided, in 1754, between King
George in London and King Stanislas at Nancy. Referring to the wines
of Hautvillers and Sillery, Bertin writes to Chabane in 1731, that a
year's notice must be given in advance to obtain them. A _liquoreux_
wine was then preferred, as in 1732 he remarks, respecting the yield
of the preceding year, that the English are as mad after _liqueur_ as
the French; and it is evident that the taste continued, as in 1744 he
announces the departure for London of eleven poinçons _liquoreux_.

Not only was Chabane accustomed to bottle these wines, but while
doing so was able to insure to them a semi-sparkling character. With
this view Bertin tells him, in 1731, that he must not keep them in
cask after the three _sèves_, or motions of the sap of April, June,
or August, except in the case of a pièce from 'the _clos_' reserved
'for the supply of the Court,' and intended to be drunk as still wine.
Some wine despatched in 1754 is recommended to be bottled during the
first quarter of the moon.[328] In addition to the wine thus sent
in casks, Bertin was also accustomed to send his correspondent a
certain quantity in bottles. In 1725 he quotes for him 'flacons blancs
mousseux liqueur,' at from 30 to 50 sols, and 'ambrés non-mousseux
sablant,' at 25 sols. These flasks were all despatched to Dunkirk or
into Holland, whence they were smuggled to their ultimate destination,
for the introduction of wine in bottles into England was rigidly
prohibited until the close of 1745, when it was legalised by Act of

Horace Walpole, who deals with men rather than manners, with sayings
rather than doings, and whose forte is epigram and not description, has
little to tell us about the drinking customs of his day. The strictly
temperate regimen that marked his later years, and rendered him unfit
for mere convivial gatherings, extended to his writings, and he seldom
permits his pen to expatiate on those pleasures in which he sought no
share. Even in his letters from Reims, written in 1739, when he was
doing the grand tour, he omits all mention of the wine for which that
city is famed. Still he incidentally furnishes a few instances of the
esteem in which Champagne was held by the upper classes in the middle
of the eighteenth century. In a letter to George Montague, dated June
23, 1750, he describes how Lord Granby joined his party at Vauxhall
whilst suffering considerably under the influence of the Champagne he
had consumed at 'Jenny's Whim,' a noted tavern at Chelsea; and writing
to Sir Horace Mann, a year later, he says that the then chief subjects
of conversation in London were the two Miss Gunnings and an extravagant
dinner at White's.


(From an engraving after a drawing by Gravelot).]

    'The dinner was a frolic of seven young men, who bespoke it to
    the utmost extent of expense; one article was a tart made of duke
    cherries, from a hothouse; and another, that they tasted but one
    glass out of each bottle of Champagne. The bill of fare has got
    into print, and with good people has produced the apprehension of
    another earthquake.'[330]

The Earl of March, afterwards 'Old Q,' in a letter to Walpole's friend,
George Selwyn, in November 1766, writes: 'I have not yet received
some Champaign that Monsieur de Prissieux has sent me.'[331] And we
find Horace Walpole's fair foe, that eighteenth-century exemplar of
strong-minded womanhood, Lady Mary Wortley Montague, whose letters
indicate a _penchant_ for Burgundy, acknowledging in verse the
exhilarating effects of Champagne. Of the _beaux_ of 1721 she says that

    'They sigh, not from the heart but from the brain,
    Vapours of vanity and strong Champagne.'[332]

Better known by far are her oft-quoted lines,

    'But when the long hours of the public are past,
    And we meet with Champagne and a chicken at last,
    May every fond pleasure that moment endear,
    Be banished afar both discretion and fear,'[333]

which drew from Byron the terror-stricken comment, 'What say you to
such a supper with such a woman?'[334]



During the third quarter of the eighteenth century a cloud dims the
lustre of Champagne. It was then looked upon by a vast majority as
only a fit accompaniment to masquerades, ridottos, ultra-fashionable
dinners, and Bacchanalian suppers. 'The Champaign made some eyes
sparkle that nothing else could brighten,'[335] says the contemporary
account of one of those scenes of shameless revelry held under the
title of masquerades at the Pantheon, and the orgies that, under
the auspices of Mrs. Cornelys, disgraced Carlisle House were mainly
inspired by the consumption of the same wine. The citizens of the
Georgian era, who had lost the tastes of their fathers, hated French
wines simply because they were French; and the hundred thousand gallons
imported on an average annually from 1750 to 1786 were entirely
consumed amongst the upper or the dissipated classes. Though smuggling
was still looked upon as patriotic, if not loyal, those engaged in it
had discovered that, thanks to the combined effects of duty and demand,
Nantes brandy and Hollands gin paid better. What, indeed, is to be
thought of the taste of an era that produced poets whose muse sought
inspiration in punch, and who had the sublime audacity to extol the rum
of the West Indies above the produce of 'Marne's flowery banks'?[336]
Only a few of the higher-class men, however, engaged in literature and
art seem to have retained a preference for French wine. The accounts of
the Literary Club established by Sir Joshua Reynolds show the average
consumption at each sitting to have been half a bottle of Port and a
bottle of Claret per head. Johnson drank Port mixed with sugar from
about 1752 to 1764; became a total abstainer until 1781, and then seems
to have given the preference to Madeira.

[Illustration: THE LITERARY CLUB.]

In contemporaneous comedy we are pretty sure to find the mirror held
up to fashion, if not to Nature; and turning to the playwrights of
that day, it is easy to cull a few confirmatory excerpts. Thus we have
Sterling, the ambitious British merchant, in order to do honour to his
noble guests, preparing to

    'give them such a glass of Champaign as they never drank in their
    lives; no, not at a duke's table.'[337]

While Lord Minikin, the peer of fashion, makes his entrance on the
stage, exclaiming:

    'O my head! I must absolutely change my wine-merchant; I cannot
    taste his Champaigne without disordering myself for a week.'[338]

On Miss Tittup inquiring if his depression is due to losses at cards,
he replies,

    'No, faith, our Champaigne was not good yesterday.'[339]

Jessamy, his lordship's valet, profits of course by so aristocratic an
example; and when speaking of his exploits at the masquerade, says,

    'I was in tip-top spirits, and had drunk a little too freely of the
    Champaigne, I believe.'[340]

With Philip the butler, 'Burgundy is the word,' and from the choicest
vintages of his master's cellar he places on the table 'Claret,
Burgundy, and Champaign; and a bottle of Tokay for the ladies;'[341]
while Port is characterised by the Duke's servant as 'only fit for a
dram.'[342] Mrs. Circuit presses the guests at a clandestinely-given
repast to 'taste the Champagne;' and her husband, the Sergeant, is
surprised on his return home to find that they have been so indulging:

    'Delicate eating, in truth; and the wine [_Drinks_] Champagne, as
    I live! Must have t'other glass ... delicate white wine, indeed! I
    like it better every glass.'[343]

Such is his comment.

The effects of the wine are characterised in the following fashion by
Garrick, when Sparkish, entering, according to the stage directions,
'fuddled,' declares that

    'when a man has wit, and a great deal of it, Champaign gives it a
    double edge, and nothing can withstand it; 'tis a lighted match to
    gunpowder; the mine is sprung, and the poor devils are tossed heels
    uppermost in an instant.'[344]

[Illustration: LORD MINIKIN.]

We greet, too, what was perhaps the first appearance of a joke now
grown venerable in its antiquity in a farce of Foote's, the scene of
which is laid at Bath. He introduces us to a party of pseudo-invalids
devoting their whole time and attention to conviviality, recruiting
their debilitated stomachs with turtle and venison, and alternating
Bath waters with the choicest vintages, so that the hero Racket is fain
to observe to one of them,

    'My dear Sir Kit, how often has Dr. Carawitchet told you that your
    rich food and Champaigne would produce nothing but poor health and
    real pain?'[345]

And how many gentlemen in difficulties have not since followed the
example set by Harry Dornton in the spunging-house, and ordered, as a

    'a bottle of Champagne and two rummers'![346]

Turning from fancy to fact, we find Sir Edward Barry furnishing some
particulars respecting the Champagne wines consumed in England during
the latter half of the last century.[347] He informs us at the outset

    'the wines of Champaign and Burgundy are made with more care than
    any other French wines; and the vaults in which the former are
    preserved are better than any other in France. These wines, from
    their finer texture and peculiar flavour, cannot be adulterated
    without the fraud being easily discovered, and are therefore
    generally imported pure, or by proper care may be certainly
    procured in that state.'

His remarks evidently refer to the still wines, as he proceeds to
explain that 'the Champaign River Wines are more delicate and pale than
those which are distinguished from them by the name of Mountain gray
Wines,' the latter being more durable and better suited for exportation,
whilst the former, if allowed to remain too long in the cask, acquire a
taste from the wood, although keeping in flasks from four to six years
without harm. Referring to the taste of the day, he explains that

    'among the River Wines the Auvillers and Epernay are most esteemed,
    and among the Mountain Wines the Selery and St. Thyery, and in
    general such as are of the colour of a partridge's eye. These are
    likewise distinguished for their peculiar grateful pungency and
    balsamic softness, which is owing to the refined saline principle
    which prevails more in them than in the Burgundy Wines, on which
    account they are less apt to affect the head, communicate a milder
    heat, and more freely pervade and pass through the vessels of the
    body.... To drink Champaign Wines in the greatest perfection, the
    flask should be taken from the vault a quarter of an hour before it
    is drunk, and immersed in ice-water, with the cork so loose in it
    as is sufficient to give a free passage to the air, and yet prevent
    too great an evaporation of its spirituous parts.'

[Illustration: HIGH LIVING AT BATH

(After Rowlandson, in the _New Bath Guide_).]

The foregoing practice still obtains with Sillery, classed by Barry as
the first of the Mountain growths, and in the highest favour in England
throughout the remainder of the century. Regarding sparkling wine, of
which he was evidently no admirer, he adds:

    'For some years the French and English have been particularly fond
    of the sparkling frothy Champaigns. The former have almost entirely
    quitted that depraved taste, nor does it now so much prevail here.
    They used to mix some ingredients to give them that quality; but
    this is unnecessary, as they are too apt spontaneously to run into
    that state; but whoever chooses to have such Wines may be assured
    that they will acquire it by bottling them any time after the
    vintage before the month of the next May; and the most sure rule to
    prevent that disposition is not to bottle them before the November
    following. This rule has been confirmed by repeated experiments.'

On the signature of the Treaty of Peace with France in 1783, it had
been stipulated that a Treaty of Commerce should likewise be concluded;
and in 1786, under the auspices of Pitt, a treaty of this character was
made, the first article providing that 'The wines of France imported
directly from France into Great Britain shall in no case pay any
higher duties than those which the wines of Portugal now pay.' Pitt,
spite of his well known _penchant_ for Port, had yet a sneaking liking
for Champagne, arising no doubt from his early familiarity with the
wine when he went to Reims to study, after leaving the University of
Cambridge. It was with Champagne that he was primed on the memorable
occasion when he, Lord Chancellor Thurlow, and Mr. Secretary Dundas
galloped after dusk through an open turnpike-gate without paying toll,
and only just missed receiving the contents of a loaded blunderbuss,
which the turnpike man, fancying they were highwaymen, fired after
them. The party had been dining with the President of the Board of
Trade at Addiscombe, and a rhymester of the epoch commemorated the
incident in the following lines:

    'How as Pitt wandered darkling o'er the plain,
    His reason drowned in Jenkinson's Champagne,
    A rustic's hand, but righteous fate withstood,
    Had shed a premier's for a robber's blood.'


(After Gilray).]

[Illustration: WILLIAM PITT

(After Gilray).]

Tickell has noted the appreciation of Brooks' Champagne shown by Pitt's
great rival in the lines addressed to Sheridan, and purporting to be an
invitation to supper from Fox. The illustrious member for Westminster
promises his guest that

    'Derby shall send, if not his plate, his cooks,
    And know I've bought the best Champaign from Brooks.'[348]

Brooks' Club enjoyed a high reputation for its Champagne, and we find
Fighting Fitzgerald emptying three bottles there without assistance,
the same evening on which he bullied the members into electing him.[349]

The year after the Treaty of Commerce was signed, we have an anonymous
writer remarking[350] that in time of peace the English drew large
quantities of wine from Bordeaux and Nantes, and that the other French
wines they were in the habit of consuming were those of Mantes,
Burgundy, and Champagne, shipped respectively from Rouen, Dunkirk, and
Calais. Arthur Young, writing at the same time, remarks, _apropos_
of Champagne, that the trade with England 'used to be directly from
Epernay; but now the wine is sent to Calais, Boulogne, Montreuil,
and Guernsey, in order to be passed into England they suppose here
by smuggling. This may explain our Champagne not being so good as
formerly.'[351] It is to be hoped that neither Arthur Young nor other
connoisseurs of Champagne had been enticed into drinking as the genuine
article any of the produce of the vineyard which the Hon. Charles
Hamilton had planted with the Auvernat grape near Cobham, in Surrey,
and which was said to yield a wine 'resembling Champagne.'[352]

The reduction of duty consequent upon the treaty as a matter of course
largely increased the importation of French wine. Respecting the taste
for Champagne then prevailing in England, and the price the wine
commanded, a few interesting particulars are afforded by the early
correspondence and account-books of Messrs. Moët & Chandon of Epernay,
which we have courteously been permitted to inspect. From these we find
that in October 1788 the Chevalier Colebrook, writing in French to
the firm from Bath, asks that seventy-two bottles of Champagne may be
sent to his friend, the Hon. John Butler of Molesworth-street, Dublin,
'who, if content with the wine, will become a very good customer, being
rich, keeping a good house, and receiving many amateurs of _vin de
Champagne_.' The writer is no doubt the 'M. Collebrock' to whom the
firm shortly afterwards forward fifty bottles of '_vin non mousseux_,
1783,' on his own account. Messrs. Carbonnell, Moody, & Walker,
predecessors of the well-known existing firm of Carbonnell & Co.,
London, in a letter dated November 1788, and also written in French,
say: 'If you can supply us with some Champagne of a very good body, not
too much charged with liqueur, but with an excellent flavour, and not
at all _moussu_, we beg you to send two ten dozen baskets. Also, if you
have any dry Champagne of very good flavour, solidity, and excellent
body, send two baskets of the same size.'

The taste of the day was evidently for a full-bodied non-sparkling
wine; and this is confirmed by Jeanson, Messrs. Moët's traveller in
England, who writes from London in May 1790: 'How the taste of this
country has altered within the last ten years! Almost everywhere they
ask for a dry wine; but they want a wine so vinous and so strong,
that there is hardly anything but Sillery that will satisfy them.'
Additional confirmation is found in a letter, written from London in
May 1799 to Messrs. Moët, by a Mr. John Motteux, complaining of delay
in the delivery of a parcel of wine said to have been sent off by way
of Havre, and very likely destined to be surreptitiously introduced
into England _viâ_ Guernsey. He asks for a further supply of Sillery,
if its safe arrival can be guaranteed, and remarks, 'There is nothing
to be compared to Sillery when it is genuine; it must not have the
least sweetness nor _mousse_.'[353]

During the great French war, patriotism and increased duties might have
been expected to check the import of French wines; yet, if statistics
are worth anything, the reverse would appear to have been the case.
The registered imports, which from 1770 to 1786 had fluctuated between
80,000 and 125,000 gallons, rose during the last fourteen years of the
century to an average of 550,000 gallons per annum. In those fighting,
rollicking, hard-drinking times, when it was a sacred social duty to
toast 'great George our King' on every possible occasion, Champagne
continued to be 'the wine of fashion.' The sparkling variety was
terribly costly, no doubt, and was often doled out, as Mr. Walker
relates, 'like drops of blood.'[354] But whilst the stanch admirers of
Port might profess to despise Champagne as effeminate, and the 'loyal
volunteers' condemn it as the produce of a foeman's soil, there were
plenty to sing in honour of 'The Fair of Britain's Isle:'

    'Fill, fill the glass, to beauty charge,
        And banish care from every breast;
    In brisk Champaign we'll quick discharge,
        A toast shall give the wine a zest.'[355]

Indeed, the greatest of England's naval heroes was not insensible to
the attractions of this gift from 'our sweet enemy France.' In October
1800 Nelson, together with Sir William and Lady Hamilton, was a guest
of Mr. Elliot, the British Resident at Dresden. At dinner Lady Hamilton
drank more Champagne than the narrator of this little incident imagined
it was possible for a woman to consume, and inspired thereby, insisted
on favouring the company with her imitations of classical statuary.
Nelson thereupon got uproarious, and went on emptying bumper after
bumper of the same fluid in honour of the fair Emma, and swearing that
she was superior to Siddons. The host kept striving 'to prevent the
further effusion of Champagne,' but did not succeed till Sir William
in his turn had astonished all present with a display of his social
talents. The grave diplomatist lay down on his back, with his arms and
legs in the air, and in this position bounded all round the room like a
ball, with his stars and ribbons flying around him.[356]

If we may give credit to Tom Moore, 'the best wigged prince in
Christendom,' who was subsequently to 'd---- Madeira as gouty,' and
bring Sherry into fashion, preferred stronger potations than those
produced on the banks of the Marne. In one of the poet's political
skits the Prince is introduced soliloquising _à la_ Jemmy Thompson--

    'O Roman Punch! O potent Curaçoa!
    O Maraschino! Maraschino O!
    Delicious drams'[357]--

and describing his favourite luncheon as 'good mutton cutlets and
strong curaçoa.'[358] Nevertheless, the First Gentleman in Europe
did consume Champagne; but it was concentrated in the form of punch,
especially devised for him, and indulged in by him in company with
Barrymore, Hanger, and their fellows.[359]

His sometime model and subsequent victim, poor Brummell, is said to
have put the wine to a still more ignoble use. One day a youthful beau
approached the great master in the arts of dress and deportment, and
said, 'Permit me to ask you where you get your blacking?' 'Ah,' replied
Brummell, gazing complacently at his boots, 'my blacking positively
ruins me. I will tell you in confidence it is made with the finest
Champagne.'[360] Probably the great dandy was merely quizzing his
interlocutor, though such an act of extravagance would have been a pull
on even the longest purse in those days, 'your bottle of Champagne in
the year 1814 costing you a guinea.'[361]

[Illustration: THE PRINCE REGENT

(After Gilray).]

As to the Prince Regent's brothers, we know that the Duke of York
was such a powerful toper, that 'six bottles of Claret after dinner
scarce made a perceptible change in his countenance,'[362] and remember
the Duke of Clarence making his appearance at the table of the Royal
household at Windsor, and getting so helplessly drunk on Champagne as
to be utterly incapable of keeping his promise to open the ball that
evening with his sister Mary.[363] Two prominent orators of that day
are credited with _mots_ upon Champagne. Curran said, _apropos_ of the
rapid but transient intoxication produced by this wine, that 'Champagne
made a runaway rap at a man's head;' while Canning maintained that any
man who said he really liked dry Champagne simply lied.

After Waterloo, although a few _gourmets_ continued to prefer the
still wine, sparkling Champagne became the almost universally accepted
variety. Nevertheless, Henderson, while noting that 'by Champagne wine
is usually understood a sparkling or frothy liquor,' gives the foremost
place to the wine of Sillery, which, he remarks, 'has always been in
much request in England, probably on account of its superior strength
and durable quality.' He extols the Ay wine as 'an exquisite liquor,
lighter and sweeter than the Sillery, and accompanied by a delicate
flavour and aroma somewhat analogous to that of the pine-apple.'[364]

The poets of the first half of the present century have hardly done
justice to Champagne. Tom Moore, the most Anacreontic of them all,
although ready, like his Grecian prototype, to 'pledge the universe in
wine,' the merits of which he was continually chanting in the abstract,
has seldom been so invidious as to particularise any especial vintage.
Champagne, the wine of all others best fitted to inspire his bright
and sparkling lyrics, has received but scant attention in his earlier
productions. Bob Fudge, writing from Paris in 1818, is made to speak
approvingly of Beaune and Chambertin, but only mentions Champagne as a
vehicle in which to _sauter_ kidneys;[365] and in the _Sceptic_ it is
simply brought in to point a moral respecting the senses:

    'Habit so mars them, that the Russian swain
    Will sigh for train-oil while he sips Champagne.'[366]

In two instances only the poet who sang in such lively numbers of woman
and wine pointedly refers to the vintage of the Champagne. One is when
he says:

    'If ever you've seen a party
        Relieved from the presence of Ned,
    How instantly joyous and hearty
        They've grown when the damper was fled.
    You may guess what a gay piece of work,
        What delight to Champagne it must be,
    To get rid of its bore of a cork,
        And come sparkling to you, love, and me.'[367]

And his description of a summer _fête_ is indeed

                  'a mere terrestrial strain
    Inspired by naught but pink Champagne;'[368]

such as might be penned

    'While as the sparkling juice of France
        High in the crystal brimmers flowed,
    Each sunset ray, that mixed by chance
        With the wine's diamond, showed
    How sunbeams may be taught to dance;'[369]

with the final result that

    'Thus did Fancy and Champagne
        Work on the sight their dazzling spells,
    Till nymphs that looked at noonday plain
        Now brightened in the gloom to belles.'[370]

Moore's Diary, however, proves that if he did not care to praise
the wine in verse, it was not for want of opportunities of becoming
acquainted with it. Witness his 'odd dinner in a borrowed room' at
Horace Twiss's in Chancery-lane, with the strangely incongruous
accompaniments of 'Champagne, pewter spoons, and old Lady Cork.'[371]

As to that most convivial of songsters, Captain Charles Morris,
poet-laureate of the Ancient Society of Beefsteaks, he labours under
a similar reproach. Though he has filled several hundred octavo pages
of his _Lyra Urbanica_ with verses in praise of wine, the liquor
with which he crowns 'the mantling goblet,' 'the fancy-stirring
bowl,' or 'the soul-subliming cup,' usually figures under some such
fanciful designation as 'the inspiring juice,' 'the cordial of life,'
or 'Bacchus' balm.' Champagne he evidently ignores as a beverage of
Gallic origin, utterly unfitted for the praise of so true a Briton as
himself; and the only vintage which he does condescend to mention with
approbation is the favourite one of our beef-eating, hard-drinking,
frog-hating forefathers, 'old Oporto' from 'the stout Lusitanian vine.'

[Illustration: CAPTAIN CHARLES MORRIS (After Gilray).]

Strange as it may seem, the manlier Muse of Scott used at times to dip
her wing into the Champagne cup, although she has failed to express any
verbal gratitude to this source of inspiration. 'In truth,' says his
biographer, 'he liked no wines except sparkling Champaign and Claret;
but even as to this last he was no connoisseur, and sincerely preferred
a tumbler of whisky-toddy to the most precious liquid ruby that ever
flowed in the cup of a prince. He rarely took any other potation when
alone with his family; but at the Sunday board he circulated the
Champaign briskly during dinner, and considered a pint of Claret each
man's fair share afterwards.'[372] Scott himself, wearied with a round
of London festivities, is impelled to write, 'I begin to tire of my
gaieties. I wish for a sheep's head and whisky-toddy against all the
French cookery and Champaign in the world.'[373] Lockhart, in his
_Life of Scott_, notes the excellent flavour of some Champagne sent
to Abbotsford by a French admirer of the Northern Wizard in return
for a set of his works, and more than once incidentally refers to the
presence of the wine at Scott's table on festive gatherings.

Byron, who furnished in the course of his career a practical
exemplification of the maxim that

                                  'Comus all allows
    Champaign, dice, music, or your neighbour's spouse,'[374]

did the vintage of the Marne justice in his verses. In _Don Juan_ he
shows himself not insensible to the charms of

              'Champagne with foaming whirls
    As white as Cleopatra's melted pearls.'[375]

The wine, moreover, furnishes two striking comparisons in that
poem--one when he observes that

    'The evaporation of a joyous day
        Is like the last glass of Champagne, without
    The foam which made its virgin bumper gay;'[376]

and the other, where, in his sketch of Lady Adeline Amundeville, he
rejects the trite metaphor of the snow-covered volcano in favour of

                  'a bottle of Champagne
    Frozen into a very vinous ice,
        Which leaves few drops of that immortal rain;
    Yet in the very centre, past all price,
        About a liquid glassful will remain;
    And this is stronger than the strongest grape
    Could e'er express in its expanded shape:

    'Tis the whole spirit brought to a quintessence;
      And thus the chilliest aspects may concentre
    A hidden nectar under a cold presence.'[377]

Although we find Henderson remarking, in 1822, that

    'the pink Champagne is less in request than the colourless, and has
    in fact nothing to entitle it to the preference,'

yet wine of this tint continued to reappear from time to time, securing
a transitory popularity from its attractive appearance, which caused
it to be likened to the dying reflection of the setting sun on a clear
stream. An interesting incident in connection with its advent on one
of these occasions at the table of Rogers, the banker-poet, has been
recorded by Mr. R. A. Tracy Gould of the American Bar. He was dining,
it seems, in company with Tom Moore and John Kenyon, with Rogers at
St. James's-place, when their host, who had recently received through
the French Ambassador a present of a case of pink Champagne from Louis
Philippe, had the first bottle of it produced at the end of the dinner.
The saucer-shaped Champagne glasses were then just coming into use, and
pink Champagne, which was a revived novelty in England at that moment,
looked singularly beautiful in them, crowned with its snow-white foam.
Kenyon, who, as Gould remarks, was nothing if not declamatory, held up
his glass, and apostrophised it as follows:

    'Lily on liquid roses floating!
        So floats yon foam o'er pink Champagne!
    Fain would I join such pleasant boating,
        And prove that ruby main,
            And float away on wine!'

This being vociferously applauded, after a few minutes' pause he added
the second verse:

    'Those seas are dangerous, graybeards swear,
        Whose sea-beach is the goblet's brim;
    And here it is they drown dull Care--
        But what care we for him?
            So we but float on wine!'

On being desired to continue, Kenyon declared that he had done his
part, and that it was now the turn of some one else. Moore and
Rogers both claimed exemption, as being on the 'retired list' of
the Parnassian army, and peremptorily demanded a contribution from
the Transatlantic guest, Tracy Gould, who thereupon, with 'great
diffidence,' as he tells us, delivered himself of the third and fourth

    'Gray Time shall pause and smooth his wrinkles,
        Bright garlands round his scythe shall twine;
    While sands from out his glass he sprinkles,
        To fill it up with wine--
            With rosy sparkling wine!

    Thus hours shall pass which no man reckons,
        'Mongst us, who, glad with mirth divine,
    Heed not the shadowy hand that beckons
        Across the sea of wine--
            Of billowy gushing wine!'

Kenyon then added another stanza, which suggested a final verse to the

    'And though 'tis true they cross in pain,
        Who sober cross the Stygian ferry,
    Yet only make our Styx Champagne,
        And we shall cross right merry,
            Floating away on wine!'

    'Old Charon's self shall make him mellow,
        Then gaily row his bark from shore;
    While we and every jolly fellow
        Hear unconcerned the oar
            That dips itself in wine!'

By this time the inspiration and the Champagne were alike exhausted.

The history of Champagne in England during the latter half of the
present century may be briefly summed up in the assertion of the
ever-growing popularity of the wine, and the high repute attained
by certain brands, which it would be invidious to particularise.
Its success in oiling the wheels of social life is so great and so
universally acknowledged that its eclipse would almost threaten a
collapse of our social system. We cannot open a railway, launch a
vessel, inaugurate a public edifice, start a newspaper, entertain a
distinguished foreigner, invite a leading politician to favour us with
his views on things in general, celebrate an anniversary, or specially
appeal on behalf of a benevolent institution without a banquet, and
hence without the aid of Champagne, which, at the present day, is the
obligatory adjunct of all such repasts.

When the Municipality of London welcome the Khan of Kamschatka to our
shores and to the Guildhall, Champagne flows in the proverbial buckets
full. When the Master and Wardens of the Coalscuttle-Makers' Company
bid the Livery to one of their periodical feasts, scandal says that
even this measure is exceeded. When Sir Fusby Guttleton gives one of
his noted 'little spreads' at Greenwich, are not torrents of iced
'dry' needed to quench the thirst excited by the devilled bait? Aware,
too, of the unloosening effect the wine exercises upon the strings of
both heart and purse, Pomposo, as chairman at the annual festival of
the Decayed Muffinmongers' Asylum, is careful to see that the glasses
of the guests have been well charged with it before he commences his
stirring appeal on behalf of that deserving institution.

Does Ingenioso wish to introduce to the notice of the British public
a new heating-power or lighting-apparatus or ice-making machinery, he
straightway issues cards for a private view to critics and cognoscenti,
and is careful that these shall observe the merits of his invention
through the medium of a glass--bubbling over with Champagne. So it is
at the openings of the latest extension of the Mugby Junction Railway
and of the Palatial Hotel, at the private view of the Amicable Afghans,
or Tinto's new picture, or any one of Crotchet's manifold inventions.
If the bidding, too, flags at a sale of shorthorns or thoroughbreds, at
a wink from the auctioneer the Champagne-corks are set a-popping, and
advance promptly follows advance in responsive echoes.

Not less important is the part that Champagne plays in the City. Capel
Crash, the great financier, literally _floats_ the concerns he deigns
to 'promote' by its agency. When Consol, the millionaire, makes one of
a set for rigging the market, and the 'ring' thus formed has reaped the
reward of their ingenuity, does he not entertain his intimate friends
with the story and with the choicest Champagne? The amount of business,
moreover, transacted by the aid of the wine is incalculable. Bargains
in stocks and shares, tea and sugar, cotton and corn, hemp and iron,
hides and tallow, broadcloth and shoddy, are clinched by its agency. On
the other hand, many a bit of sharp practice has been forgiven, many a
hard bargain has been forgotten, many a smouldering resentment has been
quenched for ever, and many an enmity healed and a friendship cemented,
over a bottle of Champagne.

[Illustration: 'I say, old fellow, how do you go to the Derby this

'O, the old way--hamper-and-four.'

(From a drawing by John Leech in 'Punch.')]

[Illustration: AT THE DERBY

(From a drawing by John Leech in 'Punch.')]

The Turf is said to be our national pastime, and no one will deny
the close connection existing between sport and Champagne. From the
highest to the lowest of that wonderful agglomeration of individuals
interested in equine matters, it is recognised as the only standard
'tipple.' Champagne goes down to the Derby in its hamper-and-four, like
other pertinacious patrons of the race, and its all but ubiquitous
presence on the course is warmly welcomed by thousands of thirsty
visitors of very various grades. At Ascot, does H. R. H. the Prince of
Wales seek to congratulate the Marquis of Hartington on his success,
it is by wishing him further success in a glass of sparkling wine.
Does Mr. William Kurr, welsher, desire to make the acquaintance of Mr.
Druscovitch, detective, he seeks an introduction from Mr. Meiklejohn
over a bottle of 'fiz.' Does the favourite horse win--quick, fill high
the bowl with sparkling wine, to celebrate his triumph; does he lose,
the same vintage will serve to drown our sorrows and obliterate the
recollection of our losses. How many cunning _coups_, how many clever
combinations, have there not been worked out in all their details over
a bottle of 'Cham.' in quiet hotel-parlours at Doncaster or Newmarket!
How many bets have been laid and paid in the same medium! How many a
jockey has been bought, and how many a race has been sold, owing to the
moral as well as physical obliquity of vision which the ingurgitation
of the wine has induced! Nor should the existence of Champagne Stakes
be forgotten. There are now several races of this name at different
meetings; but the oldest is that established at Doncaster in 1828, and
taking its title from the fact of the owner of the winner having to
present six dozen of Champagne to the Doncaster Club.

[Illustration: _Jones_: 'I say, Brown, things are deuced bad in the

_Brown_: 'Then I'm deuced glad I'm at Epsom.'

(From a drawing by John Leech in 'Punch.')]



Look, too, at the influence exercised by the wine on the British drama,
or rather on what to-day passes as such. Plagioso the playwright freely
opens a bottle of Champagne with the object of stimulating the wit of
his friend and collaborateur in the task of adapting Messrs. Meilhac
& Halévy's latest production to the London stage. Adverse critics,
moreover, are said to be mollified by the subjugating influence of the
wine; while authors, enraged at the way in which their pieces have been
'cut,' are similarly soothed; squabbles too between rival _artistes_
as to parts and lengths are satisfactorily arranged in the managerial
sanctum over a bottle of fiz. Does Lord Nortiboy wish to smooth over a
tiff with the tow-haired young lady who is making ducks and drakes of
his money at the Gynarchic Theatre, and whose partiality for sparkling
wine is notorious, a dinner at Richmond and floods of 'Cham' for
herself and friends is the plan that naturally suggests itself. Should
the enterprising lessees of the Chansonnette Theatre determine to
celebrate the thousand and first night of the run of _Their Girls_, a
Champagne supper is recognised as the fit and proper method of doing
so. Supper is the favourite meal of the profession, and Champagne is of
course the best of all wine to take at that repast. On the stage itself
it has often proved of very serious service. Robust tragedians and
prima donnas in good training may indulge in stout, as more 'mellering
to the organ;' but by the judicious administration of Champagne many a
nervous _débutant_ has been encouraged to conquer 'stage fright' and to
face the footlights, many a jaded _tragédienne_ enabled to rally her
fainting energies in the last act, and to carry her audience with her
in a final outburst of pathos or passion.

Statesmen no longer prime themselves with Port before strolling down
to the House, till they get into the condition of the two members, one
of whom averred that he could not see any Speaker in the chair, whilst
the other gravely accounted for the phenomenon of this disappearance
by asserting that, for his part, he saw a couple. Perhaps it is to be
regretted that the records of the 'tea-room' do not vouch for a larger
consumption of Champagne, as then perhaps the reporters overnight and
their readers the nest morning might escape the wearisome reiteration
of purposeless recrimination and threadbare platitudes. Such should
certainly be the case, since the power of the wine as an incentive to
brisk and sparkling conversation has been universally acknowledged in
social life.

[Illustration: 'Now, George, my boy, there's a glass of Champagne for
you. Don't get such stuff at school, eh?'

'H'm! Awfully sweet. Very good sort for ladies. But I've arrived at a
time of life when I confess I like my wine dry.'

(From a drawing by John Leech in 'Punch.')]

To the dinners of Bloomsbury and Belgravia, as well as the suppers of
Bohemia, Champagne imparts a charm peculiarly its own by placing all
there present _en rapport_. The modern mind may well look back with
shuddering horror to that dreary period when Champagne, if given at
all, was doled out at dinner-parties 'like drops of blood.' No wonder
the ladies used to fly from the table and the gentlemen to slide
underneath it. And, speaking of the ladies, is not Champagne their wine
_par excellence_? How would the fragile products of modern civilisation
be able to outdo the most robust of their ancestresses--whose highest
saltatory feats were the execution of the slow and stately minuet,
the formal quadrille with its frequent rests, or at most the romping
country dance--by whirling almost uninterruptedly in the mazes of the
giddy waltz from nine in the evening until five in the morning, without
the sustaining power the sparkling fluid affords them? Has it not on
their tongues an influence equal to that which it exercises on their
swiftly-flying feet, inspiring pretty prattle, sparkling repartee,
enchanting smiles, and silvery laughter? Old Bertin du Rocheret was
quite right when he invited his fair friends to continue drinking

    'De ce nectar délicieux,
    Qui pétille dans vos beaux yeux
    Mieux qu'il ne brille dans mon verre.'

Since these lines were penned, many thousands of bright eyes have so
borrowed an additional lustre.



It would certainly be going too far to suggest that flirtation and
Champagne must have been introduced simultaneously, yet the former
can only have attained perfection since the advent of the latter.
Only consider what a failure a picnic or a garden-or water-party,
or any other kind of entertainment to which that much-abused term
_fête champêtre_ is applied, and where flirtation would be, without
Champagne! As a matrimonial agent, Champagne's achievements outdo those
of the cleverest of man[oe]uvring mammas. It was solely those two extra
glasses at supper which emboldened young Impey Cue of the Foreign
Office to summon up sufficient courage to propose in the conservatory
to Miss Yellowboy, the great heiress; and Impey Cue now lords it at
Yellowboy Park as though to the manor born. Nor must the part it plays
on the eventful day when the fatal knot is firmly tied be overlooked.
It has been cynically remarked that it is a painful spectacle even for
the most hardened to witness the consigning of a victim to the doom
matrimonial; and that it becomes all the more painful when, under the
futile pretext of festivity, bewildered fathers, harassed mothers,
sorrowing sisters, envious cousins, bored connections, and pitying
friends, arrayed in their best attire, meet at an abnormally early hour
round the miscalled social board. Still, fancy what a wedding breakfast
would be without the accompaniment of Champagne!


(From a drawing by John Leech in 'Punch').]

[Illustration: COMING OF AGE (Drawn by R. Caldecott).]

With mamma in tears and papa in the fidgets, the bride half-way towards
hysterics, and the bridegroom wishing from the bottom of his heart
that the crowded dining-room would suddenly transform itself into a
securely-locked first-class coupé speeding onwards in the direction
of Dover, the task of those speakers on whom devolves the duty of
descanting upon 'the happy occasion which has brought us together' is
of a surety no easy one. And it would be still more uphill work were
it not for the amount of cheerful inspiration fortunately to be drawn
from the familiar foil-topped bottles. By and by, when the more serious
speeches have been duly stammered through, and the jovial bachelor--a
middle-aged one by preference--rises to propose 'the health of the
bridesmaids,' bursts of laughter from the men and responsive titters,
bubbling up like the sparkling atoms in the wine which has inspired
them, from the lips of the damsels in question and their compeers,
prove beyond question that Champagne has done its duty in dissipating
the gloom originally prevailing.

A wedding, too, is the customary precursor of other family gatherings
at which the vintage of the Marne plays the same enlivening part.
There are, for instance, christenings where godfathers bring as their
offerings masterpieces of the silversmith's craft, and the infant's
health is quaffed by turns in

    'Sherry in silver, Hock in gold, and glassed Champagne;'

for the wine of mirth is out of place in metal, however precious, and
needs the purest crystal to exhibit all its finer qualities. There
are also coming-of-age banquets, whereat young Hopeful is enabled to
stumble and stutter through a series of jerky and disjointed phrases
of thanks--commonplace as they may be, which never fail to awaken the
tenderest emotions in the heart of the maternal author of his being--by
the aid of sundry glasses of the sparkling wine of the Marne.

    'O the wildfire wine of France!
        Quick with fantasies florescent,
        Rapturously effervescent,
    How its atoms leap and dance!

    Floric fount of love and laughter,
        Where its emanations rise
        All the difficulty dies
    From the now and the hereafter.
        Through the happy golden haze
    Time's gray cheek is bright with dimples,
    And his laugh more lightly wimples
        Than the sea's on summer days.

    Tongue and throat it makes to tingle,
        Beats the blood from heart to vein,
        And ascending to the brain,
    Bids the spirit forth and mingle
        With a world no longer grim,
    But serene and sweet and spacious,
    Where the girls are fair and gracious,
        And the Cupids light of limb.

    Soul and sense are all untethered!
        Who would be an angel when,
        Clement king of gods and men,
    He can soar so grandly, feathered
        With thy plumage, O Champagne?
    Bottled gladness! thou magician!
    Silver-bearded! mist Elysian!
        Ecstasy of sun and rain!

    Swift and subtle, glad and glorious,
        O the wildfire wine of France!
        How its atoms frisk and dance,
    Over Fate and Time victorious!'





_Reduced, by permission, from the larger Map_.

Drawn by /M. J. Lignier/, Staff-Captain,

For Messrs. MÖET & CHANDON, of Epernay.

The purple tint indicates the Vineyards.

The yellow, the Woods and Forests.

The green, the Meadows.

The blue, the Ponds and Lakes.

The figures indicate the altitudes in metres above the level of the sea.

/Scale in Metres/:

(_2000 Metres are equal to 1-1/4 Miles._)]


                               PART II.


        /The Champagne Vinelands--The Vineyards of the River./

    The vinelands in the neighbourhood of Epernay--Viticultural area
    of the Champagne--A visit to the vineyards of 'golden plants'--The
    Dizy vineyards--Antiquity of the Ay vineyards--St. Tresain and
    the wine-growers of Ay--The Ay vintage of 1871--The Mareuil
    vineyards and their produce--Avernay; its vineyards, wines, and
    ancient abbey--The vineyards of Mutigny and Cumières--Damery
    and 'la belle hôtesse' of Henri Quatre--Adrienne Lecouvreur
    and the Maréchal de Saxe's matrimonial schemes--Pilgrimage to
    Hautvillers--Remains of the Royal Abbey of St. Peter--The ancient
    church--Its quaint decorations and monuments--The view from the
    heights of Hautvillers--The abbey vineyards and wine-cellars in the
    days of Dom Perignon--The vinelands of the Côte d'Epernay--Pierry
    and its vineyard cellars--The Moussy, Vinay, and Ablois St. Martin
    vineyards--The Côte d'Avize--Chavot, Monthelon, Grauves, and
    Cuis--The vineyards of Cramant and Avize, and their light delicate
    white wines--The Oger and Le Mesnil vineyards--Vertus and its
    picturesque ancient remains--Its vineyards planted with Burgundy
    grapes from Beaune--The red wine of Vertus a favourite beverage of
    William III. of England.


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 in 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

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.[378]

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;
while Sillery lies at the foot of the so-called Mountain of Reims, and
within an hour's drive of the old cathedral city.

It was on one of those occasional sunshiny days in the early part of
October[379] when we first visited Ay--the vineyard of 'golden plants,'
the unique _premier cru_ of the Wines of the River--and the various
adjacent vinelands. The road lay between two rows of closely-planted
poplar-trees reaching almost to the village of Dizy, whose quaint gray
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. The vineyards of Dizy, the upper soil of
which is largely mixed with loose stones, have chiefly a southern or
western aspect, and, excepting in the case of the precipitous height
suggestively styled 'Grimpe Chat,' their incline is generally a gentle
one. In these vineyards, which rank among the _premiers crus_ of the
Champagne, a quantity of wine from white grapes is regularly made.

From Dizy the road runs immediately at the base of vine-clad slopes,
broken up occasionally by a conical peak detaching itself from the
mass, and tinted from base to summit with richly-variegated hues,
among which deep purple, yellow, green, gray, and crimson by turns
predominate. On our right hand 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 immediately before us at the foot of
the slopes of vines, 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_, white
varieties of grapes being no longer cultivated as formerly.[380]


The Ay vineyards are mentioned in a charter of Edmund of Lancaster,
son of our Henry II. and guardian of Jehanne, heiress of Henri le
Gros, Count of Champagne, dated 1276, and confirming the right of
the Abbey of Avenay to four hogsheads of wine from the _terroir_ of
Ay.[381] If faith, however, may be placed in monkish legends, their
existence dates back to the sixth century, at which epoch St. Tresain,
the patron saint of Avenay and a contemporary of St. Remi, emigrated
to the Champagne from Scotland. Having given away all he possessed
in charity, he became perforce a swineherd at Mutigny, a village on
the summit of the hill overlooking Ay, Mareuil, and Avenay. One day
the vine-growers of Ay, hearing that St. Remi was at Ville-en-Selve,
sought him out, and clamorously accused St. Tresain of neglecting
to look after his pigs, which had devastated the vineyards on the
slopes, and so caused great loss to the community. When called upon
for his defence, St. Tresain acknowledged that he was wont to listen
in the church-porch to the celebration of mass, and to forget on these
occasions all such sublunary matters as swine. St. Remi, finding him so
deeply religious, not only forgave him his negligence and relieved him
from his porcine charge for the future, but appointed him parish priest
of Mareuil and Mutigny, the inhabitants of which, it is to be hoped,
received more attention from him than his pigs had done. St. Tresain,
although his promotion was brought about by the complaint of the men
of Ay, retorted on the latter in a vindictive and unsaintly spirit,
for he ill-naturedly cursed them, and declared that after thirty years
of age not one of them or their posterity should prosper temporally or
spiritually--a prophecy which, if it affected the vine-growers of that
epoch, has proved harmless enough in the case of their descendants.[382]

At Ay we visited the pressoir of the principal producer of _vin brut_,
who, although the owner of merely five hectares, or about twelve and
a half acres of vines, expected to make as many as 1500 pièces of
wine that year, mainly of course from grapes purchased from other
growers.[383] 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, and 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 200 litres, equal to 44 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 winepress.[384]


The Mareuil vinelands, which include the vineyard bequeathed some
six hundred years ago by Canon John de Brie to the chapter of Reims
cathedral, and possibly those vineyards bestowed in 1208 on the Abbey
of Avenay by Alain de Jouvincourt, cover the slopes of two coteaux,
the first a continuation of the Côte d'Ay, and the second a detached
spur, known as the Mont de Fourche, overlooking the Marne canal. 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,
most of which, on account of their known partiality for the ripe
fruit, were muzzled while thus employed. The wine yielded by the
Mareuil vineyards possesses body and vinosity, and while of course
regarded as inferior to that of Ay, found a ready market the year of
our visit at from five to six hundred francs the pièce. Prior to the
French Revolution, the produce of the winepresses of the Seigneurs
of Mareuil and the Abbess of Avenay were almost as renowned as the
best growths of Ay. The reputation of the wine was then shared by the
inhabitants of the village; the popular local diction, 'Les gens d'Ay,
les messieurs de Mareuil, et les crottés d'Avenay,' referring to the
days when the first was inhabited by enriched wine-growers, the second
by people of some position, and the third merely by peasants, simply
from its being cut off, in a great measure, from outside intercourse
through the badness of its approaches. It was not until after 1776,
when the _seigneurie_ of Louvois was purchased from the Marquis de
Souvré by Madame Adelaïde, aunt of Louis XVI., that the road from
Epernay to Louvois, which passes through Mareuil and Avenay, was,
if not constructed, at any rate rendered practicable, in order to
facilitate the visits of the princess to her new acquisition. These
roads exist, though no traces remain of the ancient fort of Mareuil on
the bank of the Marne, taken from the English in 1359 by Gaucher de
Chatillon, captain of Reims, and alternately occupied by Leaguers and
Royalists during the War of Religion in the sixteenth century. Nor does
there seem any chance of identifying either the 'vineyard called la
Gibaudelle, lying next the vineyard of Oudet, surnamed Leclerc,' in the
territory of Mareuil, which Guillaume de Lafors and Marguerite his wife
bestowed upon the Abbey of Avenay in 1273, or those from which, in the
fourteenth century, Archbishop Richard Pique of Reims used to draw ten
muids or hogsheads of wine annually for 'droits de vinage.'


