2015 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo offers a cloud of good flavor

I am completely buried by work and our kitchen renovation, the former of which is unfortunate as it has taken me a week to post my impressions of the 2015 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo.  This Petalos is another serious vintage of Mencia.  The black fruit, minerals, and violet notes are attractive now but this is a wine which will certainly improve with time.  If you like to cellar your wine then this is a great value.  It is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2015 Descendientes de J. Palacios, Petalos, Bierzo – $25
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. This wine is 100% Mencia. Alcohol 14%.  This wine possesses lurking power that moves the flavors of black fruit and minerals.  There is a powdery texture with hints of a very fine structure.  With air you are presented with an up front flavor cloud that adds in violets towards the end.  It tastes younger with air and I suspect will open up during the winter.  ***(*) Now – 2027.

The 2016 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone is an exciting preview of a new vintage

The 2016 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone is an exciting introduction to the excellent 2016 Rhone vintage.  This wine is 100% Syrah which was aged for six months in cement tanks making it one of the earliest examples of the vintage available to drink.  It offers deep grapey, fresh flavors with additional complexity from hints of fat and minerals. That is a lot to offer at $13 per bottle!  This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

2016 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Syrah which was fermented in then aged in cement vats for six months.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This grapey, fresh wine has a fine texture that makes it palpably thick with suggestions of racy flavors.  It wraps things up with a minerally blue finish.  There are some tannins and fat but the grapey flavor indicates it should be drunk young.  With air the depth of the flavor is evident throughout.  *** Now – 2019.

American Trousseau, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc

Lou and I managed to work in some wine drinking right before the 4th of July.  For our evening together, I pulled out a brace of Trousseau Noir and Lou offered a pair of wines he brought down from the Finger Lakes.  I find Californian Trousseau interesting.  The 2015 Forlorn Hope, Trousseau Noir, Rorick Vineyard is the more forward, currently complex of the two wine with a nice complement of minerals and orange peel.  It is also very pale like apple juice.  The 2015 Sandlands, Trousseau, Sonoma County is darker in color and more primary.  Despite the light colors and flavors both bottles manage to contain decent structure for the near term.

It was the 2015 Eminence Road Farm Winery, Cabernet Franc, Elizabeth’s Vineyard, Finger Lakes which completely surprised me.  My first thought was that you could serve this blind in a tasting of Leon Barral’s wines from Faugeres.  It would not be out of place save less flavor intensity.  The aromas of earth and soil are ones which make me happily think of France.  I should note there is a yeast note which develops but then fades away as the wine takes on more body.  Almost as interesting and certainly confusing is the 2010 Red Newt Cellars, Merlot, Finger Lakes.  From a ripe vintage, this wine has taken on age such that it smells just like old Vallana from Alto Piedmont.  No joke! It is true that it is mature in the mouth and a bit different but a fitting end to a tasting of unusual wines.

2015 Forlorn Hope, Trousseau Noir, Rorick Vineyard
Alcohol 12.23%.  Rather pale in color, similar to oxidized apple juice.  The nose offers forward, floral aromas.  In the mouth the wine is taut in body with a mixture of minerals and prominent orange peel in the finish.  It becomes more mineral with air with ripe apple notes, flower petals, and a maintained sense of freshness.  Despite being forward, it could age for a year or two for it packs in some structure.  *** Now – 2019.

2015 Sandlands, Trousseau, Sonoma County
Alcohol 12.4%.  It is the color pale, dried roses.  The nose is robust.  It is finely controlled with an ethereal smooth flavor, watering acidity, and light floral fruit flavor.  It becomes puckering towards the finish.  That said, this wine comes across as packing more in and requiring air to open up.  *** 2018-2022.

