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The Superb 2011 François Villard, Viognier

October 21, 2013 1 comment

Earlier this month Jenn and I spent several days drinking through a bottle of the 2011 François Villard, Viognier, Les Contours de Deponcins.  It proved excellent glass after glass.  Thanks to my mom, another bottle appeared for our tailgate party at the International Gold Cup.  At the end of the races there was one full glass left in the bottle so I took it back home.  This last glass was superb even after the bottle had been open for ten hours and driven down to Virginia and back.   From the color to the nose to the mouth I liked this bottle even more.   I highly recommend that you try this wine. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2011 François Villard, Viognier, Les Contours de Deponcins – $25
Imported by Elite Wine Imports.  This wine is 100% Viognier which has been aged in both wood and stainless steel.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The color was a yellow gold.  The nose revealed generous tropical white fruits without any heaviness.  The mouth follows the nose but is immediately more serious with focus, grip, and integrated acidity.  The ripe yellow fruit builds to the finish where spices come out.  It leaves ripe texture on the gums followed by a racy aftertaste with salivating acidity.  **** Now-2018.

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A Pair of Wines From the West Coast

October 21, 2013 Leave a comment

I rather looked forward to drinking both of these wines for both the hype and the cool labels.  The 2011 Teutonic Wine Company, Brut Rose surprised me with an orange citrus flavor which shook things up.  It definitely had minerality as well as certain, firm bubbles which I think could stand several months to settle down or further integrate.  That said, Jenn rather enjoyed it in the present state.  The 2012 Matthiasson, Chardonnay showed some yellow fruit and gravelly flavor but essentially remained bright and clean without much depth.  This made it a solid drink but not engaging. These wines were purchased at Chambers Street Wine.

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2011 Teutonic Wine Company, Rose Brut, Willamette Valley – $37
This wine is 100% Pinot Noir which was fermented in neutral oak.  Alcohol 11.6%.  This was a light to medium rose color.  There was a different nose of dry red fruit.  In the mouth were acidity driven flavors and very fine, firm bubbles on the tongue with dissipated to leave dry red fruit and minerals.  The notes of dry stones continued through the finish where the bubbles eventually disappeared into a moderate, creamy feel.  There was acidity and some sort of orange citrus under-note.  It had a dry finish.  **(*) 2014-2016.

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2012 Matthiasson, Chardonnay, Linda Vista Vineyard, Napa Valley – $26
This wine is 100% Chardonnay.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a subtle nose.  In the mouth things started with prominent acidity which became integrated into a low note of yellow fruit flavors.  It built to drier and gravelly flavor.  The wine remained bright and clean over several nights.  ** Now-2015.

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A Few Wines at the International Gold Cup

October 21, 2013 Leave a comment

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This past Saturday we hosted our 9th annual tailgate party at the International Gold Cup in Virginia.  We took a much needed break from entering the Tailgate Competition.  This allowed us to scale back the decorations, food preparation, and cocktails.

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We had an uncoordinated selection of wines this year.  The 2011 Francois Villard, Les Contours de Deponcins, Viognier is a superb wine in both aromas and flavor.  I managed to take a tasting note from a full glass that evening which I will post separately.  My favorites of the red wines included the 2009 Domaine Leon Barral, Faugeres which continues to be a top-notch wine and drank great after a long double-decant.  The 2009 Vinedos de Ithaca, Akyles proved to be an excellent follow-on and is even better than the 2008 vintage.  It showed lots of personality and minerality.  The 2008 Remelluri drank well too with its dark and more approachable nature.  The 2001 Firesteed, Citation, Pinot Noir was fully mature right out of the bottle with red fruit, leather, and complexity.  It did seem to dry out after a few hours of air, so I would decant off the sediment then set about drinking it.  The 2009 Reignac was just brought over by a visiting exchange student.  It was a modern, forward wine without any edges.