The vineyards of Avenay also date prior to the thirteenth century,
mention being frequently made of them in the charters of that
epoch.[385] Their best wine, which Saint Evremond extolled so highly,
is vintaged to-day up the slopes of Mont Hurlé. Avenay itself is a
tumbledown little village situated in the direction of Reims, and
the year of our visit we found the yield from its vineyards had been
scarcely more than the third of an average one, and that the wine
produced at the first pressure of the grapes had been sold for 500
francs the pièce. We tasted there some very fair still red wine, made
from the same grapes as Champagne, remarkably deep in colour, full
of body, and possessing that slight sweet bitterish flavour which
characterises certain of the better-class growths of the South of

Although at Avenay vineyards cover the slopes as of yore, when
Marmontel used to wander amongst them in company with his inamorata
Mademoiselle Hévin de Navarre, no traces remain of the ancient royal
abbey--founded by St. Bertha in 660, on the martyrdom of her husband,
St. Gombert, one of the early Christian missionaries to Scotland--where
Charles V. took up his quarters when invading Champagne in 1544, and
where the deputies of the Leaguers of Reims and of the Royalists of
Châlons met in October 1592 to settle the terms of the 'Traité des
Vendanges,' securing to both parties liberty to gather in the vintage
unmolested.[386] The villagers still point out the house where Henri
Quatre slept, and the window from which he harangued the populace
during the visit paid by him to Madame Françoise de la Marck, the
Abbess of Avenay,[387] in August of the same year. This, by the
way, does not seem to have been the only occasion when the spot was
honoured by the presence of Royalty; for a tradition, which, although
unsupported by any documentary evidence, appears to be worthy of
credence, is current to the effect that Marie Antoinette paid a visit
to the Abbey of Avenay during her sojourn at Louvois as the guest of
Madame Adelaïde in 1786. The spring which, according to the legend,
gushed forth when St. Bertha, in imitation of Moses, struck the rock
with her distaff, is still shown to travellers; and scandal has gone
so far as to say that recourse is sometimes had to it to eke out the
native vintage.

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 cru--yield a wine which, though
celebrated in the verses of Eustache Deschamps, a famous and prolific
Champenois poet of the fourteenth century, varies to-day considerably
in quality, the best coming from the 'Côtes-à-bras,' the property of
the Abbey of Hautvillers in Dom Perignon's day. The Cumières vineyards
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 Pay, _sa belle hôtesse_, as the gallant Béarnais was wont
to style her. Damery also 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_l._ 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, would have secured
the future hero of Fontenoy the coveted dukedom of Courland. From
Cumières can be distinguished far away on the horizon the ruined tower
of the _bourg_ of Châtillon, the birthplace of Pope Urban II., preacher
of the first Crusade, and a devotee of the wine of Ay.[388]

It was during the budding spring-time when we made our formal
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. The closely-planted vines extend along the undulating slopes
to the summit of the plateau, and wooded heights rise up beyond,
affording shelter from the bleak winds that sweep over here from the
north. Spite of the reputation which the wine of Hautvillers enjoyed a
couple of centuries ago, and its association with the origin of _vin
mousseux_, the vineyards to-day appear to have been relegated to the
rank of a second cru, their produce ordinarily commanding less than
two-thirds of the price obtained for the Ay and Verzenay growths.[389]

The church of Hautvillers and the remains of the 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. Time, the
iconoclasts of the great Revolution, and the quieter, yet far more
destructive, labours of the Bande Noire, 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 twelfth century, the remnants
of the cloisters, and one of the abbey's ancient gateways, are all that
remain to testify to the grandeur of its past, when 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.


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 eighteenth-century château on the site of
the abbot's house. Formerly the abbey precincts were 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 winepresses.
The court is enclosed on its remaining sides by huge barn-like
buildings, stables, and cart-sheds; while 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 M. Paul
Chandon de Brialles, of the firm of Moët & Chandon, the great Champagne
manufacturers of Epernay, who maintains them as a farm, keeping some
six-and-thirty cows there, with the object of securing the necessary
manure for the numerous vineyards which the firm own hereabouts.


(Destroyed by fire in 1879).]


The dilapidated cloisters, littered with old casks, farm implements,
and the like, preserve ample traces of their former architectural
character, changed as they are since the days when the sandalled feet
of the worthy cellarer resounded through the echoing arches as he paced
to and fro, meditating upon coming vintages and future marryings of
wines. 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, which has
been already cited in detail, setting forth the virtues and merits of
Dom Petrus Perignon, the discoverer of the effervescing qualities 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 seventeenth
and eighteenth 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 which the contemplated Abbey of St. Peter is to
occupy, as set forth in the legend already related.



At a short distance from the abbey farm, Messrs. Moët & Chandon have
erected a tower, whence a splendid view, extending over the vineyards
of Cumières, Hautvillers, Dizy, and Ay, with those lying on the
opposite bank of the river, is to be obtained. Gazing from here, it is
easy to imagine the scene presented in the days when the Abbey of St.
Peter still reared its stately walls, when Louis Chaumejan de Tourille
wore the abbatial insignia, and Dom Perignon displayed with equal
pride as the badge of his office the key of the abbey cellars. Over
these slopes on a dewy autumn morning the latter's eyes, ere sealed
in blindness, must have often wandered, and an unctuous chuckle must
have welled up from between his lips as he marked the grapes steadily
advancing towards maturity. We can fancy him pausing from time to time

    'To breathe an ejaculatory prayer
    And a benediction on the vines,'

although in those halcyon days there was neither oïdium nor phylloxera
to be dreaded, and an extra taper or so to St. Vincent, the patron of
vine-dressers, sufficed to secure the crop from ordinary accidents of
flood and field.

When the epoch of the vintage arrived, and the slopes were all alive
with bands of vintagers engaged in stripping the ripened purple bunches
from the vines, and carefully transporting them to the winepress,
one can picture Dom Perignon smiling contentedly at the report of
the gray-haired bailiff that no such crop had been garnered for
years before. And when the must began to gush forth as the stalwart
bare-armed peasants tugged at the levers of the huge press on which M.
de Tourille had placed the glorifying inscription elsewhere cited, with
what satisfaction must Perignon have recognised a foreshadowing of that
divine aroma which lends so exquisite a charm to the choice vintages of
the Champagne! Later on we can imagine him entering the abbey cellar,
stored with the results of his careful labours, as a

                              'sacred place,
    With a thoughtful, solemn, and reverent pace,'

and softly chanting to himself, as he draws off a flagon of the best
and choicest vintage which the gloomy vaults contain:

    'Ah, how the streamlet laughs and sings!
    What a delicious fragrance springs
    From the deep flagon as it fills,
    As of hyacinths and daffodils!'

The vineyards of the Côte d'Epernay, on the southern bank of the
Marne, extend eastward from beyond Boursault, on whose wooded height
stands the fine château built by Madame Clicquot, and 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. Amongst them are the slopes
of Pierry, Mardeuil, Moussy, Vinay, Ablois, and Chouilly, the last
named situate somewhat apart from the rest to the east of Epernay,
and yielding a light wine, qualified as slightly purgative. The vines
of the Côte d'Epernay produce only black grapes, and many of the
vineyards are of great antiquity, the one known as the Closet, near
Epernay, having been bequeathed under that name by a canon of Laon
named Parchasius to the neighbouring Abbey of St. Martin six and a half
centuries ago.

[Illustration: THE VILLAGE OF PIERRY.]


A short drive along the high-road leading from Epernay to Orleans
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 so 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, and
suggestive in appearance of catacombs. Early in the last century the
wine vintaged here 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 crus of the Marne.[390]

Crossing the Sourdon, a little stream which, after bubbling up in the
midst of huge rocks in the forest of Epernay, rushes down the hills,
and then changes its name to the Cubry, we soon reach Moussy, where
vineyards have been in existence for something like eight centuries;
for we find enumerated in the list of bequests made to the hospital of
St. Mary at Reims in the eleventh and twelfth centuries sundry 'vineas
in Moiseio' devised by such long-forgotten notabilities as Pontius,
priest and canon, Tebaldus Papilenticus, Johannes de Germania, and
Macela, wife of Pepinus. Spite, however, of their long pedigree and
advantageous southern aspect, the Moussy vineyards rank to-day merely
as a second cru. Continuing to skirt the vine-clad slopes we come to
Vinay, noted for an ancient grotto[391]--the former 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, once a fief of Mary Queen
of Scots, and 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.

As the Côte d'Avize lies to the south-east, to reach it we have to
retrace our steps to Pierry, and follow the road which there branches
off, leaving on our right hand the vineyards of Chavot, Monthelon, and
Grauves, now of no particular note, although of undoubted antiquity,
Blanche of Castille, Countess of Champagne, having endowed the Abbey of
Argensolles, on its foundation in 1224, with sundry strips of vineland,
including one at Grauves, possibly the vineyard of Les Roualles,
which yields a wine not unlike certain growths of the Mountain of
Reims. After passing through Cuis, where the slopes, planted with
both black and white varieties of vines, are extremely abrupt, and
where Simon la Bole, man-at-arms of Epernay, and his wife Basile
gave, in 1210, 'four hogsheads of _vinage_ to be taken annually' to
Hugo, Abbot of St. Martin at Epernay, we eventually reach Cramant,
one of the grand _premiers crus_ 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 (1715), when the Count de Lhery, its feudal lord,
cleared away the remains of its ancient ramparts, filled up the
moat, and planted the ground with vines, the produce of which proved
admirably suited for the sparkling wines then coming into vogue.
Prior to this the Avize wine, made almost entirely from white grapes,
fetched only from 25 to 30 francs the queue; but being found well
adapted for the manufacture of the strongly-effervescent wine known
as _saute-bouchon_, it soon commanded as much as 300 francs, and the
arpent of vineyard rose in value from 250 to 2000 francs.[392] To-day
the light delicate wine of Avize is classed, like that of Cramant, as
a _premier cru_, and it is the same with the wine of Oger,[393] lying
a little to the south, while the neighbouring growths of Le Mesnil
hold a slightly inferior rank. The latter village and its gray 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


[Illustration: VIEW OF VERTUS.]

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 is mentioned in a letter of the Emperor
Louis and a charter of Charles the Bald in the ninth century. It was
once strongly fortified, though a dilapidated gateway is all that
to-day remains of the ancient ramparts, which failed to secure it in
1380, when the English, under the 'Comte de Bouquingouan,' presumably
Buckingham, burnt the whole of the town except the Abbey of St.
Martin, and elicited from the native poet, Eustache Deschamps, _dit_
Morel, 'huissier d'armes' to Charles VI. and castellan of Fismes, a
lamentation, wherein he fails not to mention the high renown of the
local vintage.[394]

[Illustration: OLD HOUSES AT VERTUS.]

Vertus can still boast a curious old church of the eleventh century,
with solid Romanesque towers, elaborate mouldings, and richly
ornamented capitals; also a picturesque promenade, shaded with
centenarian trees, together with several quaint old houses, including
one with a florid Gothic window surrounded by a border of grapes and
vine-leaves, and another with a quaintly projecting corner turret,
dominated by a conical roof. The Vertus vineyards are mentioned in a
charter of the Abbey of Ste. Marie, dated 1151. They were originally
planted with vines from Beaune in Burgundy, and in the fourteenth
century yielded a red wine held in high repute, of pleasant flavour,
and rich in perfume,[395] but which would appear to have been imbued
with those purgative properties[396] traceable in other growths of the
Champagne. The red wine of Vertus formed the favourite beverage of
William III. of England, and was long in high repute. To-day, however,
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_, from being in the opinion of some
manufacturers especially valuable for binding a _cuvée_ together. The
Vertus growths rank among the second-class Champagne crus.[397]



       /The Champagne Vinelands--The Vineyards of the Mountain./

    The wine of Sillery--Origin of its renown--The Maréchale
    d'Estrées a successful Marchande de Vin--The Marquis de Sillery
    the greatest wine-farmer in the Champagne--Cossack appreciation
    of the Sillery produce--The route from Reims to Sillery--Henri
    Quatre and the Taissy wines--Failure of the Jacquesson
    system of vine cultivation--Château of Sillery--Wine-making
    at M. Fortel's--Sillery sec--The vintage at Verzenay and
    the vendangeoirs--Renown of the Verzenay wine--The Verzy
    vineyards--Edward III. at the Abbey of St. Basle--Excursion
    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 Champagne plains--Wine-making at Mailly--The
    village in the wood--Château and park of Louvois, Louis le
    Grand's War Minister--The vineyards of Bouzy--Its church-steeple,
    and the lottery of the great gold ingot--Pressing grapes at
    the Werlé vendangeoir--Still red Bouzy--Ambonnay--A pattern
    peasant vine-proprietor--The Ambonnay vintage--The vineyards of
    Ville-Dommange and Sacy, Hermonville and St. Thierry--The still red
    wine of the latter.


The vineyards of the Mountain of Reims may be divided into two zones,
one of which, known as the Basse Montagne, is situate north-west
of Reims, and comprises the vineyards of St. Thierry, Marsilly,
Hermonville, and others; whilst the more important zone lies to the
south of the old cathedral city, and includes the better-known crus
of Sillery, Verzy, Verzenay, Mailly, Ludes, Chigny, and Rilly. The
vinelands of Bouzy and Ambonnay are also reckoned within it, though
situate somewhat apart on a southern slope of the Mountain some few
miles from the Marne.

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 family of the Brularts, Marquises of
Sillery and Puisieux, to whom the estate originally belonged, and who
seem to have devoted great attention to viticulture from certainly the
middle of the seventeenth century. The reputation of the still wine of
Sillery, 'the highest manifestation of the divinity of Bacchus in all
France,' was firmly established at this epoch. 'As to M. de Puyzieux,'
writes St. Evremond to his friend Lord Galloway in August 1701, 'he
acts wisely to fall in with the bad taste now in fashion concerning
Champagne in order to sell his own the better;' but at the same time
he counsels his correspondent to get the marquis to make him 'a little
barrel after the fashion in which it was made forty years before, prior
to the existing depravation of taste.'[398] The marquis here referred
to was Roger Brulart, Governor of Epernay, who was himself a joyous
_bon vivant_, and died from over-indulgence in the good things provided
at a dinner given by the Chartreux in 1719.[399] He was succeeded by
his nephew, Louis Philogène Brulart, Marquis de Sillery et de Puisieux,
to whom, in 1727, on the occasion of his marriage with Mademoiselle de
Souvré, granddaughter of Louvois, the Sieurs Quatresous and Chertemps
presented at his château of Sillery, on behalf of the town of Epernay,
a basket of one hundred flasks of wine.[400] He died in 1771, leaving
an only daughter, Adelaïde Félicité Brulart de Sillery, married, in
1744, to Louis César le Tellier, Maréchal Duc d'Estrées.

The wine attained its apogee under the fostering care of the Maréchale
d'Estrées, to whom not only this cru, but those of Mailly, Verzy, and
Verzenay belonged, and who concentrated their joint 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, being made with the utmost care and a rare intelligence, shown
by the removal of every unripe, rotten, or imperfect grape from the
bunches before pressing, so that the _Vin de la Maréchale_, as it was
styled, became famous throughout Europe.[401] This lady is not to be
confounded with that other Maréchale d'Estrées mentioned by St. Simon,
noted for her exquisite and magnificent although rare entertainments,
and 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.

Later owners of the famous Sillery cru did their best to sustain its
reputation, and Arthur Young, who stopped here in 1787, speaks of the
Marquis de Sillery as 'the greatest wine-farmer in the Champagne,'
having on his own hands 180 arpents of vines, and cellar-room for a
couple of hundred pièces of wine.[402] Among more recent appreciation
of the merits of Sillery sec may be mentioned the Cossacks, who
pillaged the district in 1814, and who, not being able to carry off all
the wine from the cellar of the Count de Valence at Sillery, stove in
some thirty pièces of the best, and set the place afloat.[403]

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.[404]

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 Rémois militia, led on
by Grandpré. A quarter of a century ago the low ground on our right
near Sillery was planted with vines by the late M. Jacquesson, the
then 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.

[Illustration: HENRI QUATRE.]

[Illustration: CHÂTEAU DE SILLERY.]

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 stout squire Laurent Pichiet kept watch and ward over the 'forte
maison de Sillery' on behalf of the Archbishop of Reims at the close
of the fourteenth century, that the Maréchale d'Estrées carried on her
successful business as a _marchande de vins_, and that 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. They have fallen somewhat from their high estate since
the days when old Coffin of Beauvais University sang their praises in

    'Let Horace the charms of old Massica own,
        And the praise of Falernian sound;
    Such wines, although famous, must bow to that grown
        On Sillery's fortunate ground.'[405]

To-day the Vicomte de Brimont and M. Fortel of Reims, the latter
of whom cultivates some 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 cider-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 nowadays, 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 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 are 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 panniers 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--where in the Middle Ages the Archbishop of Reims had a
fief--overlooking a veritable sea of vines. Rising up in front of the
old gray cottages, encompassed by orchards or gardens, are the white
walls and long red roofs of the vendangeoirs belonging to the great
Champagne houses--Moët & Chandon, Clicquot, G. H. Mumm, Roederer, Deutz
& Geldermann, and others--all teeming with bustle and excitement, and
with the vines almost reaching to their very doors. Messrs. Moët &
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. Raoul Chandon. Verzenay ranks as a _premier cru_,
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 1050 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,[406] which is apparently more than can be said of the
probity of the inhabitants, for, according to an old Champagne saying,
'Whenever at Verzenay "Stop thief" is cried every one takes to his



Just over the Mountain of Reims is the village of Verzy, the
vine-growers of which distinguished themselves in the fifteenth century
by their resistance to the officials sent to levy the 'aide en gros'
of two sols per queue, imposed by Louis XI. on all wine made within a
radius of four miles of Reims. The Verzy vineyards--ranked to-day as a
second cru--date at least from the days of the Knights Templars, when
the Commanderie of Reims had 'two vineyards near the abbey' here. They
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

Immediately prior to the Revolution, one-fourth of the inhabitants of
Verzy were landholders, each cultivating about five arpents of vines,
and obtaining therefrom, on an average, twenty poinçons, out of which
the abbey exacted one and three-quarters for 'droits de dimes et de
banalité de pressoir.' Southwards of Verzy are the third-class crus of
Villers-Marmery and Trépail, the former of which was of some repute in
the Middle Ages.


We made several excursions to the vineyards of Bouzy, driving out of
Reims along the ancient Rue du Barbâtre and past 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 Rémois 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 lookers-on.


After crossing the canal and the river Vesle, and leaving the gray
antiquated-looking village of Cormontreuil on our left, we traversed a
wide stretch of cultivated country streaked with patches of woodland,
with occasional windmills dotting the distant heights, and villages
nestling 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, came in sight, and the country too grew more
picturesque. We passed successively on our right hand Rilly, a former
fief of the Archbishop of Reims, and noted for its capital red wine;
then Chigny, where the Abbot of St. Remi had a vineyard as early as
the commencement of the thirteenth century; and afterwards Ludes,--all
three of them situated more or less up the mountain, with vines in
every direction, 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, though classed only as a second cru, yielding a wine noted for
_finesse_ and bouquet, identified by some as the vintage which was
recommended in the ninth century to Bishop Hincmar of Reims by his
_confrère_, Pardulus of Laon. 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 cider-press, and applying
its pressure longitudinally. This ancient press doubtless differs but
little from the one which the chapter of Reims Cathedral possessed
at Mailly in 1384. As soon as the must was expressed it was emptied
into large vats, holding about 450 gallons, and in these it remained
for several days before being drawn off into casks. Of the above
thirty pièces, twenty resulting from the first pressure were of the
finest quality, while 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 an inferior quality.


We now crossed the mountain, sighting Ville-en-Selve--the village in
the wood--among the distant trees, and eventually reached 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. Château and park are to-day the
property of M. Frédéric Chandon, who has bestowed much care on the
restoration of the former. Soon after we left Louvois the vineyards of
Bouzy appeared 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 is said to have been indebted for its spire to
the lucky gainer--who chanced to be a native of Bouzy--of the great
gold ingot lottery prize, value 16,000_l._, drawn in Paris 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 were passing slowly in between the vines,
and carts laden with grapes came rolling over the dusty roads. The
mountain which rises behind the vineyards 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 cru_, are M. Werlé, M. Irroy, and Messrs. Moët & 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
1000 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 7-1/2 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 Burgundy.

Still red Bouzy has a marked and agreeable bouquet and a most delicate
flavour, is deliciously smooth to the palate, and to all appearances is
as light as a wine of Bordeaux, while in reality it is quite as strong
as Burgundy, to the finer crus of which it bears a slight resemblance.
It was, we learnt, very 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 bottle.


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 with rising ground fringed
either 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 farming
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 we 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

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 (2-1/2 acres) of vines had yielded
45 caques of grapes, weighing some 2-3/4 tons, which produced 6-1/2
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 eighty 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_l._ the acre, which, although Ambonnay is classed merely
as a second cru, has since risen in particular instances to upwards
of 600_l._ per acre. Owing to the properties being divided into such
infinitesimal portions, they were not always bought up by the large
Champagne houses, who objected to be embarrassed with the cultivation
of such tiny plots, preferring rather to buy the produce from their

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, and almost all of which can boast of a
pedigree extending back at least to the Middle Ages. Noticeable among
these are Ville-Dommange and Sacy, south-west of Reims. At Sacy the
Abbey of St. Remi had a vineyard in 1218; and in the return of church
property made in 1384, the doyen of the Cathedral is credited with
'rentes de vin' and about six _jours_ of vineland here, the Convent of
Clermares at Reims owning a piece of 'vigne gonesse.' North-west of
the city the best-known vineyards are those of Hermonville--mentioned
likewise at the beginning of the thirteenth century, and in the return
which we have just quoted--and St. Thierry, where the Black Prince
took up his quarters during the siege of Reims, and where Gerard de la
Roche wrought such havoc amongst the vines in the twelfth century, to
the great indignation of their monkish owners. 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 wine.



      /The Vines of the Champagne and the System of Cultivation./

    A combination of circumstances essential to the production of
    good Champagne--Varieties of vines cultivated in the Champagne
    vineyards--Different classes of vine-proprietors--Cost of
    cultivation--The soil of the vineyards--Period and system of
    planting the vines--The operation of 'provenage'--The 'taille' or
    pruning, the 'bêchage' or digging--Fixing the vine-stakes--Great
    cost of the latter--Manuring and shortening back the vines--The
    summer hoeing around the plants--Removal of the stakes after the
    vintage--Precautions adopted against spring frosts--The Guyot
    system of roofing the vines with matting--Forms a shelter from
    rain, hail, and frost, and aids the ripening of the grapes--Various
    pests that prey upon the Champagne vines--Destruction caused
    by the Eumolpe, the Chabot, the Bêche, the Cochylus, and the
    Pyrale--Attempts made to check the ravages of the latter with the
    electric light.


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 somewhat 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 definite proportions, in order to
secure certain special characteristics, as well as to maintain a fixed
standard of excellence.

While it is admitted that climate is not without its influence in
imparting a delicate sweetness and aroma, combined with finesse and
lightness, to the wine, some authorities maintain that to the careful
selection of the vines best suited to the soil and temperature of the
district the excellence of genuine Champagne is mainly to be ascribed.

Four descriptions of vines are chiefly cultivated in the Champagne,
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, with its closely-jointed
shoots and small leaves, producing squat bunches of small round
grapes, with thickish skins of a bluish-black tint, and sweet and
refined in flavour. The next is the plant vert doré, with its leaves
of vivid green, more robust and more productive than the former, but
yielding a less generous wine, and the berries of which, growing in
compact pyramidal bunches, are dark and oval, very thin-skinned, and
remarkably sweet and juicy. The third variety, extensively planted in
the vineyards of Verzy and Verzenay, 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 somewhat straggling clusters amongst its
dark-green leaves, 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, prevalent in the
valley of Epernay, which bears black grapes, and takes its name from
the young leaves appearing to have been sprinkled with flour. This
variety being more hardy than the franc pineau is replacing the
latter on the lower parts of the slopes, which are the most exposed
to frosts--a regrettable circumstance, as it impairs the quality of
the wine. 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
some of the Vertus vineyards; together with the tourlon, the marmot,
the cohéras, the plant doux, and half a score of others.

The land in the Champagne, as in other parts of France, is minutely
subdivided, and it has been estimated that the 40,000 acres of
vines are divided amongst no less than 16,000 proprietors. A few of
the principal Champagne firms are large owners of vineyards; and
as the value of the soil has more than quadrupled within the last
thirty years, even the smallest peasant proprietors have cause for
congratulation.[407] These latter cultivate their vineyards themselves;
while the larger landowners employ labourers, termed _forains_ when
coming from a distance and working by the week for their lodging, food,
and from 20 to 30 francs wages, or _tâcherons_ when paid by the job.
The last-mentioned class usually contract to cultivate and dress an
arpent of vines, exclusive of the vintage, at from 8_l._ to 12_l._ per

In the Champagne the old rule holds good--poor soil, rich product,
grand wine in moderate quantity. The soil of the vineyards is chalk,
with a mixture of silica and light clay, combined with a varying
proportion of oxide of iron. Many of the best have a substratum
of stones and sand, and a thin superstratum of vegetable earth.
The ruddier the soil, and consequently the more impregnated with
ferruginous earth, the better suited it is found to the cultivation of
black grapes; whilst the gray or yellowish soils, such as abound in the
Côte d'Avize, are preferable for the white varieties.


The vines are almost invariably planted on rising ground, the lower
slopes, which seldom escape the spring frosts, producing the best
wines. The vines are placed very close together, there often being
as many as six within a square yard, and the result is that they
reciprocally impoverish each other. Planting takes place between
November and April, the vine-growers of the River being usually in
advance of those of the Mountain in this operation. Plants two or
three years old and raised in nurseries are usually made use of. These
are placed either in holes or trenches. The roots have a little earth
sprinkled over them, to which a liberal supply of manure or compost is
added, and the holes having been filled up and trodden, the vines are
pruned down to a couple of buds above the ground.


In the course of two or three years they are ready for the operation
of 'provinage,' or layering, a method of multiplication universally
practised in the Champagne. This consists in burying in a trench, from
six to eight inches deep dug on one side of the plant, two or more of
the principal shoots, left when the vine was pruned for this especial
purpose. The whole of the two-years'-old wood is thus buried, and
the ends of the shoots of one-year-old, which are left above ground,
are cut down to the second bud. 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 simultaneously with the 'bêchage' in the early 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 above ground is more than three years old.


The two principal plans adopted in provining are styled the 'écart' and
the 'avance.' In the first, which is usually followed in newly-planted
vineyards, the two shoots are carried forward to the right and left--so
as to form the two base points of an equilateral triangle, of which the
point of departure is the summit--and are maintained in this position
by the aid of wooden or iron pegs. In the 'provinage à l'avance' both
shoots are carried forward in the same direction, and sometimes a
variation embodying the two systems is employed.

[Illustration: PROVINAGE À L'ÉCART.]

[Illustration: PROVINAGE À L'AVANCE.]

When the vine has attained its fifth year it is allowed to rest for a
couple of years, and then the provining is resumed, the shoots being
dispersed in any direction throughout the vineyard, so as to fill up
vacancies. The plants remain in this condition henceforward, merely
requiring to be renewed from time to time by judicious provining. For
instance, it is sometimes found necessary to bend one of the shoots
round into a circle, so that its end may issue from the ground at
the point occupied by the parent stock. The system of provinage is
sometimes carried to excess in the Champagne, with a view of increasing
the yield of wine, which suffers, however, in quality. The network of
roots, too, renders the various operations of cultivation difficult and
dangerous, as they are liable to be injured by the short-handled hoe in
universal use among the Champenois vine-dressers.


Viticulturists inclined to make experiments have tried the system of
arranging the vines in transverse and longitudinal lines, quincunxes,
&c., or have replaced their vine-stakes with iron wires supported by
wooden pickets. Some of these experiments have proved successful,
although none of them are as yet in general use.

[Illustration: VINE DRESSER'S HOE.]


The first operation of importance carried out during the year in the
vineyards is the 'taille,' or pruning, which takes place in February,
and consists in cutting away the superfluous shoots, simply leaving
one--or, if it is intended to multiply by provinage, two--on each
stock. This is followed about March or April by the 'bêchage,' or
'hoyerie'--that is, the digging round the roots of the vine--with which
is combined the provinage. A trench being opened, as already noted, and
the vine laid bare to the roots, it is bent down so that, on filling
up the trench with earth and manure, the stock is entirely covered and
only the new wood appears above ground. This new wood is then shortened
back, and the stakes intended for the support of the vines are fixed in
the ground. 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
wood. 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 5000 stakes in the course of
the day. When of oak these stakes cost sixty francs the thousand; and
as the close system of plantation followed in the Champagne renders the
employment of no less than 24,000 stakes necessary on every acre of
land, the cost per acre of propping up the vines amounts to upwards of
57_l._, or more than treble what it is in the Médoc and quadruple what
it is in Burgundy. The stakes last only some fifteen years, and their
renewal forms a serious item in the vine-grower's budget.


[Illustration: THE 'BÊCHAGE' OF THE VINES.]






In May or June, after the vines have been hoed around their roots,
they are secured to the stakes, and their 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 termed 'cendre'--dug
out from the sides of the hills, 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,
excepting that some growers remove a portion of the leaves in order
that the grapes may receive the full benefit of the sun, and raise up
those bunches that rest upon the ground. The vintage over, the stakes
supporting the vines are pulled up later in the autumn and stacked in
compact masses, styled 'moyères,' with their ends out of the ground,
or else 'en chevalet,' 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 following the vine is pruned and
subsequently sunk into the earth, as already described, so as to leave
only the new wood above ground. Owing to the vines being planted so
closely together they naturally starve one another, and numbers of them
perish. Whenever this is the case, or the stems chance to 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, fagots, 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 a 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 during a long day.


Dr. Guyot's system of roofing the vines with straw matting, to protect
them alike against frosts 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
made 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 2-1/2 acres of vines, during an ordinary day.
To carry out the system properly, a double row of tall and short stakes
connected with iron wires has to be provided. The matting can then be
used as a shelter to the young vines in spring, as a south wall to aid
the ripening of the grapes in summer, and as a protection against rain
and autumn frosts.



Owing to the system of cultivation by rejuvenescence, and the constant
replenishing of the soil by well-compounded manures, the Champenois
wine-growers entertain great hopes that their vineyards will escape
the ravages of the phylloxera vastatrix. They certainly deserve such
an immunity, for, 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. One of the
most destructive of these is the eumolpe, gribouri, or écrivain as it
is popularly styled, from the traces it leaves upon the vine-leaves
bearing some resemblance to lines of writing. It is a species of
beetle, the larvæ of which pass the winter amongst the roots of the
vine, and in the spring attack the young leaves and buds, their ravages
often proving fatal to the plant. Then there is the chabot, which
has caused great destruction at Verzy and Verzenay; the attelabe,
cunche, or bêche, which rolls up the leaves of the vine like cigars,
and seems to be identical with the hurebet or urbec of the Middle
Ages; and the cochylis, teigne, or vintage-worm, which develops into
a white-and-black butterfly, producing in the course of the year two
generations of larvæ, having the form of small red caterpillars, one
of which attacks the blossoms of the vine, while the second pierces
and destroys the grapes themselves. The list of foes further comprises
the altise, a kind of beetle allied to the gribouri; the liset or
coupe-bourgeon, a tiny worm assailing the first sprouting shoots; and
the hanneton or cockchafer.


[Illustration: THE PYRALE.]

The greatest havoc, however, appears to be wrought by the pyrale, a
species of caterpillar, which feeds on the young leaves, flowers,
and shoots until the vine is left completely bare. The larva of this
insect, after passing the winter either in the crevices of the stakes
or in the cracks in the bark of the vine, emerges in the spring,
devours leaves, buds, and shoots indifferently, and eventually becomes
transformed into a small yellow-and-brown butterfly, which deposits
its eggs amongst the bunches of grapes in July. Between 1850 and 1860
the vineyards of Ay were devastated by the pyrale, which, like the
locusts of Scripture, spared no green thing; and all the efforts made
to rid them of this scourge proved ineffectual until the wet and cold
weather of 1860 put a stop to the insect's ravages.[408] More recently
it was discovered that its attacks could be checked by sulphurous
acid, or by scalding the stakes and the vine-stocks with boiling water
during the winter. Nevertheless, it appeared impossible to check its
destructiveness at Ay, where it made its reappearance in 1879, and
caused an immense amount of damage. On this occasion an ingenious
gentleman, M. Testulat Gaspar, was seized with the idea of combating
the pyrale by means of the electric light. His theory was, that on
a powerful light being exhibited in a central position at midnight
amongst the vineyards, with a number of tin reflectors distributed in
every direction around, the butterflies, roused from slumber, would
wing their way in myriads towards the latter, when their flight could
be arrested by sheets of muslin stretched between poles, smeared with
honey and baited with a dash of Champagne liqueur. The theory was put
to the test in August 1879, amongst the vineyards between Dizy and Ay,
where the pyrale was committing the greatest ravages. The light was
turned on, and the butterflies rose 'in millions;' but they failed to
flock to the reflectors, and the honey-smeared muslin proved quite
useless to secure the few which came in contact with it.



                    /The Vintage in the Champagne./

    Period of the Champagne vintage--Vintagers summoned by
    beat of drum--Early morning the best time for plucking
    the grapes--Excitement in the neighbouring villages at
    vintage-time--Vintagers at work--Mules employed to convey the
    gathered grapes down the steeper slopes--The fruit carefully
    examined before being taken to the wine-press--Arrival of the
    grapes at the vendangeoir--They are subjected to three squeezes,
    and then to the 'rébêche'--The must is pumped into casks and left
    to ferment--Only a few of the vine-proprietors in the Champagne
    press their own grapes--The prices the grapes command--Air of
    jollity throughout the district during the vintage--Every one
    is interested in it, and profits by it--Vintagers' fête on St.
    Vincent's-day--Endless philandering between the sturdy sons of toil
    and the sunburnt daughters of labour.


When the weather has been exceedingly propitious, the vintage in the
Champagne commences as early as the third week in September, and in
good average years the pickers set to work during the first week of
October. If, however, the summer has been an indifferent one, and only
an inferior vintage is looked forward to, it is scarcely before the
latter half of October that the gathering of the grapes is proceeded
with. There is no vintage-ban in the Champagne, as in Burgundy and
other parts of France; but, as a rule, the growers of Ay and of the
neighbouring slopes commence operations a week or more earlier than
those of the Mountain of Reims, whilst around Cramant and Avize, the
white-grape region, the vintagers usually set to work when in the other
districts they have nearly finished.


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, as we
have already explained, is generally either a franc and a half, with
food consisting of three meals, or two francs and a half, rising on
exceptional occasions to three francs, 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.

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 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
dexterously the latter may be squeezed in the press, is occasionally of
a positive purple tinge, and consequently useless for conversion into


At vintage-time everywhere is bustle and excitement; every one is big
with the business in hand. In these ordinarily quiet little villages
nestling amidst vine clad hollows, or perched half-way up a slope
tinted from base to summit with richly-variegated hues, there is a
perpetual pattering of sabots and a rattling and bumping of wheels over
the roughly-paved streets. The majority of the inhabitants are afoot:
the feeble feminine half, baskets on arm, thread their way with the
juveniles through the rows of vines planted half-way up the mountain,
and all aglow with their autumnal glories of green and purple, crimson
and yellow; while the sturdy masculine portion are 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, jostle the low railway-trucks laden with brand-new
casks, and the somewhat rickety cabriolets of the agents of the big
Champagne houses, who are reduced to clinch their final bargain for a
hundred or more pièces of the peerless wine of Ay or Bouzy, Verzy or
Verzenay, beside the reeking wine-press.

Dotting the steep slopes like a swarm of huge ants are a crowd of men,
women, and children, the men, in blue blouses or stripped to their
shirt-sleeves, being for the most part engaged in carrying the baskets
to and fro and loading the carts; whilst the women, in closely-fitting
neat white caps, or wearing old-fashioned unbleached straw-bonnets of
the contemned coalscuttle type, resembling the 'sun-bonnet' of the
Midland counties, together with the children, are intent on stripping
the vines of their luscious-looking fruit. 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 which they carry on
their arms, and the contents of which they empty from time to time into
a larger basket resembling an ass's pannier in shape, numbers of these
being dispersed about the vineyard for the purpose, and invariably
in the shade. When filled the baskets 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 has
secured its load it is driven slowly to the neighbouring pressoir,
so that the grapes may not be in the least degree shaken, such is
the care observed throughout every stage of the process of Champagne
manufacture. When the vineyard slopes are very steep--as, for instance,
at Mareuil--and the paths do not admit of the approach of carts, mules,
equipped with panniers and duly muzzled, are employed to convey the
gathered fruit to the press-house.



In many vineyards the grapes are inspected in bulk instead of in detail
before being sent to the wine-press. The hand-baskets, when filled,
are brought to a particular spot, where their contents are minutely
examined by some half-dozen men and women, who pluck off the bruised,
rotten, and unripe berries, and fling them aside into a separate
basket. In other vineyards we came upon parties of girls, congregated
round a wicker sieve perched on the top of a large tub by the roadside,
engaged in sorting the grapes, pruning away the diseased stalks, and
picking off all the doubtful berries. The latter were let fall through
the interstices of the sieve, while the sound fruit was deposited
in large baskets standing beside the sorters, and which, as soon as
they were filled, were conveyed to the pressoir. When the proprietor
is of an economic turn he usually has the refuse grapes pressed for
wine for home consumption. Spite of the minute examination to which
the grapes are subjected, a sharp eye will frequently discover in the
heart of what looks like a regular and well-grown bunch a grape that
is absolutely rotten, and capable of infecting its companions when the
whole are heaped up together in the wine-press.



Carts laden with grapes are continually arriving at the pressoirs,
discharging their loads and driving off for fresh ones. The piled-up
baskets, marked with the names of the vineyard-owners whose grapes
they contain, are temporarily stored under a shed in a cool place,
and are brought into the pressoir from time to time as required. In
the district of the River the grapes are weighed, while in that of
the Mountain they are measured, before being emptied on to the floor
of the press. In some places the latter is of the old-fashioned type,
resembling the ordinary cider-press; but usually powerful presses of
modern invention, worked by a large fly-wheel requiring four sturdy men
to turn it, are employed. The grapes are spread over the floor of the
press in a compact mass, and in some rare cases are lightly trodden
by a couple of men with their naked feet before being subjected to
mechanical pressure, which is again and again repeated, only the first
squeeze giving a high-class wine, and the second and third a relatively
inferior one. After three pressures the grapes are usually worked about
with peels, and subjected to a final squeeze known as the 'rébêche,'
which produces a sort of _piquette_, given to the workmen to drink, but
in many instances forming the habitual, and indeed only, beverage of
the economically-inclined peasant proprietor.

The must filters 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

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
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 by caque, a measure
estimated to hold sixty kilogrammes (equal to 132 lb. avoirdupois) of
grapes. The price which the fruit fetches varies of course according to
the quality of the vintage and the requirements of the manufacturers;
but the average may be taken at about 80 centimes per kilogramme,
equivalent to rather more than 3-1/2_d._ per lb.[409]


If in the Champagne the picturesque rejoicings immortalised in the
Italian vintage scenes of Léopold Robert are lacking, and if the
grapes, instead of being trodden to the blithe accompaniment of flute
and fiddle, as in some parts of France, are pressed in more quiet
fashion, a pleasant air of jollity nevertheless pervades the district
at the season of the vintage. Every one participates in the interest
which this excites. It influences the takings of all the artificers
and all the tradespeople, and brings grist to the mill of the baker
and the bootmaker, as well as to the café and cabaret. The contending
interests of capital and labour are, moreover, singularly satisfied,
the vintagers being content at getting their two francs and a half a
day, and the men at the pressoirs their three francs and their food;
the vineyard proprietor reaping the return of the time, care, and
money expended upon his patch of vines, and the Champagne manufacturer
acquiring raw material on sufficiently satisfactory terms, the which,
when duly guaranteed by his name and brand, will bring to him both fame
and fortune.

Should the vintage be a scanty one, the plethoric
_commissionnaires-en-vins_ will wipe their perspiring foreheads with
satisfaction when they have at last secured the full number of hogsheads
they had been instructed to buy--at a high figure maybe; still this is
no disadvantage to them, as their commission mounts up the higher. And
even the thickest-skulled among the small vine-proprietors, who make
all their calculations on their fingers, see at a glance that, although
the crop may be no more than half an average one, they are gainers,
thanks to the ill-disguised anxiety of the agents to secure all the
wine they require, which has the effect of sending prices up to nearly
double those of ordinary years, and this with only half the work in the
vineyard and at the winepress to be done.


The vintage in the Champagne comes to a close without any of those
festivals which still linger in the department of the Gironde. On
the 22d of January, the fête of St. Vincent, the patron saint of
vine-growers, it is customary, however, for one of the proprietors in
each village to pay for a mass and give a breakfast to his relatives
and friends, at which he presents a bouquet to one of the guests, who,
in his turn, is expected to pay for the mass and give the breakfast
the year following. On the same day the proprietors entertain their
workpeople, who, after having eaten and drunk their fill, wind up the
day with song and dance, leading to no end of innocent philandering
between the sturdy sons of toil and the sunburnt daughters of labour.
On these occasions the famous vintage song is sometimes heard:

    'Vendangeons et vive la France,
    Le monde un jour avec nous trinquera.'




                    /The Preparation of Champagne./

    The treatment of Champagne after it comes from the wine-press--The
    racking and blending of the wine--The proportions of red and
    white vintages composing the 'cuvée'--Deficiency and excess
    of effervescence--Strength and form of Champagne bottles--The
    'tirage' or bottling of the wine--The process of gas-making
    commences--Details of the origin and development of the
    effervescent properties of Champagne--The inevitable breakage
    of bottles which ensues--This remedied by transferring the wine
    to a lower temperature--The wine stacked in piles--Formation of
    sediment--Bottles placed 'sur pointe' and daily shaken to detach
    the deposit--Effect of this occupation on those incessantly
    engaged in it--The present system originated by a workman of
    Madame Clicquot's--'Claws' and 'masks'--Champagne cellars--Their
    construction and aspect--Raw recruits for the 'Regiment de
    Champagne'--Transforming the 'vin brut' into Champagne--Disgorging
    and liqueuring the wine--The composition of the liqueur--Variation
    in the quantity added to suit diverse national tastes--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 round the world.


The special characteristic of Champagne is that its manufacture only
commences where that of other wines ordinarily ends. No one would
recognise in the still brut fluid--which, after being duly racked and
fined, has somewhat the taste and colour of an acrid Rhine wine, with a
more or less pronounced bitter flavour--that exhilarating essence which
is capable of raising the most depressed spirits, and imparting gaiety
to the dismallest gatherings. Much as Champagne may stand indebted to
Nature, soil, climate, and species of vine, the sparkling fluid has
contracted a far greater debt towards man, to whose incessant labour,
patient skill, and minute precautions it owes that combination of
qualities which causes it to be so highly prized.