2015 Eminence Road Farm Winery, Cabernet Franc, Elizabeth’s Vineyard, Finger Lakes
Alcohol 11.9%.  Wow, the earthy nose of bright berries transports you to France.  With air there are wet soil aromas.  In the mouth are tart cherry flavors which have good weight, a slight yeast hint, spot on acidity, and a fine textured finish.  This lively wine is of strong interest.  It does pick up a touch more yeast as it breaths but this eventually disappears as the wine puts on more weight. ***(*) 2017-2022.

2010 Red Newt Cellars, Merlot, Finger Lakes
Alcohol 13.6%.  The nose offers old, sweet, concentrated weighty aromas evocative of old Vallana.  In the mouth the sweet concentration continues with a dried fruit texture, soft but moderate body, watering acidity, and black fruited finish.  This tastes more mature than the vintage implies yet there is still acidity and structure for the near term.  ** Now – 2020.

“[T]he Corner of Church and Tradd Streets”: The wine store of Louis Danjou 1806-1821

Advertisement for the corner of Church and Tradd Streets by Leduc & Danjou. May 26, 1808.

The firm of Leduc & Danjou announced the opening of their “wine store” in Charleston during the month of December 1806.[1]  With 15 years experience importing goods into Baltimore they felt they could offer “ample satisfaction” with their selections of wines, liquors, and groceries.  The initial offer of nine pipes of London Particular Madeira, from the 1800 vintage, must have been calculated to do just that.  The partners were also careful to note they had obtained a license of type No. 1 to sell “Spirituous Liquors and Wines”.

The firm of Leduc & Danjou was not the first to legally sell wine and spirits in Charleston just one of a handful to do so under reorganized laws.  The laws of South Carolina, dating back to the 17th century, were complex from adopted British statutes, years of legislation, and the recent independence of the country resulting in persistent confusion despite a few efforts at organization.

In one effort to finally provide clarification of the law, the Commissioners of High Roads and Bridges were empowered in 1801 to issue licenses to tavern keepers and retailers of spirituous liquors. [2]  The Commissioners were positions first enacted at the beginning of the 18th century and were repeatedly called upon to build and repair roads, bridges, and ferries in their parishes and cities.[3]  The 1801 enactment expanded oversight to include the licensing of liquor and wine outlets as well as to keepers of billiard tables.

The three story Louis Danjou house is at the top of the intersection in the center of the map. Crop from Bird’s eye view of the city of Charleston, South Carolina 1872. LOC. [12]

There were three types of licenses granted, licensed liquor stores of type No. 1, licensed taverns of type No. 2, and licensed retailers of type No. 3.[4] Leduc & Danjoy operated their wine store under liquor license type No. 1.  They first opened their wine store at 117 Queen St. from which they sold wine and spirits for half of a year before taking over the location occupied by Joseph Alexander at the corner of Church and Tradd Streets.[1]  Like Leduc & Danjou, Joseph Alexander operated with a liquor license.  In May 1806, Joseph Alexander received one of four liquor licenses, as compared to 48 licenses granted for retailers at the same time.  His liquor licenses was good for one year.  He did not renew it upon expiration thus left the corner of Church and Tradd Streets.  It is this corner that Leduc & Danjou moved to in June 1807.[5]

The southwest corner of Church and Tradd Streets, Charleston, SC, as it stands today.

The south-west corner of Church and Tradd Streets is known as Brewton’s Corner after Michael or Miles Brewton who owned the lot since before 1715.[6]  Various structures existed here with the lot eventually split into two pieces.  Around 1810 the lot was recombined into one piece and the existing three-story brick structure was built by Louis Danjou.  If the advertised location of the street address, No. 31 at the corner of Church and Tradd St., implies the new brick structure was complete, then the partners had settled into their new digs along with 60 pipes of old London Particular Madeira.[7]  However, I must point out that in July 1820, Louis Danjou relocated from the south-west corner to the north-east corner while unspecified repairs were undertaken through the end of December 1820. [8]  Perhaps this represents the period when the current brick structure was built.