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Tasting Grower Champagne at MacArthur Beverages

October 18, 2013 2 comments

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There is a rich literary history about the wines of Champagne.  The early notes of Martin Lister in 1698 observe that the “Wines of Burgundy and Champagne are most valued; and indeed, not without reason; for they are light and easie upon the Stomach, and give little disturbance to the Brain, if drawn from the Hogshead”.  As for tasting the wines he details “another sort of Wine, called Vin de Rheims, this is also a pale or gray Wine; it is harsh, as all Champagne Wines are.”[1]  There were, perhaps imagined, literary debates about whether Burgundy or Champagne was the best wine.[2]  Michel de La Roche eventually found that “As for Champagne-wine, it is valuable by reason of certain acrimonious falts, very much unfolded, which qualify it to drive the urine and remove obstructions; but leaves a great quantity of tartar on the joints, and in the fibres of the muscles.  Were it not for this fault, that wine would be preferable to all others.”[3]

Map of Champagne. From Black, Charles Bertram. Guide to the North of France. 1876.

Last night I found myself at the Second Annual Blogger Tasting at MacArthur Beverages.  I did not attend to debate Burgundy against Champagne nor was I concerned with my joints.  Instead I was there to taste from an expanding selection of grower Champagne.  Many people are familiar with the big house names such as Moet & Chandon, Roederer, and Veuve Cliquot.  These producers source fruit from across Champagne which allows them to produce good, consistent wines year in and year out.  Grower Champagnes are made by smaller producers that source fruit from their own vineyards.  As such they should better represent the terroir of the vineyard and desires of individuals.

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It was apt to have a Champagne tasting because it has been sold in Washington, D.C. since Congress first met.  Richard Forrest sold it by the dozen bottles at Mr. Johncherez’s store near the Little Hotel during August 1800.[4]  It was also available in 1802 by the dozen at the store of B.W. Morris & Co. on High Street in Georgetown.[5]  By September 1808, both red and white Champagne was available at the store of John Goulding in Georgetown.[6]  William Morris of Baltimore advertised to “the citizens of Washington” that he had “Sparkling, White and Red Champagne Wine in cases and hampers” on December 9, 1814.[7]  Sparkling Champagne was available locally at P. Mauro’s store on Pennsylvania Avenue by December 1817.[8]  Philip Laurenson of Baltimore locally advertised on October 1, 1824, some 35 cases of Ruinart & sons “celebrated sparkling Champagne Wine.”[9]  He had both the sweet and dry versions.  The local merchant William Cox on Pennsylvania Avenue eventually imported his Champagne directly.  On May 16, 1828, he offered 100 dozen cases of sparkling and sillery still Champagne from the house of J.C. Dinet, J. Mayer, and Rineart & Cox.[10]  From these producers he had white, red and partridge eye available in both quart and pint bottles.

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Today there is a large selection of Champagne in Washington, D.C.  For this tasting Phil organized a tasting of seven bottles of grower Champagne and one ringer.  All of the wines were served blind.  In attendance were local bloggers and wine lovers including Paul DeRose of Wine Outpost, Tod Godbout of Wine Compass, Sindhu of Four Courses, and David White of Terroirist.  As for the wines my favorites included the NV Pierre Peters, Brut Blanc de Blancs and the 2010 Cedric Bouchard, Inflorescence, Brut Blanc de Noirs.  The former showed good balance of fruit, mousse, acidity, spices, and grip throughout the evening.  The later was more forward both on the nose and in the mouth, certainly not subtle.  The more affordable NV Donson & Lepage, Brut developed well with air and represents a good introduction to grower Champagne.  Likewise the NV Dosnon & Lepage, Brut Rose was enjoyable being a bit more substantial and mature in flavor.  The 2007 Vilmart & Cie, Brut was certainly unique with interesting fruit and an attractive, racy aftertaste.  Please find my tasting notes in the order the wine were poured.  Many thanks to Phil and MacArthur Beverages for hosting a tasty evening.

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NV Donson & Lepage, Brut, Avirey Ligney – $40
A Jon David Headrick Selection imported by European Cellars.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.  Dosage 8 g/l.  Disgorged January 15, 2013. Alcohol 12%. There was a subtle yeast and fruit nose.  In the mouth were firm bubbles which burst as crisp acidity hit the tongue tip.  There was ripe, apple fruit as the bubbles dissipated .  There some grip and green apple acidity.  This developed well with air revealing good fruit.  Nice, affordable wine.