In the preceding chapter we left the newly-expressed must flowing
direct from the press into capacious reservoirs, whence it is drawn
off into large vats, where it clears itself by depositing its mucous
lees, usually within twenty-four hours. It is then transferred to new
or perfectly clean casks, holding some forty gallons each, in which a
sulphur match has been previously burnt. These casks are not filled
quite up to the bunghole, which is generally covered with a vine-leaf
kept in its place by a piece of tile. The bulk of the newly-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 newly-expressed must may be seen rolling
along the dusty highways, bound for those towns and villages in the
department of the Marne where the manufacture of Champagne is carried
on, and where the leading firms have their establishments. 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, nestling between the vine-clad slopes and the Marne canal, with the
neighbouring village of Mareuil; next Pierry; and finally Avize, in
the centre of the white-grape district southwards of Epernay. Châlons,
owing to its distance from the vineyards, does not usually draw its
supply of wine until the new year.

In the vast celliers of the manufacturers' establishments, where a
temperature of about 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit usually prevails,
the wine undergoes its first fermentation, entailing a loss of about
7-1/2 per cent, and lasting 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 certain proportion of its
natural saccharine to insure 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--an
operation generally performed about the third week in December--the
produce of the different vineyards is 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 blend.

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, insure 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 obtained from black grapes, and now of a pale-pink hue, 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
crus, 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. In the opinion of some clever amalgamators,
a blend comprising one-third of the vintages of Sillery, Verzenay,
and Bouzy, one-third of those of Mareuil, Ay, and Dizy, and the
remaining third composed of the produce of Pierry, Cramant, and Avize,
constitutes the wine of Champagne _par excellence_. Others not less
expert declare that a simple mixture of the Ay, Pierry, and Cramant
vintages furnishes a perfect wine. As when this blending takes place
the wine is only imperfectly fermented and exceedingly 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 already contains, and the further quantity
it is likely to develop, which depends upon the amount of its natural
saccharine. After the bottling, if the gas be present in excess, there
will be a shattering of bottles and a flooding of cellars; while, on
the other hand, if there be a paucity, the corks will refuse to pop,
and the wine to sparkle aright in the glass. The amount of saccharine
in the _cuvée_ has therefore to be accurately ascertained by means of
a glucometer; and should it fail to reach the required standard, as is
the case at times when the season has been wet and cold and the vintage
a poor one, 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
of the wine until the superfluous saccharine matter has been absorbed
by fermentation in the cask.


The _cuvée_ completed, the blended wine, which in its present condition
gives 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, usually isinglass, made into a jelly and strained through a
'tammy;' while, as a precaution against ropiness and other maladies,
liquid tannin, derived from nut-galls, catechu, or grape husks and
pips, 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 fermentation. If at the expiration of a month
the wine has not become perfectly clear and limpid, it is racked off
the lees, and the operation of fining is repeated.


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.[410] 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 insure this unusual
strength, it is necessary that the 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 on one
occasion 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 Champagne come from the factories of
Loivre (which supplies the largest quantity), Folembray, Vauxrot, and
Quiquengrogne, and they cost on the average from 28 to 33 francs the
hundred.[411] 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, though
occasionally a special machine, subjecting them to hydraulic pressure,
is had recourse to.


The operation of washing, which takes place immediately preceding
the bottling of the wine, is invariably performed by women, who at
the larger establishments accomplish it with the aid of machines,
provided at times with a revolving brush, although small glass beads
are generally used by preference. Each bottle after being washed is
minutely examined, to make certain of its perfect purity, and is then
placed neck downwards in a tall basket to drain.


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, after a preliminary test as to its
fitness for bottling, is emptied from the casks into vats or tuns of
varying capacity in the _salle du tirage_. From these 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. Speed
in the process is of much importance, as during a single day the wine
may undergo a notable change. From the corkers the bottles are passed
on to the _agrafeurs_, who secure the corks by means of an iron clip
termed an agrafe; and they are afterwards conveyed either to a spacious
room above-ground known as a cellier or to a cool vault underground,
according to the number of atmospheres which the wine may indicate.


With reference to these atmospheres, 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 5-3/4 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 four atmospheres, it is
advisable to keep the wine in a cellier above-ground, that it may more
rapidly acquire the requisite sparkling qualities. If fewer than four
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 latent effervescence to
develop itself.[412]


The bottles are first placed in a horizontal position, the side to be
kept uppermost being indicated by a daub of whitewash, and are stacked
in rows of varying length and depth, one above the other, to about
the height of a man, 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 a period of considerable anxiety to the Champagne manufacturer
ensues, through his dread lest an undue number of them should burst
from the expansion of the carbonic acid gas generated in the wine. 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. Not only does
the increased temperature unduly accelerate fermentation, but the mere
shock of one bottle exploding often starts such of its neighbours as
are predisposed that way, in addition to the direct havoc wrought by
the heavier fragments of flying glass. The only remedy is the instant
removal of the wine to a lower temperature whenever 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 6000 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.
M. Mauméné, moreover, relates that in 1850 he was called in to consult
about the checking of a _casse_, which had already reached 96 per
cent.[413] Over-knowing purchasers affect to select a wine which has
exploded in the largest proportion in the cellars, as being well up to
the mark as regards its effervescence, and are in the habit of making
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, and rises to 15 when the
pressure is unusually strong, in others it rarely exceeds 2-1/2 or 3.
The period between May and September is that in which the greatest
destruction takes place. 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,
in which they gradually develop two essential qualities, that of
effervescing well and that of travelling satisfactorily, 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. During this period 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. As
the time approaches for preparing the wine for shipment, 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.[414] The object of this change in
their position is to cause the sediment to leave the side of the bottle
where it has gathered. Afterwards it 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 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, whilst 30,000 to
40,000 is by no means an uncommon performance.


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 ten 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, as an antidote to the damp to which
they are exposed, and merely pay the penalty of their 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. At a still earlier date the process was more
or less successfully accomplished by holding the bottles upside down
by the neck, tapping them at the bottom to detach the sediment, and
then, after shaking them well up, laying them on their sides until the
operation was repeated. In 1818, however, a man named Müller, 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 they might recline at varying angles. His
suggestions were privately adopted by Madame Clicquot; but eventually
the improved plan got wind, and the system which he initiated now
prevails throughout the Champagne.[415]


When the bottles have gone through their regular course of shaking,
they are examined before a lighted candle to ascertain whether the
deposit has all fallen on to the cork, and the wine has become
perfectly clear. Sometimes it happens that, twist these men never so
wisely, the deposit, instead of becoming flaky or granular, refuses to
stir, and takes the shape of a bunch of threads technically called a
'claw,' or an adherent membrane 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 in the workman's hands. By way of precaution, therefore,
the operator protects his face with a wire mask, or by gigantic wire
spectacles, which give to him a ghoul-like aspect. Frequently it is
found impossible to detach the 'mask' from the side of the bottle, and
in this case the only thing that remains is to pour the wine back again
into the cask, with the view of mixing it in some future _cuvée_.[416]


The cellars of the Champagne manufacturers are very varied in
character. The wine that has been grown on the chalky hills is left to
develop itself in vaults burrowed out of the calcareous strata which
underlie 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 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 recruits for the
historically famous 'Regiment de Champagne'[417]--awaiting their turn
to be thoroughly drilled and disciplined. These are varied by bottles
reposing neck 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.


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 a cask set
on end, and having a large oval opening in front. This nimble-fingered
manipulator seizes a bottle, raises it for a moment before the light to
test the clearness of the wine and the subsidence of the deposit; holds
it horizontally in his left hand, with the neck directed towards the
opening 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 allow the bottle to empty
itself by the time he discovered that the cork was out. Yet such is the
dexterity acquired by practice that the average amount of wine, foam,
and deposit ejected by this operation does not exceed one-fourteenth
of the contents of the bottle. Occasionally a bottle bursts in the
_dégorgeur's_ hand, and his face is sometimes scarred from such
explosions. The sediment removed, the _dégorgeur_ slips a temporary
cork into the bottle, or places the latter in a machine provided with
fixed gutta-percha corks and springs for securing the bottles firmly
in their places. The wine is now ready for the important operation of
the _dosage_, upon the nature and amount of which the character of
perfected Champagne, whether it be dry or sweet, light or strong, very
much depends.[418]


Different manufacturers have different recipes for the composition of
this syrup, all 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.[419] 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.[420]


In establishments wedded to old-fashioned usages the dose is
administered with a tin can or ladle; but more generally an ingenious
machine which regulates the percentage of liqueur to a nicety is
employed. The bottle being usually nearly full when passed to
the _doseur_, he, when a heavy percentage of liqueur has to be
administered, is constrained, under the old system, to pour out some
of the wine to make room for it, and this surplus in many cases is
afterwards transformed into the well-known _tisane de Champagne_.
As soon as the _dosage_ is accomplished, the bottle is passed to
another workman known as the _égaliseur_, who fills it up with pure
wine, frequently with a part of that which has been poured out by
the _doseur_, to the requisite level for corking. In the event of
a pink Champagne being required, the wine thus added will be red,
although manufacturers of questionable reputation sometimes employ
the solution of elderberries, known as _teinte de Fismes_, to impart
that once-favourite roseate hue which has been compared to the glow of
fading sunlight on a crystal stream.

[Illustration: THE DOSEUR.]

[Illustration: THE CORKER.]

[Illustration: THE METTEUR DE FIL.]

[Illustration: DOSING MACHINE.]

[Illustration: CORKING MACHINE.]

The _égaliseur_ in his turn hands the bottle to the corker, who places
it under a machine furnished with a pair of claws (so as to 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, principally obtained from Catalonia and Andalucia, are
bound to possess a close and regular fibre and perfect elasticity.
They form no unimportant item in the Champagne manufacturer's budget,
costing upwards of twopence each, and are delivered in huge sacks
resembling hop-pockets. Previous to being used they are either boiled
in wine or soaked in a solution of tartar, or else they have been
steamed by the cork merchants, in order 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, at a rate which allows from a thousand to twelve
hundred bottles to pass through his hands in course of the day. The
_metteur de fil_ next affixes the wire with like celerity;[421] 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 at last 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 are 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. All that
now remains is to wrap them up in coloured tissue-paper, to slip them
into straw envelopes, or encircle them with wisps of straw, and pack
them either in cases or baskets for despatch to all quarters of the
civilised globe.


It is thus that Champagne sets out on its beneficial pilgrimage to
promote the spread of mirth and light-heartedness, 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. Nowadays the exhilarating wine
graces not merely princely but middle-class dinner-tables, and is the
needful adjunct at every _petit souper_, as well as the stimulant to
the wildest revels 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 the
exhilarating influence of the wine. Champagne 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 the wine 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 the Romans died they left traces behind them in their quaint
funeral urns; wherever the civilised man of the nineteenth century 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
Marne. They are strewn broadcast over the face of the globe, literally
from Indus to the Pole. The crews of the Alert and the Discovery
left them on the ice-bound verge of the paleocrystic sea; the French
expeditionary columns have scattered them within the limits of the
Great Sahara. In the lodges of the red man they are found playing the
part of a great medicine, and in the huts of the negro they assume all
the importance due to a big fetish. Stanley, arriving fainting and
exhausted at the mouth of the Congo, hailed with joy the foil-tipped
flask that the hospitable merchants who answered his appeal for succour
had despatched; and as he quaffed its contents, recalled how he and
Livingstone, when thousands of miles from any other European, had
emptied a bottle of sparkling Champagne together on the night of their
memorable meeting at Ujiji. And when, after the battle of Ulundi, the
victorious British troops occupied Cetewayo's kraal, they found within
the sable potentate's private chamber several empty Champagne bottles,
the contents of which, it is to be presumed, he had quaffed the night
before to the success of his followers. In the Transvaal too, during
the negotiations for an armistice, Sir Evelyn Wood regaled the Boer
delegates with Champagne. On a subsequent occasion, the latter were
unable to return the compliment, excusing themselves by suggestively
remarking, 'We don't take such things with us when we go to fight.'




               /Reims and its Champagne Establishments./

    The city of Reims--Its historical associations--The Cathedral--Its
    western front one of the most splendid conceptions of the
    thirteenth century--The sovereigns crowned within its
    walls--Present aspect of the ancient archiepiscopal city--The
    woollen manufactures and other industries of Reims--The city
    undermined with the cellars of the great Champagne firms--Reims
    hotels--Gothic house in the Rue du Bourg St. Denis--Renaissance
    house in the Rue de Vesle--Church of St. Jacques: its gateway
    and quaint weathercock--The Rue des Tapissiers and the Chapter
    Court--The long tapers used at religious processions--The Place
    des Marchés and its ancient houses--The Hôtel de Ville--Statue
    of Louis XIII.--The Rues de la Prison and du Temple--Messrs.
    Werlé & 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--Remains of the Commanderie--The forty-five
    cellars of the Clicquot-Werlé establishment--Our tour of inspection
    through them--Ingenious dosing 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.


The ancient city of Reims is pleasantly situate in a spacious natural
basin, surrounded by calcareous hills, for the most part planted with
vines. It is fertile in historical associations, rich in archæological
treasures, and at the same time able to claim the respect more
readily accorded in the nineteenth century to a busy and prosperous
commercial centre. Indeed, its historical, archæological, and
commercial importance is in advance of its actual political situation,
for administratively it only ranks as a simple subprefecture in the
department of the Marne. The student of history can hardly afford to
neglect a city so intimately associated with the story of monarchy in
France, and one which has witnessed the coronations of a long series of
sovereigns, beginning with Clovis and ending with Charles X. From the
day when the 'proud Sicamber' bent his neck at the adjuration of St.
Remi, and vowed to adore that which he had burnt and to burn that which
he had adored, down to the time when the future exile of Holyrood had
his forehead touched by Jean Baptiste Antoine de Latil with the remnant
of the 'sacred pomatum' so miraculously saved from revolutionary
hands, few of the titular rulers of the country have failed to honour
it with their presence. As the Durocortorum of Cæsar, the residence
of Charlemagne, the seat of the great Ecclesiastical Councils of
the twelfth century, the stronghold of the League, and the scene of
one of the first Napoleon's most brilliant feats of arms during the
campaign of 1813-14, it has also earned for itself a conspicuous place
in history. To Englishmen it is, perhaps, most noteworthy as having
successfully checked the victorious advance of the third Edward after
Cressy, and witnessed the apogee of that meteoric career, which began
in the inn-yard at Domremi and ended in the market-place at Rouen,
the career of Jeanne la Pucelle. Nor must it be forgotten that Reims
sheltered the childhood of Mary Stuart, and saw the heralds of England
hurl solemn defiance at Henri II. in the Abbey of St. Remi, at the
command of Mary Tudor.

[Illustration: GENERAL VIEW OF REIMS, 1880.]

To the archæologist as to the ordinary sightseer, the chief attractions
presented by Reims consist in its numerous ecclesiastical edifices,
some still serving the purpose for which they were originally erected,
others long since converted to secular usages. Most conspicuous among
them is the cathedral church of Notre Dame, the stately basilica
in which the sovereigns of France were wont to be crowned. This
superb monument of Gothic architecture was commenced in 1210, upon
the plans of Robert de Coucy, by Archbishop Alberic de Humbert. It
was completed at the commencement of the fourteenth century, and
though the original design was somewhat modified--owing, it is said,
to the contributions of the faithful not coming in with sufficient
rapidity--it remains a marvel of strength, admirably combined with
grace. The exterior is extremely fine; and the western face, with its
elaborately ornate portal, has been described as 'one of the most
splendid conceptions of the thirteenth century.'[422] Amidst the almost
bewildering multiplicity of ornament, the triple porch, surmounted
by a group representing the Coronation of the Virgin, the great rose
window, flanked by colossal effigies of David and Goliath, and the
range of statues known as the Gallery of the Kings, running across the
façade near its summit, are conspicuous. The interior, although fine,
and containing many objects of interest, is less impressive, while
the plundered treasury can still boast of many quaint and curious
relics of bygone times. But the chief interest centres in the fact
of the surrounding walls having witnessed so many scenes of stately
pomp and pageantry. St. Louis, Philip the Fair, Philip of Valois,
the unfortunate John the Good, Charles the Simple, and Charles the
Victorious, with Joan of Arc, standard in hand, by his side; the wily
Louis XI., Louis the Father of his People, the magnificent Francis I.,
and his scarcely less magnificent son, the young husband of Mary Queen
of Scots; the savage Charles IX., Henri III., with his protest that
the crown hurt him, Louis the Just, the Roi Soleil himself, Louis the
Well-Beloved, the hapless Louis Seize, and Charles X., have all knelt
here in turns whilst the crown was placed on their heads, the sword
girded to their sides, and the oriflamme waved above them.

Many of the most famous cities of the Middle Ages are mere fossilised
representatives of former grandeur, but with Reims the case is
otherwise. If somewhat fallen from its former high estate, politically
speaking--though it should be remembered that Troyes was the titular
capital of the Champagne when the province was ruled by independent
Counts--its material prosperity has augmented. Round the nucleus of
narrow and often tortuous streets, representing the old archiepiscopal
city--the 'Little Rome' of the twelfth century--a network of spacious
thoroughfares and broad boulevards has spread itself, and the life
and movement of a busy manufacturing population are not lacking. In
addition to the wine trade, which of course employs, both directly and
indirectly, a large number of hands, Reims is one of the most important
seats of the woollen manufacture in France, and the industrial element
forms a very important factor amongst its inhabitants. In addition
to the flannels, merinoes, blankets, trouserings, shawls, &c., that
are annually produced, to the value of from thirty to forty million
of francs, there is also a considerable production of gingerbread,
biscuits, and dried pears, enjoying a wide-spread reputation.

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 beyond its more distant
outskirts. In whichever direction we may elect to proceed when
visiting the principal Champagne establishments, our starting-point
will necessarily be the vicinity of the Cathedral, for it is here
that all the hotels are situated. Facing the great western doorway of
the ancient Gothic edifice is the Hôtel Lion d'Or, formerly the Hôtel
Petit Moulinet, where the allied sovereigns sojourned on their way to
Paris in 1814, and Napoleon rested on his flight after the battle of
Waterloo. Close by is the Hôtel Maison Rouge, with the commemorative
tablet on its renovated façade setting forth that in the year 1429,
at the coronation of Charles VII. in this hostelry, then named the
Striped Ass, the father and mother of Jeanne Darc were lodged at the
expense of the city council. Almost facing is the newly-erected Grand
Hôtel, and on the north-western side of the Cathedral is the Hôtel de
Commerce, the resort, as its name implies, of most of the commercial
travellers frequenting the capital of the Champagne. The visitor to
Reims, be his object business or pleasure, is bound to put up at one
or other of these four hostelries, and hence the starting-point of his
peregrinations is necessarily the same.


Proceeding along the Rue Tronçon Ducoudray, we reached the Rue de
Vesle, where the Palais de Justice and the new theatre are situated. In
the adjacent Rue du Bourg St. Denis is an old house--the ground-floor
of which is a wine-shop styled Buvette du Théâtre--notable for its
antique Gothic doorway, containing, within the upper portion of
the arch, the bas-relief of a man fighting with a bear. There is a
tradition that on this spot formerly stood a hospital dedicated to St.
Hubert, and intended for the reception of persons wounded when hunting,
or who might have chanced to be bitten by mad dogs. In the Rue de Vesle
is another old house with an ornamental frieze surmounting its façade,
which looks on to one of the entrances of the Church of St. Jacques.
This edifice, originally erected at the close of the twelfth century,
is hemmed in on all sides by venerable-looking buildings, while above
them rises its tapering steeple, surmounted by a mediæval weathercock
in the form of an angel. The interior of the church 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 Remois sculptor of the days of
the Good King Henri, and from an anatomical point of view a perfect




The Rue de Vesle merges into the Rue des Tapissiers, where in former
times the carpet manufacturers of Reims had their warehouses. In
the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries the carpets of Reims were as
famous in France as those of Aubusson are to-day, but subsequently
they began to decline. Half-way up this street--where, by the way, in
1694 the first numbers of the _Gazette de France_, the oldest existing
French newspaper, were printed, the news being duly forwarded from
Paris--we pass the ancient gateway leading to the chapter-court of
the Cathedral. Within the court a weekly market of small wares is
now held; but in the days when the archbishops, dukes, and peers of
Reims wielded sovereign sway in the capital of the Champagne, this
open space was a _champ clos_, where trials by battle took place. The
surrounding buildings comprised residences for various ecclesiastics
connected with the Cathedral, together with a small farm whence these
epicurean priests derived their supply of fresh milk and fatted capons.
According to ancient custom, the inhabitants of the houses facing the
chapter-gateway were required to keep their doors and windows open on
days of religious processions, the tapers carried by the clergy on
these occasions being of such immoderate length that it was necessary
to incline them, and run them into the doors and windows of the houses
opposite when the bearers passed under the archway.


At the end of the Rue des Tapissiers is the handsome Place Royale,
connected with the Place des Marchés by a broad rectangular street
lined with lofty edifices in the modern Parisian style of architecture.
A break ensues in this range of massive-looking buildings as we enter
the ancient Place des Marchés, the forum of Roman Reims, and to-day
bordered more or less by houses of a mediæval character, remarkably
well preserved. Principal among these is a Gothic timber-house of
the fifteenth century, with its projecting upper stories supported
by elaborately-carved corbels, and its entire façade enriched with
mouldings and finials, and with columns and capitals overlaid with
sculptured ornaments.


Some little distance beyond the Place des Marchés is the Place
de l'Hôtel de Ville, which derives all its interest from the
handsome-looking edifice in the florid Italian style of the early
part of the seventeenth century which gives it its name. The façade
of this building is profusely decorated with Ionic, Doric, and
Corinthian columns, and on the pediment above the principal entrance
is a bas-relief equestrian statue of Louis XIII., whom the Latin
inscription beneath fulsomely characterises as 'the just, the pious,
the victorious, the clement, the beloved of his people, the terror of
his enemies, and the delight of the world,' and to whom 'the senate
and inhabitants of Reims have raised this imperishable trophy.' Some
century and a half later, however, the imperishable trophy got hurled
down and shattered into fragments by the populace, and its vacant place
was only filled by the present statue in the year 1818.

To the right of the Place is the Chambre des Notaires of Reims, raised
on the site of the ancient _présidial_, or court of justice, where
the city magistrates used to be elected during the Middle Ages, and
to which a chapel and a prison were attached. The latter building
evidently gave its name to the adjoining Rue de la Prison, the
gloomy-looking houses of which--of a more massive character than the
gabled structures of the market-place and the Rue de l'Etape--with
their formidably-barred windows, possible relics of the religious
wars, seem to frown, as it were, upon the passer-by. In a narrow
tortuous street leading from this thoroughfare Messrs. Werlé & Co., the
successors of the famous Veuve Clicquot-Ponsardin, have their offices
and cellars, on the site of a former Commanderie of the Templars; and
strangers passing by this quiet 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

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 there. 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
for nearly two-thirds of 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 secured 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.


Half-way down the narrow Rue du Temple is an ancient gateway, on
which may be traced the half-effaced sculptured heads of Ph[oe]bus
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 Remois
Commanderie of the Knights Templars existed until the epoch of the
Great Revolution, and today 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. The date of the foundation of this Commanderie is uncertain,
but it is known that a Templar's church occupied a portion of the
site in 1170. In 1311 both the church and the Commanderie passed into
possession of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, which held them until
the epoch of the Revolution. Formerly the _échevins_ of Reims used to
be elected in the ancient hall of the Commanderie, which at one period
was a sanctuary for debtors, and also for criminals. Early in the
present century the buildings were sold and demolished.



[Illustration: Arms of the Dauphins of France.

Arms of the Knight of Malta.


After being furnished with lighted candles, we set out on our tour of
inspection of the Clicquot-Werlé establishment, entering first of all
the vast cellar of St. Paul, where the thousands of bottles requiring
to be daily shaken are reposing necks downward on the large perforated
tables which crowd the apartment. It is a peculiarity that each of the
Clicquot-Werlé cellars--forty-five in number, and the smallest among
them 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 number.


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 is commonly the case, 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 workpeople 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 wine.

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 overinflation 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 to 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


(From the painting by Léon Coignet).]

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 Meissonier'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'[oe]uvre_. 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 centred, 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 fame.




The first of these bas-reliefs represents two soldiers of the Swiss
guard, the next a Turk and 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 and cards have got
canted over; the fourth presents 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
maistre 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. We should mention that the spaces
above the _porte cochère_, and the window by its side, are occupied
by four medallions, which present that curious mingling of classic
and contemporary styles for which the epoch of the Renaissance was


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 & 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 house, and gave enduring fame to the Clicquot brand.




        /Reims and its Champagne Establishments/ _(continued)_.

    The house of Louis Roederer founded by a plodding German
    named Schreider--The central and other establishments of the
    firm--Ancient house in the Rue des Elus--The gloomy-looking Rue
    des Deux Anges and prison-like aspect of its houses--Inside
    their courts the scene changes--Handsome Renaissance house and
    garden, a former abode of the canons of the Cathedral--The
    Place Royale--The Hôtel des Fermes and the statue of the 'wise,
    virtuous, and magnanimous Louis XV.'--Birthplace of Colbert in
    the Rue de Cérès--Quaint Adam and Eve gateway in the Rue de
    l'Arbalète--Heidsieck & Co.'s central establishment in the Rue de
    Sedan--Their famous 'Monopole' brand--The firm founded in the last
    century--Their extensive cellars inside and outside Reims--The
    matured wines shipped by them--The Boulevard du Temple--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--Various
    Champagne firms located in this quarter of Reims--The Rue du
    Tambour and the famous House of the Musicians--The Counts de la
    Marck assumed former occupants of the latter--The Brotherhood of
    Minstrels of Reims--Périnet & Fils' establishment in the Rue St.
    Hilaire--Their cellars of three stories in solid masonry--Their
    soft, light, and delicate wines--A rare still Verzenay--The firm's
    high-class Extra Sec.


The house of Louis Roederer, originally founded by a plodding German
named Schreider, was content to pursue the sleepy tenor of its way for
some years--until indeed it suddenly 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 Elus, or
ancient Rue des Juifs, where the old synagogue formerly stood, and the
records of which date as far back as 1103.

At the corner of this street, and abutting on the Place des Marchés,
is a curious old house, the overhanging upper stories of which are
supported by huge massive carved brackets, decorated with figures
more or less quaint in design. M. Louis Roederer's offices in the
Rue des Elus are at the farther end of a courtyard, beyond which is
found a second court, where carts laden with cases of Champagne seem
to indicate that some portion of the shipping business of the house
is here carried on. Several requests made by us for permission to
visit M. Louis Roederer's establishments having been refused, it is
only of their external appearance that we are competent to speak. One
of them, in the Boulevard du Temple, is distinguished by a rather
imposing façade, and has a carved head of Bacchus surmounting its
_porte-cochère_; while the principal establishment, a picturesque range
of buildings of considerable extent, is situated in the neighbouring
Rue de la Justice.


Leading from the Rue des Elus into the Rue de Vesle is a gloomy-looking
ancient street known as the Rue des Deux Anges, all the houses of which
have their windows secured by iron gratings, and their massive doors
thickly studded with huge nails. These prison-like façades, which in
all probability refer to the epoch of the religious wars, succeed each
other in lugubrious monotony along either side of the way; but gain
admittance to their inner courts, and quite a different scene presents
itself. In one notable instance, looking on to a pleasant little
flower-garden, we found a small but charming Renaissance house, with
its windows ornamented with elaborate mouldings, and surmounted by
graceful sculptured heads, while at one corner there rose up a tower
with a sun-dial displayed on its front. In this and in an adjoining
house the canons of the cathedral were accustomed to reside in the days
when something like four-fifths of the city were the property of the


Proceeding along the Rue de Vesle and the neighbouring Rue des
Tapissiers, we find ourselves once more in the Place Royale, the
principal side of which is occupied by the once notable Hôtel des
Fermes, where, in the days of the _ancien régime_, the farmers-general
of the Champagne were accustomed to receive the revenues of the
province. 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
sixteenth-century house claiming to be the birthplace, on the 29th
August 1619, of Jean Baptiste Colbert, son of a Reims wool-merchant,
and the famous minister who did so much to consolidate the finances of
the State which the royal voluptuary, masquerading at Reims in Roman
garb, afterwards made such dreadful havoc of.



(From a portrait of the time).]

We again cross the Place des Marchés, at the farther end of which, on
the left-hand side, is the Rue de l'Arbalète, notable for a curious
Renaissance gateway, with its pediment supported by two life-size
figures, which the Rémois, for no very sufficient reason, have
popularly christened Adam and Eve. Beyond the Place des Marchés and
the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, and at no great distance from the
Clicquot-Werlé establishment, is the narrow winding Rue de Sedan,
where the old-established firm of Heidsieck & Co., which has secured a
high-class reputation in both eastern and western hemispheres for its
famous Monopole and Dry Monopole brands, has its central offices. 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 & Co. purveyors of Champagne to Frederick 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 downward 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 specialty 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.
Of these thoroughly matured wines the firm had fully a year's
consumption on hand.

Messrs. Heidsieck & 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.

Few large manufacturing towns like Reims--which is 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 & 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. Varé, 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 3000 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 7000 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 ninety acres. At Mareuil and Avenay he owns some twenty-five
acres, at Verzenay and Verzy about fifteen, and at Ambonnay and Bouzy
close upon fifty 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 the Reims Agricultural Association in 1873 conferred upon him a
silver-gilt medal for his plantations of vines, and in 1880 presented
him with a _coupe d'honneur_. 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.

Several well-known Champagne firms have their establishments in this
quarter of Reims. In addition to those already mentioned, we may
instance G. H. Mumm & Co., who are located in the Rue Andrieux, 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. Within a stone's throw of this arch there formerly stood
the ancient château of the Archbishops of Reims, demolished close
upon three centuries ago. In the Rue de Mars, a winding ill-paved
thoroughfare leading from the Gate of Mars to the Place de l'Hôtel
de Ville, Jules Mumm & Co., an offshoot from the once famous firm
of P. A. Mumm & Co., are installed; while in a massive and somewhat
pretentious-looking house, dating back to the time of Louis Quatorze,
in a corner of the Place de l'Hôtel de Ville, Ruinart Père et Fils,
who claim to rank as the oldest existing Champagne establishment, have
their offices. The late Vicomte de Brimont, the recent head of the
firm, was 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 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
Jülich 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. Above-ground 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 one hundred and fifty feet in
length, with its roof resting on massive timber supports. Here new wine
is stored preparatory to being blended and bottled; and in the huge
tun, holding nearly three thousand 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 kept.


Underneath this building there are three stories of cellars--an
exceedingly rare thing anywhere in the Champagne--all constructed
in solid masonry on a uniform plan, each story comprising 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
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

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. At the end of this gallery is a
spacious compartment, where a large stock of _pure Champagne_ cognac
of grand vintages is stored for cask and liqueur use. 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 replaced; 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.

From the second tier of cellars at Messrs. Périnet et Fils' a gallery
extends, under the Rue St. Hilaire, to some extensive vaults excavated
beneath an adjacent building, in which the Reims Military Club is
installed. These vaults, arranged in two separate stories, are eight
in number, and in them we found a quarter of a million bottles of
_vin brut_, reposing either in solid stacks or _sur pointe_, the
latter going through their daily shaking in order to fit them for the
operation of _dégorgement_. On the whole the cellars of Périnet et
Fils, including the six long galleries already described, suffice for
the storage of a million bottles of Champagne.


Before leaving the establishment Champagnes of different years were
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 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



        /Reims and its Champagne Establishments/ _(continued)_.

    La Prison de Bonne Semaine--Mary Queen of Scots at Reims--Messrs.
    Pommery & 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 tower and grotto--The handsome
    castellated Pommery establishment--The spacious cellier and
    huge carved cuvée tuns--The descent to the cellars--Their great
    extent--These lofty subterranean chambers originally quarries,
    and subsequently places of refuge of the early Christians and
    the Protestants--Madame Pommery's splendid cuvées of 1868 and
    1874--Messrs. de St. Marceaux & 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 & Co.'s various wines--The establishment of Veuve
    Morelle & Co., successors to Max Sutaine--The latter's 'Essai sur
    le Vin de Champagne'--The Sutaine family formerly of some note at
    Reims--Morelle & Co.'s cellars well adapted to the development
    of sparkling wines--The various brands of the house--The Porte


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 present
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, which tradition has erroneously
fixed upon as the residence of the beautiful and luckless Mary Queen
of Scots, 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 & Greno. To the left of the
courtyard, which is entered through a monumental gateway, are some
old buildings, let into the walls of which are a couple of sculptured
escutcheons, the one comprising the arms of France, and the other those
of the Cardinal de Lorraine. On the right-hand side of the courtyard
are the Pommery offices, together 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 & 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 erected late in the fifteenth
century, 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,' an
institution 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), formerly attracted attention, notably a conical-capped
corner tower, the sculptured ornaments at the base of which had
crumbled into dust beneath the corroding tooth of Time.[423] 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,
with its tall towers commanding 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 tower, a remnant of the ancient fortifications of
Reims,[424] while close at hand, and under the old city-walls, 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, we alight under a Gothic portico at the entrance to the spacious
and lofty cellier. Iron girders support the roof of this vast hall,
180 feet in length and 90 feet in width, without the aid of a single
column. At one end is the office and tasting-room, provided with a
telegraphic apparatus and telephone, by means of which communication
is carried on with the Reims bureaux. Stacked up on every side of
the cellier, and often in eight tiers when empty, are rows upon
rows of casks, 6000 of which contain wine of the costly vintage of
1880 sufficient for a million and a half bottles of Champagne. The
temperature of this hall is carefully regulated; the windows are high
up near the roof, and the sun's rays are rigidly excluded, so that a
pleasant coolness pervades the building. On the left-hand side stand
two huge tuns, with the monogram P. and G., surmounting the arms of
Reims, carved on their heads. These are capable of containing 5500
gallons of wine, and in them the firm make their cuvée. A platform,
access to which is gained by a staircase in a side aisle, runs round
one of these _foudres_; and when the wine, which has been hoisted
up in casks and poured through a metal trough into the _foudre_, is
being blended, boys stand on this platform and, by means of a handle
protruding above the cask, work the paddle-wheels placed inside,
thereby securing the complete amalgamation of the wine. 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 130 large shafts, 90 feet in
depth and 60 feet square at their base, which were originally quarries,
and are now connected by spacious galleries. This side of Reims abounds
with similar chalk quarries, commonly 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 filling up the chambers above the water level, proceeded
to excavate the connecting 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_l._ was spent upon them and the
castellated structure aboveground. Several millions of bottles of
Champagne can be stored in these capacious vaults, the area of which is
nearly 450,000 square feet.


Madame Pommery made a great mark with her splendid cuvées of 1868 and
1874, the result being that her brand has become widely popular, and
that it invariably realises exceptionally high prices.

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 St. Marceaux &
Co.'s new and capacious establishment is installed. Simple and without
pretension, the establishment, which covers an area of upwards of
18,000 feet, is distinguished for its perfect appropriateness to the
industry for which it was designed. The principal block of building
is flanked by two advanced wings enclosing a garden-court, set off
with flowers and shrubs, and from the centre of which rises a circular
shaft, covered in with glass, and 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 large quantities
of casks replete with the choice crus of Verzenay, Ay, Cramant, and
Bouzy, while thousands of bottles ready for labelling are stacked 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 destined 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 an enormous vat, 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 guard against
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 descended 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 found no less than four-and-twenty galleries excavated in
the chalk, devoid of masonry supports, and containing upwards of a
million bottles of Champagne. These galleries vary in length, but are
of uniform breadth, and allow either for a couple of racks with wine
_sur pointe_, or stacks of bottles, in four row's on either side, with
ample passage-room 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 & 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, the extra superior quality of the
firm, which secured the first place at a recent Champagne competition
in England.

Some little distance beyond the remnants of the ancient fortifications
of Reims, skirting the Butte de St. Nicaise, is the establishment
of Veuve Morelle & Co., successors to Veuve Max Sutaine & Co. This
house was founded in 1823 by the late M. Maxime Sutaine, who, like
several other notabilities in the Reims wine trade, was as familiar
with art and science as with the special industry to which he had
devoted himself. An amateur painter of no mean skill, he showed himself
thoroughly at home in the biographical and critical notices on artists
and art in his native province which he produced. His name, however,
is chiefly identified in literature with his _Essai sur le Vin de
Champagne_.[425] This work may be regarded as the first attempt to
collect the scattered materials relating to the history of Champagne
wine, and to deal with them in a critical spirit. Though necessarily
imperfect, its value is undoubtedly great, and it has been frequently
quoted from in the present volume. The family of Sutaine long held
an honourable position at Reims, the name of one of M. Max Sutaine's
immediate ancestors, who filled the position of lieutenant of the city
in 1765, appearing on the bronze slab at the base of the statue of
Louis XV. in the Place Royale, erected during that year.


The cellars of the firm of Veuve Morelle & Co., successors to Max
Sutaine & Co., are very extensive; and while more than usually
picturesque in appearance, are in every respect admirably adapted for
the rearing and development of the delicate wines of the Champagne.
These cellars, hewn out of the chalk, are of great depth. The firm
has been careful to adhere to the good traditions of its predecessors
in the composition of its cuvées, and at the same time to avoid those
errors which experience and the resources of modern science have made
manifest. Its rule is only to send out wines of a good cru, and never
before they are thoroughly matured, thereby avoiding the shipment of
young wines. The chief kinds bearing the brand of Max Sutaine & Co. are
Vin Brut (of great years), Extra Dry, Creaming Sillery, and Bouzy for
England, Sillery Sec for Russia, and Verzenay and Cabinet for Germany
and Belgium.

It should be mentioned that of late years the abandoned quarries,
so numerous on this side of the city, have been largely utilised
by the Reims Champagne manufacturers as cellars for the storage of
their wines. Beyond the firms that have been already alluded to as
possessing cellars in this direction, there remain to be enumerated
Messrs. Kunkelmann & Co., Ruinart Père et Fils, the Goulets, Jules
Champion, Théophile Roederer, &c. The cellars of several of the last
named are immediately outside the Porte Dieu-Lumière, near which
is a seventeenth-century house having let into its face a curious
bas-relief, of evidently much earlier date, the subject of which has
been a source of considerable perplexity to local antiquaries.

A like cloud enshrouds the origin of the name of Dieu-Lumière, bestowed
upon the fortified gate formerly standing here, and originally erected
during the fourteenth century, when, the circle of the ramparts having
been carried round the Bourg de St. Remi so as to unite it to the old
city, the Porte St. Nicaise was walled up.[426] Like the other portals
of Reims, it has no lack of historical associations. Its vaulted roof
resounded with the trampling of barbed war-steeds when, on the 16th
July 1429, Charles the Victorious swept beneath it into the city,
with Joan of Arc by his side and the steel-clad chivalry of France at
his back.[427] The year 1583 saw its keys handed to the Duc de Guise,
and the green flag of the League, with its device 'Auspice Christo,'
hoisted above it; and twenty-three years later, as Henri Quatre rode
through it amidst shouts of welcome, the jesting remark, 'I had no idea
I was so well beloved at Reims,' was the only attempt at revenge made
by the easy-going Béarnais on the population who had so long flouted
his authority. Rebuilt in 1620, it witnessed the triumphant return of
Grandpré's cavalry and the Rémois militia, after their victory over
Montal and his Spaniards at La Pompelle in 1657, and the successful
assault of the renegade Saint Priest, whose Cossacks entered the walls
at this point in 1814, and gave way to the most brutal excesses.
Nor must it be forgotten that Marie Louise passed through this gate
_en route_ for Paris, on which occasion its summit was crowned with
elaborate allegorical devices supported by cupids weaving garlands of
flowers; or that for several centuries the relics of St. Timotheus and
his companions were annually carried through it on Whit-Monday by the
clergy of Reims, escorted by a procession of pilgrims, to the scene of
the martyrdom of these early Christians at La Pompelle.





    The connection of Epernay with the production of wine of
    remote date--The town repeatedly burnt and plundered--Hugh the
    Great carries off all the wine of the neighbourhood--Vineyards
    belonging to the Abbey of St. Martin in the eleventh, twelfth,
    and thirteenth centuries--Abbot Gilles orders the demolition of
    a wine-press which infringes the abbey's feudal rights--Bequests
    of vineyards in the fifteenth century--Francis I. bestows Epernay
    on Claude Duke of Guise in 1544--The Eschevins send a present
    of wine to their new seigneur--Wine levied for the king's camp
    at Rethel and the strongholds of the province by the Duc de
    Longueville--Epernay sacked and fired on the approach of Charles
    V.--The Charles-Fontaine vendangeoir at Avenay--Destruction of
    the immense pressoirs of the Abbey of St. Martin--The handsome
    Renaissance entrance to the church of Epernay--Plantation of the
    'terre de siége' with vines in 1550--Money and wine levied on
    Epernay by Condé and the Duke of Guise--Henri Quatre lays siege
    to Epernay--Death of Maréchal Biron--Desperate battle amongst the
    vineyards--Triple talent of the 'bon Roy Henri' for drinking,
    fighting, and love-making--Verses addressed by him to his 'belle
    hôtesse' Anne du Puy--The Epernay Town Council make gifts of wine
    to various functionaries to secure their good-will--Presents of
    wine to Turenne at the coronation of Louis XIV.--Petition to
    Louvois to withdraw the Epernay garrison that the vintage may be
    gathered in--The Duke and Duchess of Orleans at Epernay--Louis
    XIV. partakes of the local vintage at the maison abbatiale on his
    way to the army of the Rhine--Increased reputation of the wine of
    Epernay at the end of the seventeenth century--Numerous offerings
    of it to the Marquis de Puisieux, Governor of the town--The Old
    Pretender presented at Epernay with twenty-four bottles of the
    best--Sparkling wine sent to the Marquis de Puisieux at Sillery,
    and also to his nephew--Further gifts to the Prince de Turenne--The
    vintage destroyed by frost in 1740--The Epernay slopes at this
    epoch said to produce the most delicious wine in Europe--Vines
    planted where houses had formerly stood--The development of the
    trade in sparkling wine--A 'tirage' of fifty thousand bottles
    in 1787--Arthur Young drinks Champagne at Epernay at forty sous
    the bottle--It is surmised that Louis XVI., on his return from
    Varennes, is inspired by Champagne at Epernay--Napoleon and his
    family enjoy the hospitality of Jean Remi Moët--King Jerome
    of Westphalia's true prophecy with regard to the Russians and
    Champagne--Disgraceful conduct of the Prussians and Russians
    at Epernay in 1814--The Mayor offers them the free run of his
    cellars--Charles X., Louis Philippe, and Napoleon III. accept the
    'vin d'honneur' at Epernay--The town occupied by German troops
    during the war of 1870-1.


If Reims be the titular capital of the Champagne wine-trade, Epernay
can boast of containing the establishments of some of the most eminent
firms engaged therein. Its connection with the production of the wines
of Champagne is of the remotest. The vineyards stretching for miles
around the ancient Sparnacum claim indeed an antiquity far exceeding
that of any existing portion of the town itself, which, despite the
remote date of its foundation, and the fact that it was a place of
considerable importance as early as 445, presents a thoroughly modern
aspect. Unlike Reims--so rich in the remains of antiquity--it possesses
no mementoes of the days when its lord Eulogius gave it to St.
Remi,[428] and he in turn bequeathed it to the Church.


The reason is simple, for the history of Epernay may be briefly summed
up in the words--fire, pestilence, and pillage. From the days when
misfortune first overtook it, after the division of the Frankish
monarchy on the death of Clovis, it has been burnt down on half a dozen
occasions, repeatedly depopulated by the plague, and captured and
sacked times out of number. The contending sovereigns of Austrasia and
Neustria alternately obtained forcible possession of it, and the rival
counts of Paris and Vermandois snatched it repeatedly from each other's
hold, like hungry dogs contending for a bone; whilst the Normans, the
Hungarians, the vassals of Charles of Lorraine, and the followers of
Otho of Germany added their quota to the work of destruction during
the long period of anarchy preceding the establishment of the Capetian
race upon the throne of France. The founder of the said race, Hugh the
Great, distinguished himself in 947 by plundering the town of Epernay,
ravaging the surrounding country, and profiting by the fact that it was
vintage-time to carry off all the wine of the neighbourhood.[429]

Even during the epoch of comparative tranquillity which prevailed up
to the English invasion, Epernay became from time to time the prey of
robber knights like Thomas de Marlé and rebellious nobles like Count
John of Soissons; and at the commencement of the thirteenth century
Count Thibault of Champagne was fain to burn it, in order to prevent it
from serving as a rallying-place for the lords who had risen against
Queen Blanche and her infant son Louis IX. After the battle of Poitiers
it was pillaged by the partisans of Charles the Bad of Navarre; Edward
the Black Prince entered it twice as a conqueror; and John of Gaunt
exacted a heavy tribute from it. In the struggles which followed the
death of Henry V. of England it was again taken and re-taken, partially
burnt and utterly ruined, remaining for three years absolutely
depopulated after the unwelcome visit paid it by the Duke of Burgundy
in 1432.

