2013 Rosé and Rouge from Chateau Thivin

September 19, 2014 Leave a comment

Chateau Thivin‘s red Côtes des Brouilly has consistently appeared on this blog for several vintages.  What has never appeared is the Beaujolais Villages Rosé before.  This is a somewhat unique post in that the latest release of the Beaujolais Villages Rosé  and Côtes de Brouilly are both from the 2013 vintage!  This vintage follows the massively hail-damaged 2012 vintage.  Over in Bristol, Avery’s found the 2013 vintage also being tricky and small but found there was “lovely richness of fruit and balance.”  If I summed up both of these wines it too would be good fruit and impeccable balance.  Why not try both this weekend? These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2013 Chateau Thivin, Rosé, Beaujolais Villages – $18
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay Noir.  Alcohol 12%.  The color was of light copper and dried rose.  The nose was delicately textured with aromas of fresh, red fruit.  The wine made a tart start followed by gently ripe flavors that took on some weight.  With air and warmth the ripe strawberry and cherry flavors took form, lying on the tongue until the tart and lemon-infused finish came out.  *** Now.

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2013 Chateau Thivin, Côtes de Brouilly – $23
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age.  Alcohol 13%.  There was a nose of red fruit with fresh, red cranberries.  In the mouth this bright red wine had seamless acidity that was slightly outgoing.  There was a lovely blend of components from orange-zest, some tartness, a wood note, and a moderate tannic structure.  Overall this wine appears best for the short-term which means you should enjoy it right now.  *** Now-2017.

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A late 18th century plan for a vineyard.

September 19, 2014 Leave a comment

This 18th century plan for a German vineyard shows coiled vines trained on individual posts.

Plan oder Grundriß über einen Distrikt Weinberg auf Königshöfer Gemarkung gelegen, im Küttwigsrhein genannt, wovon den Zehnt Kurpfalz 2/3, dann Fürst Löwenstein-Wertheim und Reichsgraf von Hatzfeld 1/3 zu beziehen haben (Inselkarte). 1779. Landesarchivs Baden-Württemberg. [1]

Plan oder Grundriß über einen Distrikt Weinberg auf Königshöfer Gemarkung gelegen, im Küttwigsrhein genannt, wovon den Zehnt Kurpfalz 2/3, dann Fürst Löwenstein-Wertheim und Reichsgraf von Hatzfeld 1/3 zu beziehen haben (Inselkarte). 1779. Landesarchivs Baden-Württemberg. [1]


[1] Plan oder Grundriß über einen Distrikt Weinberg auf Königshöfer Gemarkung gelegen, im Küttwigsrhein genannt, wovon den Zehnt Kurpfalz 2/3, dann Fürst Löwenstein-Wertheim und Reichsgraf von Hatzfeld 1/3 zu beziehen haben (Inselkarte). 1779. Landesarchivs Baden-Württemberg. URL: http://www.landesarchiv-bw.de/plink/?f=7-294220-1

Three America Wine Auction Broadsides from the 1840s and 1850s.

September 18, 2014 Leave a comment

It was not until I began to correspond with Mannie Berk, proprietor of The Rare Wine Co., that I began to look at historic wine auction catalogs.  Some of these catalogs are multi-page documents with a few hundred lots of wine.  Others are simply single-sheet broadsides.  In this post I present three publicly available broadsides from the 1840s and 1850s.  I find these broadsides interesting because they allow us to trace the movement of specific parcels of wine such as the “Bramin”, “Wanderer”, “Hindostan”, “Mandarin”, and “Odessa” Madeiras.  These last three names are new to me.

Catalogue of old wines, part of the estate of Thos. B. Adair. December 3, 1845. Duke University. [1]

Catalogue of old wines, part of the estate of Thos. B. Adair. December 3, 1845. Duke University. [1]

There are also unique wines such as the “Old Lisbon, stood several years on the Lees of Mad[eira].” or the specific parcels of 1836 Jules Lausseau, Chambertin.  Perhaps illustrating the practice of blending Bordeaux is the lot of “Hermitage Claret” prior to the lot of Chateau Margaux.

Public sale of superior old wines ... Jas. C. McGuire, Auctioneer. Washington City, D. C. [1853]. The Library of Congress. [2]

Public sale of superior old wines … Jas. C. McGuire, Auctioneer. Washington City, D. C. [1853]. The Library of Congress. [2]

We can also learn about the types of wax seals used such as “Green Seal” and “Red Seal” Madeira.  The sale of William Plympton’s wines suggest a wide range of wax colors.  The right-most column could indicate the wax color because the lot of “Old Black Cork Madeira” is followed by color Black.  In this case he used five different colors of wax: black, red, green, brown, and yellow.