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NV Louis Roederer, Brut Premier, Reims – $40
Imported by Maison Marques et Domaines USA.  Alcohol 12%.  There was a touch more biscuit on the nose along with an odd perfume.  The mouth follows the nose with very fine bubbles which turn into a mousse.  There were robust flavors.  I did not enjoy this bottle.

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NV L. Aubry Fils, Brut Premier Cru, Jouy Les Reims – $40
A Terry Theise selection imported by Michael Skurnik.  Disgorged December 2012.  There was a subtle nose of ripe apple and yeast.  There was crisp acidity in the mouth with dry and chalky flavors.  The bubbles quickly become a nice mousse.  It maintained drier flavors with a little citrus hint in the finish.

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NV Pierre Peters, Brut Blanc de Blancs, Grand Cru Cuvee de Reserve, Mesnil Sur Oger – $50
A Terry Theise selection imported by Michael Skurnik.  This wine is 100% Chardonnay.  Disgorged April 2013.  Alcohol 12%.  There were some ripe fruit aromas on the nose.  The mouth began with a burst of ripe fruit matched by expanding bubbles.  It took on a very fine, mouthfilling mousse.  There was acidity on the tongue which becomes apple-like.  There was good grip, spices, and a good drier finish.  Nice.

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2007 Vilmart & Cie, Brut, Grand Cellier D’Or, Rilly La Montagne – $70
Alcohol 12.5%.  There was interesting yellow fruit making it the fruitiest wine thus far.  The finish mixed both acidity and spices.  With air it took on a lemon citrus note along with a racy aspect in the aftertaste.

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2010 Cedric Bouchard, Inflorescence, Brut Blanc de Noirs, Val Vilaine, Celles Sur Ource – $60
Imported by MacArthur Liquors.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir.  Disgorged April 2012.  Alcohol 12.5%.  This was the most aromatic with toast and articulate aromas which stood out of the glass. This wine burst into the mouth with white fruit and salivating acidity in the finish.  There was a lot of flavor in this wine, showing good depth, lots of fruit, and ripe spices.

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NV Dosnon & Lepage, Brut Rose – $45
A Jon David Headrick Selection imported by European Cellars.  This wine is 100% Pinot Noir. Alcohol 12%.   The nose was a bit more subtle with fruit and perfume.  In the mouth were flavors of gently ripe red fruit.  The mousse was subtle and soft taking on a little chalk towards the creamy finish.  It had salivating acidity and a more mature personality.

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NV Pascal Doquet, Brut Rose, Vertus – $50
Imported by Robert Kacher Selections.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was different, meaty.  The flavors were up front with dry, grippy fruit, firm bubbles, and old wood notes. Probably an off bottle.

David Bloc and Phil Bernstein

David Bloc and Phil Bernstein

If you find these historical descriptions interesting then I recommend you look at Henry Vizetelly’s A History of Champagne.[11]  As it was published in 1882 it is available online.

Image from Vizetelly, Henry. A History of Champagne. 1882.


[1] Lister, Martin.  A Journey to Paris in the Year 1698. 1699. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=JjqbUDmIvTgC&pg=PP7#v=onepage&q&f=false
[2] De La Roche, Michel.  Memoirs of Literature, Volume 4. 1722.  UR: http://books.google.com/books?id=0FMJAAAAQAAJ&pg=PR2#v=onepage&q&f=false
[3] De La Roche, Michel. New Memoirs of Literature, Volume 1.  1725. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=c6Y3AAAAYAAJ&pg=PP7#v=onepage&q&f=false
[4]Date: August 5, 1800  Paper: Centinel of Liberty (Georgetown, DC)   Volume: V   Issue: 60   Page: 1
[5]Date: January 4, 1802  Paper: Washington Federalist (Georgetown, DC)   Volume: II   Issue: 209   Page: 1
[6] Date: September 16, 1808  Paper: National Intelligencer (Washington (DC), DC)   Page: 2
[7]Date: December 9, 1814  Paper: Daily National Intelligencer (Washington (DC), DC)   Volume: II   Issue: 602   Page: 1
[8] Date: December 3, 1817 Paper: Daily National Intelligencer (Washington (DC), DC)   Volume: V   Issue: 1530   Page: 1
[9] Date: October 1, 1824      Paper: Daily National Intelligencer (Washington (DC), DC)   Volume: XII   Issue: 3652   Page: 1
[10] Date: May 16, 1828          Paper: Daily National Intelligencer (Washington (DC), DC)   Volume: XVI   Issue: 4772   Page: 4
[11] Vizetelly, Henry. A History of Champagne.  1882. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=fb0nAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR1#v=onepage&q&f=false