Yet during all these ravages the vineyards clothing the slopes
around the town were gradually developed, chiefly by the fostering
care of the good fathers of the Abbey of St. Martin. The charter of
foundation of this abbey, which was endowed in 1032, makes mention of
vineyards amongst its possessions, and they are also spoken of in the
confirmation of donations and privileges granted by Pope Eugenius III.
in 1145. Count Henry of Champagne in 1179 gave the canons of the abbey
the hospital of Epernay, with the fields and vineyards belonging to
it; and twenty years later, Abbot Guy purchased from Abbot Noah, of
the monastery of the Chapelle aux Planches, near Troyes, the fields,
vineyards, house, barn, and garden adjoining the 'ruisseau du Cotheau'
at Epernay for 110 livres. In 1203, Parchasius, a canon of Laon, left
by will to the abbey the 'vigne du Clozet,' which is still celebrated
for the excellence of its products, at Epernay; and in 1217, Abbot
Theodoric gave the 'terres de la Croix Boson' at Mardeuil to sundry of
the inhabitants of that village, on the condition of planting them with
vines and paying a yearly rent of fourteen hogsheads of wine obtained
therefrom as vinage. Tithes of wine at Oger, Cuis, Cramant, Monthelon,
&c., and the vineyards of Genselin, Beaumont, and Montfelix also figure
amongst the possessions of the abbey in the thirteenth century.[430]

A certain proportion of the tithes of the 'fields, meadows, and
vineyards' owned by the abbey at Epernay was assigned to the dependent
priory in the faubourg of Igny-le-Jard by Abbot Richard de Cuys in
1365. The cultivation of the grape seems to have been carried on
in even the most distant of the numerous possessions of the abbey,
which drew 'rentes de vin' from Chatillon and Dormans; and in 1373 we
find Abbot Gilles de Baronne compelling an unfortunate inhabitant of
Romains, near Fismes, to demolish forthwith a wine-press he had dared
to erect to the prejudice of the 'droits seigneuriaux et bannaux' which
the abbey had over that village. The military orders had their share,
too; for the Commandery of the Temple at Reims owned at Epernay at the
commencement of the fourteenth century a house and some vineyards,
still bearing the name of 'Les Tempières.' In 1419, Philippe le
Maître and his wife left to the curé of Epernay a little vineyard
at Montebon to pay for a yearly mass; and at a somewhat later date,
Isabelle la Linotte bequeathed to the abbey the vineyard De la Ronce at

[Illustration: FRANCIS I.

(From a portrait of the time).]

Indeed, the history of Epernay is most intimately connected with
that of its wine, which figures throughout its records as a constant
attraction to friends and foes. After the final expulsion of the
English, the town gradually recovered its prosperity, and became an
appanage of the Dukes of Orleans. At the commencement of the sixteenth
century we find Francis I.--to whom it had reverted on the death of
Louise of Savoy--presenting it to Claude, Duke of Guise, and the
eschevins resolving in 1544 that their new seigneur should be offered
'twenty poinçons of the best wine that can be found in the cellars
of the district, and that after the vintage twenty more of the new
crop shall be sent to him.'[432] A levy of one hundred poinçons had
already been demanded of them for the camp formed by the King at
Rethel two years before; and the various strongholds of the province
had been freely supplied with wine exacted from Epernay by the Duke de
Longueville, lieutenant-governor of the Champagne.


(From a portrait of the time).]


On the advance of Charles V. in 1544, the Dauphin, afterwards Henri
II., following the example successfully set by Anne de Montmorency
in Provence, pitilessly sacked the entire district of the Marne, in
order that the enemy might find nothing to live on, and stored the
product, which included an enormous quantity of wine, in Epernay. The
Emperor advanced, meeting with but little opposition, and having taken
up his quarters in the Abbey of Avenay, amused himself with building
the vendangeoir known as Charles-Fontaine on the adjacent slope, as a
testimony of his intention to make, if possible, a permanent sojourn in
a province, the vinous products of which he so highly esteemed.[433]
But whilst the illustrious patron of Titian and his 'swarthy grave
commanders' were snugly tippling the choicest vintages contained in the
abbey cellars, and his followers camped outside Epernay were waiting
for the hour when they should revel at pleasure on the wine stored
in the town, their hopes vanished literally in smoke. For Francis,
fearing the town would be unable to hold out, had sent word to Captain
Sery to burn it, and destroy the accumulated store of provisions,
in order to prevent them falling into the hands of the enemy. This
was accordingly done on the 3d September, and amongst the property
consumed were the immense pressoirs of the Abbey of St. Martin. In
this conflagration the church of Epernay was no doubt also destroyed,
as the handsome Renaissance doorway--the sole ancient portion of the
existing edifice--was evidently erected in the latter half of the
sixteenth century. The misfortunes of the town did not cease with this
calamity, for a great pestilence seems to have marked the return of the
inhabitants to their ruined dwellings at the epoch of the following
vintage.[434] Five years later, six arpents of the 'terre de siege'
where the Spaniards had encamped were planted with vines by the Count
de Nanteuil-le-Haudouin, and received the name of the Vineyard de la




As a matter of course, the hapless fate of the town pursued it during
the religious wars of the sixteenth century. In 1567 the Huguenots,
under Condé, seized on Epernay--then a portion of the appanage of the
unfortunate Marie Stuart of Scotland--and exacted a ransom of 10,500
livres, towards which the Abbey of St. Martin contributed 3451 livres,
partly in money and partly in wine, calculated at no more than eleven
livres the queue. A higher price appears to have ruled on the recapture
of the town by the Duke of Guise the same year, when the levy made
consisted of 500 pièces of wine, estimated at twenty-four livres the
queue.[436] Guise was driven out by the inhabitants in 1588; but after
one fruitless assault, the Leaguers under Rosné succeeded in obtaining
forcible possession of Epernay four years later.

On Henri Quatre laying siege in turn to Epernay in 1592, the vineyards
around the town were again literally watered with blood. One notable
episode of this siege was the death of Maréchal Biron, the most
devoted of Henri's adherents. On the 27th July the King and Biron were
returning on horseback from Damery to the camp. As they advanced up the
road leading from Mardeuil to the faubourg of Igny, the wind blew off
Henri's hat, adorned with the famous white plume, and Biron, picking
it up, jestingly placed it upon his own head. At this moment the white
plume unluckily caught the eye of Petit, the master gunner of Epernay,
and he at once pointed a cannon at it from the Tour Saint Antoine. 'For
the Béarnais!' he exclaimed, as he fired; and the ball carried away
the head of the Maréchal, to whom Henri was speaking, and upon whose
shoulder the King's hand was actually resting. 'Ah, mordieu, the dog
has bitten the Béarnais!' cried the exulting gunner, believing it was
the King who had fallen, and alluding to the name of the cannon, which
was known as the 'Dog of Orleans,' from its having been captured from
the English at the siege of that city, and bearing on its breech the
figure of a dog.[437]



The death of Maréchal Biron, and the fact that Henri was devoting quite
as much attention to his 'belle hôtesse' at Damery, the fair Présidente
Anne du Puy, as he was to the siege, encouraged St. Paul, who commanded
at Reims for the League, to despatch a strong body of Walloon pikemen
and musketeers to the relief of the beleaguered town. They approached
by the hollow road leading from the Faubourg des Ponts Neufs to the
slope of the Vignes des Capinets, and passing between the vineyards
Dure Epine and Gouttes d'Or. Attacked by the Royalists, they drew up
in good order in the latter spot, and prepared to defend themselves
with all the stubborn valour of their race, their dense array of pikes
bristling amongst the bright green leaves--for it was the close of
summer, and the vines were in all the glory of their luxuriant foliage.
Vainly for a long time the Royalists assailed them. Attack after attack
was repulsed, till the 'golden drops' were turned to drops of gore; and
it was not until the white plume of King Henri came dashing on in the
forefront of his choicest cavalry that the Walloons were finally broken
and routed, after inflicting upon their assailants a far greater loss
than they themselves sustained. The vineyard thus baptised in blood was
thenceforward known as the Vigne des Sièges.[438]



Though data may be lacking to connect the 'bon Roi Henri' directly with
the wine of Epernay, there can be no doubt that the sovereign whose
triple talent for drinking, fighting, and love-making has been handed
down to us in song[439] found a fair opportunity of exercising all
three of these attributes during the siege. Of fighting, as we have
seen, he had plenty, and, Anacreon-like, he seems to have blended love
and wine together.[440] He who, when a new-born babe, had his lips
wetted in the old castle of Pau by stout Antoine de Bourbon with a cup
of the generous wine of the South, and who gloried in the title of the
Sieur d'Ay, was not likely to neglect the nectar vintaged on the slopes
around Epernay. And probably the recollection of the raven-haired,
black-eyed, bronze-skinned Bernais peasant-girls, whom tradition vows
he used to woo when in the first flush of youthful manhood beneath the
trellised vines of Jurançon and Gan, served by contrast to heighten the
fairer charms of the blonde Anne du Puy, in whose honour he is reported
to have sung:

        'Morning bright,
        Thy pure light
    I rejoice when I see;
        The fair dove
        Whom I love
    So, is rosy like thee.

        She is fair,
        None so rare,
    With a waist matched by none;
        By my hand
        It is spanned,
    And eyes bright as the sun.

        Wet with new
        Fallen dew,
    The rose sparkles less bright;
        Freer from spot
        Ermine's not,
    Nor is lily more white.

        Fair Dupuis,
        All agree,
    On ambrosia is fed;
        From her lip
        When I sip
    Nectar's perfume is shed.'[441]

At the outset of the seventeenth century Epernay had its full share in
the troubles that marked the early part of the reign of Louis XIII.,
being taken in turn by Condé, by the Count de Soissons, acting for
the malcontent nobles leagued against Richelieu in 1634, and by the
King's forces the year following. The peaceful records are, however,
plentiful and interesting. In 1631 we find the town council deciding
to present 'six caques of white wine, the best that can be found,' to
M. de Vignolles, and the same to M. d'Elbenne; and two years later
protesting to the 'treasurers of France' their inability to pay 70,000
livres, demanded towards the maintenance of the army, owing to the all
but total failure of the wine crop. The council were fully aware of
the merits of their vintage, and of the advantages of appealing to the
heart by way of the stomach. Six 'feuillettes' of the best wine were
ordered to be sent in September 1636 to M. de Vaubecourt, and one to
his secretary, 'to retain their good-will towards the town,' and induce
the former to use his influence with a committee appointed by the King
for repaying loans and advances, and also towards getting rid of the
garrison. A little later the Marquis de Senneterre received a queue of
wine to withdraw his troops from the town. The Maréchal de Chatillon,
M. de Vaubecourt, M. de Belfonds, and the Count d'Estaing were in
frequent receipt of such gifts; and it is noteworthy that amongst them
figure 'two caques of wine in bottles,' sent to each of the two first
at Sainte Ménéhoulde in 1639.[442]


The successful efforts of Turenne against his great rival Condé during
the wars of the Fronde were encouraged by frequent presents of the wine
of Epernay. As the brother of the Duc de Bouillon, to whom the town
of Epernay had been given in 1643 in exchange for Sedan, and as the
protector of the district against the Spaniards, he received numerous
tokens of the citizens' good-will. In September 1652 twelve caques of
wine were sent to him, with the result that he at once ordered his
soldiers to repair the broken bridge across the Marne. In the following
January a chevreuil and two caques, and in June wine, fowls, and game,
were presented to him. In June 1654 it was resolved that a deputation
should be sent to the coronation of Louis XIV. at Reims, 'to render the
homage due to the King,' and to present 'a caque of wine in bottles' to
M. de Turenne, which helped no doubt to spread the fame of the Epernay
wine amongst the nobility present on that occasion.

The same social lever was applied in 1660 to the 'traitant général'
of the so-called 'don gratuit' exacted on the occasion of the King's
marriage, two feuillettes being proffered in order to get him to
reduce the assessment. Representations made to an eschevin of Paris,
despatched to Epernay in 1662 to see if there was any store of grain
in the town that could be sold to benefit the starving poor of the
capital, to the effect that the district was a wine-growing and not
a corn country; and the despatch of a deputation in August 1666 to
Louvois, to request that the garrison might be withdrawn to allow of
the vintage being gathered in--the inhabitants of the surrounding
country having fled to avoid sheltering soldiers,--serve to show the
importance of the Epernay wine-trade. In 1671, on the passage of the
Duke and Duchess of Orleans from Châlons, fruit and sweetmeats were
presented to them, and wine to the lords of their suite, at a cost of
211 livres 7 sols; and two years later, Louis XIV. partook of the local
vintage during his sojourn at the 'maison abbatiale,' when on his way
to the army of the Rhine.

Towards the close of this century the wine grew in repute, and was
eagerly sought after. In November 1677 two caques were sent to 'a
person who enjoys some credit,' and who was willing to accord his
protection to the town in the matter of quartering troops upon it;
and the following January twelve more caques were despatched to this
'unknown,' who may have been Louvois himself. As to Roger Brulart,
Marquis de Puisieux et de Sillery and Governor of Epernay, a joyous
companion, if we may credit St. Simon, his appreciation of the local
vintage is borne ample testimony to. In 1677 six caques of 'the best'
were sent to him by the town council; but by 1691 he must have become
used to larger offerings, as in September a letter was addressed to him
begging him to be satisfied with the like amount, as 'the inhabitants
could not manage more,' and could only promise, with regard to three
caques still due, that they would 'make an effort' to supply them the
following year. Wise in their generation, they sent at the same time
'twelve bottles of the best wine' to his intendant, and a similar gift
to his secretary; but the following year they were forced to write
again that it would be impossible to supply the wine promised unless he
obtained a permission to levy it.[443]

The Old Pretender, or, as he is styled in the local records, 'Jacques
Stuart III., roy d'Angleterre,' arrived at Epernay in September 1712,
and was presented with 'twenty-four bottles of the best;' whilst the
Marquis de Puisieux, who accompanied him, was satisfied with nothing
less than a 'carteau,' or quarter-cask. And when the latter announced
his intention of paying a visit in the autumn of 1719 to Maître
Adam Bertin du Rocheret, conseiller du roy and ex-president of the
Grenier-à-sel at Epernay, a resolution was passed to offer him wine
on his arrival, and to send 'a hundred _flasks_ of the best' to his
château of Sillery. The use of the word 'flaçons' clearly implies that
the discoveries of Dom Perignon were being acted upon at Epernay, and
that the gift in question was one of sparkling wine.


In June 1722 the Sieurs Quatresous and Chertemps, despatched to
congratulate the marquis's nephew and successor, Louis Philogène
Brulart, on his appointment to the governorship of the town and his
marriage with Mademoiselle de Souvré, granddaughter of Louvois,
took with them a similar offering. At the coronation of Louis XV.,
in October, deputies were sent to compliment the Prince de Turenne,
representative of his father the Duc de Bouillon, seigneur d'Epernay,
and to present him with 'game, trout, and other fish,' and 'a basket
of a hundred flasks of the best.' In August 1725 the bourgeois were
drawn up under arms, and four dozen bottles were got ready, on the
passage through the town of the Duke of Orleans, son of the late
Regent, on his way to espouse, as the King's proxy, Marie Leczinska.
This was, however, a sad year for the wine-growers, for ten months
of incessant rain, beginning in April, not only ruined the at first
promising crop entirely, but caused floods which wrought some havoc.
The terrible hail-storm of 1730, which devastated the vineyards of
Reims, fortunately spared those of Epernay; but a frost in October
1740 destroyed the vintage, and led to a dearness of provisions which
pressed even on the most well-to-do.[444]

For the next three-quarters of a century Epernay continued quietly
to profit by the yield of 'the slopes laden with vines producing the
most delicious wines in Europe,' to quote the expression of Stapart,
who in 1749 notes the importance of the trade in wine carried on,
not only with Paris, but with foreign countries; though at the same
time complaining of the decreasing size of the town, and the fact of
vineyards being planted where houses had formerly stood.[445] The
only events of importance were from time to time an unusually good
or an uncommonly bad crop, or--as the manufacture of _vin mousseux_
gradually swallowed up that of still wine--a disastrous _casse_, like
the memorable one of 1776, varied by an occasional royal visit or so.
By 1780, Max Sutaine notes that a single manufacturer would turn out
from five to six thousand bottles of sparkling Champagne, and exults
over the fact that seven years later an enterprising firm risked a
_tirage_ of fifty thousand, though people at the time regarded this as
something prodigious, and wondered where an outlet would be found.[446]
Very likely a bottle of this identical _tirage_ was 'the excellent
_vin mousseux_' with which Arthur Young regaled himself, at a cost
of forty sous, on the 7th July of the same year, at that 'very good
inn' the Hôtel de Rohan, at Epernay.[447] At this same inn the hapless
Louis XVI. stopped to dine on his return from the intercepted flight to
Varennes; and when we recall his timid nature, we may fairly surmise
that it was Champagne which inspired him, amidst the insults of the
mob, to remind the authorities that his ancestor, Henri Quatre, had
entered the town in a very different fashion, and by implication to
assert that he might yet do the same.[448]

The Emperor Napoleon, the Empress Josephine, the King of Westphalia,
and the other members of the Bonaparte dynasty, who from time to time
visited Epernay and partook of the hospitality of Jean Remi Moët,
showed a healthy appreciation of its vintage. Indeed King Jerome, in
giving an order for six thousand bottles _premier cru_, remarked with
a strange foresight that he would have taken more, only he was afraid
that it would be the Russians after all who would come and drink it.
Sure enough the eventful year 1814 witnessed the arrival at Epernay of
a host of self-invited guests, all equally appreciative of the merits
of Champagne, and gifted with an almost unlimited power of consumption,
but entertaining insuperable objections to pay for what they consumed.
The Prussians and Russians who came hither in February and March
misconducted themselves in a very sad manner, burning and pillaging
houses, insulting and maltreating the inhabitants, requisitioning all
the wine they could lay hands on, and drinking in a manner recalling
the Bacchic exploits of Gargantua and Pantagruel. The mayor, Jean Remi
Moët, moved by the state of affairs, offered the invaders the free run
of his cellars rather than that they should pillage those of others,
doubtless under the idea that the reputation his house would thus
acquire abroad would soon enable him to retrieve the temporary loss--a
proviso happily and amply realised. Beyond the facts that Epernay has
profited, and continues to profit, by the ever-increasing development
of the taste for sparkling wine; that Charles X., Louis Philippe, and
Napoleon III. have successively favoured it with their presence, and
accepted the _vin d'honneur_ offered on such occasions; and that during
the war of 1870-1 the town, in common with the rest of the province of
Champagne, was occupied by the German invading army, there is nothing
more to be said respecting its history.




         /The Champagne Establishments of Epernay and Pierry./

    Early records of the Moët family at Reims and Epernay--Jean Remi
    Moët, the founder of the commerce in Champagne wines--Extracts from
    old account-books of the Moëts--Jean Remi Moët receives the Emperor
    Napoleon, the Empress Josephine, and the King of Westphalia--The
    firm of Moët & Chandon constituted--Their establishment in the
    Rue du Commerce--The delivery and washing of new bottles--The
    numerous vineyards and vendangeoirs of the firm--Their cuvée made
    in vats of 12,000 gallons--The bottling of the wine--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.--The original vaults
    known as Siberia--Scene in the packing-hall--Messrs. Moët &
    Chandon's large and complete staff--The famous 'Star' brand of the
    firm--Perrier-Jouët's château, offices, and cellars--Classification
    of the wine of the house--The establishment of Messrs. Pol
    Roger & Co.--Their large stock of the fine 1874 vintage--The
    preparations for the tirage--Their vast fireproof cellier and
    its temperature--Their lofty and capacious cellars--Pierry
    becomes a wine-growing district consequent upon Dom Perignon's
    discovery--Esteem in which the growths of the Clos St. Pierre were
    held--Cazotte, author of _Le Diable Amoureux_, and guillotined
    for planning the escape of Louis XVI. from France, a resident at
    Pierry--His contest with the Abbot of Hautvillers with reference
    to the abbey tithes of wine--The Château of Pierry--Its owner
    demands to have it searched to prove that he is not a forestaller
    of corn--The vineyards and Champagne establishment of Gé-Dufaut &
    Co.--The reserves of old wines in the cellars of this firm--Honours
    secured by them at Vienna and Paris.


Those magnates of the Champagne trade, Messrs. Moët & 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 fourteenth century Jehan Moët de Mennemont, _escuier_,
held a fief at Attigny from the Archbishop Richard Pique, and that
in the following 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 for
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

[Illustration: JEAN REMI MOËT.]

At Messrs. Moët & 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 23d, 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 & 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, & Walker (predecessors of the
well-known existing firm of Carbonnell & 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.' The Chevalier Colebrook, writing from Bath, also 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; and in 1790 the customers of the house include
Power & 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 & Co., was
remodelled under the style of Moët & 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 (1880) 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 & Chandon's offices at Epernay is a range of
comparatively new buildings, with its white façade ornamented with
the well-known monogram M. & 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 1000 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 proportion in huge vats, each holding upwards
of 12,000 gallons. Some of this wine is the growth of Messrs. Moët &
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 & 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 5450 pièces
of fine white wine, sufficient for 1,360,000 bottles of Champagne, are
annually made--that is, 1200 pièces at Ay, 1100 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 & 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 insure
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 insure 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 & 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 trucks, 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 & 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 6 or 7 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 & 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 & Chandon's Epernay cellars--which,
burrowed out in all directions, are of the aggregate length of nearly
seven miles, and have usually between 10,000,000 and 12,000,000 bottles
and 20,000 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, cross-roads, 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 Remi 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 60,000 lb. 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 & 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 3000 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 trap-holes 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, devoid
of the picturesque festoons of fungi which decorate the London Dock
vaults, yet exhibiting 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 side, 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, in racks
at various angles of inclination. These cellars contain nearly 11,000
racks, and as many as 600,000 bottles are commonly twisted here 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 4000 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 wagons are drawn up ready to receive their loads. The 70 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 10,000 lb. 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 each.

Some idea of the complex character of so vast an establishment as that
of Messrs. Moët & 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 1500 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.

It is needless to particularise Messrs. Moët & Chandon's wines, which
are familiar to all drinkers of Champagne. Still it may be mentioned
that the great Epernay firm, with the view of meeting the requirements
of the time, have lately commenced shipping a high-class _vin brut_, or
natural Champagne, possessing great vinosity, combined with remarkable
delicacy of flavour. To this fine dry wine the name of 'Brut Impérial'
has been given by the house. Moët & Chandon's 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 a
thousand visitors from all parts of the world come annually to Epernay
and make the tour of Messrs. Moët & Chandon's spacious cellars.

A little beyond Messrs. Moët & Chandon's, in the broad Rue du Commerce,
we encounter a heavy, ornate, pretentious-looking château, the
residence of the late M. Perrier-Jouët, presenting a striking contrast
to the almost mean-looking premises opposite, where the business of the
firm is carried on. On the left-hand side of a courtyard surrounded by
low buildings, which serve as celliers, store-houses, packing-rooms,
and the like, are the offices; and 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 2200 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 2-1/2 per cent.

The firm have no less than five qualities of wine, 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 & 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.

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
& Chandon and Perrier-Jouët the ornate monumental façade which the
firm of Piper & Co.--of whom Messrs. Kunkelmann & Co. are to-day the
successors--raised some years since above their extensive cellars. 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 & 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 crus, 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, & 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
lower one of which is reached by a flight of no less than 170 steps.


Less than a couple of miles southward of Epernay, on the high-road to
Troyes, is the village of Pierry, which, unlike most of the Champagne
villages, is one of those happy spots with little or no history.
Up to the close of the seventeenth century it was an insignificant
hamlet; but at that epoch--when Dom Perignon's discovery gave such
an impetus to the viticultural industry of the Marne--the waste land
lying around it was broken up and planted with vines, and a number
of rich strangers, chiefly from Epernay, built themselves houses and
vendangeoirs here, and contributed to the erection of the church. The
Benedictines of St.-Pierre-aux-Monts at Châlons, who continued to be
the titular seigneurs of Pierry up to the period of the Revolution,
were not behindhand in attention to their vines, and during the early
part of the eighteenth century the wine vintaged in their Clos St.
Pierre, under the fostering care of Brother Jean Oudart--whose renown
almost equalled that of Perignon himself--was very highly esteemed.[449]

During the eighteenth century Pierry continued to be a favourite
residence of well-to-do landowners,[450] and was further embellished by
the construction of numerous handsome châteaux, the most interesting,
from a historic point of view, being that formerly belonging to
Cazotte.[451] It was here that the ex-Commissary General of the navy
composed the greater part of his works, and elaborated that futile
scheme for the escape of Louis XVI. after Varennes, which was to
conduct its author to the scaffold.[452]

The visionary dreamer, to whom we owe the _Diable Amoureux_, appears at
Pierry in the triple character of a practical viticulturist, a village
Hampden withstanding with dauntless breast that little tyrant of the
surrounding vineyards--the Abbot of Hautvillers,[453] and a local
legislator put forward in the proprietarial interest at the outbreak of
that Revolution[454] which he appears to have foreseen, if not to have
directly prophesied, as he has been credited with doing.[455]

Amongst the most imposing of the remaining Pierry châteaux is the one
situate in that part of the village known as Corrigot, and now in the
occupation of Messrs. Gé-Dufaut & Co. Its grandiose aspect, various
courts, charming garden, fine trees, and clear lake justify this firm
in adopting, in combination with an anchor, the title Château de
Pierry as the brand of their wine. Prior to the Revolution the château
belonged to M. de Papillon de Sannois, a fermier-général of that
period. The municipal records of Pierry contain a petition addressed
by him to the authorities in 1791, at a time when a panic prevailed
respecting the forestallers of corn, begging them to institute a formal
search throughout his residence, in order to give the lie to the
rumours accusing him of having bought up and stored away a considerable
quantity of wheat. The municipality accepted his invitation, and the
result was a certificate to the effect that the total amount of wheat
and oats stored there only represented three months' consumption for
the household.

Messrs. Gé-Dufaut & Co. are the owners of vineyards both in Pierry
and the neighbouring parts, and for upwards of thirty years the
firm have been engaged in preparing and shipping Champagnes. Their
cellars, excavated in the mingled stone, chalk, and earth which form
the prevailing soil of the district, extend beneath the vineyards
belonging to the firm, and are walled and vaulted throughout. The
circumstance of their being on one level, slightly below the celliers
of the establishment, is a great convenience as regards the various
manipulations which the wine has to undergo. Considerable reserves of
old wines of the best years are stored in these vaults. The cultivation
of the vineyards owned by the firm, and the pressing, maturing, and
general cellar management of their wines are under the personal
superintendence of the various partners, with a highly satisfactory
result, as is proved by the first-class medal secured by the firm at
the Vienna Exhibition of 1873, and the gold medal awarded to them at
the Paris Exhibition of 1878. Messrs. Gé-Dufaut & Co. ship their wines
to Europe, America, and India, and more especially to England, where
their dry, natural, and unalcoholised Champagne has acquired a deserved
reputation. The firm, moreover, are the officially appointed furnishers
of Champagne to the Courts of Italy and Spain.





          /Some Champagne Establishments at Ay and Mareuil./

    The _bourgade_ of Ay and its eighteenth-century château--Gambling
    propensities of a former owner, Balthazar Constance
    Dangé-Dorçay--Appreciation of the Ay vintage by Sigismund of
    Bohemia, Leo X., Charles V., Francis I., and Henry VIII.--Bertin
    du Rocheret celebrates this partiality in triolets--Estimation
    of the Ay wine in the reigns of Charles IX. and Henri III.--Is
    a favoured drink with the leaders of the League, and with Henri
    IV., Catherine de Medicis, and the courtiers of that epoch--The
    'Vendangeoir d'Henri Quatre' at Ay--The King's pride in his title
    of Seigneur d'Ay and Gonesse--Dominicus Baudius punningly suggests
    that the 'Vin d'Ay' should be called 'Vinum Dei'--The merits of
    the wine sung by poets and extolled by wits--The Ay wine in its
    palmy days evidently not sparkling--Arthur Young's visit to Ay in
    1787--The establishment of Deutz & Geldermann--Drawing off the
    cuvée there--Mode of excavating cellars in the Champagne--The
    firm's new cellars, vineyards, and vendangeoir--M. Duminy's
    cellars and wines--The house founded in 1814--The new model Duminy
    establishment--Picturesque old house at Ay--Messrs. Pfungst
    Frères & Co.'s cellars--Their finely-matured dry Champagnes--The
    old church of Ay and its numerous decorations of grapes and
    vine-leaves--The sculptured figure above the Renaissance
    doorway--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 & 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 steeple of the antique church, relieved by a background of
vine-covered slopes, and of an eighteenth-century château rising above
a mass of foliage. 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 Madame 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 son is
to-day a partner in the Champagne house of Ayala & Co.

The wine of Ay, from an early date, has found equal favour in the
eyes of poets and princes. Eustache Deschamps sang its praises in
the fourteenth century, and was echoed a hundred years later by the
anonymous author of the _Eglogue sur le Retour de Bacchus_.[456]
Sigismund of Bohemia, the betrayer of John Huss, on visiting France
in 1410, desired to pass through Ay in order to taste the wine at the
place of its production.[457] Leo X., Charles V., Francis III., and our
own Henry VIII., each had a house in or near Ay; 'for amongst all the
great affairs of state which these princes had to unravel, supplying
themselves with this vintage was not the least of their cares.'[458]
Malicious tongues have asserted that they were somewhat suspicious
of the honesty of the wine-growers of the district, and, in order to
secure a genuine article, deemed it needful to have a commissioner
or agent resident on the spot, to superintend the making of the wine
set apart for their own consumption.[459] Tradition still points out,
on the right of the road from Dizy to Ay, a vineyard called Le Léon,
as the one whence the Pope derived his wine, though no traces remain
of the vendangeoir built by the Emperor in a coppice above Ay during
the siege of Epernay in 1544, and still standing in 1727.[460] The
president Bertin du Rocheret has celebrated the partiality of a couple
of these potentates for the wine of Ay in some triolets addressed to M.
de Senécé, and published in the _Mercure_ in 1728:

    'Ay produces the best wine--
        I call the world to witness this;
    Though you may for Reims opine,
    Ay produces the best wine.
    It ranks the first, and the most fine
        St. Evremond has said it is.
    Ay produces the best wine--
        I call the world to witness this.

    Charles the Fifth was well aware
        Of this--far better than his friend
    Adrian in the papal chair;
    Charles the Fifth was well aware
    Of this, and so, to get his share,
        Sought in France his days to end.
    Charles the Fifth was well aware
        Of this--far better than his friend.

    Lest some fraud the juice should mix,
        And his table thus disgrace,
    He would his own vintage fix,
    Lest some fraud the juice should mix.
    Leo, fearing the like tricks,
        Bought in Ay a pressing-place,
    Lest some fraud the juice should mix,
        And his table thus disgrace.'[461]

The wine of Ay ranked at the court of Charles IX. as 'a very pleasant
and noble wine;'[462] and even that bigoted uprooter of vines and
heresy had a vendangeoir in this stronghold of Protestantism,[463]
which the Catholics of the Champagne marched against, singing--

    'Parpaillot d'Ay,
        T'es bien misérable,
    T'as quitté ton Di
        Pour servir le diable;
    Tu n'auras ni chien, ni chat,
    Pour te chanter Libera,
    Et tu mourras mau-chrétien,
    Toi qu'a maudit Saint Trézain.'[464]

[Illustration: HENRI III.

(From a painting of the period).]

In the reign of Henri III. the wines of Ay--'claret and yellowish,
subtile, fine, and in taste very pleasing to the palate, ... yet
therewithal such wines as the Greeks call Oligophora, and as will not
admit the mixture of much water'[465]--were 'eagerly sought after
for the use of kings, princes, and great lords.'[466] At a time when
the bulk of the vintage of Burgundy was denounced as rough, sour,
and harsh; and that of Bordeaux stigmatised as thick and black; and
when good and bad years were allowed to have a considerable influence
upon the growths of the Isle of France, the Orleannais, and Anjou, it
was admitted that 'the wines of Ay do, for the most part, hold the
first and principal place, ... and are, in all good and evil years,
found better than any others.'[467] The kings and princes of the day
made the wines of Ay their ordinary drink.[468] They flowed freely
in the scandalous orgies with which the French Heliogabalus and his
_mignons_ alternated their pious flagellations and solemn processions,
and mantled in the beakers over which the chiefs of the League sat in
dark and solemn conclave; they were quaffed by the Béarnais to the
bright eyes of the fair De Saulve, and cheered the nightly vigils of
Catherine de Medicis and Ruggieri; they sharpened the biting wit of
Chicot, and spurred the plotting spirit of Francis of Anjou. Guise
and Crillon, Joyeuse and D'Epernon, Mayenne and D'Aubigné made common
cause in recognising their merits; Quelus and Maugiron may have quaffed
a goblet before setting forth on their fatal journey to the Barrière
Saint Antoine; and a cup, filled by the fair hands of the Duchess
de Montpensier, may have fired the brain and nerved the arm of the
regicide Jacques Clément.


Henri Quatre boasted the merits of his vineyard at Prepaton, near
Vendôme, when he was only King of Navarre,[469] and delighted in the
wine of Arbois.[470] At Ay, within a few yards of the church, there
is a quaint old timber house traditionally known as the 'vendangeoir
d'Henri Quatre,' with obliterated carved escutcheons on the pillars
of its doorway. In this dilapidated yet interesting structure we
have a mute but certain testimony to the King's appreciation of the
wine of Ay, if not a confirmation of the truth of the assertion that
Henri was as proud of his title of Seigneur d'Ay as of that of King
of France.[471] Giving an audience to the Spanish ambassador, and
irritated at the long list of titles appended by the punctilious
hidalgo to his royal master's name, he exclaimed: 'You will say to his
Highness Philip, King of Spain and the Indies, Castille, Leon, Arragon,
Murcia, and the Balearic Isles, that Henri, Sieur of Ay and of Gonesse
...,' being the places producing the best wine and the whitest bread in
France.[472] When encamped at Damery, during the siege of Epernay, this
favourite beverage, and the smiles of the fair Anne Dudey, Présidente
du Puy, helped to relieve the tedium of campaigning; for, as Bertin du
Rocheret has sung,

    'Our great Henry, king benign,
        With it cheered his "belle hôtesse."
    When at Damery he'd dine,
    Our great Henry, king benign,
    Chose it for his favourite wine;
        And for bread, that of Gonesse
    Our great Henry, king benign,
        With it cheered his "belle hôtesse."'[473]

With the vintage of Ay in such universal esteem, it is scarcely to
be wondered at that Dominicus Baudius, professor of eloquence at
the University of Leyden and historiographer to the States of the
Netherlands, should, in the fulness of his admiration, have declared to
his friend the Président du Thou that instead of _vin d'Ay_ it ought to
be called _vinum Dei_.[474]

Olivier de Serres, the French Tusser, praises this divine liquor.[475]
The anonymous author of the _Hercule Guepin_, a poem penned at the
commencement of the seventeenth century in honour of the wine of
Orleans, is forced to acknowledge the merits of that of Ay;[476] and
that indefatigable commentator, the Abbé de Marolles, in a note to his
edition of Martial, classes the growths of Ay, Avenay, and Epernay
amongst the best that France produced. 'Vive le bon vin d'Ay!' exclaims
Guy Patin enthusiastically; and that strange compound of the wit and
the philosopher, St. Evremond, has extolled its qualities in prose
and verse.[477] 'If you ask me which wine of all others I prefer,' he
writes from London to the Count d'Olonne, about 1671, 'without yielding
to tastes introduced by people of sham daintiness, I will answer that
good wine of Ay is the most natural of all wines, the most healthy, the
best purified from all earth smack; of a most exquisite charm, through
the peach flavour which is peculiar to it; and is, in my opinion, the
finest of all flavours.'[478]

It is improbable that the wine of Ay of Francis I., or of Henri Quatre,
was _mousseux_, for had it been so history would have mentioned it. In
good years the still wine of Ay has a bouquet and perfume sufficient to
account for its ancient reputation. Neither was the wine St. Evremond
preferred sparkling, though his reference to the taste introduced by
sham _gourmets_ points probably to the custom of drinking the wine
before its fermentation was completed, or else to the practice of icing
it. When once, however, the introduction of _vin mousseux_ added a new
charm to the pleasures of the table, the poets who sang the praises
of the foaming nectar seem one and all to have celebrated it as the
'pétillant Ay,' and to have chosen, perhaps for euphonistic reasons,
that spot as its birthplace.[479] The material results were equally
satisfactory; for Arthur Young mentions that when, on July 8, 1787, he
visited 'Ay, a village not far out on the road to Reims very famous
for its wines,' he was provided with a letter for M. Lasnier, who
had 60,000 bottles in his cellar, whilst M. Dorsé had from 30,000 to

A century ago the foregoing were no doubt considered large stocks, but
to-day the very smallest of the Ay firms would think itself poorly
provided if its cellars contained under quadruple this quantity. The
largest Champagne establishment at Ay is that of Messrs. Deutz &
Geldermann, whose extra dry 'Gold Lack' and 'Cabinet' Champagnes have
long been favourably known in England, through the energetic exertions
of their agents, Messrs. J. R. Parkington & Co., of Crutched Friars.
The Ay firm have their offices in a massive-looking corner-house at
the further extremity of the town, in the direction of the steep hills
sheltering it on the north. This forms their central establishment,
and 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.

On 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 our visit in 1877, considerable
additions were being made. In excavating these cellars in the chalk a
uniform system is pursued. The workmen commence by rounding off the
roof of the gallery, 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 splendid range of cellars now comprises eight long and lofty
galleries no less than seventeen feet wide, and the same number of feet
in height, and of the aggregate length of 2200 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 & 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, where their wine is deservedly held in high estimation,
Messrs. Deutz & Geldermann transact a considerable business with other
countries, and more especially with Germany, in which country their
brand has been for years one of the most popular, while to-day it is
the favourite at numerous regimental messes and the principal hotels.

Within a hundred yards of the open space, surrounded by houses of
different epochs and considerable diversity of design, where the
Ay market-hall stands, and in one of those narrow winding streets
common to the town, an escutcheon, with a bunch of grapes for device,
surmounting a lofty gateway, attracts attention. Beyond, 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 1874 and '78, M. Duminy has a new and
extensive establishment on the outskirts of Ay, as well as various
subterranean adjuncts in the town itself. This new establishment, which
stands under the vineclad slope, and merely a stone's throw from the
railway line to Reims, consists of a large ornamental building looking
on to a spacious courtyard ordinarily alive with busy workpeople. In
addition to the pavilion already erected, it is intended to construct
one of similar design, and to connect the two with a monumental tower.
The requisite land has already been purchased, the architectural plans
are prepared, and the work is now in active progress.


Entering the courtyard of which we have spoken, we notice the new
offices of the firm on the left hand, and extending along the wall
beyond is a long zinc-roofed shed, crowded with baskets filled with
newly-purchased Champagne bottles. On the opposite side of the
courtyard is a building in which the operation of bottle-washing is
carried on. The pavilion in the rear of the courtyard is of somewhat
monumental proportions, and is ornamented with dressings of white
stone and red brick. Entering through the principal doorway, we find
ourselves in a vast cellier, where the packing operations are carried
on, and where are a couple of huge tuns in which the cuvées of the
house are made. A stone staircase conducts to an upper cellier, where
several hundred casks of _vin brut_ are stored, and for the raising
or lowering of which lifts are provided at stated distances. In an
apartment above this second cellier straw envelopes for bottles and
other accessories employed in the trade are kept.


The cellars extend, not merely beneath this large building and the
courtyard in front, but run under the adjacent mountain-slope. They
comprise four galleries on the same level, vaulted and faced with brick
or stone, each gallery being about 500 feet in length and upwards of
twelve feet in width and height. Eight transverse passages connect
these galleries with each other, and numerous lifts communicate with
the cellier and the courtyard above. The galleries that run under
the vineyard slope are ventilated by shafts no less than 120 feet in
height. M. Duminy has already provided room here for a million bottles
of sparkling wine; and it is estimated that, when the establishment
is completed, two and a half millions of bottles can be stored here
in addition to the stock contained in the old cellars possessed by M.
Duminy in the town. 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


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 burden. Judging from the quaint
carved devices on the timbers at the lower portions of this building,
one may imagine it to have been 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. The
house evidently dates back to this or to an earlier epoch.


The cellars of Messrs. Pfungst Frères et Cie. are situated some little
distance from the vineyard owned by them at Ay. The firm lay themselves
out exclusively for the shipment of high-class Champagne, and the
excellent growths of this district necessarily form an important
element in their carefully-composed cuvées. A considerable portion
of their stock consists of reserves of old wine of grand years; and
a variety of samples of finely-matured Champagnes were submitted to
our judgment. 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, where the brand
of the firm is rapidly increasing in popularity among connoisseurs of
matured wines, Messrs. Pfungst Frères ship largely to India and the
United States.


On the northern side of the town stands the handsome Gothic church
of Ay, dating from about the middle of the fifteenth century. The
existing building replaced the edifice erected some two hundred years
previously, and traces of which are still to be seen in the present
transept. The stone tower, which is in striking contrast with the other
portions of the structure, bears the date 1541 on its western face.
This tower and the interior of the church were greatly damaged by
the fire--traditionally ascribed to lightning--which occurred at the
close of the sixteenth century, and the former had to be strengthened
by filling up the arched windows and by the addition of buttresses.
The bell, whose terrible tocsin used to warn good citizens that
the _patrie_ was in danger in the days of the Revolution, when the
church was converted into a Temple of Reason, had previously swung
in the abbey of Hautvillers, and may have summoned the vintagers to
labour as well as the faithful to prayer. From 1867 to 1877 extensive
interior repairs and restorations, costing upwards of 6000_l._, greatly
transformed the interior of the church. Care was, however, taken to
preserve the numerous bits of mediæval and Renaissance sculpture with
which both the interior and exterior of the edifice were studded.
In many of the ornamental mouldings, as well as the capitals of the
columns, grape-laden vine-branches had been freely introduced, as if
to indicate the honour in which the vine, the material source of all
the prosperity enjoyed by the little town, was held both by mediæval
and later architects; and these appear all to have been scrupulously
restored. One of the most characteristic decorations of this character
is the sculptured figure of a boy bearing a basket of grapes upon his
head, which surmounts the handsome Renaissance doorway.


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-plots, 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, enclosing the court on three sides,
comprise press-houses, celliers, and packing-rooms, an antiquated
sun-dial 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 over 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 fifty
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'Orleans.

[Illustration: GENERAL VIEW OF AVIZE.]


            /Champagne Establishments at Avize and Rilly./

    Avize the centre of the white grape district--Its situation and
    aspect--The establishment of Giesler & 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 of the Avize and Cramant
    vineyards 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 fifteenth 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 & Co., the reputation of whose brand is universal. When M.
Giesler quitted the firm of P. A. Mumm, Giesler, & 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 above-ground 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 wines.

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 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 suchlike 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, recorking, 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 boar-hounds, 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.

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 crus 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 anticipated.


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 crus_ 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, 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 are informed, as much as 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 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 specialty 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

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 the Perriers, Freminet et Fils, Dagonet et Fils,
and Jacquard Frères. As, however, any description of these would be
little else than a recapitulation of something we have already said, we
content ourselves with merely notifying their existence, and close the
present chapter with a poem on Champagne, from the pen of M. Amaury de
Cazanove of Avize:


    Pour ta beauté, pour ta gloire, ô Patrie,
        Nous t'adorons ... surtout pour tes malheurs!
    Oublions-les.... Avec idolâtrie,
        Chantons ton ciel, tes femmes et tes fleurs.
    France, nous chanterons tes femmes et tes roses;
        France, nous chanterons tes vins, autre trésor;
    Qu'on voie, ouvrant tes lèvres longtemps closes,
        Un fier sourire étinceler encor!

    Nectar qu'aux dieux jadis versait Hébé la blonde!
        O noir Falerne! ô Massique vermeil!
    Pauvres vins du vieux temps oubliés à la ronde ...
    Car le Champagne a fait le tour du monde
        En conquérant, à nos drapeaux pareil;
        Il rit, léger, sous la mousse qui tremble,
                    Et semble
        Dans le cristal un rayon de soleil.

    'Je suis le sang des coteaux de Bourgogne!'
        Dit celui-là baron à parchemin,
    Grand assommeur qui vous met sans vergogne
        Son casque au front, si lourd le lendemain....
    'C'est moi l'exquis Bordeaux, je sens la violette;
        Mes rubis, le gourmet goutte à goutte les boit,
    Et mon parfum délicat se complète
        Par ta saveur, aile d'un perdreau froid.'

    Messeigneurs les Grand Vins, s'il faut qu'on vous réponde;
        Bordeaux, Bourgogne, écoutez un conseil:
    Vantez un peu moins fort vos vertus à la ronde....
        Car le Champagne a fait le tour du monde
    En conquérant, à nos drapeaux pareil;
        Il rit, léger, sous la mousse qui tremble,
                    Et semble
    Dans le cristal un rayon de soleil.