Stock of wines and liquors at auction. ca. 1855. Duke University. [3]

Stock of wines and liquors at auction. ca. 1855. Duke University. [3]


[1] Catalogue of old wines, part of the estate of Thos. B. Adair. December 3, 1845. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University Libraries. URL: http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/broadsides_bdsmd30948/

[2] Public sale of superior old wines … Jas. C. McGuire, Auctioneer. Washington City, D. C. [1853]. An American Time Capsule: Three Centuries of Broadsides and Other Printed Ephemera. American Memory, The Library of Congress. URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.rbc/rbpe.20100200

[3] Stock of wines and liquors at auction.  ca. 1855. David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University Libraries. URL: http://library.duke.edu/digitalcollections/broadsides_bdszz164022/

Galuval and Yann Chave from the North and the South

September 18, 2014 Leave a comment

I always love trying wines from the Rhone.  My first experience with the 2012 Domaine de Galuval, Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone Villages was very enjoyable. This combined effort with advisor Philippe Cambie has resulted in a wine full of outstanding components.   It is not a rippling wine rather one that is coiled and should fully reveal itself next year.  The 2012 Yann Chave, Classic, Crozes Hermitage clearly moves to the north with its meaty aromas and clean flavors.  It is drinkable now but I would give resist opening a bottle it until the winter.  The Yann Chave was purchased at Weygandt Wines and the Galuval at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine de Galuval, Cairanne, Cotes du Rhone Villages – $18
Imported by OSLO Enterprise.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, and Cinsault.  Alcohol 14%.  The nice nose was followed by mouth filling flavors of cherries and red fruit.  The ripe tannins left a drying texture on the gums followed by an inky aftertaste.  This wine is still young for it maintained coiled flavors and a certain firmness.  **(*) 2015-2020.

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2012 Yann Chave, Classic, Crozes Hermitage – $27
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is 100% Syrah.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose bore slightly meaty aromas of fresh fruit.  In the mouth were clean flavors of black fruit with noticeable acidity on the tongue.  With air this wine showed young fruit flavors of meaty, purple fruit, that was attractively perfumed and incensed.  It left a gentle ripeness in the aftertaste.  Drinking well now but should improve over the short term.  **(*) Now-2018.

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Historic Photographs of Grapevines in Illinos

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

The photographs featured in today’s post are sourced from the American Environmental Photographs 1891-1936 collection.  This collection features photographs taken by American botanists who sought to capture the diverse American topography.  The photographs were taken by Henry Chandler Cowles, George Damon Fuller, and other Chicago ecologists.  The Chicago location might explain why most of the grapevine photographs were taken in Illinois.

Vitis planted on a hillside [at a] Nauvoo, Illinois vineyard. [1]

Vitis planted on a hillside [at a] Nauvoo, Illinois vineyard. [1]

I am particularly captivated by the last two pictures in this post because they bear a connection to earlier posts in the history of wine.  The second image of Vitis vulpina shows the long, thick grapevine coiling up into the trees.  If you look closely you will see a man standing in the shadows.  There are descriptions of grapes vines climbing up trees in many of the 17th century accounts that I have read.  For example I noted how Louis Hennepin wrote of the trees “cover’d with Vines, whose Grapes are very big and sweet” in my post “our Vat was a Bark-Pail”: An Account of 17th Century Wine Making in Canada.

Vitis vulpina, Bethel Hollow, Pope County, Illinois. [2]

Vitis vulpina, Bethel Hollow, Pope County, Illinois. [2]

In the post An Example of Colonial Winemaking Located in What was Briefly Maryland I quoted Colonel John Jones who wrote in 1776 of  the “immense quantity of these vines growing on the beach open to the sea”.  He did not describe what these beach vines looked like but due to the picture of Dune remnants I now have a mental image.  Has anyone see other pictures of grapevines growing on dunes or beaches?