Temporary residence at the northeast corner of Church and Tradd Streets, Charleston, SC, as it stands today.

Over the years London Particular Madeira was always on hand at the store including such vintages as 1800 and 1803.  There were also bottles of Malmsey, old Chateau Lafite, and even a Vin de Grave that was “a cooling drink in the summer”.

Advertisement for wines by the firm Leduc & Danjou. August 11, 1807.

During October 1812, Louis Danjou dissolved his partnership in Leduc & Danjou.[9]  Whether this was due to the difficulties in shipping during the War of 1812, between Great Britain and America, is unclear.  It is clear that he did not advertise the sale of goods until February 1814 when, under new partnership with Antoine Barbot, he formed Louis Danjou &  Co.  His resumed with an advertisement for goods headed “Grocery Store continued.”[10]  His listing, of course, includes old Madeira and Malmsey.

Louis Danjou went on to maintain the business, in one form or another, until his death in 1821.[11] [13] [14]  He continued to import Madeira direct from the island using two established houses the names of which he never disclosed.  This was typical of established merchants but not for the new.  In 1817, one merchant carried the wines of Leacock.  In 1819 and 1820, multiple merchants began carrying the wines of Leacock Co., Murdock, Yuille, Wardrop, & Co., Newton, Gordon, & Scott,  and Scott, Pringle & Co.  It is also during this period Sercial and Tinta Negra are also offered for the first time. The Madeira trade in Charleston had begun to change.


[1] Advertisement.  Date: Thursday, December 18, 1806 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XXV Issue: 7813 Page: 2

[2] Johnston, A.S. The Statutes at Large of South Carolina: Acts relating to roads, bridges and ferries, with an appendix, containing the militia acts prior to 1794. 1841. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=t7Q4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PR1#v=onepage&q&f=false

[3] Johnston, A. S. The Statutes at Large of South Carolina: Acts, 1787-1814. 1839. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=S7E4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PP11#v=onepage&q&f=false

[4] Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, May 7, 1806 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IV Issue: 1027 Page: 4

[5]Advertisement. Date: Saturday, June 27, 1807 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: V Issue: 1378 Page: 2

[6] Do You Know Your Charleston? Brewton Corner. Date: Monday, July 28, 1941 Paper: Charleston News and Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 10

[7] Advertisement. Date: Monday, May 27, 1811 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IX Issue: 2591 Page: 3

[8] Advertisement. Date: Thursday, July 13, 1820 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XL Issue: 12961 Page: 3 and Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, December 20, 1820 Paper: Southern Patriot (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 3

[9] Advertisement. Date: Friday, October 30, 1812 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XXXI Issue: 10517 Page: 3

[10] Advertisement.  Date: Saturday, February 19, 1814 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XII Issue: 4418 Page: 1

 

[12] Drie, C. N. Bird’s eye view of the city of Charleston, South Carolina 1872. [N.P, 1872] Map. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/75696567/. (Accessed June 29, 2017.)

[13] Advertisement. Date: Saturday, February 26, 1814 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: XII Issue: 4424 Page: 1

[14] Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, April 11, 1821 Paper: Southern Patriot (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 1

 

“Second Door from the Corner”: Old Madeira advertisements by John Mitchell of Charleston

Advertisement for wines by John Mitchell at 43 Bay Street. May 18, 1786. [5]

John Mitchell (1741–1816) was a merchant in the British West Indies before joining his brother Randall Mitchell at business in Philadelphia in 1769.  During the Revolutionary War, John Mitchell became deputy quartermaster general and even entertained George and Martha Washington.[1]  After the war, John Mitchell moved to Charleston where he led an active life.  He was a merchant, warden, magistrate, and notary public. [2]

John Mitchell is of interest not only because of his sales of “Genuine old Madeira” of the London Market and London Particular quality but his inclusion of 1756 and 1766 Hock along with both Hermitage and “[Cote] Rotie”.  These were the early years for the importation of Hermitage and Cote Rotie in America for the earliest reference I am aware of appears in the correspondence  of the Carroll family of Maryland during 1772.