    Car le Champagne est le vrai vin de France;
        C'est notre c[oe]ur pétillant dans nos yeux,
    Se relevant plus haut sous la souffrance;
        C'est dans sa fleur l'esprit de nos aïeux;
    Le souffle de bravoure aimable, qui tressaille
        Sous le vent de l'épée aux plumes des cimiers;
    C'est le galant défi de la bataille:
        'A vous, Messieurs les Anglais, les premiers!'

    Certain buveur de bière en vain ricane et gronde;
        Aux cauchemars de ses nuits sans sommeil
    Dieu livre ses remords! ... Nous chantons à la ronde
    Que le Champagne a fait le tour du monde
        En conquérant, à nos drapeaux pareil;
        Il rit, léger, sous la mousse qui tremble,
                    Et semble
        Dans le cristal un rayon de soleil.[481]

Avize, 8 Juillet 1877.


[Illustration: THE BOAR TAKES SOIL.]


                       /Sport in the Champagne./

    The Champagne forests the resort of the wild-boar--Departure of
    a hunting-party in the early morning to a boar-hunt--Rousing
    the boar from his lair--Commencement of the attack--Chasing the
    boar--His course is checked by a bullet--The dogs rush on in full
    pursuit--The boar turns and stands at bay--A skilful marksman
    advances and gives him the _coup de grâce_--Hunting the wild-boar
    on horseback in the Champagne--An exciting day's sport with M.
    d'Honnincton's boar-hounds--The 'sonnerie du sanglier' and the
    'vue'--The horns sound in chorus 'The boar has taken soil'--The
    boar leaves the stream, and a spirited chase ensues--Brought to
    bay, he seeks the water again--Deathly struggle between the boar
    and a full pack of hounds--The fatal shot is at length fired,
    and the 'hallali' is sounded--As many as fifteen wild-boars
    sometimes killed at a single meet--The vagaries of some tame
    young boars--Hounds of all kinds used for hunting the wild-boar
    in the Champagne--Damage done by boars to the vineyards and the
    crops--Varieties of game common to the Champagne.

The Champagne does not merely comprise vineyards producing some of the
finest wine in the world. In parts it is covered by vast and luxuriant
forests, where the pleasures of the chase are not lacking to the
Champenois, who as a rule are eager in the pursuit of sport. In winter
these forests are the resort of wild-boar, who haunt by preference the
woods around Reims, journeying 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 not merely boars, but
wolves as well.


In the villages of the Champagne on a cold winter's morning, with
it snowing or blowing, you are frequently awake before daylight by
the noise of barking dogs, of horns sounding the departure, and of
some vehicle rolling heavily over the stones. A party of sportsmen
is proceeding to the meet. Jokes and laughter enliven the journey,
but every one becomes silent and serious upon reaching the place of
rendezvous, for the object of the gathering is the excitable and
perilous boar-hunt.

In the Champagne it is no longer the fashion, as in Burgundy,

    'With javelin's point a churlish swine to gore.'

The more certain rifle is the weapon usually employed, and these arms
are now examined and carefully loaded. Meanwhile the reports of the
keepers are attentively listened to. They have beaten the wood, each
on his own side, accompanied by a bloodhound, and they inform the
hunters what they have seen or found. Great experience is necessary to
accomplish the _rembuchement_, as this tour of inspection is termed,
in a satisfactory manner; and with some it is a veritable science.
Eventually, after a discussion among the more experienced ones, it is
decided to follow the scent which appears to be freshest; whereupon
the dogs are brought up coupled, and let loose upon the trail. The
attack now begins. There are always two or three _piqueurs_ who follow
the dogs, exciting them with their voices, and making all the noise
possible, as long as the game has not been roused from its lair.
Meanwhile the marksmen place themselves at the posts indicated by the
president of the hunt, the most experienced being assigned the best
spots, whilst those whose habit it is never to harm the boar go of
their own accord 'up wind'--that is, to bad places--thus causing the
animal to 'refuse,' and to pass within range of guns that rarely let
him escape unhurt.

At first the dogs raise a somewhat distant cry--perhaps one has
followed a wrong scent--and some of the huntsmen remark in a low tone
to themselves that after all they would have done better to have
stopped at home, and turned out of their beds at a less unseasonable
hour; then, at least, they would not be standing with frozen feet in
the snow, and with colds in the head in perspective. But suddenly there
comes a cry of 'Vlô!'--the Champenois expression for designating the
boar--'Attention!' 'Look out!' Then the report of a couple of shots,
and finally the howling of the pack of dogs. Snow and cold are at once
forgotten. Each man grasps his rifle and waits for the boar to pass by.
The branches of the underwood creak and break; there is a noise as of a
squadron of cavalry dashing into a wood; then, all of a sudden, a black
mass is caught sight of approaching. But the boar is a cunning fellow;
he has seen the sportsman who is in wait for him, or has scented his
presence, and will pass out of range. Now that luck has betrayed the
latter, he has to content himself with the _rôle_ of a spectator.

So far as one can judge by the barking of the dogs, the boar is
directing his course to where an experienced marksman is posted--one
who is not about to fire his first difficult shot. Observe him: he
is perfectly motionless, for the least movement might betray his
presence; his eyes alone dart right and left in quest of the foe. Here
comes the boar, passing like a cannon-ball along the line, and there
is scarcely time to catch a glimpse of him between the reports of two
shots, which succeed each other with the rapidity of lightning. The
boar is by no means an animal easy to knock over. The forest roads are
never more than ten to fifteen paces broad; and as there are marksmen
both on the right and left, it is necessary to reserve your fire until
the animal has crossed the road and is plunging again into cover. In
addition to this, there are only two spots where a mortal wound can be
inflicted upon the boar--either behind the shoulder or in the neck.
Hit elsewhere, he will lose but little blood, and the only effect of
the wound will be to render him more savage. He will rip up a dog or
two, perhaps, and then rush off far away, without showing any further
sign of injury. Boars carrying several bullets in their bodies, but
rejoicing in capital health, as well as others covered with cicatrices,
are frequently killed. Firing too high is a common fault with many
marksmen, arising from the fact that in winter the boar's bristles are
very long and thick, and that each one stands on end at the sight of
an enemy, thus making the animal look much higher on his legs than he
really is.

But to return to our description of the hunt. The boar has just been
hit by one of those rare marksmen, every bullet of whose rifle goes
straight to its intended billet. Although struck, the animal continues
his onward course, a couple of drops of blood which have tinged the
snow with red showing unmistakably that he has not been missed. The
dogs who follow him closely hesitate for a minute as they reach the
roadway, but the leader has espied the spot where the boar was wounded;
he sniffs the blood, and darts off again, followed by the pack, who
have full confidence in his discernment. The dogs are torn and wounded
by the thorns and briers which continually obstruct their path, for
the boar rushes through the thickest and most inaccessible cover, in
hopes of retarding the progress of his pursuers; but the hounds divine
that their prey is near, and the most tired among them recover all
their energy. Suddenly a great silence succeeds the furious yelping
and baying of a short time ago. The boar is about to turn at bay. His
strength is becoming exhausted, and feeling that he is doomed to die,
he has faced round, with his back towards some inaccessible thicket, so
as not to be taken in the rear, and confronts his pursuers, determined
to die bravely and to sell his life dearly. It is no longer the baying
of a pack in full cry that now rends the air, but isolated yelpings and
plaintive howlings, such as watch-dogs give vent to when strangers are
wandering round the house they protect.

Then comes the crowning feat of the hunt, and the most difficult to
accomplish. The most intrepid marksman advances towards the dogs,
his hunting-knife and rifle alike ready, the former to be made use
of should the latter not suffice. He has need of great prudence and
great coolness to accomplish his task, for directly the boar hears
his approach he will unhesitatingly dash upon him. He must await the
animal's onslaught with a firm heart and steady hand, and only fire
when sure of his aim. Often, however, the hunter is bothered by the
dogs, which surround the boar on all sides, hang on to him from behind,
and excite his fury. The position may become critical, and many a
sportsman who has counted too much upon his nerve has found himself
compelled to climb a tree, whence he has been able to 'bowl over' the
enemy, without incurring any danger. It is needless to add that when
discovered in this position he has felt very much ashamed at having
resorted to such an expedient.

In the Champagne the wild boar is almost invariably pursued on foot,
the minute subdivision of the land into different holdings and
consequent limitation of the right of sport rendering it very difficult
to follow the animal on horseback. M. Roederer, it is true, started
a pack of hounds in the Forest of Reims; but at his death there were
not sufficient lovers of the chase to keep up this style of sport, and
every one fell into the habit of knocking over a wild-boar in the same
prosaic fashion as a simple rabbit. However, some few years back, a
rich landowner from Brittany, the Vicomte d'Honnincton, having had an
opportunity of sport in the Champagne, and having seen that large game
abounded, installed himself near the fine Forêt de la Traconne, in the
neighbourhood of Sézanne, and resumed the chase of the wild-boar on
horseback. The great success he met with induced him to take up his
quarters in this district, and his pack, composed of a cross between
the English staghound and the Artois hound, has become justly famous.

In the month of December 1878, an exciting day's sport was had with M.
d'Honnincton's boar-hounds. The presence of herds of wild-boar having
been noted in the neighbouring woods between Epernay and Montmort, M.
d'Honnincton was soon to the fore with his pack, and all the sportsmen
for miles around were summoned. The meet was at the Château de la
Charmoye, a regular hunters' rendezvous, belonging to the Vicomte
de Bouthylliers, and situate in the heart of the woodland. During
breakfast one of the huntsmen came to announce that a huge _solitaire_
had passed the night at a short distance from the château. Everything,
therefore, promised well for sport. The guests mounted in haste, each
one equipped in true French style, with an immense hunting-horn round
his body and a light gun or a pistol attached to the saddle. The lively
strains of the horn had begun to sound on every side, and the hounds
were being uncoupled, when the boar, disturbed by all this noise,
majestically traversed the main avenue of the château, and pushed on
towards a group of ladies assembled to witness the departure of the
sportsmen. A finer start would have been impossible. The hounds dashed
towards their prey as soon as they caught sight of him at full cry,
and the _sonnerie du sanglier_ and the _vue_ were blazed forth by
the horns on every side. The hunt commenced. The greatest difficulty
and the object of all was to hinder the boar from plunging into the
thick of the forest, where, in the dense cover, he would have gained
a considerable advance upon the dogs. Thanks to the activity of the
huntsmen, who cut off his retreat on this side, it was possible to
drive him towards the plain of Montmort; and from this moment the sport
was as fine as can be imagined, it being easy to note the minor details
of the hunt even from a distance. The boar made his way with difficulty
over the ground saturated by rain, and the eagerness of the hounds
increased in proportion as they gained upon him.

A broadish rivulet with very steep banks was reached. The boar tried to
clear it at a bound, but fell into mid-stream. The sportsmen all came
up at this moment, and with their horns began to sound in chorus 'The
boar has taken soil;' the hounds plunged in and began to swim after
the boar, and the scene became a truly exciting one. At length the
boar succeeded in quitting the stream; but frightened by the horsemen
whom he saw on the opposite shore, he recrossed it a second and then a
third time, amidst the hounds, who were assailing him on every side,
and each time met with the same difficulty in ascending the bank. It
may be readily understood that he was getting exhausted by his efforts,
and began to appear done up. He recovered his vigour, however, and
soon gained ground on the hounds. He had still two or three miles
to cover in order to regain the forest, and it was necessary at all
costs to prevent him from accomplishing this. Then ensued a wild hunt,
a mad steeplechase over fields, hedges, brooks, ditches; the horses
in several places sank over their hocks, and were covered with foam,
but whip and spur restored energy to the least ardent. The boar was
gasping, but still kept on, and the steam from his body, which quite
surrounded him and caused him to resemble a four-legged demon, could be
plainly perceived from a distance. In this style the hunt swept through
the little village of Lucy, with all the dogs of the place howling,
the women and children shrieking, and the men arming themselves with
spades and pitchforks. But the boar not losing courage on this account,
and despising these primitive weapons, did not stop, and drew nearer
and nearer to the wood. The hounds were getting tired, and the most
experienced sportsmen began to despair somewhat of a successful day,
when suddenly the beast plunged into a pond situate close to the
forest, halted, rolled several times in the mud, and rose completely
covered in steam and mire. It is all over: the animal is at bay, and
cannot go any further.

This is the interesting moment. The boar pulls himself together,
feeling that he is to die, and, up to his belly in water, he bravely
awaits the pack. With his eye glowing with rage, his bristles erect,
he utters grunts of defiance. The fifty dogs throw themselves on to
him without a moment's hesitation; but four or five are sent rolling
into the middle of the water, never more to rise. The struggle which
follows is terrible; the boar's tusks tell at every blow, and the water
becomes literally red with blood. At length the foremost sportsmen
come up, and it is high time they do. Seven dogs are already lying on
their backs, with their legs in the air, and almost all bear marks of
the boar's terrible tusks. The first who is ready alights from his
steed, and boldly advances into the water; for it would be imprudent
to fire at the boar from the edge of the pond, and thereby run the
risk of wounding him, and rendering him still more furious, or even
of killing one of the dogs, by whom he is surrounded. An interval of
solemn silence ensues; the horns only wait for the shot to be fired to
sound the _hallali_. The dogs make way in order to let the sportsman
advance; the boar draws back a little, and then making a bound recovers
all his strength for a rush upon his enemy. Woe to the man who misses
him! the boar will give him no quarter. But the sportsman waits for him
very quietly, and when he is only two paces from him plants a bullet
between his eyes, which lays him dead. The notes of the _hallali_ awake
the echoes: never had a hunt been crowned by finer results. The setting
sun lighted up the scene, which transpired just below the Château
de Montmort, scarcely half a mile off, and the ladies assembled on
the terrace of the old château of Sully waved their handkerchiefs in
congratulation to the fortunate sportsmen.

The foregoing narrative furnishes a good idea of the ordinary method of
hunting the wild-boar on horseback in the Champagne, a method which,
though offering at times varying details, arising from the size of the
animal pursued and the number and strength of the hounds engaged in the
chase, presents, on the whole, a general resemblance to the description
just given.

Some years back boars were far from numerous in the Champagne, hiding
themselves, moreover, in inaccessible positions far away in the woods,
so that it was necessary to cover a larger extent of ground in order to
sight a recent trail. Latterly, however, these animals have multiplied
considerably, each sow having seven or eight young ones at a litter,
and littering three times a year. In the forests around Reims and
Epernay twelve, and even fifteen, boars have been killed during a
single hunt. It not unfrequently happens that a herd of fifty, and even
a hundred, boars are encountered together, when a veritable massacre
often ensues, if the hunting-party only comprises a sufficient number
of guns.

The victims include at times some sows with young grice, which the
hunters frequently try to bring up. One of these little animals, who
had been named 'Snow' from having been captured one day when the snow
was on the ground, followed his owner about everywhere like the most
faithful poodle. His master would often take him into the wood and
simulate a hunt with his dogs. Snow, however, possessed vices as well
as virtues, and one of his habits was an extremely disagreeable one.
Like the rest of his species, he was very fond of rolling himself
in the mire, and, on returning home, would proceed to clean himself
by rubbing unconcernedly against the dresses of the ladies of the
house. One Sunday his master had taken him out for a walk, and as
they returned home they passed the church, which the ladies of the
locality, arrayed in their richest attire, were just leaving. During
his walk Snow had taken two or three mud-baths, and, on meeting the
fair devotees of Avize, he thought the occasion a propitious one for
cleansing himself. He at once put the idea into practice, employing
the silk dresses of the ladies for the purpose. The children who
accompanied them were greatly terrified, and rushed shrieking into the
adjoining houses, pursued by the gambolling boar, who seemed to greatly
enjoy the panic he had caused. As La Fontaine has remarked,

    'Rien que la mort n'était capable
    D'expier son forfait.'

So, after such an offence, poor Snow was sentenced to undergo capital
punishment, and expiated by death his want of regard for the silk
attire of the fair sex.

Another boar named 'Scotsman,' and belonging to the same sportsman, was
also an amusing fellow. He would stretch himself out in the sun of an
afternoon as majestically as the Sultan on his divan, whilst a hen with
whom he had contracted a tender friendship kindly relieved him of his

A gentleman of the same district owns two enormous sows, which follow
him like greyhounds whenever he rides out. When a friend asks him to
step indoors and to refresh or rest himself, he replies: 'I must beg
you to excuse me; I have with me _Catherine_ and _Rigolette_, who might
inconvenience you.' The friend looks round to see who these interesting
young people may be, and his surprise may be imagined when two big
swine familiarly place their forepaws upon his shoulders.

Several sportsmen of the Champagne possess packs of hounds, and the
true boar-hound, the 'dog of black St. Hubert breed,' is really a
magnificent animal, with his long pendant ears, his open chest, and
broad-backed body. Hounds of the La Vendée and Poitou breeds are
also used at boar-hunts. Dogs, though they may be of excellent race,
require, however, skilful training before they will hunt the boar. It
is necessary they should see several boars killed ere they will venture
to tackle this formidable enemy, of which the dog is instinctively
afraid. House-dogs, curs, and terriers will at times pursue the boar
admirably, and prolong his standing for hours without approaching
within range of the beast's tusks, whilst animals of a higher spirit
will allow themselves to be ripped up alive, or, if they escape, will
not dare to again approach their foe after a first repulse.

Since boars became so numerous in the Champagne they have done
considerable damage to the crops, a corn or potato field being soon
devastated by them. At harvest-time a watch has often to be set for
them by night. A few years ago, at the moment of the vintage, people
were even compelled to light large fires near the vineyards to scare
away these dangerous neighbours.

The shooting season in the Champagne extends from the commencement of
September till the end of February; but boar-hunting is often prolonged
until the first of May, and occasionally _battues_ are organised during
the summer.

Other four-footed game tenanting the forests of the Champagne are
the roe-deer, in tolerable quantity; a few fallow-deer and stags and
wolves, which latter are still numerous, spite of the warfare carried
on against them. The roe-deer is hunted, like the boar, with hounds;
but this easy sport, which does not possess the attraction of danger,
is quite neglected when boars are numerous. The forests also give
shelter to hares in abundance, martins, wild-cats, and foxes, the
latter being rigorously destroyed on account of their depredations.
They are stifled by smoke in their holes, or else poisoned or taken in

Sportsmen are so numerous in every little village of the Marne, the
shooting license only costing five-and-twenty francs, that feathered
game has become very rare. The most remarkable specimen is the
caimpetière, or small bustard, which exists only in the Champagne and
Algeria, and the flesh of which is highly esteemed.

Partridges and hares would have entirely disappeared from the plains
were it not for the shelter which the vineyards afford them, for woe
to him who ventures to shoot among the vines! The vine is as sacred to
the Champenois as the mistletoe was to their Gallic forefathers. Great
severity is shown in respect to trespassers at the epoch when the vines
are sprouting, for each broken bud represents a bunch of grapes, which
its owner hoped might realise its weight in gold.



                               PART III.


              /Sparkling Saumur and Sparkling Sauternes./

    The sparkling wines of the Loire often palmed off as
    Champagne--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--Touraine the favourite residence of the
    earlier French monarchs--After a night's carouse at the epoch
    of the Renaissance--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. 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--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, beneath their elaborate
coloured and gilt effigies, 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 Bussy d'Amboise to an
assignation in order that he might the 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 headdresses
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 enclosed--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 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

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 cru 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 enclosed yard at its side, and over the
high blank walls vines were frequently trained, pleasantly varying
their dull gray 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

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_.
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 cru 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.

Touraine, from its central position, its pleasant air, and its fertile
soil, was ever a favourite residence of the earlier French monarchs,
and down to the days of the Bourbons the seat of government continually
vacillated between the banks of the Seine and those of the Loire. The
vintages that ripen along the river have had their day of court favour
too; for if Henri of Andelys sneeringly describes the wine of Tours
as turning sour, in his famous poem of the _Bataille des Vins_, the
sweet white wines of Anjou were greatly esteemed throughout the Middle
Ages, and, with those of Orleans, were highly appreciated in Paris down
to the seventeenth century. The cult of the 'dive Bouteille' and the
fashion of Pantagruelic repasts have always found favour in the fat and
fertile 'garden of France;' and the spectacle of citizens, courtiers,
and monks staggering fraternally along, 'waggling their heads,' as
Rabelais describes them, after a night of it at the tavern, was no
uncommon one in the streets of its old historic towns during the period
of the Renaissance.


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, immortalised in
the piquant pages of the _Contes Drôlatiques_, 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 Vallé 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 held the wine of Vouvray in high esteem, and 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 straggling roots of ivy spreading
itself over the disjointed stones, leisurely turns her spinning-wheel,
regardless of her dangerous position.' The foregoing picture, sketched
by the author of _La Comédie Humaine_ 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--immortalised 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,
which offers 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 level.

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 1600 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

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 spot.


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 dovecot, 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 raised 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.

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
& 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 & 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 &
Co. the only gold medal given in the Group of Alimentary Products.

Encouraged, no doubt, by the success obtained by Messrs. Normandin &
Co. with their sparkling Sauternes, the house of Lermat-Robert & Co.,
of Bordeaux, introduced a few years ago a sparkling Barsac, samples of
which were submitted to the jury at the Paris Exhibition of 1878.


[Illustration: VINTAGER OF THE CÔTE D'OR.]

[Illustration: VINTAGER OF THE JURA.]


     /The Sparkling Wines of Burgundy, the Jura, and the South of

    Sparkling wines of the Côte d'Or at the Paris Exhibition of
    1878--Chambertin, Romanée, and Vougeot--Burgundy wines and
    vines formerly presents from 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 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.


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 nowadays. 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, are accomplished precisely as in the Champagne.

Among the principal manufacturers of sparkling Burgundies are Messrs.
André & 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 & Liger-Belair, of Nuits and Vosne; 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 distant.

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 crus. 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 cru:

    '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 cage.

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 vines 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 bottling, which invariably takes place in April, the Jura wines
rarely require any addition of sugar to insure an ample effervescence.
Subsequently 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 produced.

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 a decided drawback, which it most undoubtedly is.

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 of 1878, I cannot call to mind one that a real
connoisseur of sparkling wines would care to admit to his table.

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 vine-dressers,
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 Rhone 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 Rhone 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


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 brand-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 winepresses 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, Solignacs, 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 wine-press.

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 effervescing
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 Rhone is fruitful in minor sparkling wines,
chief among 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 being 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 Reformation. 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 merits.

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 effervescing 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 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,
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 Limoux.

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,
and is then spread out upon a floor to admit of whatever sugar it
contains becoming perfect. The bad grapes having been carefully picked
out, and the seeds extracted from the remaining fruit, the latter is
now trodden, and 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 an average Champagne.



             /Facts and Notes respecting Sparkling Wines./

    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
    crus 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 in which to lay down
    Champagne--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.


In 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
twenty 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 suchlike 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 eighteen degrees of
proof spirit upwards, or slightly above the ordinary Bordeaux, and
under all the better-class Rhine wines. Champagnes, when loaded with
a highly alcoholised liqueur, will, however, at times mark as many as
thirty 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, consumed in
moderation, 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 that 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 nausea.'

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 fifty degrees 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
sorts 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 crus 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 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 them 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--the latter eventually proved to be of execrable quality--realised
from 500 to 1000 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 1030
francs the pièce. Subsequently the price of the wine fell to 350 and
450 francs the pièce, to rise again, however, in 1878 to 900 francs,
which was followed by a fall the following year to 250 francs. In 1880,
when the yield was no more than the quarter of an average one, and the
quality was as yet undetermined, the Ay and Verzenay wines commanded
the high price of 1500 francs and upwards the pièce. Exceptionally high
prices were also realised for the wines of the neighbouring localities.

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. The 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; and the patent 'slider' bins made by Messrs. W. & J. Burrow,
of Malvern, are better adapted to the purpose than any other. 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. They 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 equable.

From the subjoined table it will be seen that the consumption of
Champagne has more than quadrupled since the year 1844-5, a period
of six-and-thirty years. A curious fact to note is the immense
increase in the exports of the wine during the three years following
the Franco-German war, during which contest both the exports and
home consumption of Champagne naturally 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 annually.


  |Years--from|              | Number of  |  Number of  |    Total    |
  |  April    |Manufacturers'|  Bottles   |Bottles sold |  Number of  |
  | to April. |   Stocks.    | exported.  | in France.  |Bottles 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  |  5,895,773 |  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  |
  | 1878-79   |  65,813,194  | 14,844,181 |  2,596,356  | 17,440,537  |
  | 1879-80   |  68,540,668  | 16,524,593 |  2,665,561  | 19,190,154  |
  | 1880-81   |  54,505,964  | 18,220,980 |  2,330,924  | 20,551,904  |

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 brought indiscriminately together in accordance with the
exigencies of the hostess's visiting-list, cannot be gainsaid. 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 adding an extra penny to
the income-tax. Placed between a young lady just out and a dowager of
grimly Gorgonesque aspect, you hesitate how to open a conversation.
Your first attempts 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, the
theatres, operatic _débutantes_, the people in the Row, æstheticism,
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 then 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 church decoration
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.

Gradually, as people drift off from generalities to their own
particular line--gastronomy, politics, art, sport, fashion, literature,
church matters, theatricals, speculation, scandal, dress, and the
like--the scraps of sentences that the ear catches flying about the
table present a mosaic somewhat resembling the following: 'Forster
should have sent him to Kilmainham--to see that dear delightful Mr.
Irving in--ten-inch armour-plating, but could not steer in a sea-way,
so--sat down in the saddle and rammed his spurs into--Petsy Prettitoes
and half a dozen girls from the Cruralia, who were--ordained last week
by the Bishop of London, when his lordship--said there was no doubt
who best deserved the vacant Garter, and declared--a dividend of seven
per cent for the--comet year with a bouquet--of sunflowers and lilies
on satin, which you should--cover with a light crust--of stiff clay,
with a rasper on the further side as--the third story of the hotel
overlooking--the Euphrates Valley Railway, which would lead to--the
loveliest bit of landscape in the Academy--with the finest hair in the
world, and eyes like--a boiled cod's head and shoulders--cut low at the
neck, with a gold shoulder-strap, and--nothing else to speak of before
the House except the Bill for--her photographs, which are in all the
shop-windows, beside Mrs. Langtry's--who never ought to have allowed
Bismarck to--assist at the consecration of--the Henley course--so the
Duke started at once for Aldershot, and reviewed--the two best novels
of the season--cut up with tomatoes and a dash of garlic--and was
positive he saw them dining together at Richmond on--fourteen brace of
birds and five hares in--the loveliest set of embroidered vestments
and an altar-cloth worked for--a Conservative majority, which will
drive the Government to--take a couple of stalls at Her Majesty's to
hear _Carmen_--who gave him the last galop, but he--blundered at his
first fence and fell--to seventy-two and a half, whilst the preference
shares were--all ordered on foreign service and--heard nothing from
the Irish members but--Oscar Wilde's poems bound in red morocco--with
a white-satin train and--plenty of body and a good colour--all through
riding every morning in--a private box on the upper tier--and that is
why Gladstone at once gave orders--for them to be actually shut up
together--in the strong room of the Bank of England, with a reserve
fund of bullion--from the music in the first act of _Patience_--equal
to that of Job when he said--well, only half a glass, then, since
you are so pressing.' And all this is due to Champagne, that great
unloosener not merely of tongues, but, better still, of purse-strings,
as is well known to the secretaries of those charitable institutions
which set the exhilarating wine flowing earliest at their anniversary





[asterism] In this list, whenever a manufacturer has various qualities,
the higher qualities are always placed first.

The lowest qualities are omitted altogether.


  Firms and Wholesale   Brands.        Qualities.      On side of Corks.

  AYALA & Co.,          [Illustration] Extra (Dry)     Extra.
   /Ay/                                First (Dry)     Première.
  Ayala & Co., 59 &     [Illustration] Second.
   60 Great
  Runk & Unger, 50
   New York

  BINET FILS & Co.,     [Illustration] Dry Elite       Dry Elite.
   /Reims/                             First           First quality.
  Rutherford & Browne,
   5 Water-lane,

  BOLLINGER, J.,        [Illustration] Very Dry Extra  Very Dry Extra
   /Ay/                                                quality.
  L. Mentzendorf, 6                    Dry Extra       Dry Extra
   Idol-lane,                                          quality.
  E. & J. Burke,
   40 Beaver-street,
   New York

  BRUCH-FOUCHER & Co.,  [Illustration] Carte d'Or.
   /Mareuil/                           First.
  L. Ehrmann, 34 Great                 Second.

  CLICQUOT-PONSARDIN,   [Illustration] Dry             England.
   /Vve., Reims/                       Rich               "
   (WERLE & Co.)
  Fenwick, Parrot, &
   Co., 124
  Schmidt Bros., New

  DE CAZANOVE, C.,      [Illustration] Vin Monarque    Extra.
   /Avise/                             First.
  J. R. Hunter & Co.,                  Second.
   46 Fenchurch-street,

  DEUTZ & GELDERMANN,   [Illustration] Gold Lack       Gold Lack.
   /Ay/                                 (Extra Dry
  J. R. Parkington &                    and Dry)
   Co., Crutched                       Cabinet (Extra  Cabinet.
   Friars, London                       Dry and Dry)

  DUCHATEL-OHAUS,       [Illustration] Carte Blanche
   /Reims/                              (Dry and
  Woellworth & Co.,                     Rich).
   70 Mark-lane,                       Verzenay (do.).
   London                              Sillery (do.).

  DUMINY & Co.,         [Illustration] Extra           Maison fondée en
   /Ay/                                                 1814.
  Fickus, Courtenay, &  [Illustration] First                  "
   Co., St.
   St. Dunstan's-hill,
  Anthony Oechs, 51
   Warren-street, New

  ERNEST IRROY,         [Illustration] Carte d'Or,     Carte d'Or, Sec.
   /Reims/                              Dry
   Cuddeford & Smith,                  Carte d'Or      Carte d'Or.
   66 Mark-lane,
  F. O. de Luze & Co.,
   18 South
   New York

  FARRE, CHARLES,       [Illustration] Cabinet (Grand  Cabinet (Grand
   /Reims/.                             Vin)            Vin).
  Hornblower & Co.,     [Illustration] Carte Blanche   Carte Blanche.
   50 Mark-lane,                       Carte Noire     Carte Noire.
  Gilmor & Gibson,
  Mel & Sons, San
  Hogg, Robinson,
   & Co., Melbourne

  FISSE, THIRION, &     [Illustration] Cachet d'Or     Cachet d'Or.
   Co., /Reims/                         (Extra Dry
  Stallard & Smith,                     and Medium
   25 Philpot-lane,                     Dry)
   London                              Carte Blanche   Carte Blanche.
                                        Medium Dry,
                                        and Rich)
                                       Carte Noire     Carte Noire.
                                        (Dry and
                                        Medium Dry)

  GÉ-DUFAUT & Co.,      [Illustration] Vin de Réserve.
   /Pierry/                            Vin de Cabinet.
  L. Rosenheim & Sons,                 Bouzy, 1^{er}
   7 Union-court,                       Cru.
   Old Broad-street,                   Fleur de
   London                               Sillery.

  GIBERT, GUSTAVE,     [Illustration]  Vin du Roi
     /Reims/                            (Extra Dry,
  Cock, Russell, & Co.,                  Dry, or
     23 Rood-lane,                       Rich).
  Hays & Co., 40       [Illustration]  Extra (Extra
     Day-street,                         Dry, Dry,
     New York                            or Rich).

  GIESLER & Co.,       [Illustration]  Extra       Extra.
     /Avize/                           Superior
  F. Giesler & Co.,                    India       India.
     32 Fenchurch-street,              First.
  Purdy & Nicholas,    [Illustration]
    43 Beaver-street                   Second.
    New York

  HEIDSIECK & Co.,     [Illustration]  Dry Monopole.
     /Reims/.                          Monopole (Rich).
  Theodor Satow & Co.,                 Dry Vin
     141 Fenchurch-street,               Royal.
     London                            Grand Vin
  Schmidt & Peters,                      Royal (Rich).
     20 Beaver-street,
     New York

  KRUG & Co.,          [Illustration]  Carte       Carte Blanche,
     /Reims/                           Blanche     England.
     Inglis & Cunningham,              Private     Private Cuvée,
     60 Mark-lane,                       Cuvée       England.
  A. Rocherau & Co.,
     New York

  MAX. SUTAINE & Co.,  [Illustration]  Creaming    Sillery
     /Reims/                             (Extra Dry).
     (VEUVE MORELLE & Co.)
  H. Schultz, 71 Great                 Creaming     Sillery.
     Tower-st., London
  Knoepfel & Co., 60                   Bouzy (Dry).
     Liberty-street,                   Sparkling  Sillery.
     New York

  MOËT & CHANDON,      [Illustration]  Brut        Imperial, England.
     /Epernay/                         Impérial
  Simon & Dale,                        Creaming    Creaming,    "
     Old Trinity House,
     5 Water-lane,                     Extra       Extra
     London, Agents for                  Superior    Superior,  "
     Gt. Britain and                   Extra Dry   White Dry,   "
     the Colonies                        Sillery
  Renauld, François,                   White Dry     "    " ,   "
     & Co., 23                           Sillery
     Beaver-street,                    First       England.
     New York
  J. Hope & Co.,       [Illustration]  Second.

  MONTEBELLO, DUC DE,  [Illustration]  Cuvée Extra Cuvée Extra.
     /Mareuil/                         Carte       Reserve.
  John Hopkins & Co.,                    Blanche
     26 Crutched
     Friars, London
  Coyle & Turner,
     31 Lower Ormond
     Quay, Dublin

  MUMM (G. H.) & Co.,  [Illustration]   Vin Brut
     /Reims/                              Extra.
  W. J. & T. Welch,                     Carte             Carte Blanche.
     10 Corn Exchange                     Blanche
     Chambers,                          Extra Dry         Extra Dry.
     Seething-lane,                     Extra             Extra Quality.
  F. de Bary & Co.,
     41 Warren-street,
     New York

  MUMM, JULES, & Co.,  [Illustration]   Extra Dry.
     /Reims/                            Dry.
  J. Mumm & Co., 3
     Mark-lane, London

  PÉRINET & FILS,      [Illustration]   Cuvée Réservée    Cuvée
     /Reims/                            (Extra Dry)       Réservée.
  J. Barnett & Son,                     White Dry         White Dry
     36 Mark-lane,                        Sillery           Sillery.
  Wood, Pollard,
     & Co., Boston,
  Hooper & Donaldson,
     San Francisco

  PERRIER-JOUËT & Co., [Illustration]   Cuvée de Réserve  Extra.
     /Epernay/.                         Pale Dry
  A. Boursot & Co.,                       Creaming.
     9 Hart-st.,                        First.
     Crutched Friars,

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

  PIPER (H.) & Co.,    [Illustration]   Très-Sec          Kunkelmann
     /Reims/                              (Extra Dry)              & Co.
     (KUNKELMANN & Co.)                 Sec (Very             "       "
  Newton & Rivière,                       Dry)
     33 Great                           Carte Blanche         "       "
     Tower-street,                        (Rich)
  John Osborn, Son,
     & Co.,
     New York

  POL ROGER & Co.,     [Illustration]   Vin Réservé.
  Reuss, Lauteren
     & Co.,
     39 Crutched
     Friars, London

  POMMERY, VEUVE,      [Illustration]   Extra Sec         Veuve Pommery.
     /Reims/                              (Vin Brut)
  A. Hubinet,
     24 Mark-lane,
  Charles Graef,       [Illustration]   Sec.
     65 Broad-street,
     New York

  ROEDERER, LOUIS,     [Illustration]   Carte Blanche     Reims, Carte
     /Reims/                                                Blanche, Gt.
  Grainger & Son, 108                                       Britain.

  ROEDERER, THÉOPHILE, [Illustration]   Crystal           Special
     & Co. (Maison                        Champagne,        Cuvée.
     fondée en 1864),                     Special Cuvée
     /Reims/                            Extra Reserve     Reserve Cuvée.
  J. Ashburner,                             Cuvée
     Biart, & Co., 150                  Carte Blanche,    Carte Blanche.
     Fenchurch-street,                    Ex.
     London                             Carte Noire,      Carte Noire.
                                          First Verzenay  Verzenay.

  ROPER FRÈRES & Co.,  [Illustration]   Vin Brut,         Vin Brut.
     /Rilly-la-Montagne/                  or Natural
     24 Crutched                          Champagne
     Friars, London                     First (Extra Dry)   Extra Dry.
                                        Do. (Medium Dry)    Medium Dry.
                                        Crême de Bouzy.

  RUINART, PÈRE        [Illustration]   Carte Anglaise.
     ET FILS,                           Dry Pale Crêmant.
     /Reims/                            Ex. Dry
  Ruinart, Père                           Sparkling.
     et Fils, 22 St.                    Carte Blanche,
     Swithin's-lane,                      First.

  DE SAINT-MARCEAUX    [Illustration]   Vin Brut            Vin Brut.
     & Co., /Reims/                     Carte d'Or          Very Dry.
     (C. ARNOULD                          (Extra Dry)
     & HEIDELBERGER)                    Bouzy Nonpareil     Vin Sec.
  Groves & Co.,                           (Dry)
     5 Mark-lane,                       Carte Blanche
     London                               (Medium).
  Hermann Bätjer &                      _For America
     Bro.,                                only_.
     New York          [Illustration]   Dry Royal           Dry.
                                        Extra Dry           Extra Dry.
                                        Second (Medium)

                         SAUMUR AND SAUTERNES.

  _Firms and Wholesale    _Brands._     _Qualities._ _On side of Corks._

  ACKERMAN-LAURANCE,   [Illustration]   Carte d'Or          Carte d'Or.
     /St. Florent,                      Carte Rose          Carte Rose.
     Saumur/                            Carte Bleue         Carte Bleue.
  J. N. Bishop,                         Carte Noire         Carte Noire.
     41 Crutched
  D. McDougall
     jun. & Co.,
     St. George's-place,

  DUVAU, LOUIS,        [Illustration]   Carte d'Or,
    /Aîné, Château                        Ex. Sup.
    de Varrains,/                       Carte d'Argent,
    near /Saumur/                         Ex.
  Jolivet & Canney,                      Carte Blanche,
     3 Idol-lane,                          Sup.
     London                              Carte Rose, Ord.

  LORRAIN, JULES,      [Illustration]    Carte d'Or.
     /Château                            Carte Blanche.
     de la Côte,                         Carte Rose.
     Varrains/,                          Carte Bleue.
     near /Saumur/
  J. Lorrain,
     73 Great Tower-st.,

  ROUSTEAUX, A.,       [Illustration]    Extra.
     /St. Florent,
  Cock, Russell,
     & Co., 63 Great
  I. H. Smith's Sons,  [Illustration]    First.
     Peck Slip,
     New York

  NORMANDIN (E.)       [Illustration]    Sparkling Sauternes
     & Co.,                                (Extra Dry and Dry).
  P. A. Maignen, 22 Great Tower-street,


  _Firms and Wholesale    _Brands._     _Qualities._ _On side of Corks._

  ANDRÉ & VOILLOT,     [Illustration]    Romanée (White).
     /Beaune/                            Nuits (do.).
  Cock, Russell,                         Volnay (do.).
     & Co.,                              Saint-Péray.
     63 Great                            Pink and
     Tower-street,                         Red Wines.
  P. W. Engs &
     Sons, 131
     New York

  LATOUR, LOUIS,       [Illustration]    Romanée (White).
     /Beaune/                            Nuits (White
  Reuss, Lauteren,                         and Red).
     & Co.,                              Volnay (do.).
     39 Crutched                         Saint-Péray
     Friars, London                        (White).

  LIGER-BELAIR,        [Illustration]    Carte d'Or
     COMTE,                                (White).
     /Nuits &                            Carte
     Vôsne/                              Verte (do.).
  Fenwick, Parrot,                       Carte Noire
     & Co., 124                            (Red and
     Fenchurch-street,                     White).
     London                              Carte Blanche

                          MOËT AND CHANDON'S

                             BRUT IMPÉRIAL

                            DRY CHAMPAGNE.

                          FACSIMILE OF LABEL.


                            BRAND ON CORK.


                          ALSO EXTRA SUPERIOR

                           WHITE DRY SILLERY


                       FIRST QUALITY CHAMPAGNES.


                            PÉRINET & FILS,


    [Illustration: Sectional View of a portion of the Caves in the Rue
    St. Hilaire.]

                         DEUTZ & GELDERMANN'S

                             'GOLD LACK.'



    'A Wine for Princes and Senators. The district of Ay has become
    probably the most celebrated in the ancient province of Champagne
    for its grapes, and among the noted brands of that famed region not
    one has gained a greater popularity in this country than that of
    Deutz & Geldermann. The Wine of this well-known firm is invariably
    met with on every important occasion; and it is noticed that Deutz
    & Geldermann's "Gold Lack" was specially selected for the banquet
    given by the Royal Naval Club at Portsmouth to H.R.H. the Prince of
    Wales; and some proof of its excellence may be gathered from the
    fact that this brand was drunk on a former visit of the Prince to
    the club two years since. Deutz & Geldermann's "Gold Lack" was one
    of the Champagnes supplied at the late Ministerial Whitebait Dinner
    at the Trafalgar.'


    'Deutz & Geldermann's "Gold Lack" is now being preferred by many
    connoisseurs, and we can bear testimony to its excellence of


   Deutz & Geldermann's 'Gold Lack' Champagne is shipped Brut, Extra
    Dry, and Medium Dry; and may be obtained of all Wine Merchants.


                          /Wholesale Agents/:

                        J. R. PARKINGTON & Co.

                   24 CRUTCHED FRIARS, LONDON, E.C.


                         DEUX MÉDAILLES D'OR.

                    [Illustration: PRO FIDE FIDES]

                         CH^{ES.} DE CAZANOVE,

                         AVIZE (/Champagne/).


                             VIN MONARQUE.

                        Facsimiles of Medallion

    [Illustration: CH DE CAZANOVE AVIZE marne VIN MONARQUE]

                      And Label of Extra Quality.


    _Wholesale Agents for the United Kingdom, J. R. HUNTER & Co., 46
    Fenchurch Street, London._]

                    ROPER FRÈRES & CO.'S CHAMPAGNE.


                   First Quality, Extra Dry at 48/-

                   First Quality, Medium Dry at 48/-


   _For Luncheons and Wedding Breakfasts, Regimental Messes and Ball



    'The great feature of all entertainments, public banquets, &c.,
    is ~Champagne~; but the high prices of really good wine naturally
    deter many a householder of moderate means from indulging in
    this luxury. /Roper Frères & Co/. are shipping ~a first quality
    Champagne at =48s.= per dozen~. At this price, it cannot be denied
    that the acme of cheapness is arrived at.'


                            SPECIAL NOTICE.

    _All Wine Merchants can, ~if requested~, supply ROPER FRÈRES &
    Co.'s CHAMPAGNE at the above Prices; and the Public are therefore
    cautioned not to allow other Brands at similar prices to be

    In 2 vols. square 8vo, price 32s. in handsome binding,

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                       By GEORGE AUGUSTUS SALA,


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    In crown 8vo, cloth gilt,




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    In crown 8vo, price 6s. elegantly bound, the Third Edition, revised
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                     FACTS ABOUT PORT AND MADEIRA,

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    /Wine Juror for Great Britain at the Vienna and Paris Exhibitions
    of 1873 and 1878/.

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                       ALSO BY THE SAME AUTHOR,

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                        FACTS ABOUT CHAMPAGNE,

                      AND OTHER SPARKLING WINES,


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[Footnote 1: Diodorus.]

[Footnote 2: Idem.]

[Footnote 3: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 4: This arch is said to have been called after the God of
War from the circumstance of a temple dedicated to Mars being in the
immediate neighbourhood. The sculptures still remaining under the
arcades have reference to the months of the year, to Romulus and Remus,
and to Jupiter and Leda. Reims formerly abounded with monuments of the
Roman domination. According to M. Brunette, an architect of the city,
who made its Roman remains his especial study, a vast and magnificent
palace formerly stood nigh the spot now known as the Trois Piliers;
while on the right of the road leading to the town were the arenas,
together with a temple, among the ruins of which various sculptures,
vases, and medals were found, and almost immediately opposite, on
the site of the present cemetery, an immense theatre, circus, and
xystos for athletic exercises. Then came a vast circular space, in
the centre of which arose a grand triumphal arch giving entrance into
the city. The road led straight to the Forum,--the Place des Marchés
of to-day,--and along it were a basilica, a market, and an exedra,
now replaced by the Hôtel de Ville. The Forum, bordered by monumental
buildings, was of gigantic proportions, extending on the one side
from half way down the Rue Colbert to the Place Royale, and on the
other from near the Marché à la Laine, parallel with the Rue de Vesle,
up to the middle of the Rue des Elus, where it terminated in a vast
amphitheatre used for public competitions.