Dune remnants with grapevine smothering Pine, Miller, Indiana. [3]

Dune remnants with grapevine smothering Pine, Miller, Indiana. [3]


[1] Vitis planted on a hillside [at a] Nauvoo, Illinois vineyard. American Environmental Photographs Collection, [AEP Image Number, AEP-ILS294], Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library.  URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.award/icuaep.ils294
[2] Vitis vulpina, Bethel Hollow, Pope County, Illinois. American Environmental Photographs Collection, [AEP Image Number, AEP-ILS35], Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library.  URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.award/icuaep.ils35
[3] Dune remnants with grapevine smothering Pine, Miller, Indiana. American Environmental Photographs Collection, [AEP Image Number, AEP-INN151], Department of Special Collections, University of Chicago Library. URL: http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.award/icuaep.inn151

Franconian wine, hipster juice since the 19th century

September 17, 2014 Leave a comment

My first widespread experience with German wine took place in the early 1990s when I spent a fair amount of time in Frankfurt.  My host family’s cellar was naturally filled with the squat, flattened wine bottles known as bocksbeutel.   I do not recall any of the producers or vintages but after all these years it is the bocksbeutel that I strongly recall.   In the 19th century Franconian wines in bocksbeutel were very popular in England.  “Stein wine” was was considered the best of the Franken wines and was often the most expensive.  The Prince of Wales was called to the bar to join the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple in 1861.[1]  for the celebratory meal cut glass wine goblets were commissioned.   From these goblets they “quaffed” 1781 Sherry, 1851 Chateau d’Yquem, 1846 Stein wine, and 1846 Cabinet Steinberger.   John Louis William Thudichum wrote that Stein wine was in part special because that the rays of the sun reflected off of the river thus supplementing that which fell directly on the Steinberg vineyard.[2] He also wrote that much of what was sold in London was not true Stein wine.  This “certain notoriety” was perhaps due “to the peculiar bottles” in which it was sold. [3]

IPHOFEN, EINERSHEIMERTOR. Image from  Weingut Hans Wirsching.

IPHOFEN, EINERSHEIMERTOR. Image from Weingut Hans Wirsching.

Franconian wine periodically appears on the shelves at MacArthur Beverages.  It is never in great quantity so they often sell out quickly.  With that in mind I grabbed a bottle, chilled it down, then opened it up right away.  Weingut Hans Wirsching has been involved with wine since at least the early 17th century.  The vineyards are primarily planted to Silvaner perhaps due to consideration of it as making the “true” Franconian wine.  The 2012 Hans Wirsching, Iphofer, Silvaner, Trocken, Franken was made from fruit sourced at the old wine town of Iphofen.  The wine was floral on the nose followed by lively, prickly flavors in the mouth.  It then morphed to become creamy and dense with minerality.  I really enjoyed this so I strongly recommend you try this wine. The price is attractive and the opened bottle will last the work week.  This wine was purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Hans Wirsching, Iphofer, Silvaner, Trocken, Franken – $17
Imported by Rudi Wiest. This wine is 100% Silvaner.  Alcohol 12%.  The color was a very pale yellow.  The nose bore white, floral fruit that was not infused.  In the mouth was a very lively burst of flavors that was matched by a prickle on the tongue.  The wine then took on minerals with a creamy finish.  The creamy and dense flavors persisted through the aftertaste.  *** Now-2019.

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[1] THE PRINCE OF WALES AT THE MIDDLE TEMPLE. (1861, Nov 03). The Observer (1791- 1900) Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/475034895?accountid=14784
[2] Thudichum, John Louis William. A Treatise on the Origin, Nature, and Varieties of Wine. 1872. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=48soAAAAYAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[3] Journal of the Royal Society of Arts, Volume 21. 1873. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=vLwoAQAAMAAJ&pg=PR6#v=onepage&q&f=false

Pouring wine from a barrel in a Roman marble found in Spain

September 16, 2014 1 comment

This Roman marble plaque show Sentia Amarantis removing a stopper from a barrel of wine in order to fill up a jug.  The plaque itself is a fragment thus the epigraph is incomplete.  Still, the details are fantastic.  The barrel itself rests on two horizontal beams each held up by a pair of straight legs.  The barrel is bound by three sets of hoops, made of two courses at the ends and three in the middle.  The heads are clearly recessed.  Sentia Amarantis appears to be pulling a stopper out of the head in order to fill the wine.  There is no clue as to what wine might be in the barrel but the facial expression is rather indifferent.  Do you know of other Roman marbles like this one?

Estela de SENTIA AMARANTIS - Lápida. 176-300. Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. [1]

Estela de SENTIA AMARANTIS – Lápida. 176-300. Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. [1]


[1] Estela de SENTIA AMARANTIS – Lápida. 176-300. Ministerio de Educación, Cultura y Deporte. URL:  http://ceres.mcu.es/pages/Viewer?accion=4&AMuseo=MNAR&Museo=&Ninv=CE00676

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