103 and 105 East Bay St at Elliott St, Charleston, SC, as it appears today.

It is one building south of the corner of Bay Street and Elliott Street, now 105 East Bay St,  that John Mitchell first sold an extensive selection of wines imported from Philadelphia beginning in 1785. [3] [4]  One year later, in 1786, he  sold wine out of 43 Bay Street for at least the next two years. [5]  After 1788, his advertisements fall silent.  It is possible that Mitchell’s rising prominence as  a Mason and member of the Society of the Cincinnati that led him to leave the wine merchant business.

43 East Bay St in 1937. LOC. [7]

During the period when John Mitchell sold wine he maintained his residence at 30 Bay Street. [6]  Charleston houses typically combined both residential and commercial spaces so it is interesting that he did not always reside above his store. The only period during which he did so was September 1786 and October 1786.[8][9]  Perhaps he was temporarily holding stock during his transition from 105 to 43 East Bay St.  I do not yet have information on the history of his residence but it is known that both 43 East Bay St, built c. 1755, and 105 East Bay St, built c. 1787, both operated as commercial properties on the ground floor. [10]  One possibility for his moving business was to increase space for his business.  It should be possible to obtain plats or floor plans to see if this is true.  If I am able to obtain them then I will update this post.


[1] “To George Washington from John Mitchell, 20 May 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-02-02-0248. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 2, 1 April 1789 – 15 June 1789, ed. Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987, pp. 347–348.]

[2] Poll Lists Charleston Municipal Elections 1787. Source: The South Carolina Historical Magazine, Vol. 56, No. 1 (Jan., 1955), pp. 45-49. Published by: South Carolina Historical Society. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27565984

[3] Advertisement. Date: Wednesday, October 26, 1785 Paper: Columbian Herald (Charleston, South Carolina) Issue: 115 Page: 1

[4] Advertisement. Date: Saturday, May 7, 1785 Paper: South-Carolina Gazette and General Advertiser (Charleston, South Carolina) Issue: 369 Page: 4

[5] Advertisement. Date: Thursday, May 18, 1786 Paper: Columbian Herald (Charleston, South Carolina) Issue: 177 Page: 1 and Advertisement. Date: Friday, August 8, 1788 Paper: City Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: VI Issue: 1019 Page: 3

[6] Charleston Directory 1790. Lowcountry Digital Library.  Charleston Library Society.  http://lcdl.library.cofc.edu/lcdl/catalog/lcdl:108660.  See also Poll Lists from 1787.

[7] Johnston, Frances Benjamin, photographer. James Hartley House, 43 East Bay Street, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina. Charleston Charleston County South Carolina, 1937. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/csas200803480/. (Accessed June 26, 2017.)

[8] Advertisement. Date: Thursday, September 21, 1786 Paper: Charleston Morning Post (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IV Issue: 478 Page: 3

[9] Advertisement. Date: Thursday, October 5, 1786 Paper: Charleston Morning Post (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IV Issue: 490 Page: 4

[10] Poston, Jonathan H. “The Buildings of Charleston”. University of South Carolina. 1997.

“London and Carolina Madeira Wine”: A Madeira advertisement by George Abbott Hall & Co. of Charleston

Advertisement for 1771 and 1772 London Particular Madeira by George Abbott Hall & Co on January 28, 1774. [1]

George Abbott Hall (1737-1791) born in England eventually moved to Charleston, South Carolina around 1760, where he was a merchant, member of the provincial government of South Carolina, commissioner of the South Carolina navy, and appointed by George Washington as First Collector of the Port of Charleston in 1789.[2]

61 Tradd St, Charleston, SC, as it appears today.

Upon arrival in Charleston, George Abbott Hall appears to have first joined the firm of Inglis, Lloyd, and Hall, importers of slaves into Charleston from 1759-1764. [3]  Of interest in today’s post is his advertisement from January 28, 1774, for London Particular Madeira from the vintages of 1771 and 1772.  It is not rare to see the description of London Particular Madeira, the top quality of Madeira shipped to America, in the advertisement but the appearance of the vintages is.

