A Wine to Drink Right Now!

September 2, 2014 Leave a comment

The return of summer weather has increased my need for budget friendly wines that may be drunk both outside and inside.  The 2012 Domaine Font de Michelle, Notre Passion, Cotes du Rhone Villages offers exactly that.  The flavors are somewhat tart, which is appropriate for some warm weather, but it will also develop over the fall and winter months.  In short, there is a lot going on for such an affordable price!  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.


2012 Domaine Font de Michelle, Notre Passion, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported DS Trading Company.  This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah.  Alcohol 14%.  There was a subtle nose of red and black cherries.  In the mouth were closely played flavors of ripe, red cherry fruit that turned blacker towards the middle.  At the finish, slightly tart red fruit was revealed with a young structure.  This tasty wine has some density, supporting acidity, and attractive ruggedness.  **(*) Now-2017.


Online Posts and Articles on the History of Wine: #2

September 1, 2014 Leave a comment

Bodleian Library, University of Oxford

“The Blue grape | Ripe September 27″. Bodleian Library, University of Oxford [4]

It is hard to believe its time for another blog carnival.  For those who missed out please read Online Posts and Articles on the History of Wine: #1.  This month, the articles about the History of Wine were dominated by grape remains found down in a well in Chianti and the isotope analysis of King Richard III’s bones.  I have included links to several of the original papers even though a few were published before August.  Beyond those two subjects there is plenty to read from Stalin’s “plebian luxury” all the way back to an ancient Middle East cellar.  Please help support and encourage research into the History of Wine by sharing this post.  Until the end of September you may find more history of wine at:

Facebook: History of Wine

Twitter: #histwine

Posts and Articles

American Association of Wine Economists: Wine Historical Statistics (PDF)

The Armchair Sommelier: Wine, Words & Wednesday, No. 13

Conciatore: The Dregs

Decanter: Ancient Middle East wine cellar fuelled royal parties, say researchers

Discovery: Chianti Wine’s Origins Found Down a Well

Early Modern Medicine: For a Muddled Memory

Financial Times: Wine without frontiers



Hogshead Wine: John Searle & Company, July 16, 1783, Bill of Lading listing Madeira for General George Washington

Hogshead Wine: Endangered Winemaking Images from Georgia

Hogshead Wine: “They wet gunny sacks with wine to save the homes.” Wine related scenes from the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Hogshead Wine: The 200th Anniversary of the Burning of Washington and the Destruction of President James Madison’s Choice Wines

Hogshead Wine: Image of the Tokay vineyard, near Fayetteville, North Carolina from 1883

Hogshead Wine: The 1700 Year Old Vineyard of the Niya Site in China

Hogshead Wine: The 19th century Vinery at Qaiser Bagh in Lucknow, India

Hogshead Wine: Fantastic 17th Century Images from Georgica Curiosa (1682)

Hogshead Wine: 17th Century Watercolors of John Tradescant’s Grape Clusters

Journal of Wine Economics: The Rise and Fall of the World’s Largest Wine Exporter and Its Institutional Legacy*

London School of Economics and Political Science: Twitter and blogs are not add-ons to academic research, but a simple reflection of the passion that underpins it.

Mount Vernon: Grapes

The Oxford Wine Blog: A Short History of German Wine

The Oxford Wine Blog: The History of Bordeaux Wine

Public Library of Science One: Characterizing a Middle Bronze Palatial Wine Cellar from Tel Kabri, Israel

Weingut Max Ferdinand Richter: Historische Preisliste 1938/ Historical priceliste from 1938

Science Direct: Multi-isotope analysis demonstrates significant lifestyle changes in King Richard III


Vin Deling : Facts about Port and Madeira – The Illustrated Douro

Western Daily Press: Ned Halley discovers how pre-Great War tastes favoured the wines of Germany over France

Wine As Was: Sovetskoye Shampanskoye – Stalin’s ‘plebeian luxury’


Hogshead Wine: “Vinum Bonum Bonum Sanguinem Facit”

Hogshead Wine: French Officers at luncheon in the field

Hogshead Wine: Six unidentified soldiers in 45th Ohio Infantry Regiment officers’ uniforms with sabers. 1862-65.

Hogshead Wine: Coal miner (Italian) takes a drink of wine in front of his home after coming home from work late in the afternoon.

Hogshead Wine: Rabbi in a kosher wine shop in the New York’s Jewish section. 1942.

Hogshead Wine: Vast and Important Vineyards: The First Edition of the Guide Michelin for Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia

Hogshead Wine: Photograph of an Australian vineyard near Melbourne during the 1860s.

Hogshead Wine: Map showing the viticulture and viniculture of Algeria in 1927

Hogshead Wine: Old Dry Brown Madeira, Marcobruner, and 1837 Chateau Latour for Sale in Bombay during 1845

Hogshead Wine: A Vulture Eating a Carcass and Images of Grapevines in Tractatus de Herbis (c. 1440)

Hogshead Wine: Two Scenes of Winemaking From the 14th and 15th Century

Hogshead Wine: Two 17th Century Maps Showing the Vineyards of Vienna

Hogshead Wine: Austrian Soldiers Working on a Vineyard in Vittorio Veneto during 1918

Hogshead Wine: More Homicidal Winemakers, This Time From a 15th Century Flemish Manuscript

Hogshead Wine: Wine and Basel Wear (1634)

Hogshead Wine: Report on testing of Churchill’s wine for poison August 24, 1944.