Other buildings of less importance were situated here and there: the
thermæ along the Rue du Cloître; a palace or a temple on the site of
the archiepiscopal palace; another temple at the extremity of the Rue
Vauthier le Noir, in the ruins of which a bas-relief and some small
antique statues were discovered; a third temple in the Rue du Couchant,
in which a votive altar was found. Four triumphal arches were erected
at the four gates of the town: one dedicated to Mars; another to Ceres,
on the same site as the gate of to-day; a third to Bacchus, in the
present Rue de l'Université, in front of the Lycée; and the fourth to
Venus, in the Rue de Vesle. Outside the walls, following the Rue du
Barbâtre, the road was dotted with numerous graves according to the
Roman custom; while on the site of the church of St. Remi there arose a
temple and a palace, and on that of St. Nicaise a vast edifice which M.
Brunette supposed to be the palace of the Consul Jovinus.]

[Footnote 5: Henderson's _History of Ancient and Modern Wines_.]

[Footnote 6: Gibbon's _Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_.]

[Footnote 7: Gibbon's _Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire_.]

[Footnote 8: According to this document, published in Marlot's
_Histoire de Reims_, he leaves to Bishop Lupus the vineyard cultivated
by the vine-dresser Enias; to his nephew Agricola, the vineyard planted
by Mellaricus at Laon, and also the one cultivated by Bebrimodus; to
his nephew Agathimerus, a vineyard he had himself planted at Vindonisæ,
and kept up by the labour of his own episcopal hands; to Hilaire the
deaconess, the vines adjoining her own vineyard, cultivated by Catusio,
and also those at Talpusciaco; and to the priests and deacons of Reims,
his vineyard in the suburbs of that city, and the vine-dresser Melanius
who cultivated it. The will is also noteworthy for its mention of a
locality destined to attain a high celebrity in connection with the
wine of Champagne, namely, the town of Sparnacus or Epernay, which a
lord named Eulogius, condemned to death for high treason in 499 and
saved at the bishop's intercession, had bestowed upon his benefactor,
and which the latter left in turn to the church of Reims. To this
church he also left estates in the Vosges and beyond the Rhine, on
condition of furnishing pitch every year to the religious houses
founded by himself or his predecessors to mend their wine-vessels, a
trace of the old Roman custom of pitching vessels used for storing

[Footnote 9: Marlot's _Histoire de Reims_.]

[Footnote 10: Henderson's _History of Ancient and Modern Wines_.]

[Footnote 11: Victor Fievet's _Histoire d'Epernay_.]

[Footnote 12: Bertin du Rocheret's _Mélanges_.]

[Footnote 13: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 14: 'Bien met l'argent qui en bon vin l'emploie.' _Poems of
Colin Musset_, 1190 to 1220.]

[Footnote 15: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 16: Ibid.]

[Footnote 17: Ibid.]

[Footnote 18: J. Gondry du Jardinet's _Agréable Visite aux Grands Crûs
de France_.]

[Footnote 19: 'Chanter me fait bon vin et rejouir.']

[Footnote 20:

'Le vin en tonel, Froit et fort et finandel, Pour boivre à la grant

[Footnote 21: Legrand d'Aussy's _Vie Privée des Français_.]

[Footnote 22:

    'Espernai dist et Auviler,
    Argenteuil, trop veus aviler
    Très-tos les vins de ceste table.
    Par Dieu, trop t'es fait conestable.

    Nous passons Chaalons et Reims,
    Nous ostons la goûte des reins,
    Nous estaignons totes les rois.'

[Footnote 23:

    'Espernai, trop es desloiaus;
    Tu n'as droit de parler en cour.'

[Footnote 24: The 'vin d'Ausois,' or 'vin d'Aussai' (for it is spelt
both ways in the poem), is not, as might be supposed, the wine
of Auxois, an ancient district of Burgundy now comprised in the
arrondissements of Sémur (Côte d'Or) and Avallon (Yonne), and still
enjoying a reputation for its viticultural products. MM. J. B. B.
de Roquefort and Gigault de la Bedollière, in their notes on Henri
d'Andelys' poem, have clearly identified it with the wine of Alsace,
that province having been known under the names in question during the
Middle Ages. This explains its connection in the present instance with
the Moselle.]

[Footnote 25: An incidental proof that the English taste for strong
wine was an early one. As late as the close of the sixteenth century
the Bordeaux wines are described in the _Maison Rustique_ as 'thick,
black, and strong.']

[Footnote 26: Probably either Aquila in the Abruzzi, or Aquiliea near

[Footnote 27: The 'rouage' was a duty of 2 sous on each cart and 4 sous
on each wagon laden with wine purchased by foreign merchants and taken
out of the town. It was only one of many dues.]

[Footnote 28: The old livre was about equal to the present franc; the
sol was the twentieth part of a livre; and the denier the twelfth part
of a sol, or about 1/24_d._ English.]

[Footnote 29: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 30: The Beaune cost 28 livres the tun of two queues; the St.
Pourçain, a wine of the Bourbonnais, very highly esteemed in the Middle
Ages, 12 livres the queue; and the wine of the district, white and red,
6 to 10 livres the queue of two poinçons. A poinçon, or demi-queue,
of Reims was about 48 old English, or 40 imperial, gallons; while the
demi-queue of Burgundy was over 45 imperial gallons.]

[Footnote 31: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 32: A few examples of the retail price of wine throughout the
century at Reims may here be noted. For instance, a judgment of 1303
provided that all tavern-keepers selling wine at a higher rate than
six deniers, or about a farthing per lot, the rate fixed by ancient
custom, were to pay a fine of twenty-two sous. The lot or pot, for
the two terms are indifferently used, was about the third of an old
English gallon, four pots making a septier, and thirty-six septiers a
poinçon or demi-queue, equal to about forty-eight gallons. The queue
was therefore about ninety-six gallons at Reims, but at Epernay not
more than eighty-five gallons. Not only had every district its separate
measures,--those of Paris, for instance, differing widely from those of
Reims,--but there were actually different measures used in the various
lay and ecclesiastical jurisdictions into which Reims was divided.

In the accounts of the Echevinage, wine, chiefly for presents to
persons of distinction, makes a continual appearance. In 1335 it is
noted that 'the presents of this year were made in wine at 16 deniers
and 20 deniers the pot,' or about 2-1/4_d._ English per gallon. In
1337-8 prices ranged from 3/4_d._ to 4-1/2_d._ English per gallon,
showing a variety in quality; and in 1345 large quantities were
purchased at the first-mentioned rate, five quarts of white wine
fetching 2_d._ English. In 1352 from a 1_d._ to 2-1/4_d._ was paid
per gallon, and five crowns for two queues. In 1363 the citizens,
a hot-headed turbulent lot, who were always squabbling with their
spiritual and temporal superior and assailing his officers, when
not assaulting each other or pulling their neighbours' houses down,
successfully resisted the pretensions of the archbishop to regulate
the price of wine when the cheapest was worth 12 deniers per pot,
or 1-1/2_d._ per gallon. The dispute continued, and in 1367 a royal
commission was issued to the bailli of Vermandois, the king's
representative, to inquire into the right of the burghers to sell wine
by retail at 16 deniers, as they desired. The report of the bailli was
that a queue of old French wine being worth about 20 livres, or 16_s._
8_d._, and wine of Beaune and other better and stronger wines being
sold in the town at higher rates, French wine might be sold as high as
3-1/2d. English per gallon, and Beaune at 4-1/2_d._ The great increase
in production, and consequent fall in price, is shown by the wine
found in Archbishop Richard Pique's cellar in 1389 being valued, on an
average, at only 1_s._ 6_d._ per queue.]

[Footnote 33: Froissart's _Chronicles_.]

[Footnote 34: Idem.]

[Footnote 35: Idem.]

[Footnote 36: What with one kind of assessment being adopted for wine
sold wholesale and another for that disposed of by retail, with one
class of dues being levied on wine for export and another on that for
home consumption, and with the fact of certain duties being in some
cases payable by the buyer and in others by the seller, any attempt
to summarise this section of the story of the wines of Reims would be
impossible. The difficulty is increased when it is remembered that in
the Middle Ages Reims was divided into districts, under the separate
jurisdictions of the eschevins, the archbishop, the chapter of the
cathedral, the Abbeys of St. Remi and St. Nicaise, and the Priory of
St. Maurice, in several of which widely varying measures were employed
down to the sixteenth century, and between which there were continual
squabbles as to the rights of vinage, rouage, tonnieu, &c.]

[Footnote 37: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 38: Froissart's _Chronicles_.]

[Footnote 39: Baron Taylor's _Reims; la Ville de Sacres_.]

[Footnote 40: Amongst the better known are Chamery, where the
archbishop had a house, vineyard, and garden, let for 3_s._ per annum,
about five _jours_ of vineyard and two _jours_ of very good vineland;
Mareuil, whence he drew ten hogsheads of wine annually; Rilly,
Verzenay, Sillery, Attigny, &c. The _jour_ cost from 5 to 8 livres per
annum for cultivation, and the stakes for the vines 4 sols, or 2_d._, a

[Footnote 41: The chapter of the Cathedral, the church of Notre Dame,
the abbeys of St. Remi and St. Nicaise, had vineyards or 'droits de
vin' at Hermonville, Rounay les Reims, Montigny, Serzy, Villers Aleran,
Maineux devant Reims, Mersy, Sapiecourt, Sacy en la Montagne, Flory
en la Montagne, Prouilly, Germigny, Saulx, Bremont, Merfaud, Trois
Pins, Joucheri sur Vesle, Villers aux Neux, &c.; the last named also
possessing a piece of 'vingne gonesse' at 'a place called Mont Valoys
in the territory of Reims.']

[Footnote 42: At his château at the Porte Mars were forty-four queues
of red and white wine, nineteen of new red and white wine, and four of
old wine, valued, on an average, at 36 sols or 1_s._ 6_d._ the queue;
at Courville there were fifty queues of new wine (valued at 30 sols
the queue), twenty of old wine (worth nothing), and four 'cuves' for
wine-making; and at Viellarcy, eighteen tuns of new wine, valued at
60 sols or 2_s._ 6_d._ per tun. To take charge of all these, Jehan le
Breton, the defunct prelate's assistant butler, was retained by the
executors for half a year, at the wages of 74 sols or 3_s._ 2_d._ At
the funeral feast there were consumed three queues of the best wine in
the cellars, valued at 2_s._ 7-1/2_d._ per queue, three others at 1_s._
3_d._, and five pots of Beaune at 1-2/3_d._ English per pot, showing it
to have been four times as valuable as native growths.]

[Footnote 43:

    'En Picardie sont li bourdeur,
    Et en Champagne li buveur....
    Telz n'a vaillant un Angevin
    Qui chascun jor viant boire vin.'

[Footnote 44:

    'Champagne est la forme de tout bien
    De blé, de vin, de foin, et de litière.'

[Footnote 45: Mss. de Rogier, Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de
Champagne_, &c.]

[Footnote 46: This wine, no doubt, came from a considerable distance
round, for we find P. de la Place, a mercer of Reims, seeking in 1409
to recover the value of five queues and two poinçons 'of wine from the
cru of the town of Espernay, on the river of Esparnay,' delivered at
Reims to J. Crohin of Hainault, the origin of the same being certified
by S. de Laval, a sworn wine-broker, 'who knows and understands the
wines of the country around Reims.']

[Footnote 47: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 48: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 49: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_. The Hôtel de
la Maison Rouge occupies to-day the site of the old hostelry at which
the parents of Jeanne Darc were housed.]

[Footnote 50: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 51: The cost of the wine thus presented seems to have
averaged from 2-1/4_d._ to 3_d._ per gallon. In 1477 a queue of old
wine was valued at no less than 30_s._]

[Footnote 52: The twelve peers of France first appear at the coronation
of Philip Augustus. There were six lay peers and six ecclesiastical

    Duke of    Burgundy.
      "        Normandy.
      "        Guienne or Aquitaine.
    Count of   Toulouse.
      "        Flanders.
      "        Champagne.
    Archbishop Duke of  Reims.
    Bishop     Duke of  Laon.
      "         "       Langres.
    Bishop     Count of Beauvais.
      "         "       Chalons.
      "         "       Noyon.

As the titles of the lay peers grew extinct, and their fiefs lapsed to
the crown, it became customary for them to be represented by some great
nobles at the coronations of the kings of France.]

[Footnote 53: The following is the full text of this singular sentence.
The injunction at the end, respecting the payment of tithes without
fraud, shows that even in a matter like this the Church did not lose
sight of its own interests.

'In the name of the Lord, amen. Having seen the prayer or petition on
behalf of the inhabitants of Villenauxe, of the diocese of Troyes,
made before us, official of Troyes, sitting in judgment upon the
_bruhecs_ or _éruches_, or other similar animals, which, according to
the evidence of persons worthy of belief and as confirmed by public
rumour, have ravaged for a certain number of years, and this year also,
the fruit of the vines of this locality, to the great loss of those
who inhabit it and of the persons of the neighbourhood,--petition
that we warn the above-named animals, and that, using the means at
the Church's disposition, we force them to retire from the territory
of the said place. Having seen and attentively examined the motives
of the prayer or petition above mentioned, and also the answers and
allegations furnished in favour of the said _éruches_ or other animals
by the councillors chosen by us for that purpose; having heard also on
the whole our promoter, and seeing the particular report, furnished
at our command by a notary of the said Court of Troyes, on the damage
caused by the said animals amongst the vines of the locality of
Villenauxe already named; though it would seem that to such damage one
can bring no remedy except through the aid of God; however, taking
into consideration the humble, frequent, and pressing complaint of the
above-mentioned inhabitants; having regard, especially, to the ardour
with which, to efface their past great faults, they lately gave, at
our invitation, the edifying spectacle of solemn prayers; considering
that, as the mercy of God does not drive away the sinners who return
to Him with humility, neither should His Church refuse, to those who
run to her, succour or consolation,--We, the official above named, no
matter how novel the case may be, yielding to the earnestness of these
prayers, following in the footsteps of our predecessors presiding at
our tribunal, having God before our eyes and full of belief in His
mercy and love, after having taken counsel in the proper quarter, we
deliver sentence in the following terms:

'In the name and in virtue of the omnipotence of God, of the Father,
the Son, and the Holy Ghost; of the blessed Mary, mother of our Lord
Jesus Christ; of the authority of the holy apostles Peter and Paul;
and of that with which we ourselves are invested in this affair, we
charge by this act the above-named animals--_bruches_, _éruches_,
or of any other name by which they may be called--to retire (under
penalty of malediction and anathema, within the six days which follow
this warning and in accordance with our sentence) from the vines and
from the said locality of Villenauxe, and never more to cause, in
time to come, any damage, either in this spot or in any other part of
the diocese of Troyes; that if, the six days passed, the said animals
have not fully obeyed our command, the seventh day, in virtue of the
power and authority above mentioned, we pronounce against them by this
writing anathema and malediction! Ordering, however, and formally
directing the said inhabitants of Villenauxe, no matter of what rank,
class, or condition they may be, so as to merit the better from God,
all-powerful dispensator of all good and deliverer from all evil, to
be released from such a great plague; ordering and directing them to
deliver themselves up in concert to good works and pious prayers; to
pay, moreover, the tithe without fraud and according to the custom
recognised in the locality; and to abstain with care from blaspheming
and all other sins, especially from public scandals.--Signed, /N.
Hupperoye/, Secretary.']

[Footnote 54: It has been asserted that the Champagne, and notably
the town of Troyes, enjoyed the dubious honour of furnishing fools to
the court of France. There is certainly a letter of Charles V. to the
notables of Troyes, asking them, 'according to custom,' for a fool to
replace one named Grand Jehan de Troyes, whom he had had buried in the
church of St. Germain l'Auxerrois, and who has been immortalised by
Rabelais. But Brusquet was a Provençal; Triboulet, his predecessor,
immortalised by Victor Hugo in the 'Roi s'amuse,' a native of Blois;
Chicot the Jester, the fool of Henry III., and the favourite hero of
Dumas, a Gascon; and Guillaume, his successor, a Norman.]

[Footnote 55: The wine of Reims provided at the coronation of Francis
II., in 1559, cost from 11_s._ 8_d._ to 15_s._ 10_d._ per queue of
ninety-six gallons, and the Burgundy 16_s._ 8_d._ per queue, which,
allowing for the cost of transport, would put them about on an
equality. At the coronation of Charles IX., in 1561, Reims wine cost
from 23_s._ 4_d._ to 28_s._ _4d._; and at that of Henry III., in 1575,
from 45_s._ to 62_s._ 6_d._ per queue,--a sufficient proof of the
rapidly-increasing estimation in which the wine was held.]

[Footnote 56: Paulmier's treatise _De Vino et Pomaceo_ (Paris, 1588).]

[Footnote 57: Jehan Pussot's _Mémorial du Temps_.]

[Footnote 58: Ibid. Many details respecting the yield of the vines
and vineyards of the Mountain and the River are preserved in this
_Mémorial_, which extends from 1569 to 1625, and the author of which
was a celebrated builder of Reims. During the last thirty years of the
century the vines seem to have suffered greatly from frost and wet.
Sometimes the wine was so bad that it was sold, as towards the end of
1579, at 5_s._ 6_d._ the queue; at others it was so scarce that it
rose, as at the vintage of 1587, to 126_s._ 8_d._ the queue. At the
vintage of 1579 the grapes froze on the vines, and were carried to the
press in sacks. At the commencement of the vintage the new wine fetched
from 12_s._ to 16_s._ the queue, but it turned out so bad that by
Christmas it was sold at 5_s._ 6_d._]

[Footnote 59: _Maison Rustique_ (1574).]

[Footnote 60: Jehan Pussot's _Mémorial du Temps_.]

[Footnote 61: During the first twenty-five years of the century Pussot
shows the new wine to have averaged from about 23_s._ to 46_s._ the
queue, according to quality. In 1600 and 1611 it was as low as 16_s._,
and in 1604 fetched from merely 12_s._ to 32_s._ On the other hand,
in 1607, it fetched from 57_s._ to 95_s._, and in 1609 from 79_s._ to

[Footnote 62: Feillet's _La Misère aux temps de la Fronde_.]

[Footnote 63: Dom Guillaume Marlot's _Histoire de Reims_.]

[Footnote 64: Pluche's _Spectacle de la Nature_.]

[Footnote 65: St. Simon's _Mémoires_.]

[Footnote 66: _Mémoire sur la manière de cultiver la vigne et de faire
le vin en Champagne._]

[Footnote 67: Lavardin, Bishop of Le Mans, and himself a great
_gourmet_, was one day at dinner with St. Evremond, and began to rally
the latter on the delicacy of himself and his friends the Marquis
de Bois Dauphin and the Comte d'Olonne. 'These gentlemen,' said the
prelate, 'in seeking refinement in everything carry it to extremes.
They can only eat Normandy veal; their partridges must come from
Auvergne, and their rabbits from La Roche Guyon, or from Versin; they
are not less particular as to fruit; and as to wine, they can only
drink that of the good _coteaux_ of Ay, Hautvillers, and Avenay.' St.
Evremond having repeated the story, he, the marquis, and the count were
nicknamed 'the three coteaux.' Hence Boileau, in one of his satires,
describes an epicurean guest as 'profès dans l'ordre des coteaux.']

[Footnote 68: St. Evremond's Works (London, 1714).]

[Footnote 69: _L'Art de bien traiter ... mis en lumière_, par L. S. R.
(Paris, 1674).]

[Footnote 70: Brossette's notes to Boileau's Works (1716). Bertin du
Rocheret, in correcting this error in the _Mercure_ of January 1728,
points out that neither the family of Colbert nor that of Le Tellier
ever owned a single vinestock of the River, and that their holdings on
the Mountain were very insignificant.]

[Footnote 71:

    'Il n'est cité que je préfère à Reims,
        C'est l'ornement et l'honneur de la France;
    Car sans conter l'ampoule et les bons vins,
        Charmants objets y sont en abondance.' _Les Rémois._

[Footnote 72:

    'Sur quelle vigne à Reims nous avons hypothèque;
    Vingt muids, rangés chez moi, font ma bibliothèque.'

_Le Lutrin_, chant iv. 1674.]

[Footnote 73: St. Simon's _Mémoires_.]

[Footnote 74: Ibid.]

[Footnote 75: Ibid.]

[Footnote 76: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_, 1845.]

[Footnote 77: Henderson's _History of Ancient and Modern Wines_.]

[Footnote 78: _Æneid_, i. 738.]

[Footnote 79: Henderson's _History of Ancient and Modern Wines_.]

[Footnote 80: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 81:

          --------'Petars de Chaalons,
    Qui le ventre enfle et les talons.'

[Footnote 82: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_, 1865.]

[Footnote 83: _De Naturali Vinorum Historiâ._ Rome, 1596.]

[Footnote 84: _L'Art de bien traiter_, &c.]

[Footnote 85: _Maison Rustique_, 1574.]

[Footnote 86: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 87: Pluche's _Spectacle de la Nature_.]

[Footnote 88: Idem and _Maison Rustique_, 1582. M. Louis Perrier, in
his _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_, says that the Ay wines yield but
little _mousse_.]

[Footnote 89: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 90: St. Evremond's letter to the Comte d'Olonne, already
noticed. In another epistle to Lord Galloway, dated 29th August 1701,
he observes: 'As to M. de Puisieux (Roger Brulart, Marquis de Puisieux
et de Sillery and Governor of Epernay), in my opinion he acts very
wisely in falling in with the bad taste now in fashion as regards
Champagne wine, in order the better to sell his own. I could never have
thought that the wines of Reims could have been changed into wines
of Anjou, from their colour and their harshness (_verdeur_). There
ought to be a harshness (_vert_) in the wine of Reims, but a harshness
with a colour, which turns into a sprightly tartness (_sêve_) when it
is ripe; ... and it is not to be drunk till the end of July.... The
wines of Sillery and Roncières used to be kept two years, and they
were admirable, but for the first four months they were nothing but
verjuice. Let M. de Puisieux make a little barrel (_cuve_) after the
fashion in which it was made forty years ago, before this depravity of
taste, and send it to you.' St. Evremond's Works, English edition of

[Footnote 91: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 92: Dom Guillaume Harlot's _Histoire de Reims_.]

[Footnote 93: Ibid.]

[Footnote 94: Henderson's _History of Ancient and Modern Wines_.]

[Footnote 95: Letter of Dom Grossart to M. Dherbès of Ay. The
measurement of the arpent varied from an acre to an acre and a half.]

[Footnote 96: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 97: Pluche's _Spectacle de la Nature_.]

[Footnote 98: Letter of Dom Grossart to M. Dherbès of Ay.]

[Footnote 99: Ibid.]

[Footnote 100: Ibid.]

[Footnote 101: Bertall's _La Vigne_. Paris, 1878.]

[Footnote 102: _Mémoire sur la Manière de cultiver la Vigne et de
faire le Vin en Champagne._ This work is believed to have been written
by Jean Godinot, a canon of Reims, born in 1662. Godinot was at the
same time a conscientious Churchman, a skilled viticulturist, and a
clever merchant, who enriched himself by disposing of the wine from
his vineyards at Bouzy, Taissy, and Verzenay, and distributed his
gains amongst the poor. He died in 1747, after publishing an enlarged
edition of the _Mémoire_ in 1722, in which the phrase 'for the last
three years' becomes 'the last seven or eight years.' Godinot's friend
Pluche used the _Mémoire_ as the basis for the section 'Wine' in his
_Spectacle de la Nature_.]

[Footnote 103: Letter of Dom Grossart to M. Dherbès of Ay.]

[Footnote 104: Ibid.]

[Footnote 105: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 106: Letter of M. le Pescheur, 1706.]

[Footnote 107: Pluche's _Spectacle de la Nature_.]

[Footnote 108: In Brossette's notes to his edition of Boileau's Works
of 1716.]

[Footnote 109: The inscription above given is an exact transcript from
the black-marble slab, and any errors in orthography are due either to
the original author or to the mason who incised it.]

[Footnote 110: The following account of Dom Perignon and his
discoveries is contained in a letter dated 25th October 1821, and
addressed from Montier-en-Der, Haute Marne, to M. Dherbès of Ay, by Dom
Grossart, the last procureur of the Abbey of Hautvillers. Dom Grossart,
who had fled from France during the troublous times of the Revolution,
was at the date of the letter in his seventy-fourth year.

'You know, sir, that it was the famous Dom Perignon, who was procureur
of Hautvillers for forty-seven years, and who died in 1715, who
discovered the secret of making sparkling and non-sparkling white
wine, and the means of clearing it without being obliged to _dépoter_
the bottles, as is done by our great wine-merchants rather twice than
once, and by us never. Before his time one only knew how to make
straw-coloured or gray wine. In bottling wine, instead of corks of
cork-wood, only tow was made use of, and this species of stopper was
saturated with oil. It was in the marriage of our wines that their
goodness consisted; and this Dom Perignon towards the end of his days
became blind. He had instructed in his secret of fining the wines (_de
coller les vins_) a certain Brother Philip, who was for fifty years
at the head of the wines of Hautvillers, and who was held in such
consideration by M. Le Tellier, Archbishop of Reims, that when this
brother went to Reims he made him come and sit at table with him. When
the vintage drew near, he (Dom Perignon) said to this brother, "Go and
bring me some grapes from the Prières, the Côtes-à-bras, the Barillets,
the Quartiers, the Clos Sainte Hélène," &c. Without being told from
which vineyard these grapes came, he mentioned it, and added, "the wine
of such a vineyard must be married with that of such another," and
never made a mistake. To this Brother Philip succeeded a Brother André
Lemaire, who was for nearly forty years at the head of the cellars of
Hautvillers, that is to say, until the Revolution.... This brother
being very ill, and believing himself on the point of death, confided
to me the secret of clarifying the wines, for neither prior nor
procureur nor monk ever knew it. I declare to you, sir, that we never
did put sugar in our wines; you can attest this when you find yourself
in company where it is spoken of.

Monsieur Moët, who has become one of the _gros bonnets_ of Champagne
since 1794, when I used to sell him plenty of little baskets, will not
tell you that I put sugar in our wines. I make use of it at present
upon some white wines which are vintaged in certain _crûs_ of our wine
district. This may have led to the error.

'As it costs much to _dépoter_, I am greatly surprised that no
wine-merchant has as yet taken steps to learn the secret of clearing
the wine without having to _dépoter_ the bottles when once the wine has
been put into them.']

[Footnote 111: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 112: _Mémoire_ of 1718.]

[Footnote 113: Ibid. Pluche, in his _Spectacle de la Nature_, 1732,
also says: 'If the wine be drawn off towards the end of March, when
the sap begins to rise in the vine, it will froth to such a degree as
to whiten like milk, to the very bottom of the glass, the moment it is
poured out. Wine will sometimes acquire this quality if it be drawn off
during the ascent of the sap in August, which makes it evident that
the froth is occasioned by the operation of the air and sap, which
then act with vigour in the wood of the vine, and likewise in the
liquor it produced. This violent ebulition, which is so agreeable to
some persons, is thought by connoisseurs to be inconsistent with the
goodness of the wine, since the greenest may be made to whiten into a
froth, and the most perfect wines seldom discover this quality.' In
an article in the _Journal de Verdun_ of November 1726, the following
passage occurs: 'A wine merchant of Anjou having written some time back
to a celebrated magistrate in Champagne, Bertin du Rocheret, begging
him to forward the secret of making _vin mousseux_ during the vintage,
the magistrate answered, "That _vin mousseux_ was not made during the
vintage; that there was no special soil for it; that the Anjou wines
were suitable, since poor wine froths as well as the most excellent,
frothing being a property of thin poor wine. That to make wine froth,
it was necessary to draw it off as clear as could be done from the
lees, if it had not been already racked; to bottle it on a fine clear
day in January or February, or in March at the latest; three or four
months afterwards the wine will be found effervescent, especially if
it has some tartness and a little strength. When the wine works (like
the vine) your wine will effervesce more than usual; a taste of vintage
and of fermentation will be found in it." The excellent wines of Ay and
our good Champagne wines do not froth, or very slightly; they content
themselves with sparkling in the glass.']

[Footnote 114: St. Simon's _Mémoires_.]

[Footnote 115: Ibid.]

[Footnote 116: _Mémoire_ of 1718.]

[Footnote 117: Ibid.]

[Footnote 118: Antony Réal's _Ce qu'il y a dans une Bouteille de Vin_.]

[Footnote 119: Legrand d'Aussy's _Vie Privée des Français_.]

[Footnote 120:

    'Là le nombre et l'éclat de cent verres bien nets
    Répare par les yeux la disette des mets;
        Et la mousse petillante
        D'un vin délicat et frais
        D'une fortune brillante
    Cache à mon souvenir les fragiles attraits.'

[Footnote 121:

    'Quant à la muse de St. Maur
    Que moins de douceur accompagne.
    Il lui faut du vin de Champagne
    Pour lui faire prendre l'essor.'

[Footnote 122:

    'Alors, grand' merveille, sera
        De voir flûter vin de Champagne.'

[Footnote 123:

    'Sur ce rivage emaillé,
        Où Neuillé borde la Seine,
    Reviens au vin d'Hautvillé
        Mêler les eaux d'Hypocrène.'

[Footnote 124:

    'Phébus adonc va se désabuser
        De son amour pour la docte fontaine,
    Et connoîtra que pour bon vers puiser
        Vin champenois vaut mieux qu'eau d'Hippocrène.'

[Footnote 125: The father, Adam Bertin du Rocheret, was born in 1662,
and died in 1736; his son, Philippe Valentin, the _lieutenant criminel_
at Epernay, was born in 1693, and died in 1762. Both owned vineyards
at Epernay, Ay, and Pierry, and were engaged in the wine-trade, and
both left a voluminous mass of correspondence, &c., extracts from which
have been given by M. Louis Perrier in his _Mémoire sur le Vin de
Champagne_. The Marshal was an old customer. At the foot of a letter
of his of the 20th December 1705, asking for 'two quartaux of the most
excellent vin de Champagne, and a pièce of good for ordinary drinking,'
Bertin has written, 'I will send you, as soon as the river, which is
strongly flooded, becomes navigable, the wine you ask for, and you
will be pleased with it; but as the best new wine is not of a quality
to be drunk in all its goodness by the spring, I should think that
fifty flasks of old wine, the most exquisite in the kingdom that I can
furnish you with, together with fifty other good ones, will suit you
instead of one of the two caques.']

[Footnote 126: _Tocane_ was a light wine obtained, like the best Tokay,
from the juice allowed to drain from grapes slightly trodden, but not
pressed. It had a flavour of _verdeur_, which was regarded as one of
its chief merits, and would not keep more than six months. Though at
one time very popular, and largely produced in Champagne, it is now no
longer made. The wine of Ay enjoyed a high reputation as _tocane_.]

[Footnote 127: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 128: Letter of Dom Grossart.]

[Footnote 129: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 130: Ample details of the systems of viticulture and
wine-making pursued in the Champagne at the commencement of the
eighteenth century are to be found in the anonymous _Mémoire_ published
in 1718. These are reproduced to a great extent in the _Spectacle de
la Nature_ of Noel Antoine Pluche, a native of Reims, who composed
this work (published in 1732) for the benefit of the son of Lord
Stafford, to whom he was tutor. The Abbé Pluche, after being professor
of humanity and rhetoric at the University of Reims, was about to
enter into holy orders, but being denounced as an opponent of the Bull
Unigenitus, abandoned all ideas of preferment, and devoted himself to
private tuition and the composition of his great work, the _Spectacle
de la Nature_. This last is a perfect encyclopædia, in the form of a
series of dialogues, recalling those in Mrs. Barbauld's _Evenings at
Home_, the interlocutors being the Count, the Countess, the Chevalier,
and the Prior; and the style may be best judged from the following
extracts from the contemporary translation of Mr. Samuel Humphries.

In Dialogue XIII. on 'Vines,' the Count remarks that, after studying
the methods of viticulture followed in different provinces, he 'could
not discover any to be ranked in Competition with those Precautions
that have been taken by the Inhabitants of Champaign' in the production
of their wine. By 'a long Course of Experience' they had 'acquired the
proper Method of tinging it with the Complexion of a Cherry, or the Eye
of a Partridge. They could likewise brighten it into the whitest Hue,
or deepen it into a perfect Red.'

In the succeeding Dialogue on 'Wines,' the Count states that 'Vines
vary in their Qualities. Some are planted in a very light and strong
Soil, and they yield a bright and fragrant Wine; others are placed in
a more nourishing Tract of Land, and they produce a Wine of a greater
Body. The reasonable Combination of these different Fruits will produce
an exquisite Liquor, that will have all the Advantages of a sufficient
Body, a Delicacy of Flavour, a Fragrancy of Scent, and a Liveliness
of Colour, and which may be Kept for several Years without the least
Alteration. It was the Knowledge of those Effects that result from
intermixing the Grapes of three or four Vines of different Qualities,
which improved the celebrated Wines of Sillery, Ai, and Hautvillers to
the Perfection they have now acquired. Father Parignon, a Benedictine
of Hautvillers on the Marne, was the first who made any successful
Attempt to intermix the Grapes of the different Vines in this manner,
and the Wine of Perignon d'Hautvillers bore the greatest Estimation
amongst us till the Practise of this Method became more extensive.'

The Count notes that white wines from white grapes being deficient
in strength, and apt to grow yellow and degenerate before the next
return of summer, had gone out of repute, except for some medicinal
prescriptions, whilst 'the grey Wine, which has so bright an Eye and
resembles the Complexion of Crystal, is produced by the blackest
Grapes.' 'The Wine of a black Grape may be tinged with any Colour we
think proper; those who desire to have it perfectly White have recourse
to the following Method. The People employed in the Vintage begin their
Labours at an early Hour in the Morning; and when they have selected
the finest Grapes, they lay them gently in their Baskets, in order to
be carried out of the Vineyard; or they place them in large Panniers,
without pressing them in the least or wiping off the dewy Moisture
or the azure Dye that covers them. Dews and exhaling Mists greatly
contribute to the Whiteness of the Wine. 'Tis customary to cover the
Baskets with wet Cloths in a hot Sunshine, because the Liquor will be
apt to assume a red Tincture if the Grapes should happen to be heated.
These Baskets are then placed on the Backs of such Animals as are of
a gentle Nature, and carry their Burdens with an easy Motion to the
Cellar, where the Grapes continue covered in a cool Air. When the
Warmth of the Sun proves moderate, the Labours of the Vintage are not
discontinued till Eleven in the Morning; but a glowing Heat makes it
necessary for them to cease at Nine.'

Yet even these precautions were liable to fail, since 'the Heat of
the Sun and the Shocks of the Carriages are sometimes so violent, and
produce such strong Effects upon the exterior Coat of the Grapes,
that the Fluids contained in that Coat, and which are then in Motion,
mix themselves with the Juice of the Pulp at the first Pressing; in
consequence of which, the Extraction of a Wine perfectly white is
rendered impracticable, and its Colour will resemble the Eye of a
Partridge, or perhaps some deeper Hue. The Quality of the Wine is still
the same; but it must be either entirely White or Red, in order to
prove agreeable to the Taste and Mode which now prevail.'

The Count describes the two pressings and five cuttings, the latter
term derived from the squaring of the mass of grapes with the cutting
peel, and the system of 'glewing' this wine, 'the weight of an
_ecu d'or_' of 'Fish Glew, which the Dutch import amongst us from
Archangel,' being added to each _pièce_, with the addition sometimes
of a pint of spirits of wine or brandy. He then explains the method
practised of drawing off the wine without disturbing the barrels, by
the aid of a tube and a gigantic pair of bellows. The vessels were
connected by the former, and the wine then driven from one to the
other by the pressure of air pumped in by means of the latter. A
sulphur-match was burnt in the empty vessels, so that it might 'receive
a Steam of Spirits capable of promoting the natural Fire and bright
Complexion of the Liquor.'

Noting that the wines should be again 'glewed' eight days before they
are bottled, Pluche says: 'The Month of March is the usual Season
for glewing the most tender Wines, such as those of Ai, Epernai,
Hautvilliers, and Pieri, whose chief Consumption is in France; but
this Operation should not be performed on such strong Wines as those
of Sillery, Verzenai, and other Mountain Wines of Reims, till they
are twelve Months old, at which Time they are capable of supporting
themselves for several Years. When these Wines are bottled off before
they have exhaled their impetuous Particles, they burst a Number of
Bottles, and are less perfect in their Qualities. The proper Method
of bottling Wine consists in leaving the Space of a Finger's Breadth
between the Cork and the Liquor, and in binding the Cork down with
Packthread; it will also be proper to seal the Mouths of the Bottles
with Wax, to prevent Mistakes and Impositions. The Bottles should
likewise be reclined on one Side, because if they are placed in an
upright Position, the Corks will grow dry in a few Months for want of
Moisture, and shrink from their first Dimensions. In Consequence of
which a Passage will be opened to the external Air, which will then
impart an Acidity to the Wine, and form a white Flower on the Surface,
which will be an Evidence of its Corruption.'

The _Mémoire_ of 1718 also points out the necessity of leaving a space
between the cork and the wine, saying that without this, when the wine
began to work at the different seasons of the year, it would break a
large number of bottles; and that even despite this precaution large
numbers are broken, especially when the wine is a little green. The
ordinary bottles for Champagne, styled _flacons_, or flasks, held 'a
_pinte de Paris_, less half a glass,' and cost from 12 to 15 francs the
hundred; and as wood abounded in the province, several glass-works were
established there for their manufacture. As the bottling of the wine,
especially in the early years, was mostly to order, many customers had
their flasks stamped with their arms, at a cost of about 30 per cent
more. The corks--'solid, even, and not worm-eaten'--cost from 50 to 60
sols per hundred. Wire was as yet quite unknown. The cost of bottling a
poinçon of wine in 1712 was: for 200 bottles, 30 livres; 200 corks, 3
livres; 2 baskets and packing, 8 livres; bottling, string, and sealing,
3 livres; total, 44 livres, or say 36 shillings.

It would appear from the _Mémoire_ that the pernicious practice of
icing still Champagne, already noticed, continued in vogue as regards
sparkling wine. The wine was recommended to be taken out of the cellar
half an hour before it was intended it should be drunk, and put into
a bucket of water with two or three pounds of ice. The bottle had to
be previously uncorked, and the cork lightly replaced, otherwise it
was believed there was danger of the bottle breaking. A short half an
hour in the ice was said to bring out the goodness of the wine. Bertin
du Rocheret counselled the use of ice to develop the real merits of a
vinous wine of Ay.]

[Footnote 131: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 132: _Mémoires_ of 1718 and 1722.]

[Footnote 133: Ibid.]

[Footnote 134: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 135: _Mémoire_ of 1718. The perils to which it was exposed
during this transit are pointed at in a letter to the elder Bertin
from a customer in Paris in 1689: 'I thought it better to wait before
giving you any news of the wine you sent me until it was fit to drink.
I tapped it yesterday, and found it poor. I can hardly believe but that
the boatmen did not fall-to upon it whenever they had need, and took
great care to fill it up again, for it could not have been fuller than
they delivered it.']

[Footnote 136: Pluche's _Spectacle de la Nature_, 1732.]

[Footnote 137: _Mémoire_ of 1718.]

[Footnote 138: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_. In
the _Mémoire_ of 1718, Ay, Epernay, Hautvillers, and Cumières are alone
classed as _Vins de Rivière_; Pierry, Fleury, Damery, and Venteuil
being reckoned only as _Petite Rivière_; and there being no mention of
Avize and the neighbouring vineyards.]

[Footnote 139: As at Vertus, where the red wine, so highly esteemed by
William III. of England, was replaced by sparkling wine.]

[Footnote 140: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 141: _Ergo vinum Belnense potuum est suavissimus, ita et

[Footnote 142: _An vinum Remense sit omnium saluberrimum._]

[Footnote 143: Of Ay, Avenay, and Hautvillers (note of Tallemant's

[Footnote 144: Tallemant des Réaux's _Historiettes_.]

[Footnote 145: Champagne has been accused of producing not only gout,
but stone, gravel, and rheumatism. As to the first-named complaint,
Bertin du Rocheret disposes of it by noting, in a list compiled by him
of all the deaths of any moment at Epernay, from 1644 downwards, the
decease, at the age of seventy-five, on January 1, 1733, of Jeanne
Maillard, 'the only person in the district ever attacked by the gout.'
His brother-in-law, Dr. Jacques de Reims, in a letter to Helvetius
in 1730, asserts that this complaint is only known by name in the
Champagne; and that, as regards the stone, not more than ten people
were affected therewith within a radius of ten leagues. He maintained
that the _non-mousseux_ white wine of the Champagne, drunk at maturity
and tempered with water, was the best of all beverages for preserving
general health; and the eminent Dr. Camille Falconnet held the same
opinion. Arthur Young, moreover, furnishes spontaneous testimony with
regard to rheumatism. Extolling the sparkling wine of Reims in 1787,
he says, 'I suppose fixed air is good for the rheumatism; I had some
writhes of it before I entered Champagne, but the _vin mousseux_ has
absolutely banished it;' and on reaching Ove, he regrets that 'the _vin
de Champagne_, which is forty sous at Reims, is three livres here, and
execrably bad; so there is an end of my physic for the rheumatism'
(_Travels in France in 1787-9_).]

[Footnote 146: _An vinum Remense Burgundico suavius et salubrius._]

[Footnote 147: In his ode entitled _Vinum Burgundum_, the passage
aspersing the wines of Reims runs as follows:

      'Nam suum Rhemi licet usque Bacchum
    Jactitent: æstu petulans jocoso
    Hic quidam fervet cyathis, et aura
      Limpidus acri.

        Vellicat nares avidas; venenum
    At latet: multos facies fefellit,
    Hic tamen spargat modico secundam
        Munere mensam.'

The French version, by M. de Bellechaume, entitled an 'Ode au Vin
de Bourgogne,' and published in his _Recueil des Poésies latines et
françaises sur les Vins de Champagne et de Bourgogne_, Paris 1712, is
as follows:

    'Vante, Champagne ambitieuse,
        L'odeur et l'éclat de ton vin,
    Dont la sève pernicieuse
        Dans ce brillant cache un venin,
    Tu dois toute ta gloire en France,
    A cette agréable apparence,
    Qui nous attire et nous séduit;
        Qu'à Beaune ta liqueur soumise
        Dans les repas ne soit admise,
    Que sagement avec le fruit.'

M. de la Monnoye, himself a Burgundian, has rendered this passage
somewhat differently in an edition published the same year at Dijon:

    'Jusqu'aux cieux le Champagne élève
        De son vin pétillant la riante liqueur,
        On sait qu'il brille aux yeux, qu'il chatouille le c[oe]ur,
    Qu'il pique l'odorat d'une agréable sève.

    Mais craignons un poison couvert,
        L'aspic est sous les fleurs, que seulement par grâce;
        Quand Beaune aura primé, Reims occupant la place,
    Vienne légèrement amuser le dessert.'

[Footnote 148: _Campania vindicata; sive laus vini Remensis a poeta
Burgundo eleganter quidam, sed immerito culpati._ Offerebat civitati
Remensi Carolus Coffin. Anno Domini /MDCCXII/.]

[Footnote 149:

    'Quantum superbas vitis, humi licet
    Prorepat, anteit fructibus arbores
        Tantum, orbe quæ toto premuntur
        Vina super generosiora

    Remense surgit. Cedite, Massica
    Cantata Flacco Silleriis; neque
        Chio remixtum certet audax
        Collibus Aïacis Falernum.

    Cernis micanti concolor ut vitro
    Latex in auras, gemmeus aspici,
        Scintellet exultim; utque dulces
        Naribus illecebras propinet.

    Succi latentis proditor halitus
    Ut spuma motu lactea turbido
        Crystallinum lætis referre
        Mox oculis properet nitorem.'

La Monnoye renders this as follows:

    'Autant que, sans porter sa tête dans les cieux,
        La vigne par son fruit est au-dessus du chêne;
        Autant, sans affecter une gloire trop vaine,
    Reims surpasse les vins les plus délicieux.

    Qu'Horace du Falerne entonne les louanges
        Que de son vieux Massique il vante les attraits;
        Tous ces vins fameux n'égaleront jamais
    Du charmant Silleri les heureux vendanges.

    Aussi pur que la verre ou la main l'a versé,
        Les yeux les plus perçants l'en distinguent à peine;
        Qu'il est doux de sentir l'ambre de son haleine
    Et de prévoir le goût par l'odeur annoncé,

    D'abord à petits bonds une mousse argentine
        Etincelle, petille et bout de toutes parts,
        Un éclat plus tranquille offre ensuite aux regards
    D'un liquide miroir la glace cristalline.'

[Footnote 150:

    'Non hæc malignus quidlibet obstrepat
    Livor; nocentes dissimulant dolos
        Leni veneno. Vina certant
        Inguenuos retinere Gentis

    Campana mores. Non stomacho movent
    Ægro tumultum; non gravidum caput
        Fulagine infestant opacâ.'