61 Tradd St, Charleston, SC, as it appears today.

We know from Henry Hill, the Philadelphia based agent for the Madeira firm Lamar, Hill, Bisset, & Co., that the 1771 vintage was regarded as “real[l]y exceeding inferior”.  News of the “remarkably fine” quality 1772 vintage reached the ears of George Washington who placed an order for four pipes of London Particular Madeira from Lamar, Hill, Bisset & Co. [5] Henry Hill had noted that the vintage promised “to be the largest ever known in the memory of Man”.  The quality of the wine was higher because “the vilas are more carefull when they have plenty of Grapes.”

Advertisements for Madeira by George Abbott Hall appear to be rare.  This could be due to the banning of Madeira imports into America beginning in the fall of 1774 followed by the disruption of trade during the Revolutionary War.  As such I cannot determine where he sold the Madeira from.  It is possible he sold the Madeira from the house he moved into around 1770 at 61 Tradd Street.  Unfortunately, for this post, there was a large plumbing van in front of the house when I visited it.


[1] “To George Washington from George Abbott Hall, 31 March 1789,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/05-01-02-0365. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Presidential Series, vol. 1, 24 September 1788 – 31 March 1789, ed. Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1987, pp. 469–470.]

[2] Advertisement. Date: Friday, January 28, 1774 Paper: South-Carolina and American General Gazette (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 4

[3] Laurens, Henry.  The Papers of Henry Laurens.  1972.  University of South Carolina Press. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=mRlEcWBdl5oC&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

[4] Tradd Street (1-75). Charleston County Public Library. URL: http://ccpl.org/content.asp?id=15712&catID=6028&action=detail&parentID=5747

[5] “From George Washington to Lamar, Hill, Bisset, & Company, 15 July 1773,” Founders Online, National Archives, last modified March 30, 2017, http://founders.archives.gov/documents/Washington/02-09-02-0208. [Original source: The Papers of George Washington, Colonial Series, vol. 9, 8 January 1772 – 18 March 1774, ed. W. W. Abbot and Dorothy Twohig. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1994, pp. 280–282.]

“At No 120, Tradd Street”: An historic Madeira advertisement in Charleston

Advertisement for London Particular Madeira wine by Hunter & Ross. Saturday, February 6, 1808. [1]

On January 20, 1808, James Hunter and John Ross advertised London Particular Madeira and Old Madeira for sale at their newly incorporated firm Hunter & Ross at 120 Tradd Street, Charleston, South Carolina.  Formed that same year, Hunter & Ross appears to have operated for three years until 1811.  Their initial advertisements included Madeira wine whereas later ones offered corn and black eyed peas.[2]

Hunter & Ross listed their business at 120 Tradd Street, a location where a house was first built in 1770 as a wood house on a brick basement.  At the time, 120 Tradd Street was located at the western end of developed Charleston.  The house burnt down during the Great Fire of Charleston in 1861 so the building which exists today is not the same structure as when one could purchase pipes, quarter-casks, and bottles of Madeira.

120 Tradd Street, Charleston, SC. Present Day.

[1] Advertisement. Date: Saturday, February 6, 1808 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Page: 1

[2] Advertisement. Date: Saturday, January 5, 1811 Paper: Charleston Courier (Charleston, South Carolina) Volume: IX Issue: 2471 Page: 2

[3] The great fire in Charleston additional particulars. The Daily Dispatch: December 18, 1861. Perseus Digital Library. Tufts University. URL: http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus%3Atext%3A2006.05.0351%3Aarticle%3D7