British Pathe: Wine Tanker Disabled In Gale

History of Wine: Behind the Scenes: Conducting Research with Emily

History of Wine and Law: Swindling

History of Wine: Chilling Wines in the Ancient Mediterranean

History of Wine and Art Series: Medieval Tapestry

History of Wine and Art Series: Roman Sculpture

Categories: History of Wine

Eradicating the Grape Leaf Hopper during the early 1910s

I love the intensity of man on the left who is looking directly at the photographer.

Fig. 1.—Rod and Single Cyclone Nozzle Used to Apply Spray to Underside ofGrape Foliage. Power Supplied by Tractor Sprayer. Vineyard of Mr. H. H.Harper, North East, Pa. (Original.) [1]

Fig. 1.—Rod and Single Cyclone Nozzle Used to Apply Spray to Underside ofGrape Foliage. Power Supplied by Tractor Sprayer. Vineyard of Mr. H. H.Harper, North East, Pa. (Original.) [1]

[1] Johnson, Fred. The grape leafhopper in the Lake Erie Valley. 1914. URL: https://openlibrary.org/books/OL25518229M/The_grape_leafhopper_in_the_Lake_Erie_Valley

Categories: History of Wine

John Searle & Company, July 16, 1783, Bill of Lading listing Madeira for General George Washington

August 29, 2014 1 comment

The image in today’s post features a bill of lading from John Searle & Company to General George Washington.  A bill of lading is a document used in international commerce to detail the goods being shipped as well as transfer title.  I often look at these bills when I study early Presidential wine orders.  They sometimes contain additional information that has not been transcribed such as the markings used to identify the goods.  These markings often take the form of the recipient’s initials and the type of wine if several were being shipped.

John Searle & Company, July 16, 1783, Bill of Lading. [2]

John Searle & Company, July 16, 1783, Bill of Lading. [2]

This particular bill covers two pipes of Madeira, two baskets of Portuguese figs, and a box of citron.  The letter that accompanied the bill of lading describes the Madeira as, “Two other Pipes of very choice Particulr Madeira Wine, of a fine Amber Colour, High Flavour, & Three years Old”.  What I find interesting about this bill are the initial “HE” and “GW”.  “GW” are clearly the initials of George Washington.  But what of “HE”?  John and James Searle were agents in Madeira for Mayne, Burn, & Mayne so those do not match.  The answer lies in the bill itself which declares the goods for “His Excellency General Washington, Esq.”  Thus “HE” stands for His Excellency.

[1] “To George Washington from John Searle, 15 July 1783,” Founders Online, National Archives (http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/99-01-02-11598, ver. 2014-05-09). Source: this is an Early Access document from The Papers of George Washington. It is not an authoritative final version.
[2] John Searle & Company, July 16, 1783, Bill of Lading. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General Correspondence. 1697-1799. URL: http://memory.loc.gov/mss/mgw/mgw4/092/0600/0687.jpg

Categories: History of Wine

Tasting Wines from Edmunds St John, Fausse Piste, Linden, Sandlands, and Two Shepherds

Lou texted me that he tried one of the wines he received in the inaugural shipment from Sandlands Vineyards.  It was special.  Sandlands Vineyards is the project of Tegan and Olivia Passalacqua.  Tegan has been making wine at Turley Wine Cellars for some time.  These Sandlands wines are made with fruit from old, head-trained and dry-farmed vines in California.  Lou mentioned he had a bottle of the Trousseau Noir so I knew I had to acquire a bottle of William Allen’s Two Shepherds Trousseau Gris.  We then added in wines of  Fausse Piste from Washington, Linden Vineyards from Virginia, and Edmunds St John from California.  Our tasting was born.

I will keep this brief by just posting my thoughts.  The wines of Sandlands are indeed special and exciting.  You must get on the waiting list right away!  I am digging Trousseau Gris and Trousseau Noir from California.  Those in Washington, DC, are fortunate that you can buy the Two Shepherds wines at Weygandt Wines.  Ask Tim  or Warren if there is any Trousseau Gris left because William Allen has no more of the 2012 vintage.  While you are at the shop pick up the Edmunds St John, Rocks + Gravel.  You will be strongly satisfied drinking it now but be sure to cellar some as well.  Over the years I have felt there was a certain funk or lurking flavor that I did not like in the red wines of Virginia.  The Linden, Claret moves beyond that and lives up to the classic Claret name.  Thanks to Phil at MacArthur Beverages for putting this in my sights.


2012 Two Shepherds, Trousseau Gris, Fanucchi Vineyard, Russian River Valley
This wine is 100% Trousseau Gris.  Alcohol 13.8%.  The color was of a bright copper kettle.  The nose was beautiful with ripe, floral aromas.  In the mouth the round flavors became racy in the middle then took on dry red flavors with integrated acidity.  The flavors were well supported becoming ripe and gentle in the finish.  On the second night there was a lovely, dense body to this unique wine.  ***(*) Now-2017.