Bellechaume renders these lines in the Recueil as follows:

    'Il n'a point, quoiqu'on insinue
        De poison parmi ses douceurs,
    Et de sa province ingénue
        La Champagne a gardé les m[oe]urs.
    Il n'excite point de tempête
        Dans les estomacs languissants;
    Son feu léger monte à la tête,
        Eveille et réjouit les sens.'

La Monnoye gives them thus:

    'Taisez-vous envieux dont la langue cruelle
        Veut qu'ici sous les fleurs se cache le venin;
        Connaissez la Champagne, et respectez un vin
    Qui des m[oe]urs du climat est l'image fidèle.

    Non, ce jus qu'à grand tort vous osez outrager
        De images fâcheux ne trouble point la tête,
        Jamais dans l'estomac n'excite de tempête;
    Il est tendre, il est net, délicat et léger.'


[Footnote 151:

    'Ergo ut secundis (parcere nam decet
    Karo liquori) se comitem addidit
        Mensis renidens Testa; frontem,
        Arbitra lætitiæ, resolvit

    Austeriorum. Tune cyathos juvat
    Siccare molles: tunc hilaris jocos
        Conviva fundit liberales;
        Tunc procul alterius valere.'

Bellechaume has rendered this:

    'Sitôt que sur de riches tables
        De ce nectar avec le fruit
    On sert les coupes délectables,
        De joie il s'élève un doux bruit;
    On voit, même sur le visage
    Du plus sévère et du plus sage,
        Un air joyeux et plus serein:
    Le ris, l'entretien se reveille;
    Il n'est plus de liqueur pareille
        A cet élixir souverain.'

La Monnoye's version is as follows:

    'Vers la fin du repas, à l'approche du fruit,
        (Car on doit ménager une liqueur si fine),
        Aussitôt que parait la bouteille divine,
    Des Grâces à l'instant l'aimable ch[oe]ur la suit

    Parmi les conviés, s'élève un doux murmure;
        Le plus stoïque alors se deride le front.'

[Footnote 152: That of Utrecht, concluded the following year, 1713.]

[Footnote 153: _Ad clarissimum virum Guidonem-Crescentium Fagon regi
a secretoribus consiliis, archiatrorum comitem; ut suam Burgundo vino
prestantiam adversus Campanum vinum asserat._]

[Footnote 154: The original lines and the translation, published by
Bellechaume the same year in his _Recueil_, prove, as do the extracts
already quoted from Coffin, that a sparkling wine was meant. The former
run thus--

    'Hinc inversa scyphis tumet, fremitque;
    Spumasque agglomerat furore mixtas
    Æstuans, levis, inquies proterva;'

Bellechaume's translation is as above--

    'Enflés du même orgueil tous ses vins bondissants
    N'élèvent que des flots écumeux frémissants
    Leur liqueur furieuse, inconstante et légère
    Etincelle, petille, et bout dans la fougère.'

[Footnote 155: These epigrams and their translation are given
anonymously, as follows, in Bellechaume's _Recueil_:

    'Quid medicos testa implores Burgunda? Laboras
        Nemo velit medicam poscere sanus opem.
    Cur fugis ad doctum, Burgundica testa, Fagonem?
        Arte valet multa, sed nimis ægra jaces.'

    'A ce que je me persuade
        Sur la qualité des bons vins,
    Grenan, ta cause est bien malade,
        Tu consultes les médecins.
    Quand on s'adresse au médecin
        C'est qu'on éprouve une souffrance;
    Bourgogne, vous n'êtes pas sain
        Puisqu'il vous faut une ordonnance.'

[Footnote 156: _Decretum medica apud insulam Coon facultatis super
poetica lite Campanum inter et Burgundum vinum ortâ post editum a
poeta Burgundo libellum supplicem._ By several writers this poem has
been ascribed to Grenan; but M. Philibert Milsaud, in his _Procés
poétique touchant les Vins de Bourgogne et de Champagne_ (Paris, 1866),
clearly shows that, although in favour of Burgundy, the judgment is an
ironical one, and that the signature C. C. R. stands for Carolus Coffin

[Footnote 157: _Ode à Messieurs Coffin et Grenan, Professeurs de Belles
Lettres, sur leurs Combats poétiques au sujet des Vins de Bourgogne et
de Champagne_, in Bellechaume's _Recueil_.]

[Footnote 158:

    'Pour connaître la différence
        Du nectar de Beaune et de Reims,
    Il faut mettre votre science
        A bien goûter de ces deux vins.'

[Footnote 159: In an anonymous letter addressed to Grenan on February
1712, and published in the _Recueil_.]

[Footnote 160:

    'Un franc Bourguignon se fait gloire
    D'être avec un Remois à boire;
    Ils sont tous deux bons connaisseurs,
    Et ne sont pas moins bons buveurs.'

[Footnote 161: _Les Célébrités du Vin de Champagne._ Epernay, 1880.
Maucroix died in his ninetieth year in 1708.]

[Footnote 162: Henderson's _History of Ancient and Modern Wines_.]

[Footnote 163: In the _Journal des Savants_.]

[Footnote 164:

    'Vieux Bourguignon, jeune Champagne
                Font l'agrément de nos festins.'

    From _La Critique_, an opera of Panard's, produced in 1742.

[Footnote 165: 'With what vivacity,' he exclaims, with a strange
blending of poetry and science, 'does this divine liquid burst forth
in sparkling foam-bells! And what an agreeable impression it produces
upon the olfactory organs! What a delicious sensation it creates upon
the delicate fibres of the palate! ... It is fixed air which, by its
impetuous motion, forms and raises up that foam, the whiteness of
which, rivalling that of milk, soon offers to our astonished eye the
lustre of the most transparent crystal. It is this same air that,
by its expansion and the effervescence it produces, develops the
action of the vinous spirit of which it is the vehicle, in order that
the _papillæ_ of the nerves may more promptly receive the delicious
impression.... Vainly calumny spreads the report on all sides that the
sparkle of our wines is injurious; vainly it asserts that they have
only a hurtful fire and a worthless flavour. Incapable of hiding under
an insidious appearance a perfidious venom, they will always present a
faithful image of the ingenuousness of their native province.']

[Footnote 166: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 167: Henderson's _History of Ancient and Modern Wines_.
Pluche, in his _Spectacle de la Nature_, notices the controversy
regarding the respective merits of the wines of the Marne and the Côte
d'Or in the following terms:

_'Count_: If we will be determined by the finest palates, the Champaign
wine is much preferable to Burgundy.

_Prior_: It is a sufficient honour for Champaign to be admitted to the
same degree of estimation with Burgundy; and it may very well dispense
with the priority. I always thought Burgundy had some similitude with
a solid understanding, which affects us with lasting impressions, and
that Champaign resembles a lively wit, which glitters more upon the
imagination, but which is not always serviceable to its possessor.

_Count_: If you had made the froth of some Champaign wines and the
sallies of a sprightly wit your parallel, I should have thought it
unexceptionable; and several pleasant remarks might be made on this
sprightliness without solidity. But such a Champaign wine as that of
Sillery unites all the vigour of Burgundy, with an agreeable flavour
peculiar to itself.

_Prior_: I prefer useful qualities to those that are merely agreeable.
Burgundy seems to be a more salutary wine than Champaign, and will
always be triumphant for that reason. Its colour alone declares it to
be a wine of a good body, and I must confess I am apt to be diffident
of all dazzling appearances.

_Count_: People believe that this deep colour, so esteemed in Burgundy
wines, is an indication of their wholesomeness; but it is observable
in the grossest wines, and results from an intermixture of the husky
parts of the grape. Wine, in proportion to the quantity of these
particles blended with it, will be less qualified for digestion.
The gout, therefore, and the stone, with which the inhabitants of
wine-countries are so frequently afflicted, are distempers hardly
known either at Reims or on the banks of the Marne, where the wines
are very moderately coloured.... Wines may be made almost as white in
Burgundy as they are in Champaign, though not so good; and, on the
other hand, the Champenois press a wine as red as the Burgundy growth,
and the merchants sell it either as the best species of Burgundy to
the wine-conners, who are the first people that are deceived in it, or
as red Champaign to the connoisseurs, who prefer it to any other wine.
If we may judge of the merit of wines by the price, we shall certainly
assign the preference to Champaign, since the finest species of this
wine is sold in the vaults of Sillery and Epernai for six, seven, or
eight hundred livres, when the same quality of the best Burgundy may be
purchased for three hundred.

_Countess_: Let me entreat you, gentlemen, to leave this controversy
undecided. The equal pretensions that are formed by these two great
provinces promote an emulation which is advantageous to us. The
partisans for Burgundy and Champaign form two factions in the State;
but their contests are very entertaining, and their encounters not
at all dangerous. It is very usual to see the zealots of one party
maintaining a correspondence with those of the other; they frequently
associate together without any reserve, and those who were advocates
for Burgundy at the beginning of the entertainment are generally
reconciled to Champaign before the appearance of the dessert.']

[Footnote 168: _Letters, &c._ Hamburg and Paris, 1788. The translator
adds, as a note, 'People do not any longer get drunk on Champagne.']

[Footnote 169: _Mémoires du Duc de St. Simon._]

[Footnote 170: _Journal de Barbier._]

[Footnote 171: A curious proof of the popularity of sparkling
Champagne, and of the singular system of provincial government into
which France was broken up during the reign of Louis XV., is found
in a decree of the Council of State, dated May 25, 1728. The decree
in question begins by setting forth that, by the _Ordonnance des
aides de Normandie_, wine was forbidden to be brought into Rouen or
its suburbs in bottles, jugs, or any less vessels than hogsheads and
barrels--with the exception of _vin de liqueur_ packed in boxes--under
pain of confiscation and one hundred livres' fine, and that carriers
were prohibited from conveying wine in bottles in the province without
leave from the _fermier des aides_. Nevertheless, petitions had been
presented by the _maire_ and _échevins_ of Reims, stating 'that the
trade in the gray wines of Champagne had considerably increased
for some years past, through the precautions taken at the place of
production to bottle them during the first moon of the month of March
following the vintage, in order to render them _mousseux_; that those
who make use of the gray wine of Champagne prefer that which is
_mousseux_ to that which is not; and that this gray wine cannot be
transported in casks into the interior of the kingdom or to foreign
countries without totally losing its qualities,'--a statement probably
intentionally overdrawn, since Bertin du Rocheret used to export it in
casks to England. Yet the _fermiers des aides de Normandie_ claimed
to prohibit the transport of wines in bottle; and if their pretension
held good, the trade in the gray wine of Champagne would be destroyed.
'Shifting the cause, as a lawyer knows how,' the decree recapitulates
the plea of the _fermiers_ that the transport of wine in bottles
offered facilities for defrauding the revenue, since a carrier with
a load could easily leave some of it _en route_ with innkeepers, and
these in turn could hide bottles holding a _pinte de Paris_ from the
officers in chests, cupboards, &c., and sell them subsequently, to the
detriment of the _droits de détail_.

The foregoing duly rehearsed, there follows the decree permitting 'to
be sent in bottles into the province of Normandy, for the consumption
of the said province, gray wine of Champagne in baskets, which must not
hold less than one hundred bottles,' but prohibiting the introduction
in bottles of any other growth or quality, under the penalty of
confiscation and one hundred livres' fine. Permission is also given
to pass gray and red wine of Champagne, or of any other _cru_ or
quality, in baskets of fifty or one hundred bottles for conveyance
into other provinces, or for shipment to foreign parts by the ports of
Rouen, Caen, Dieppe, and Havre. The wagoners, however, in all cases
are to have certificates signed and countersigned by all manner of
authorities, and are only to enter the province by certain specified
routes. All wine, too, is to pay the _droit de détail_, except in the
case of people not continuously residing in the province, who may
be going to their estates, or those bound for the eaux de Forges, a
celebrated watering-place, both of whom may take a certain quantity in
bottle with them for their own consumption free of duty.]

[Footnote 172: 'To be drunk as _nouveau_ or bottled,' says M. Louis
Perrier in his _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 173: D'Argenson's _Mémoires_.]

[Footnote 174: Bois-Jourdain's _Mélanges Historiques_. The editor of
the _Journal de Barbier_ observes in a note to a passage referring to
the King's suppers at La Muette with Madame de Mailly, under the date
of November 1737: 'These suppers were drinking bouts. It was there that
the King acquired a taste for Champagne.']

[Footnote 175: Clauteau's _Relation de ce qui s'est passé au Passage du
Roi_. Reims, 1744.]

[Footnote 176: Ibid.]

[Footnote 177: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 178: Louis Paris' _Histoire de l'Abbaye d'Avenay_.]

[Footnote 179: Amongst these may be cited the Abbé Bignon, who, in a
letter to Bertin du Rocheret dated January 1734, says: 'The less the
wine is _mousseux_ and glittering, and the more, on the contrary, it
shows at the outset of what you style _liqueur_, and I, in chemical
terms, should rather call balsamic parts, the better I shall think of

[Footnote 180: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 181:

    'Chloris, Eglé me versent de leur main
        D'un vin d'Ay dont la mousse pressée,
        De la bouteille avec force élancée,
    Comme un éclair fait voler son bouchon.
    Il part, on rit; il frappe le plafond:
        De ce vin frais l'écume pétillante
        De nos Français est l'image brillante.'

[Footnote 182:

    'De ce vin blanc délicieux
        Qui mousse et brille dans le verre,
        Dont les mortels ne boivent guères;
    Et qu'on ne sert jamais qu'à la table des dieux
    Ou des grands, pour en parler mieux,
        Qui sont les seuls dieux de la terre.'

[Footnote 183: Desaulx, a canon of Reims Cathedral, rendered
Lebatteux's ode as follows:

    'Ce n'est point sur les monts de Rhodope et de Thrace
    Que j'irai t'invoquer; ces monts couverts de glace,
        Sont-ils propres à tes faveurs?
    Non, Reims te voit régner bien plus sur ses collines;
    Là je t'offre mes v[oe]ux; de nos côtes voisines
        Embrases moi de tes ardeurs.

    Soit que d'un lait mousseux l'écume pétillante,
    Soit qu'un rouge vermeil, par sa couleur brillante,
        T'annonce à mes regards surpris,
    Viens, anime mes vers; ma muse impatiente
    Veut devoir en ce jour les accords qu'elle enfante
        A la force de tes esprits.'

[Footnote 184:

    'Non, telles gens ne boivent pas
        De cette sève délectable,
    L'âme et l'amour de nos repas,
        Aussi bienfaisante qu'aimable.
        Leur palais corrompu, gâté,
        Ne veut que du vin frelaté,
        De ce poison vert, apprêté,
    Pour des cervelles frénétiques.
    Si, tenons-nous pour hérétiques
        Ceux qui rejettent la bonté
    De ces _corpusculs balsamiques_
        Que jadis Horace a chantés.

    Non, telles gens ne boivent pas
        De cette sève délectable,
    L'âme et l'honneur de nos repas,
        Aussi bienfaisante qu'aimable.
    De ce vin blanc délicieux,
        Qui désarme la plus sévère;
    Qui pétille dans vos beaux yeux
        Mieux qu'il ne brille dans mon verre.
    Buvons, buvons à qui mieux mieux,
        Je vous livre une douce guerre;
    Buvons, buvons de ce vin vieux,
    De ce nectar délicieux,
    Qui pétille dans vos beaux yeux
        Mieux qu'il ne brille dans mon verre.'

The above was set to music by M. Dormel, organist of St. Geneviève.]

[Footnote 185: Marmontel's _Mémoires d'un Père pour l'instruction de
ses Enfants_. M. Louis Paris, in his _Histoire de l'Abbaye d'Avenay_,
identifies this spot as one known indifferently as Le Fay or Feuilly.
He furnishes some interesting details respecting Mademoiselle de
Navarre, who, after being the mistress of Marshal Saxe, married the
Chevalier de Mirabeau, brother to the _Ami des Hommes_ and uncle of
the celebrated orator, and then goes on to say: 'In the seventeenth
and eighteenth centuries the wines of Avenay shared with those of
Hautvillers the glory of rivalling the best of Ay. "_Avenay, les
bons raisins_," was the popular saying inscribed on the banner of
its _chevaliers de l'Arquebuse_ (a corps of local sharpshooters).
La Bruyère, St. Evremond, Boileau himself, Coulanges, L'Atteignant,
and many others had celebrated the tender and delicate wines of our
vineyards; and that of Madame l'Abbesse especially had acquired such
a reputation, that several great families, strangers to the locality,
thought it the right thing to have a _vendangeoir_ at Avenay, and to
pass part of the autumn in the renowned Val d'Or.']

[Footnote 186:

    'Vois ce nectar charmant
    Sauter sous ces beaux doigts;
    Et partir à l'instant;
    Je crois bien que l'amour en ferait tout autant.

    Et quoi sous ces beaux doigts
    Bouchon a donc sauté pour la première fois?
    Croyez-vous que l'amour
    Leur fit un pareil tour?'

[Footnote 187:

    'Le jus que verse Ganimède
        A Jupiter dans ses repas
    A ce vin de Champagne cède,
        Et nous sommes mieux ici bas.'

    From the edition of his _Poesies_ published in 1757.

[Footnote 188:

    'Et quand je décoiffe un flacon
        Le liège qui pette
    Me fait entendre un plus beau son
        Que tambour et trompette.'

    Panard's _[OE]uvres_, Paris, 1763.

[Footnote 189:

    'Diaphorus au marchand de vin
        Vend bien cher un extrait de rivière;
    Le marchand vend au médecin
        Du Champagne arrivé de Nanterre,
    Ce qui prouve encor ce refrain-ci
    A trompeur, trompeur et demi.'

[Footnote 190:

    'Pour jouir d'un destin plus tranquille et plus doux
    De ce bruyant séjour, amis, éloignons nous,
    Allons, dans mon cellier, du Champagne et du Beaune
        Goûter les doux appas.
        Les plaisirs n'y sont pas troublés par l'embarras,
    Et le funeste ennui qui monte jusqu'au trône
        Dans les caveaux ne descend pas.'

[Footnote 191:

    'C'est alors qu'un joyeux convive,
            Saississant un flacon scellé,
    Qui de Reims ou d'Ai tient la liqueur captive,
    Fait sauter jusqu'à la solive
            Le liège deficellé;
    Tout le cercle attentif porte un regard avide
            Sur cet objet qui les ravit;
    Ils présentent leur verre vide,
    Le nectar pétillant aussitôt les remplit.
    On boit, on goûte, on applaudit,
    On redouble et par l'assemblée
    La mousse Champenoise à plein verre est sablée.
            De là naissent les ris, les transports éclatans,
            La sève et tout son feu, jusqu'au cerveau montants,
    Font naître des débats, des querelles polies
            Qui réveillent l'esprit de tous les assistants.'

[Footnote 192: An allusion to the _vin gris_ of the Champagne.]

[Footnote 193:

    'Grâce à la liqueur
    Qui lave mon c[oe]ur,
        Nul souci ne me consume.
    De ce vin gris
    Que je chéris
    Lorsque j'en boi
    Quel feu chez moi
    Nectar enchanteur,
    Tu fais mon bonheur;
        Viens, mon cher ami! Que j't'hume!

    Champagne divin,
    Du plus noir chagrin
        Tu dissipes l'amertume.
    Tu sais mûrir,
    Tu sais guérir
        Le rhume.
    Quel goût flatteur
    Ta douce odeur
    Pour tant de bienfaits
    Et pour tant d'attraits;
        Viens, mon cher ami! Que j't'hume!'

[Footnote 194: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 195: M. Sutaine observes that in 1780 a merchant of Epernay
bottled 6000 bottles, and that the importance of this _tirage_ was
noted as something remarkable; and this statement has been repeated
by every other writer on Champagne. Yet here is a _tirage_ of 6000
bottles taking place thirty-four years previously. The extent of the
bottled-wine trade is confirmed by Arthur Young, who in 1787 visited
Ay, where M. Lasnier had 60,000 bottles in his cellar, and M. Dorsé
from 30,000 to 40,000. Marmontel in 1716 mentions Henin de Navarre's
cellars at Avenay as containing 50,000 bottles of Champagne.]

[Footnote 196: E. J. Maumené's _Traité du Travail des Vins_, 1874.]

[Footnote 197: Ibid. The _casse_ of 1776 has never been forgotten at
Epernay; and M. Perrier, in a letter of August 1801, mentions a recent
one at Avize amounting to 85 per cent. That of 1842 flooded the cellars
throughout the Champagne. Even in 1850 M. Maumené mentions a _casse_
in a Reims cellar which had reached 98 per cent at his visit, and was
still continuing.]

[Footnote 198: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_. The Abbé
Bignon confirms this in a letter of December 20, 1736, to Bertin du
Rocheret, respecting wine received from him. 'The wine sealed with
a cipher in red wax,' he observes, 'seemed to me very delicate, but
having as yet some _liqueur_ which time may get rid of, though after
that I am afraid there will not remain much strength. Another, also
sealed with red wax, but with a coat-of-arms, seems to have more
quality and vinosity, though also very delicate and very light, both
_sablant_ perfectly, though they cannot be called _mousseux_. As to
that which is sealed with black, the people who esteem foam would
bestow the most magnificent eulogies upon it. It would be difficult
to find any that carries this beautiful perfection further. Three
spoonfuls at the bottom of the glass is surmounted with the strongest
foam to the very brim; on the other hand, I found in it a furious
_vert_, and not much vinosity.']

[Footnote 199: In 1734 he speaks of his _mousseux sablant_, and
forwards to the Marquis de Polignac both _mousseux_ and _petillant_. In
1736 he offers M. Véron de Bussy his choice of _demi-mousseux_, _bon
mousseux_, and _saute bouchon_; and the following year distinguishes
his Ay _mousseux_ from his _saute bouchon_.]

[Footnote 200: Respecting the price of sparkling Champagne during
the first half of the eighteenth century, a few instances from the
correspondence of Bertin du Rocheret may here he quoted. In 1716 he
offers Marshal d'Artagnan 1500 bottles at 35 sols, cash down, and taken
at Epernay. In 1725 he offers _flacons blancs mousseux liqueur_ at from
30 to 50 sols, and _ambrés non mousseux, sablant_, at 25 sols. Ten
years later _saute bouchon_ is quoted by him at 40 and 45 sols, and
in 1736 at 3 livres, _demi-mousseux_ ranging from 36 to 40 sols, and
_bon mousseux_ from 45 to 50 sols. The following year _saute bouchon_
fetched 3 livres 6 sols, and _mousseux_ 42 sols. In 1736 he insisted
upon his _flacons_ holding a _pinte_; and a royal decree of March
8, 1755, which regulated the weight and capacity of sparkling-wine
bottles, required these to weigh 25 ounces, and to hold a _pinte de
Paris_, or about 1.64 imperial pint. They were, moreover, to be tied
crosswise on the top of the cork, with a string of three strands well
twisted. Their cost was 15 livres per hundred in 1734 and 1738, and
from 17 to 19 livres in 1754.]

[Footnote 201: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 202: It would appear from Bidet that the wines of the
Mountain had not been transformed into _vin mousseux_ as late as 1752,
as, in his book on wine published during that year, he only includes in
the list of places producing sparkling wine Ay, Avenay, Mareuil, Dizy,
Hautvillers, Epernay, Pierry, Cramant, Avize, and Le Mesnil.]

[Footnote 203:

    'Votre palais, usé, perclus
        Par liqueur inflammable,
    Préfère de mousseux verjus
        Au nectar véritable.'

[Footnote 204: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_. In
the thesis in favour of Champagne, written by Dr. Xavier of Reims
in 1777, the acidulous character of the wine is confirmed by the
author, who naïvely remarks that it is as efficacious in preventing
putrefaction as are other acids. He also compares it to acidulated

[Footnote 205: Legrand d'Aussy's _Vie privée des Français_, 1782.]

[Footnote 206: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_. The
pretended secret of Dom Perignon, quoted from the _Mémoire_ of 1718,
and mentioning the addition of sugar to the wine of Hautvillers, is
flatly contradicted by Dom Grossart's letter to M. Dherbès (see page 41
_ante_). But it is probable that the suggestion thus made public was
acted upon, though at first only timidly.]

[Footnote 207: Chaptal's _Art de faire du Vin_. As Minister of the
Interior, he forwarded the results of his experiments to the _préfets_,
with the recommendation to spread them throughout their departments.]

[Footnote 208: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 209: Letter of M. Nicolas Perrier to M. Cadet-Devaux, dated
August 1801.]

[Footnote 210: As _bourru_, _tocane_, and _en nouveau_.]

[Footnote 211: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 212: The letter in which he mentions this is extant, but the
secret which was enclosed in it is missing.]

[Footnote 213: Dom Grossart, who had retired to Montier-en-Der in 1790,
was unacquainted with this plan when he wrote to M. Dherbès in 1821,
although it had been practised for twenty years past.]

[Footnote 214: In a /MS./ quoted in Varin's _Archives Administratives
de Reims_.]

[Footnote 215: The gifts presented by the municipality on this occasion
included flowers, pears, and gingerbread, Reims being as famed for the
latter as for its wines. The guild of gingerbread-makers at Reims was
established in the sixteenth century, and from that time forward was
engaged in continual squabbles with the bakers and pastrycooks of the
city, who could not be brought to understand that they had not the
right to make gingerbread. Countless reams of paper were scribbled
over by the lawyers of the two contending interests; but though the
Bailli of Reims on several occasions pronounced a formal verdict, to
the effect that no one but a sworn and accepted gingerbread-maker
should have act or part in the making of the indigestible delicacy, the
contumacious bakers continued to treat his edicts as naught. Eventually
a royal edict of 1776, which suppressed the privileges of the majority
of the guilds in France, deprived the Reims gingerbread-makers for ever
of the right of figuring with swords by their sides and three-cornered
hats on their heads at all local ceremonies, civil or religious, and
threw their trade open to all.

It was at the close of Louis XIV.'s reign that the _pain d'épice_
of Reims reached the summit of its renown. At the coronation of his
successor, the _échevins_ of Reims presented the monarch with several
baskets of it; and when Maria Leczinska passed through Reims in
January 1725, the notables offered her twelve wicker baskets, covered
with damask and ornamented with ribbons, containing fresh and dried
pears, conserves, preserved lemons, almond-cakes, and a new kind of
gingerbread, which received the name of _nonnette à la Reine_.]

[Footnote 216: This escutcheon shows the arms of Reims, which at
first consisted of _rinçeaux_ or branches; subsequently a cross and a
crozier, placed saltire-wise, and a sainte Ampoule, were added. When
the government of the city passed from the archbishop, the entwined
olive-branches and chief strewn with fleurs de lis were adopted, the
old motto, 'Dieu en soit garde,' being retained. The iron gates of the
Porte de Paris were removed to their present position in 1843, to allow
of the passage of the canal.]

[Footnote 217: From the days of Charles VIII. to those of Louis XIV.,
it was customary on these occasions for the keys to be presented by a
young girl styled the Pucelle de Reims; and J. M. C. Leber, in his work
_Des Cérémonies du Sacre_, is of opinion that this custom arose in some
way from the visit of Joan of Arc. Louis XV. was the first who received
them from the lieutenant.]

[Footnote 218: Baron Taylor's _Reims, la Ville de Sacres_.]

[Footnote 219: N. Menin's _Traité du Sacre et Couronnement des Rois_.]

[Footnote 220: P. Tarbé's _Reims, ses Rues et ses Monuments_.]

[Footnote 221: H. Taine's _L'Ancien Régime_.]

[Footnote 222: Ibid.]

[Footnote 223: Arthur Young's _Travels in France in 1787-9_.]

[Footnote 224: Ibid. Another grievance alleged against the monasteries
was the presence of the innumerable fishponds belonging to them
scattered throughout the country. The _Cahier des Plaintes, Doléances,
et Remontrances du Tiers Etat du Baillage de Reims_, on the Assembly of
the States General under Louis XVI., ask that 'all fishponds situate
outside woods and, above all, those which lie close to vineyards, may
be suppressed, as hurtful to agriculture.']

[Footnote 225: H. Taine's _L'Ancien Régime_.]

[Footnote 226: Instructions of local _directeurs des aides_, quoted
from the _Archives Nationales_ by Taine.]

[Footnote 227: H. Taine's _L'Ancien Régime_.]

[Footnote 228: _Les Célébrités du Vin de Champagne_, Epernay, 1880.]

[Footnote 229: H. Taine's _L'Ancien Régime_. At Rethel a poinçon of the
_jauge de Reims_ paid 50 to 60 francs for the _droit de détail_ alone.]

[Footnote 230: Arthur Young's _Travels in France in 1787-9_.]

[Footnote 231: H. Taine's _L'Ancien Régime_.]

[Footnote 232: Crebillon the younger's _Les Bijoux Indiscrets_.]

[Footnote 233: A /MS./ account of the wine culture of Poligny in the
Jura states that in 1774 attempts were made to imitate the gray and
pink wines of the Champagne, then selling at 3 livres 10 sous the

[Footnote 234: Erckmann-Chatrian's _Histoire d'un Paysan_.]

[Footnote 235: 'Suppose Champagne flowing,' says Carlyle, when
describing this banquet in his _French Revolution_.]

[Footnote 236: Carlyle's _French Revolution_.]

[Footnote 237: The date 'An 1^{er} de la liberté' may possibly refer
to the 'Year One' of the Republican calendar (1792), in which Mirabeau
fell in a duel at Fribourg. But an earlier edition of the same
caricature seems to have been published, according to De Goncourt in
the _Journal de la Mode et du Goût_, in May 1790.]

[Footnote 238:

    'Malgré les calembours, les brocards, les dictons,
    Je veux à mes repas vuider mes deux flacons,'

are the lines assigned to him in _Le Vicomte de Barjoleau, ou le Souper
des Noirs_, a two-act comedy of the epoch.]

[Footnote 239:


(From a caricature of the period).]

This caricature, which is neither signed nor dated, is simply entitled
'Le Gourmand;' though Jaime, in his _Histoire de la Caricature_, states
that it represents Louis XVI. at Varennes. According to Carlyle,
however, the king reached Varennes at eleven o'clock at night, was at
once arrested in his carriage, and taken to Procureur Sausse's house.
Here he 'demands refreshments, as is written; gets bread-and-cheese,
with a bottle of Burgundy, and remarks that it is the best Burgundy he
ever drunk.' At six o'clock the following morning he left Varennes,
escorted by ten thousand National Guards. Very likely there may have
been a story current at the time to the effect that the arrest was due
to the king's halting to gratify his appetite. Or the caricature may
represent some incident that occurred, during his return to Paris, as
he passed through the Champagne district, and halted at the Hôtel de
Rohan at Epernay.]

[Footnote 240: De Goncourt's _Société Française pendant la Révolution_.]

[Footnote 241: Ibid.]

[Footnote 242: St. Aubin's _Expédition de Don Quichotte_.]

[Footnote 243: _Aux voleurs! aux voleurs!_ quoted by De Goncourt.]

[Footnote 244: _Lettres du Père Duchêne_, quoted by De Goncourt.]

[Footnote 245: _Les Célébrités du Vin de Champagne_, Epernay, 1880.]

[Footnote 246: _Journal de ce qui s'est passé d'intéressant à Reims en

[Footnote 247: Ibid.]

[Footnote 248: G. A. Sala's _Paris Herself Again_.]

[Footnote 249: Gronow's _Celebrities of London and Paris_, 1865.]

[Footnote 250: Gronow's _Reminiscences_, 1862.]

[Footnote 251:

    'J'aime mieux les Turcs en campagne
    Que de voir nos vins de Champagne
    Profanés par des Allemands.'

    Béranger's _Chansons_.

[Footnote 252:

    'Rôtis sur la haute montagne
    Tout flamme et miel, le Médéah,
    Le Mascara, le Milianah
    Feront pâlir le gai Champagne.'

    _Poésies_ de J. Boese, de Blidah.

[Footnote 253:

    'Il a conduit Pomponnette
        Chez Vachette,
    Dans le cabinet vingt-deux;
    Et là, même avant la bisque,
        Il se risque
    A lui déclarer ses feux.

    Elle demeure accoudée,
    Résolue à résister,
    Inexorable et charmante
        Dans sa mante,
    Qu'elle ne veut pas quitter.

    Un troisième personnage,
        A la nage
    Dans un seau d'argent orné,
    Se soulève sur la hanche,
        Tête blanche,
    Cou de glace environné.

    C'est le Champagne; il susurre:
        "Chose sûre!
    Quand mon bouchon partira,
    Tout à l'heure, cette belle
        Si rebelle
    Mollement s'apaisera.

    Bientôt tu verras, te dis-je,
        Ce prodige
    Cesse d'invoquer l'enfer;
    Ton courroux est trop facile;
    Arrache mon fil de fer!

    Car je suis maître Champagne,
    Le délire aux cent couplets;
    Je dompte les plus sévères.
        A moi, verres,
    Coupes, flûtes et cornets!"

    Aussi dit le vin superbe,
        Moins acerbe,
    La femme se sent capter.
    C'est une cause que gagne
        Le Champagne;
    Son bouchon vient de sauter.'

_Le Parfait Vigneron_, Paris, 1870.]

[Footnote 254: Titi Livii Foro-Juliensis _Vita Henrici Quinti_. The
author was a _protégé_ of Duke Humphrey of Gloucester.]

[Footnote 255: Francisque Michel's _Histoire du Commerce et de la
Navigation à Bordeaux_. It was not till the marriage of Henry III.
with Eleanor of Aquitaine that we began to import Guienne wine from

[Footnote 256: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 257: Ibid.]

[Footnote 258: Victor Fiévet's _Histoire d'Epernay_.]

[Footnote 259: Francisque Michel's _Histoire du Commerce et de la
Navigation à Bordeaux_.]

[Footnote 260: Published in 1615.]

[Footnote 261: That of 1574. Surflet's translation appeared in 1600.]

[Footnote 262: Venner's _Via recta ad longam Vitam_, 1628.]

[Footnote 263: Writing to Sir Walter Mildmay in 1569, the Earl of
Shrewsbury, who had charge of the royal prisoner, complains that his
regular allowance of wine duty free is not enough. 'The expenses I
have to bear this year on account of the Queen of the Scots are so
considerable as to compel me to beg you will kindly consider them. In
fact, two butts of wine a month hardly serve for our ordinary use; and
besides this, I have to supply what is required by the Princess for her
baths and similar uses.']

[Footnote 264: Clarendon's _Memoirs_.]

[Footnote 265: Letter of Guy Patin, 1660.]

[Footnote 266: Otway's _Soldier's Fortune_, act iv. sc. 1, 1681.]

[Footnote 267: Ibid.]

[Footnote 268: Redding's _History and Description of Modern Wines_.]

[Footnote 269: Otway's _Friendship in Fashion_, 1678.]

[Footnote 270:

    'Nous parler toujours des vins
    D'Ay, d'Avenet, et de Reims.'

    _[OE]uvres de Saint-Evremond._

[Footnote 271:

    'Perdre le goût de l'huitre et du vin de Champagne
      Pour revoir la leur d'un débile soleil
    Et l'humide beauté d'une verte campagne,
      N'est pas à mon avis un bonheur sans pareil,
    La faveur de la Marne, hélas, est terminée,
      Et notre montagne de Reims,
      Qui fournit tant d'excellens vins,
    A peu favorisé nostre goût cette année.

    O triste et pitoyable sort!
      Faut-il avoir recours aux rives de la Loire,
    Ou pour le mieux au fameux port,
      Dont Chapelle nous fait l'histoire!
      Faut-il se contenter de boire
      Comme tous les peuples du Nord?
    Non, non, quelle heureuse nouvelle!
      Monsieur de Bonrepaus arrive, il est icy,
    Le Champagne pour lui tousjours se renouvelle,
      Fuyez, Loire, Bordeaux! fuyez, Cahors, aussy!'

      _[OE]uvres de Saint-Evremond:
Sur la Verdure qu'on met aux cheminées en Angleterre._

In these verses we trace the custom, elsewhere spoken of, of drinking
the Marne wines when new. St. Evremond himself, in a passage of his
prose works, says that the wines of Ay should not be kept too long, or
those of Reims drunk too soon.]

[Footnote 272: Sparkling is not used here in the modern sense of
effervescing: see page 90.]

[Footnote 273: Sir George Etherege's _Man of the Mode, or Sir Fopling
Flutter_, act iv. sc. 1, 1676.]

[Footnote 274: Otway's _Friendship in Fashion_, act ii. sc. 1, 1678.]

[Footnote 275: Etherege's _She wou'd if she cou'd_, act iv. sc. 2,

[Footnote 276: Sir Charles Sedley's _Mulberry Garden_, act ii. sc. 2,

[Footnote 277: Otway's _Friendship in Fashion_, act i. sc. 1, 1678.]

[Footnote 278: Shadwell's _Virtuoso_, act ii. sc. 2, 1676.]

[Footnote 279: By Dr. Charleton, and published as late as 1692.]

[Footnote 280: Oldham's _Paraphrases from Horace_, book i. ode xxxi.,

[Footnote 281: Oldham's _Works_, &c., 1684.]

[Footnote 282: Butler's _Hudibras_, part ii. canto i., 1664. Stum is
unfermented wine; and the term brisk applied to Champagne is here
employed not to denote effervescence, but to indicate the contrast
between the thick immature fluid and the clear carefully-made wines of
the Champagne.]

[Footnote 283: Butler's _Hudibras_, part iii. canto iii., 1678.]

[Footnote 284: Sedley's _The Doctor and his Patients_. No date, but
Sedley died in 1701.]

[Footnote 285: Thomson's Poems.]

[Footnote 286: Cyrus Redding's evidence before the Parliamentary
Committee on the Wine-Duties, 1851.]

[Footnote 287: Redding's _French Wines_.]

[Footnote 288: Varin's _Archives Administratives de Reims_.]

[Footnote 289: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 290: St. Simon's _Mémoires_.]

[Footnote 291: Redding's _French Wines_.]

[Footnote 292: Farquhar's _Love and a Bottle_, act ii. sc. 2, 1698.]

[Footnote 293: An evident allusion to its effervescence; whilst the
words 'straw doublet' most likely refer to the covering of the flask.]

[Footnote 294: Cibber's _Love makes a Man_, act i. sc. 1, 1700.]

[Footnote 295: Farquhar's _The Inconstant, or the Way to win Him_, act
i. scene 2, 1703.]

[Footnote 296: Epilogue to the _Constant Couple, or a Trip to the
Jubilee_ of Farquhar, spoken by Wilks in 1700. Locket's tavern, which
stood on the site now occupied by Drummond's bank at Charing Cross, was
especially famous for its Champagne. In the _Quack Vintners_, a satire
against Brooke and Hilliers, published in 1712, we read:

    'May Locket still his ancient fame maintain
    For Ortland dainties and for rich Champaign,
    Where new-made lords their native clay refine,
    And into noble blood turn noble wine.'

[Footnote 297: Farquhar's _Twin Rivals_, act v. sc. 1, 1705.]

[Footnote 298: Several other writers, who speak of 'bottles' of other
wines, use the word 'flask' when referring to Champagne.]

[Footnote 299: Farquhar's _Beaux' Stratagem_, act iii. sc. 3, 1706.]

[Footnote 300: _Memoir_, prefixed to Leigh Hunt's edition of Congreve's

[Footnote 301: Cunninghame's _History of Britain from the Revolution to
the Hanover Succession_.]

[Footnote 302: Farquhar's _The Constant Couple, or a Trip to the
Jubilee_, act v. sc. 1, 1700. M. Francisque Michel, in his _Histoire
du Commerce et de la Navigation à Bordeaux_, clearly establishes that
from the beginning to the middle of the eighteenth century all the best
growths of the Médoc were bought and shipped for England. It was not
until after 1755 that any went to Paris.]

[Footnote 303:

    'Vos, ô Britanni (f[oe]dera nam sinunt
    Inc[oe]pta pacis) dissociabilem
        Tranate pontum. Quid cruento
        Perdere opes juvat usque Marte.

    Lætis Remensam quam satius fuit
    Stipare Bacchum navibus; et domum
        Anferre funestis trophæis
        Exuvias pretiosiores!'

Coffin's _Campania vindicata_, 1712. The force of the reference to
England is better understood when it is mentioned that no other nation
is alluded to as purchasing the wines of the Champagne.]

[Footnote 304: A practice not lost sight of at a later date, to judge
from Borachio's observation, 'I turn Alicant into Burgundy and sour
cider into Champagne of the first growth of France.' Jephson's _Two
Strings to your Bow_, act i. sc. 2.]

[Footnote 305: _The Tatler_, No. 131, Feb. 9, 1709.]

[Footnote 306: Mrs. Centlivre's _A Bold Stroke for a Wife_, act v. sc.
1, 1718.]

[Footnote 307: Gay's poem _On Wine_, published in 1708.]

[Footnote 308: Gay's _Welcome from Greece_.]

[Footnote 309: Prior's _Alma, or the Progress of the Mind_.]

[Footnote 310: Prior's _Alma, or the Progress of the Mind_.]

[Footnote 311: Prior's _Bibo and Charon_.]

[Footnote 312: Shenstone's _Verses written at a Tavern at Henley_.]

[Footnote 313: Vanbrugh's _Journey to London_, act i. sc. 2. Left
unfinished at his death in 1726.]

[Footnote 314: Swift's _Journal to Stella_, March 12, 1712-13.]

[Footnote 315: Ibid. Feb. 20, 1712-13.]

[Footnote 316: Ibid. April 9, 1711.]

[Footnote 317: Ibid. March 18, 1710.]

[Footnote 318: Ibid. March 29, 1711-12.]

[Footnote 319: Ibid. Dec. 21, 1711.]

[Footnote 320: Ibid. April 7, 1711.]

[Footnote 321: Letter to Mr. Congreve, April 7, 1715.]

[Footnote 322: Mrs. Centlivre's _A Bold Stroke for a Wife_, act i. sc.
1, 1718.]

[Footnote 323: Fielding's _The Miser_, 1732.]

[Footnote 324: _The Rake's Progress, or the Humours of Drury Lane_:
a poem published in 1735, to accompany a set of prints pirated from

[Footnote 325: Blunt's _Geneva_: a poem dedicated to Sir R. Walpole,

[Footnote 326: Hoadley's _Suspicious Husband_, act iv. sc. 1, 1747.]

[Footnote 327: This wine, though sometimes sent by way of Dunkirk,
was usually forwarded _viâ_ Calais, by the intermediary of a Sieur
Labertauche, a commission-agent at that port, the cost of transport
from Epernay to Calais being from 70 to 75 livres per queue. A
_bobillon_ of wine was sent with each lot of casks for filling up.
Moreover, from 1731 Bertin annually despatches a certain quantity of
cream of tartar, destined to cure the ropiness to which all white wines
were especially subject before the discovery that tannin destroys the
principle engendering this disease.]

[Footnote 328: Chabane appears to have been fully cognisant of the
method of _collage_ and _soutirage_ (fining and racking) practised
in the Champagne; and Bertin, in one of his letters dated July 1752,
mentions the enclosure of a receipt for a kind of _collage_, by
following which all necessity to _dépoter_ the bottles is obviated.
This enclosure is unfortunately lost.]

[Footnote 329: Ms. correspondence of Bertin du Rocheret, quoted by M.
Louis Perrier in his _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_. M. Perrier
states that the prohibition was removed by an act of the 1st Nov.
1745; and a letter of Bertin to Chabane, the following year, bears
this out. It is therefore singular to find the following entry in
Bubb Doddington's _Diary_, under the date of Feb. 1, 1753: 'Went to
the House to vote for liberty to import Champaign in bottles. Lord
Hillsborough moved it; Mr. Fox seconded it. We lost the Motion. Ayes,
74; Noes, 141.']

[Footnote 330: Letter to Sir Horace Mann, June 18, 1751.]

[Footnote 331: Jesse's _Selwyn and his Contemporaries_. It is very
probable that the name printed as Prissieux is really Puissieux, a
title of the Sillery family.]

[Footnote 332: Lady Mary Wortley Montague's _Letter from Arthur Grey,
the Footman, to Mrs. Murray_. Written in the autumn of 1721.]

[Footnote 333: Lady M. W. Montague's _The Lover_. This is generally
designated 'a ballad to Mr. Congreve,' but is headed in Lady Mary's
note-book, 'To Molly,' and, as Mr. Moy Thomas has suggested, was
probably addressed to Lord Hervey, Pope's 'Lord Fanny.']

[Footnote 334: Note to his _Letter on Bowles_.]

[Footnote 335: _Westminster Magazine_, 1774.]

[Footnote 336: Grainger's _The Sugar Cane_, 1764.]

[Footnote 337: Coleman and Garrick's _Clandestine Marriage_, act i. sc.
2, 1766.]

[Footnote 338: Garrick's _Bon Ton, or High Life above Stairs_, act i.
sc. 2, 1775.]

[Footnote 339: Ibid.]

[Footnote 340: Ibid. act ii. sc. 1.]

[Footnote 341: Townley's _High Life below Stairs_, act ii. sc. 1, 1759.]