2013 Fausse Piste, Garde Mange, Columbia Valley
This wine is 100% Syrah. Alcohol 14.1%.  This began with raisin-like, savory flavors, integrated acidity, and structure in the finish.  It even had a little thickness.  On the second night this showed better balance with bramble, some herbs black fruit, and ruggedness. ** Now-2017.


2012 Sandlands Vineyards, Trousseau, Sonoma County
This wine is 100% Trousseau Noir.  Alcohol 13.2%.  The color was a light garnet.  The nose was aromatic with vintage perfume and aromas familiar to the Trousseau Gris.  In the mouth were serious flavors.  The structure was there and matched the flavors in the finish.  It was a little salty, expansive, and beautiful.  It took on a little tart fruit.  The acidity was lovely, crisp and matched the eventually tangy flavors.  **** Now-2019.


2012 Edmunds St John, Rocks + Gravel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County
This wine is a blend of 55% Grenache, 27% Syrah, and 18% Mourvedre.  Alcohol ?  The nose had some enjoyable funk with red fruit but remained tight.  There were lively flavors of ripe, mixed berries that picked up intensity.  It continued to drink like a brighter Rhone-styled wine.  *** Now-2025.


2011 Linden, Claret
This wine is a blend of 44% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 13.2%.  The nose revealed dried herb and wood overlaying bright fruit and some meat.  The flavors followed the nose with bright acidity, ripe tannins, and some Big Red notes.  This was a youthful wine with young tasting fruit.  It became a little herbacious with black graphite, and spicy, drying tannins that coated the mouth.  With air this showed dry flavors of bright fruit.  **(*) 2015-2019.


2010 Sandlands Vineyards, Mataro
This wine is 100% Mataro.  Alcohol 13.6%.  The nose remained right.  In the mouth there was more fruit than the Trousseau Noir along with an interesting note of polished old wood.  In a sense it was similar to the Trousseau Noir in profile.  There were enjoyable dense aromas, a little savory flavor, black fruit, attractive graphite, and old-wood notes.  Needs cellar time.  Lou reported this was great on the third night.  ***(*) 2016-2026.


“Vinum Bonum Bonum Sanguinem Facit”

August 28, 2014 1 comment

French Wines may be said to pickle meat in the stomack; but this is the wine that digests, and doth not only breed good blood…of this wine, if of any other, may be verified that merry induction, That good Wine makes good Blood, good Blood causeth good Humours, good Humours cause good thoughts, good Thoughts bring forth good works, good Works carry a Man to Heaven; ergo good Wine carrieth a Man to Heaven.”[1]

Image from The Physician and Pharmaceutist. 1868. [2]

Image from The Physician and Pharmaceutist. 1868. [2]

“If this be true, surely more English go to Heaven this way than any other, for I think there’s more Canary brought into England than to all the World besides.”

[1] Howell, James.  Epistolae Ho-Elianae. 1705.  URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=qzkIAAAAQAAJ&pg=PP7#v=onepage&q&f=false
[2] The Physician and pharmaceutist. 1868. Open Library. URL:  https://openlibrary.org/books/OL25483078M/The_Physician_and_pharmaceutist

Categories: History of Wine

Endangered Winemaking Images from Georgia

August 27, 2014 1 comment

The British Library hosts a fantastic website for the Endangered Archives Programme.  This program seeks to preserve and digitize documentary archives from around that world that are deteriorating or about to be discarded.  The photos featured in this post are sourced from Georgia’s central state audio-visual archive.  This archive was established in 1944 and contains photographs that date back to 1858.  It is believed that the early photographs will be totally destroyed within one or two decades.  This archive is in the process of being surveyed so there is a broad but sparse set of photographs available online.  I am always searching through archives so was thrilled to find three wine related photographs taken by Constantine Zanis in the late 19th to early 20th century.

Digital copy of a photograph showing a man tending a vineyard in the Kakhat'i region. Photographer: Constantine Zanis. Date: undated. EAP057/1/5. British Library.

Digital copy of a photograph showing a man tending a vineyard in the Kakhat’i region. Photographer: Constantine Zanis. Date: undated. EAP057/1/5. British Library.

I have chosen two photographs that were taken in Kakhat’i region of Georgia.  The first image shows a man spraying vines from a tank on his back.  Perhaps the dog in the foreground is his companion.  The second image is fantastic, showing two men stomping grapes in a hollowed out log.  Some evidence of the construction of this trough appears at each end where wooden pegs are sticking out.  The  left side of the trough appears to have some sort of tool handle, perhaps that of a rake or shovel.  There also appears to be a lid for the trough leaning against the wall.  Do you think the lid was used when the press was empty?

Digital copy of a photograph showing three men pressing grapes in the traditional method. Photographer: Constantine Zanis. Date: undated. EAP057/1/5. British Library.

Digital copy of a photograph showing three men pressing grapes in the traditional method. Photographer: Constantine Zanis. Date: undated. EAP057/1/5. British Library.

Categories: History of Wine

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