[Footnote 342: So in Mrs. Cowley's _Which is the Man?_ Burgundy
is extolled and 'vile Port' denounced; and in Cumberland's _The
Fashionable Lover_ (1772) a sneer is levelled at a 'paltry
Port-drinking club.' Burgundy, too, is in favour in Holcroft's _The
Road to Ruin_, 1792.]

[Footnote 343: Foote's _The Lame Lover_, act iii. sc. 1, 1770.]

[Footnote 344: Garrick's _The Country Girl_, act v. sc. 1.]

[Footnote 345: Foote's _The Fair Maid of Bath_, act i. sc. 1, 1771.]

[Footnote 346: Holcroft's _The Road to Ruin_, act iv. sc. 2, 1792.]

[Footnote 347: Sir Edward Barry's _Observations, Historical, Critical,
and Medical, on the Wines of the Ancients, and the analogy between them
and Modern Wines_, 1775.]

[Footnote 348: Tickell's _Poems_.]

[Footnote 349: Timbs' _Clubs and Club Life_.]

[Footnote 350: In the _Encyclopédie Méthodique_.]

[Footnote 351: Arthur Young's _Travels in France in the Years 1787-9_.]

[Footnote 352: Sheen's _Wine and other fermented Liquors_.]

[Footnote 353: Amongst other English customers of the firm in 1788,
1789, and 1790 were 'Milords' Farnham and Findlater, the latter of
whom was supplied with 120 bottles of the vintage of 1788; Manning,
of the St. Alban's Tavern, London, who ordered 130 bottles of vin de
Champagne, at 3 livres or 2_s._ the bottle, to be delivered in the
autumn by M. Caurette; Messrs. Felix Calvert & Sylvin, who took two
sample bottles at 5_s._; and Mr. Lockhart, banker, of 36 Pall Mall, who
in 1790 paid 3_s._ per bottle for 360 bottles of the vintage of 1788.
The high rate of exchange in our favour is shown by the 54_l._ covering
this transaction being taken as 1495 livres 7 sols 9 deniers, or about
28 livres per pound sterling.]

[Footnote 354: Walker's _The Original_.]

[Footnote 355: 'The Fair of Britain's Isle' (_Convivial Songster_,

[Footnote 356: _Diary of Mrs. Colonel St. George, written during her
Sojourn amongst the German Courts in 1799 and 1800._]

[Footnote 357: Moore's _The Twopenny Post-bag_, 1813.]

[Footnote 358: Moore's _Parody of a Celebrated Letter_.]

[Footnote 359: The compound known as 'the Regent's Punch' was made
out of 3 bottles of Champagne, 2 of Madeira, 1 of hock, 1 of curaçoa,
1 quart of brandy, 1 pint of rum, and 2 bottles of seltzer-water,
flavoured with 4 lbs. bloom raisins, Seville oranges, lemons, white
sugar-candy, and diluted with iced green tea instead of water (Tovey's
_British and Foreign Spirits_).]

[Footnote 360: Captain Gronow's _Reminiscences_.]

[Footnote 361: Ibid.]

[Footnote 362: Prince Puckler Muskau's _Letters_.]

[Footnote 363: Miss Burney's _Memoirs_.]

[Footnote 364: Henderson's _History of Ancient and Modern Wines_, 1824.
Henderson, who appears to have visited the Champagne in 1822, remarks
of the remaining _crûs_ of the province: 'The wines of the neighbouring
territories of Mareuil and Dizy are of similar quality to those of Ay,
and are often sold as such. Those of Hautvillers, on the other hand,
which formerly equalled, if not surpassed, the growths just named, have
been declining in repute since the suppression of the monastery, to
which the principal vineyard belonged.']

[Footnote 365: Moore's _The Fudge Family Abroad_, 1818.]

[Footnote 366: Moore's _The Sceptic_.]

[Footnote 367: Moore's _Illustration of a Bore_.]

[Footnote 368: Moore's _The Summer Fête_, 1831.]

[Footnote 369: Ibid.]

[Footnote 370: Ibid.]

[Footnote 371: Moore's _Diary_, June 1819.]

[Footnote 372: Lockhart's _Life of Sir Walter Scott_.]

[Footnote 373: Scott's _Diary_, November 15, 1826.]

[Footnote 374: Byron's _English Bards and Scotch Reviewers_, 1808.]

[Footnote 375: Byron's _Don Juan_, canto xv. stanza lxv., 1821.]

[Footnote 376: Ibid. canto xvi. stanza ix.]

[Footnote 377: Ibid. canto xiii. stanzas xxxvii., xxxviii.]

[Footnote 378: According to recent statistics issued by the Chamber of
Commerce of Reims, the department of the Marne contains 16,500 hectares
of vineyards (40,755 acres), of which 2465 hectares are situated in the
district of Vitry-le-François; 555 hectares in that of Châlons; 700
in that of Sainte Menehould; 7624 in that of Reims; and 5587 in the
Epernay district, where the finest qualities of Champagne are grown.
The value of the wine produced annually in these districts exceeds
60,000,000 francs (nearly 2-1/2 millions sterling). During the last
thirty years, the value of these vineyards has increased fourfold. The
'population vigneronne' of the department is 16,093 inhabitants.]

[Footnote 379: In the year 1871.]

[Footnote 380: The blending of black and white grapes together,
although its advantages had been recognised in the _Maison Rustique_
of 1574, appears not to have been successfully carried out at Ay
till the days of Dom Perignon. 'Formerly,' remarks Pluche, 'it was
very difficult to preserve the wine of Ay longer than one year. When
the juice of the white grapes, whose quantity was very great in that
vineyard, began to assume a yellowish hue, it became predominant, and
created a change in all the wine; but ever since the white grapes have
been disused, the Marne wines may be easily kept for the space of four
or five years' (_Spectacle de la Nature_, 1732).]

[Footnote 381: From time immemorial the vineyards of Ay and Dizy paid
tithes to the Abbey of Hautvillers, the former a sixtieth and the
latter an eleventh of their produce. These dues were, by a decree of
1670, levied at the gate of Ay. In 1772, Tirant de Flavigny, a large
wine-grower, who farmed, amongst other vineyards, 'Les Quartiers' at
Hautvillers, insisted on leaving the tithe of grapes at the foot of the
vine for collection by the abbey tithe-collectors. The Abbot Alexandre
Ange de Talleyrand Périgord refused to accept them, and insisted in
turn that the whole of the grapes should either be brought to the gate
of Hautvillers or converted into wine in the vineyard, and the eleventh
part of this wine handed to his representative. From a _procès verbal_
drawn up by the Mayor of Ay, it seems that the inhabitants were willing
to pay a monetary commutation, as was the prevailing custom, or to
leave the abbot's share of grapes in the vineyards; but objected to the
tithe being taken, usually with considerable delay, on each basket,
whereby the remaining grapes were bruised, and the possibility of
bright white wine being made from them rendered exceedingly doubtful.
It was not till 1787 that it was finally settled that the tithes should
be paid in money at the rate of so much per arpent, and it is plain
that the abbot's chief object was to throw as much difficulty as he
could in the way of rival makers of fine wines.]

[Footnote 382: This curse is alluded to in the following verse from a
sixteenth-century ballad written against the men of Ay:

    'Tu n'auras ni chien ni chat
    Pour te chanter _Libera_,
    Et tu mourras mau-chrétien,
    Toi qu'a maudit Saint Trézain.'

The fountain of St. Tresain, which enjoys the reputation of curing
diseases, and in the water of which it is pretended stolen food cannot
be cooked, still exists at Mareuil.]

[Footnote 383: The yield from the Ay vineyards averages five pièces,
or 220 gallons per acre. Arthur Young, writing in 1787, estimated
that the arpent (rather more than the acre) produced from two to six
pièces of wine, or an average of four pièces, two of which sold for
200 livres, one for 150 livres, and one for 50 livres. He valued the
arpent of vines at from 3000 to 6000 livres. Henderson, in his _History
of Ancient and Modern Wines_, says that in 1822 there were a thousand
arpents on the hill immediately behind the village of Ay valued at
from 10,000 to 12,000 francs the arpent, and that one plot had shortly
before fetched 15,000 francs per arpent.]

[Footnote 384: In 1873, two years later, the price mounted as high
as 1000 francs; while in 1880, owing to the yield being far below an
average one and the quality promising to be exceedingly good, the wine
was bought up before the grapes were pressed at prices ranging from
1100 to 1400 francs the pièce.]

[Footnote 385: In one of these, dated 1243, mention is made of the
'vinea parva' belonging to the Abbey of Avenay, and of the 'vineam
Warneri in loco qui dicetur Monswarins,' perhaps the existing clos
Warigny. In another of Philip the Fair, dated 1300, and confirming
the abbey in the possession of property purchased from Jeanne de
Sapigneul, we read of 'unam vineam dictam la grant vigne domine
Aelidis sitam en Perrelles' and 'unam vineam dictam a la Perriere.' In
charters of the fourteenth century vineyards are mentioned at Avenay
and Mutigny, under the titles of Les Perches, Haut-Bonnet, Praëlles,
Les Foissets, Fond de Bonnet, Berard, Chassant, &c. One sold to the
abbey in 1334 by Guillaume de Valenciennes was at a spot then, as now,
styled Plantelles. In 1336 the justices at Château-Thierry confirmed
the Abbess, Madame Clémence, in the 'droit de ban vin'--that is, the
right of selling her wine before any one else in the territory of
Avenay. This was again confirmed in 1344 by the Bailly of Sézanne, who
held that she alone had the right of selling during the month after
Christmas, the month after Easter, and the month after Pentecost.
Amongst other records is one noting the condemnation of Perresson
Legris, clerk, of Avenay, who was sentenced in 1460 by the Bailly of
Epernay to a fine of 60 sols, for selling his wine during the month
after Christmas without permission of the Dames d'Avenay. The charters
of the fifteenth century also abound in references to vineyards, or
'droits de vinage,' appertaining to the abbey at Les Coutures, Champ
Bernard, Auches, Bois de Brousse, Thonnay, &c., in the territory of
Avenay, and Les Charmières, Torchamp, Saussaye, &c., at Mutigny.]

[Footnote 386: In 1668, an epoch at which the wines of Avenay had
acquired a high reputation, the abbey owned 43 arpents of vineland at
Avenay, Mutigny, and Mareuil, yielding the preceding year 200 poinçons
of wine, the sale of which produced 6000 livres. It also had 13
pressoirs banaux, which were farmed for 50 poinçons of wine, and tithes
of wine at Mareuil amounting to 14 poinçons and 460 livres in money,
and at Ambonnay amounting to 3 poinçons, the total of 67 poinçons
fetching 1206 livres. The valet who looked after the vines had 50
livres per annum, and the cooper who looked after the wines, 40 livres.
The total cost of stakes, manure, culture, pruning, wine-making, and
casks was 2700 livres per annum. Ten pièces of wine 'of the best of the
abbey, and worth 300 livres,' were annually given away in caques and
bottles to 'persons of quality and friends of the house, and travellers
of condition who pass;' whilst 120 poinçons, valued at 3000 livres,
were consumed at the abbey itself. The abbey was partially destroyed by
fire in 1754; and its destruction was completed during the Revolution,
at which epoch its vineyards yielded a net revenue of 2500 livres.]

[Footnote 387: In addition to Madame de la Marck, who was connected,
by the marriage of one of her brothers to a princess of the house of
Bourbon, with Henri Quatre, and to whose influence with that monarch
the execution of the 'Traité des Vendanges' was mainly due, the roll
of the Abbesses of Avenay comprises several illustrious personages,
amongst them St. Bertha; Bertha II., daughter of the Emperor Lothaire;
the ex-Empress Teutberga; Bénédicte de Gonzague, daughter of the Duke
de Nevers, and sister of the Princess Palatine, who took such an active
part during the troubles of the Fronde; and ladies of the illustrious
families of Saulx Tavannes, Craon, Levis, Beauvillers, Brulart de
Sillery, Boufflers, &c. M. Louis Paris, in his _Histoire de l'Abbaye
d'Avenay_, gives some curious instances of the exercise of the 'haut
et basse justice' possessed by these ladies. In 1587, under the rule
of Madame de la Marck, we find the Bailly of Avenay, acting as 'first
magistrate of Madame l'Abbesse,' sentencing one man and four women
'to be hung, strangled, and burnt, and the goods belonging to them
confiscated to the profit of the Lady Justiciary,' for the crime of
sorcery. In 1645 we find a 'sentence of the Bailly of Avenay against
Simeon Delacoste, accused and convicted of the crime of homicide
committed upon the person of Jean Bernier, and for this condemned to
be hung and strangled by the executioner on a gallows erected in the
public market-place, with confiscation of 300 livres, to be levied on
his goods, to the profit of the Lady Justiciary.' When the criminal
could not be caught, as was the case with Nicholas Thimot, vine-grower
at Avenay in 1555, the sentence ran that he should 'be hung in effigy,
and his goods confiscated to the profit of Madame.']

[Footnote 388: The following lines, quoted by M. Philibert Milsand in
his _Procès poétique touchant les Vins de Bourgogne et de Champagne_,
may be taken as referring either to the wine or the scenery:

    'Si quis in hoc mundo vult vivere corde jocoso,
    Vadat Cumerias sumere delicias.'

[Footnote 389: In Arthur Young's time (1787-9) an arpent of vineyard at
Hautvillers, valued at 4000 livres, yielded from two to four pièces, or
hogsheads, of wine, which sold from 700 to 900 livres the queue (two
pièces). This is more than the wine would ordinarily realise to-day,
although in years of scarcity it has fetched 700 francs the pièce, and
in 1880 as much as 1000 francs.]

[Footnote 390: Cazotte, ex-Commissary-General of the Navy and author of
the _Diable Amoureux_, who was guillotined as a Royalist in 1792, had
a magnificently fitted mansion at Pierry. He distinguished himself by
his opposition to the pretensions of the Abbey of Hautvillers, which
in 1775 claimed the right of taking tithes at Pierry not only in the
vineyards, but on the wine in the cellars. Cazotte argued that unless
the monks chose to take their due proportion of grapes left for them
at the foot of each vine, all they were entitled to was a monetary
commutation of the tithe; for the wine being usually made of grapes
from a dozen different sources, many of them beyond their domain, it
would be impossible to ascertain the proportion that was their due.
The Parliament of Paris decided, however, that the abbey might take
the fortieth of the wine a month after it was barrelled, unless the
vine-growers preferred to give them the fortieth part of all the grapes
brought to the press. The fact was that the monks really wished to
check the practice of mixing grapes from different districts at the
press, for fear wine equal to their own should result from this plan,
first satisfactorily put in practice by Dom Perignon. Arthur Young
mentions that an arpent of vines at Pierry was valued at 2000 livres,
half the price the same extent commanded at Hautvillers.]

[Footnote 391: M. Armand Bourgeois, in his work on _Le Sourdon et sa
Vallée_, mentions a local tradition to the effect that Saint Remi, who
from his will is shown to have owned vinelands of some extent in a part
of this district still known as the Evêché, installed a hermit in this
said grotto of the Pierre de Saint Mamert to supervise his vineyards.]

[Footnote 392: Bertin du Rocheret writes thus in 1744, and adds that
the aspect of Avize had at that epoch become entirely changed by the
numerous fine 'maisons de vendange' erected there.]

[Footnote 393: In 1205 Gilbert Belon conferred an annual gift on the
Abbey of St. Martin of seven hogsheads of _vinage_ derived from the
vineyards of Oger.]

[Footnote 394:

    'Je fus jadis de terre vertueuse
    Nez de Virtuz, pais renommé,
    Où il avait ville très gracieuse,
    Dont li bon vin sont en maints lieux nommés.'

    Eustache Deschamps' poem on the Burning of Vertus.

[Footnote 395:

    'Quant vient de si noble racine
    Come du droit plan de Beaune,
    Qui ne porte pas couleur jaune
    Mais vermeille, franche, plaisant,
    Qui fait tout autre odeur taisant,
    Quand elle est aportée en place.'

Deschamps' _La Charte des Bons Enfans de Vertus_.

[Footnote 396:

    'Si vous alez au benefice
    Mieulx vous vauldra que ung clistère.'--Ibid.

[Footnote 397: In 1880 the Vertus wine realised the remarkably high
price of from 1200 to 1400 francs the pièce.]

[Footnote 398: St. Evremond's _Letters_ (London, 1728).]

[Footnote 399: St. Simon's _Mémoires_.]

[Footnote 400: Bertin du Rocheret's /MS./ extracts from the _Registre
des Assemblées du peuple de la ville d'Epernay_.]

[Footnote 401: Henderson's _History of Ancient and Modern Wines_.]

[Footnote 402: Arthur Young's _Travels in France in 1787-8-9_.]

[Footnote 403: Anonymous _Journal de ce qui s'est passé d'intéressant à
Reims en 1814_.]

[Footnote 404: Dom Chatelain, in his /MS./ notes on the _History of
Reims_, relates that Henri Quatre, being one day at Sully's, asked
the Minister for some breakfast, and after drinking a glass or two of
wine, exclaimed, 'Ventre Saint Gris, this is a grand wine; it beats
mine of Ay and all others. I should like to know where it comes from.'
''Tis my friend Taissy,' answered Sully, 'who sends it to me.' 'Then
I must be introduced to him,' said the King; which was accordingly
done. The wines of Taissy had a high reputation as late as the
eighteenth century. They were classed by St. Evremond and Brossette,
the commentator of Boileau, amongst the best vintages of the Champagne,
and their reputation was maintained by the care bestowed by the Abbé
Godinot on the vineyards which he owned here.]

[Footnote 405:

    'Qu'Horace du Falerne entonne les louanges,
        Que de son vieux Massique il vante les attraits;
        Tous ces vins si fameux n'égaleront jamais
    Du charmant Sillery les heureuses vendanges!'

Translation by Le Monnoye in the _Recueil des Poésies Latines et
Françaises_, &c., Paris, 1712.]

[Footnote 406: The wine of Verzenay, like that of Bouzy, owes much of
its reputation to the example set in the eighteenth century by the
Abbé Godinot, author of the _Mémoire_ on the cultivation of the grape
and the manufacture of wine in the Champagne, published in 1711. He
owned extensive vineyards at Verzenay and Bouzy, and his prolonged
investigations as to the species of vines and composts best suited to
the district led to a complete revolution in the system of culture and
mode of pressing the fruit. Bertin du Rocheret praises 'the excellent
wine of Verzenay' served at the banquets celebrating the conclusion of
the assembly of the Etats de Vitry, held at Châlons in 1744.]

[Footnote 407: The value in 1880 of a hectare of vines, equivalent to
nearly two and a half acres, was as follows:

    At Verzy, Verzenay, and Sillery, 35 to 38,000 francs.
    "  Bouzy and Ambonnay,           38 "  40,000   "
    "  Ay and Dizy,                  40 "  45,000   "
    "  Hautvillers,                  20 "  22,000   "
    "  Pierry,                             18,000   "
    "  Cramant and Avize,            38 "  40,000   "
    "  Le Mesnil,                    22 "  25,000   "

[Footnote 408: This was far from being the first appearance of the pest
in this district. From 1779 to 1785 similar ravages drove the vignerons
to despair; but the weather during the last-named year suddenly turning
wet and cold, just at the epoch of the butterflies emerging from their
chrysalids, the evil disappeared as though by enchantment, an event
duly acknowledged by parochial rejoicings and religious processions. In
1816 similar ravages took place; and from 1820 to 1830 the pyrale also
caused great devastation.

In the year 1613, Jehan Pussot, the local chronicler of Reims, notes
that a large proportion of the vines were destroyed by 'a great
concourse of worms,' which attacked those plants which the frost had
spared. This would establish that either the pyrale or the cochylis
was known to the Champenois viticulturists at the commencement of the
seventeenth century.]

[Footnote 409: In 1873, in all the higher-class vineyards, as much as
two francs and a quarter per kilogramme (11_d._ per lb.) were paid,
being more than treble 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.

In 1874 the grapes of the Mountain sold from at 55 to 160 francs the
caque, according to the crus; and those of the Côte d'Avize at from 1
f. 25 c. to 2 f. per kilogramme. In 1875, on the other hand, grapes
could be obtained at Verzenay, Verzy, Ambonnay, and Bouzy at from 45 to
55 francs the caque; and at Vertus, Le Mesnil, Oger, Grauves, Cramant,
and Avize, at from 40 to 70 centimes the kilogramme. By far the highest
price secured by the growers for their grapes was in 1880, when the
produce of the grand crus of the Mountain fetched as much as 220 f. the
caque, equal to nearly 3 f. 60 c. the kilogramme, or about 1_s._ 5_d._
per lb. It was, as usual, scarcity rather than quality that caused this
unprecedented rise in price.]

[Footnote 410: M. Mauméné relates in his _Traité du Travail des Vins_
that on one occasion, when, as an experiment, 3000 first-class bottles,
which had already been used, were employed anew, only fifteen or
sixteen of the whole number resisted the pressure. Moreover, if much
broken glass is remelted down and used in the manufacture, the bottles
do not turn out well, the second fusion of silicates never having the
same cohesion as the first. The glass-works of Sèvres and Bercy, which
melt down most of the broken glass collected in Paris, have never been
able to supply bottles strong enough for sparkling wines.]

[Footnote 411: Loivre is about seven miles from Reims on the road to

[Footnote 412: It is calculated that wine, the grape sugar in which
yields ten per cent of alcohol, according to the average in Champagne,
would, if bottled immediately after pressing, produce enough carbonic
acid gas to develop a pressure of thirty-two atmospheres. But such
a pressure is never developed, as the wine is not bottled directly
it leaves the press; besides which no bottle could stand it. From
four to six atmospheres insure a lively explosion and a brisk creamy
foam. It is necessary, therefore, that fermentation should have been
carried on till at least three-fourths of the sugar have been converted
into alcohol and carbonic acid gas before the wine is drawn off for
bottling, for even the very best bottles burst under a pressure of
eight atmospheres.

A few words on the origin and development of the effervescent
properties of Champagne will not be out of place here. These are due,
as already explained, to the presence of a large quantity of carbonic
acid gas, the evolution of which has been prevented by the bottling of
the wine prior to the end of the alcoholic fermentation. The source of
carbonic acid gas exists in all wines, and they may be all rendered
sparkling by the same method of treatment. Still, no effervescent wine
can compare with the finest growths of the Champagne, for these possess
the especial property of retaining a large portion of their sugar
during, and even after, fermentation; besides which, the soil imparts a
native bouquet that no other wine can match.

Carbonic acid gas is one of the two products of the fermentation of
grape sugar, the other being alcohol. In wine fermented in casks it
rises to the surface, and escapes through the bunghole left open for
the purpose. The case is different with wine fermenting in bottles
tightly secured by corks. Part of the gas developed rises into the
chamber or vacant space left in the bottle, where, mingling with the
atmospheric air, it exercises a constantly increasing pressure on the
surface of the wine. This pressure at length becomes so strong as to
keep all the gas subsequently formed dissolved in the wine itself,
which it saturates, as it were, and thereby converts into sparkling
wine. Upon the bottle being opened, the gas accumulated in the chamber
rushes into the air, producing a slight explosion, or pop, and freeing
from pressure the gas which had remained dissolved in the wine, and
which in turn escapes in the shape of numberless tiny bubbles, forming
the foam so pleasing to the eye on rising to the surface.

Sometimes on opening a bottle of Champagne the pop is loud, but the
effervescence feeble and transitory; and, on the other hand, there
is merely a slight explosion, and yet the wine froths and sparkles
vigorously and continuously. The two bottles may contain the same
quantity of gas, but in the one there is more in the chamber and
less dissolved in the wine, and hence the loud pop and slight
sparkle; while in the other the pressure is low, and the explosion
consequently slighter, but there is more gas in the wine itself, and
the effervescence is proportionately greater and more lasting. In the
former case the wine has received the addition of, or has contained
from the outset, some matter calculated to diminish its power of
dissolving carbonic acid gas, and is unsuitable for making good
sparkling wine. The nature of the effervescence is one of the best
tests of the quality of the wine. Gas naturally dissolved does not all
escape at once on the removal of the pressure, but, on the contrary,
about two-thirds of it are retained by the viscidity of the wine. The
better and more natural the wine, the more intimately the carbonic acid
gas remains dissolved in it, and the finer its bubbles.

The form of the glass out of which Champagne is drunk has an influence
on its effervescence. The wine sparkles far better in a glass
terminating in a point, like the old-fashioned _flûte_, or the modern
goblet or patera, with a hollow stem, than in one with a rounded
bottom. The reason is that any point formed around the liquid, as
instanced in the pointed bottoms of these glasses, or in the liquid,
as may be proved by putting the end of a pointed glass rod into
the wine, favours the disengagement of the gas. Powder of any kind
presents a number of tiny points, and hence the dropping of a little
powdered sugar into Champagne excites effervescence. Porous bodies
like bread-crumbs produce the same effect. Even dust has a similar
action; and the wine will froth better in a badly-wiped glass than in
one perfectly clean, though it would hardly do to put forward such an
excuse as this for using dirty goblets.

The lively pop of the cork is less esteemed in England than in certain
circles in France, where many hosts would be sadly disappointed if the
wine they put before their guests did not go off with a loud bang,
causing the ladies to scream and the gentlemen to laugh. A brisk foam,
too, is absolutely necessary for the prestige of the wine, and 'grand
mousseux' is a quality much sought after by the general public on the
other side of the Channel. It is not rare to meet with wines of a high
class in which the removal of the cork produces a loud explosion; but
unfortunately the brisk report and sharp but transitory rush of foam
are features easily imparted by artificial means. The ordinary white
wines of Lorraine and other provinces receive a certain addition of
spirit and liqueur, and are then artificially charged with carbonic
acid gas obtained from carbonate of lime, chalk, and similar materials,
after the fashion in which soda-water is made. These wines, sold as
Champagne, eject their corks with a loud pop, but three-fourths of the
carbonic acid gas escape at the same time, and the wine soon becomes
flat and dead; whereas a naturally sparkling wine of good quality
left open for three hours and then recorked will be found fresh and
drinkable the next day.

Both the explosion and the subsequent effervescence are aided by a high
temperature, which assists the development of the gas. Cold has the
opposite effect, and iced wine neither pops nor sparkles. It, however,
retains, if genuine, the whole of the carbonic acid gas held dissolved,
which is not the case with the imitations spoken of.

Were it not that the question has been seriously started on more than
one occasion, and only solved to the satisfaction of the questioner
by a chemico-anatomical explanation, it would hardly be worth while
touching upon the supposed hurtfulness of the carbonic acid gas
contained in sparkling wines. The fact of accidents frequently
occurring in breweries, distilleries, wine-presses, &c., from the
accumulation of this gas, to breathe which for a few seconds is mortal,
has led some people to wonder how Champagne, whilst containing so
large a proportion of it, can be swallowed with impunity. The gas,
however, which produces fatal results when inhaled into the lungs,
by depriving the blood of the oxygen which it should find there, has
in the stomach a beneficial effect, serving to promote digestion. In
drinking Champagne it is conveyed direct to this latter region, so that
no danger whatever exists, any more than in the mineral waters.--Mainly
condensed from E. J. Mauméné's _Traité du Travail des Vins_.]

[Footnote 413: For a long time the most erroneous ideas as to the cause
of such breakage and the means of preventing it prevailed. Tasting,
which was most relied on for ascertaining how far fermentation had
gone, could not be depended upon with accuracy, though the rule of
thumb laid down by some makers was that the time to bottle with the
least risk of breakage was when the sweet taste had disappeared, and
vinous flavour developed itself. The aerometers subsequently introduced
failed to answer the purpose, because the saccharine matter was not
the only thing capable of influencing them. The result usually was
either the bottling of a must so full of effervescence as to break
the bottles, or of wine already completely fermented and incapable of
effervescing at all.]

[Footnote 414: In some establishments tables made after the same
fashion replace the racks, whilst another plan of coaxing the sediment
down towards the cork is to stack the bottles at the outset in double
rows, with their necks inclining downwards, laths placed between each
layer maintaining them in their position. This method effects a great
economy of time and space, the bottles requiring on an average only
a few days on the racks prior to shipment to thoroughly complete the

[Footnote 415: As the real origin of this system is a matter which has
excited no small amount of controversy, and as several claimants to the
honour of its discovery have had their names put forward by different
writers, the following extracts from a letter from M. Alfred Werlé, of
the house founded by Madame Clicquot, may serve to render honour where
it is really due: 'Already, in 1806 (I am unable to speak of an earlier
period with absolute certainty), the bottles were placed on tables,
like to-day, with their heads downwards; each bottle being taken out
of its hole, raised in the air, and shaken with the hand, so as to
cause the cream of tartar and the deposit it contained to fall upon the
cork, the holes being round, and the bottles placed straight downwards.
This lasted till 1818, when a man named Müller, an employé of Madame
Clicquot, suggested to her that the bottles should be left in the table
whilst being shaken, and that the holes should be cut obliquely, so
that the bottles might remain inclined. He maintained that one would
thus obtain a wine of far greater limpidity. The trial was made, and
every day, with a view of keeping this new process a secret, Müller and
Madame Clicquot shut themselves up alone in the cellars, and shook the
bottles unperceived. In 1821 Müller was assisted by a workman named
Mathieu Binder; and in 1823 or 1824, Madame Clicquot having purchased
from M. Morizet a _cuvée_ of wine which was shaken and prepared in
this merchant's cellars, one of his employés named Thomassin became
acquainted with the new method, and resolved to practise it; since
when it gradually spread, and eventually was generally adopted. M.
Werlé senior recollects perfectly well that when he arrived at Madame
Clicquot's in 1821 it was only at her establishment that the bottles
were shaken in this manner. The practice of shaking the bottles was a
very old one, and no more invented by Müller than by Thomassin; but the
former certainly effected great improvements by employing the system
of oblique holes, and shaking the bottles in the table and not in the

[Footnote 416: M. Mauméné has pointed out that if a solution of
tannin or alum has been added to the _cuvée_ at the time of fining,
the deposit is certain to be granular and non-adherent. But he justly
remarks that these solutions, especially the latter, though doing good
to the wine, have a precisely opposite effect upon the human stomach
that consumes it.]

[Footnote 417: The Regiment de Champagne was one of the most famous of
the _vieux corps_, and claimed to be the second oldest regiment in the
French army.]

[Footnote 418: The system of dosing the wine does not appear to have
been practised prior to the present century.]

[Footnote 419: The high favour in which sugar-candy is held for
mixing with this Champagne liqueur dates from the latter part of the
last century, when there was a perfect mania for everything in a
crystallised form, as being the height of condensation and purity. The
competition between the first houses of Reims and Epernay to secure
the largest and finest crystals was very keen, and it was considered
disgraceful for any firm of standing to make use of sugar-candy of a
yellow tinge or in small crystals. Latterly it has been demonstrated
that these expensive crystals contain more water and less saccharine
matter than an equal weight of loaf-sugar, and that they sometimes
contain a glutinous element capable of imparting an insipid flavour to
the wine.--Mauméné's _Traité du Travail des Vins_.]

[Footnote 420: Instances have been known of additions of 25 and even 30
per cent of liqueur, though the average may be taken to be for Germany
and France, 15 to 18 per cent; America, 10 to 15 per cent; England, 2
to 6 per cent.]

[Footnote 421: The corrosive action of rust upon the wire has led to
several attempts to replace it, and some Champagne houses have adopted
more or less ingenious appliances of metal, &c. Tinned iron wire has
been found to resist rust, but is too expensive; whilst an experiment
with galvanised wire resulted in serious illness amongst the workmen
handling it, owing to the poisonous fumes evolved by the zinc when
acted upon by the acids of the wine.]

[Footnote 422: M. Viollet-le-Duc, _Dictionnaire raisonné de
l'Architecture du Vme au XVIme Siècle_.]

[Footnote 423: An engraving of this tower, removed while the present
work was passing through the press, will be found on p. 50.]

[Footnote 424: See the engraving on p. 16.]

[Footnote 425: Read before the Academy of Reims in February 1845,
printed by them in their Transactions, and subsequently republished in
volume form.]

[Footnote 426: It is generally supposed that the gate took its name
from a hospital standing a short distance without the walls, and
destined for the reception either of lepers or of pilgrims arriving
after nightfall. The prevalent opinion is that it bore the inscription
_Dei merito_, translated as Dieu le mérite, which became corrupted into
Dieu-Lumière. Under Louis XI. it certainly figures as Di Merito.]

[Footnote 427: A curious old engraving copied from an ancient tapestry
represents the entry of the royal procession into Reims through the
Porte Dieu-Lumière. Joan of Arc, beside the king and in company with
the Dukes of Bourbon and Alençon, bears the banner of France; whilst
her father and mother are seen arriving with the king's baggage by
another road.]

[Footnote 428: /A.D./ 499.]

[Footnote 429: Victor Fievet's _Histoire d'Epernay_.]

[Footnote 430: M. A. Nicaise's _Epernay et l'Abbaye de St. Martin_.]

[Footnote 431: Ibid.]

[Footnote 432: Victor Fievet's _Histoire d'Epernay_. In December 1540,
when the eschevins fixed the 'vinage,' the queue of wine was valued at
eight to nine livres.]

[Footnote 433: The partiality of Charles V. for the wine of Ay has been
elsewhere spoken of. The vendangeoir mentioned was in existence in

[Footnote 434: Victor Fievet's _Histoire d'Epernay_.]

[Footnote 435: M. A. Nicaise's _Epernay et l'Abbaye de St. Martin_.]

[Footnote 436: Ibid.]

[Footnote 437: The thoroughfare at Epernay known as the Rempart de la
Tour Biron commemorates the above event.]

[Footnote 438: Victor Fievet's _Histoire d'Epernay_.]

[Footnote 439:

    'Ce diable à quatre
    A le triple talent
    De boire et de battre,
    Et d'être vert-galant.'

[Footnote 440:

    'On lui verse le vin de la côte voisine,
    Pétillant, savoureux qui soudain l'illumine
    D'étincelants rayons de joie et de gaîté;
    Redevenant poëte, il chante la beauté
    Qui l'aide à conquérir doucement la Champagne.'

    M. Camille Blondiot's _Henri IV. au Siège d'Epernay_.

[Footnote 441:

        'Viens aurore,
        Je t'implore,
    Je suis gai quand je te voi;
        La bergère
        Qui m'est chère
    Est vermeille comme toi.

        Elle est blonde,
        Sans seconde,
    Elle a la taille à la main;
        Sa prunelle
    Comme l'astre du matin.

        De rosée,
    La rose a moins de fraîcheur;
        Une hermine
        Est moins fine,
    Le lis a moins de blancheur.

        Bien choisie,
    Dupuis se nourrit à part;
        Et sa bouche
        Quand j'y touche
    Me parfume de nectar.'

[Footnote 442: From the _Extrait du Registre et Papiers des Assemblés
du Peuple de la Ville d'Epernay_, preserved in the /MSS./ of Bertin du

[Footnote 443: Bertin du Rocheret's /MSS./]

[Footnote 444: Ibid.]

[Footnote 445: _Mémoire concernant la Ville d'Epernay_, by Maître
François Stapart, notaire au bailliage, published in 1749.]

[Footnote 446: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 447: Arthur Young's _Travels in France in the Years

[Footnote 448: Victor Fievet's _Histoire d'Epernay_. In the list of
expenses incurred on the passage of Louis XVI. and his family, four
hundred livres are set down to 'the Sieur Memmie Cousin, innkeeper and
merchant at Epernay, for the dinner of the king, the queen, and the
royal family, as well as for an indemnity for the furniture broken at
the said Cousin's.'

As regards the price of the wines of the River during the Revolutionary
epoch, an old account-book of Messrs. Moët & Chandon shows that in 1797
the firm paid for the white wine of Epernay and Avize 200 francs, for
that of Chouilly 180 francs, and for that of Pierry and Cramant 150
francs per pièce; whilst that of Ay cost from 565 to 600 francs the
queue. Bottles in 1790 only cost 16 livres 10 sols the hundred.]

[Footnote 449: The Clos St. Pierre is now the property of M. Charles
Porquet, and the ancient seignorial residence of the monks of St.
Pierre, at Pierry, is occupied by M. Papelart. Both these gentlemen are

[Footnote 450: Cazotte, writing in October 1791, speaks of the village
as peopled with 'gros propriétaires;' and in November, that it had
'thirty-two households of well-to-do people.' Amongst its inhabitants
were the Marquis Tirant de Flavigny, Dubois de Livry, Quatresols de la
Motte, De Lastre d'Aubigny, De Lantage, &c., most of whose residences
are still extant. In October 1792 several accusations were made against
soldiers for picking and eating grapes in the vineyards of Pierry and
Moussy, belonging to Cazotte, De la Motte, De Lantage, D'Aubigny, &c.]

[Footnote 451: Part of it now serves as the 'maison communale' and
school-house of the village.]

[Footnote 452: Arrested at Pierry in August 1792, in consequence of the
discovery, on the sacking of the Tuileries, of a new plan of escape
for the royal family, sent by him to his friend Ponteau, secretary of
the Civil List, Cazotte was brought to Paris and immured, in company
with his daughter Elizabeth, in the prison of the Abbaye. Arraigned
before the self-constituted tribunal presided over by the butcher
Maillard, on the night of the 3d September, the fatal words 'To La
Force,' equivalent to a sentence of death, were pronounced; and Cazotte
was about to fall beneath the sabres already raised against him, when
Elizabeth covered his body with her own, and by her heroic appeals
induced the assassins to forego their prey. She even had the courage to
drink with them to the Republic, and with her father was escorted home
in triumph. A few days later, however, he was rearrested, condemned to
death by the Revolutionary Tribunal, and on the 25th September ascended
the scaffold, from whence he cried with a firm voice to the multitude,
'I die as I have lived, faithful to God and my king.'

Under date of the 10 Prairial An II. (1793), the citizen Bourbon was
appointed by the municipality of Pierry to cultivate the vineyards 'du
gillotiné (_sic_) Cazotte.']

[Footnote 453: In 1775 the Abbot of Hautvillers, as _décimateur_ of
Pierry, claimed to take tithe of a fortieth of all wines in the cellars
of the village. This claim being rejected by the baillage of Epernay
in 1777, he appealed to the Parliament of Paris. Cazotte undertook
the case of his fellow-proprietors, pleading that the abbey, which,
according to strict law, was bound to take the tithe in the shape of
grapes left at the foot of each vine, had long since replaced this
by a monetary commutation; and that the inhabitants of Pierry, like
the other wine-growers of the Champagne, being 'obliged, in order to
obtain perfection in their wines, to mix the grapes of several crus and
different tithings, it would be impossible to tithe the wine itself.'
He also argued that the question had been settled by a decision on the
same point in favour of the inhabitants of Ay and Dizy. However, the
monks obtained a decree from parliament authorising them to take the
fortieth of the vintage a month after the wines had been barrelled,
unless the wine-growers preferred 'to pay the tithe at the wine-press,
in form of the fortieth load of grapes free from all mixture.' The
inhabitants appealed in 1780, pleading the impossibility of this
plan of tithing at the press, on account of the expense and of the
difficulty of sorting out the grapes from those brought from Moussy,
Vinay, Monthelon, Cuis, Epernay, and other districts in which they had
also vineyards. The Revolution cut the Gordian knot of this affair,
which really arose from the wish of the monks to hinder as much as
possible that plan of mixing grapes from different sources, to which
the perfection of their own wine was due.]

[Footnote 454: In January 1790 the inhabitants of Pierry unanimously
elected Cazotte their first mayor under the new _régime_. A decree
signed by him in this capacity, and dated April 11, 1790, fixes the
price for a day's work in the vineyards at 12 sols. In 1793 the
municipality of the adjoining district of Moussy fixed the day's
hire of the vintager at 25 sous, of horses employed in the vintage
at 7 livres 10 sous, and of asses at 5 livres. As regards the price
of the local cru, amongst the items of the accounts of the syndic of
Moussy for the years 1787-8 is the following: 'For thirteen bottles
of stringed wine (vin fisselé) sent to Paris to the procureur of the
community (Failly lawsuit), 13 livres.' The community were then engaged
in a lawsuit with the Count de Failly respecting a wood. During the
Revolutionary epoch it was decreed by the municipality of Pierry that a
vineyard known as les Rennes should, on account of the resemblance to
les Reines, be in future styled les Sans-culottes. It has since resumed
its old name.]

[Footnote 455: The story of Cazotte prophesying not only his own
fate, but that of the king and queen, Condorcet, Bailly, Malesherbes,
Nicolai, the Duchess de Grammont, and others who perished during the
Terror, at a dinner given at an Academician's in 1788, has been proved
to be a mere invention on the part of La Harpe. Nevertheless there
seems but little doubt that he distinctly foresaw many coming evils;
and a native of Pierry, M. Armand Bourgeois, asserts that his maternal
grandfather was one day at Cazotte's house in the village, when the
entire company were completely upset by their host's prophecies of a
coming revolution.]

[Footnote 456: P. Jannet's _Recueil des Poésies françaises des 15me et
16me Siècles_.]

[Footnote 457: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 458: St. Evremond's _Letters_, &c. (London, 1714).]

[Footnote 459: Max Sutaine's _Essai sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 460: Bertin du Rocheret's /MSS./ _Histoire d'Epernay_.]

[Footnote 461:

    'Ay produit les meilleurs vins--
        J'en prends à témoin tout le monde;
    Mais vous préférez ceux de Reims,
    Ay produit les meilleurs vins.
    Ce sont les premiers, les plus fins,
        Et Saint Evremont me seconde.
    Ay produit les meilleurs vins--
        J'en prends à témoin tout le monde.

    Charles Quint s'y connoissoit bien
        Il en faisoit la différence;
    Et mieux que son maître Adrien,
    Charles Quint s'y connoissoit bien,
    Pour en boire, il ne tint a rien
        Qu'il ne vînt demeurer en France.
    Charles Quint s'y connoissoit bien
        Il en faisoit la différence.

    Pour qu'on ne pût le mélanger,
        Et que sa table fût complète,
    Lui même faisoit vendanger,
    Pour qu'on ne pût le mélanger.
    Léon craignant même danger,
        D'un pressoir d'Ay fit emplète,
    Pour qu'on ne pût le mélanger,
        Et que sa table fût complète.'

The Adrien mentioned in the second verse was Pope Adrian VI., who had
been the Emperor's preceptor, and who by his influence obtained the
tiara on the death of Leo X. Unlike his predecessor, he was very simple
in his habits.]

[Footnote 462: _Maison Rustique_, edition of 1574.]

[Footnote 463: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 464: An allusion to the curse pronounced by St. Tresain
against the men of Ay.]

[Footnote 465: _Maison Rustique_ (1582), translated by Richard Surflet
(London, 1600).]

[Footnote 466: Ibid.]

[Footnote 467: Ibid.]

[Footnote 468: Paulmier's treatise, _De Vino et Pomaceo_ (1588).]

[Footnote 469: _Maison Rustique_ (1582).]

[Footnote 470: Legrand d'Aussy's _Vie privée des Français_.]

[Footnote 471: Louis Perrier's _Mémoire sur le Vin de Champagne_.]

[Footnote 472: _Recueil des Poésies latines et françaises sur le Vin
de Champagne_ (Paris, 1712). Gonesse, a village of the department
of Seine-et-Oise, about ten miles to the north of Paris, had a high
reputation for its bread for several centuries.]

[Footnote 473:

    'Notre bon roi, le grand Henry,
        En régaloit sa belle hôtesse,
    Quand il couchoit à Damery,
    Notre bon roi, le grand Henry,
    C'étoit-là son jus favori;
        Et son pain, celui de Gonesse,
    Notre bon roi, le grand Henry,
        En régaloit sa belle hôtesse.'

Published in the _Mercure_ of January 1728. Henry was accustomed to
speak of the Présidente as his 'belle hôtesse.']

[Footnote 474: Circa 1590.]

[Footnote 475: _Théâtre de l'Agriculture et Mesnage des Champs_ (1600).]

[Footnote 476: Published at Orleans, 1605. As regards the price of the
newly-made wine of Ay at this epoch, Jehan Pussot says that, in 1604,
it fetched from 25 to 45 livres; in 1605, from 60 livres upwards; and
in 1609, from 100 to 120 livres, at the epoch of the vintage.]

[Footnote 477: Chaulieu says that St. Evremond

    'Ne chante dans ses vers heureux
    Que l'inconstance et la Tocane'--

Tocane being usually made of the wine of Ay.]

[Footnote 478: St. Evremond's _Works_ (London, 1714).]

[Footnote 479: Chaulieu extols the Tocane of Ay, and some verses of
Voltaire have been quoted on p. 61.]

[Footnote 480: Arthur Young's _Travels in France in the Years

[Footnote 481: CHAMPAGNE.

    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.

    Ay, 'tis the true, the typic wine of France;
        Ay, '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 stirred by winds of waving swords,
    And chivalry's defiance spoke the words:
        'A 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.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A History of Champagne - With Notes on the Other Sparkling Wines of France" ***

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