It Only Lasted Two Nights: 2010 Domaine Canet-Valette, Une et Mille Nuits

October 17, 2013 1 comment

Sulphuring the Vines. Image from Le Vignoble de L’Herault.

According to Rosemary George, Saint-Chinian has a long history of viticulture because little else except the vine will grow on the rugged hills of the Cevennes.  The soils range from schist to a mixture of clay and limestone.  In describing Marc Valette of Domaine Canet-Valette she writes “He is an opinionated, intense man” who built a state of the art wine cellar.  It contains stainless steel vats for fermentation which feed by gravity to cement vats below which also feed by gravity to an underground barrel cellar.  His 18 hectare vineyard in Cessenon is drought-prone and produces very ripe grapes.  As a result he employs a variety of used wooden vessels of different sizes and shapes.

Wine Production of L’Herault (1850-1899). Image from Le Vignoble de L’Herault.

Early British guidebooks were indifferent to Saint-Chinian itself.  John Murray, in 1856, described it as a “wretched place, streets scare wide enough for a carriage to pass.”[1]  However the “mountains are literally covered with wild lavender of exquisite fragrance.  Every patch in the valley is cultivated; grapes, figs…”  After a decade passed, the 2,690 inhabitants of the city became known for the manufacture of cloth, brandy, and leather goods.[2]   After the mid 1880s, the ravages of Phylloxera had passed and the production of wine increased.  John Murray changed his opinion by 1892, describing the “busy town in a pleasant situation” as having a population of 3600. [3] In the book Le Vignoble de L’Herault published in 1900, the wines of Saint-Chinian were considered amongst the best of the region.[4]  Whereas most of the wines of L’Herault were current consumption the red wines of Saint-Chinian were ” très recommandables” and “les vins de Saint Chinian couramment classés au premier rang des vins de l Hérault au Concours général”.

A Modern Cellar from L’Herault in 1899. Image from Le Vignoble de L’Herault.

I liked this wine.  From the first sniff and taste I was attracted to the earthy, minerally, black fruit.  I always wonder how this profile come about then I take another taste and forget about it.  I maintained a nagging feeling that a little something was missing and I believe it is another six months in the bottle. This wine is available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2010 Domaine Canet-Valette, Une et Mille Nuits, Saint-Chinian – $18
Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.  This wine is a blend of Grenache, Carignan, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsault sourced from vines on clay and limestone soils.  The fruit was hand-harvested, destemmed, fermented 70-90 days, then aged for 24 months in foudres and demi-muids.  Alcohol 14%.  There were earthy flavors of minerally black fruit which became ethereal as they expanded in the mouth, lasting through the earthy finish.  The black fruit mixed with acidity as the wine became drier with a moderate structure  coming out.  The wine is not heavy, it had a medium body that became lighter in the mouth, which surprised me, I expected more weight.  There was a nice flavor profile, good finish, and an inky hint.  *** 2014-2018.

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[1] Murray, J. Hand-book For Travelers in France. 1856. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=6AIIAAAAQAAJ&pg=PR3#v=onepage&q&f=false
[2] Knight, Charles.  The English Cyclopaedia: Geography. 1867. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=igVCAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA4#v=onepage&q&f=false
[3] Murray, J. Hand-book For Travelers in France, Part II. 1892. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=eFk7AQAAMAAJ&pg=PP7#v=onepage&q&f=false
[4] Le Vignoble de L’Herault. 1900. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=4iw7AQAAMAAJ&pg=PR9#v=onepage&q&f=false

2012 Cotes du Rhone

October 16, 2013 Leave a comment

This week we tasted through three bottles of 2012 Cotes du Rhone.  They are quite different in cépage ranging from pure Grenache to pure Syrah.  I preferred the 2012 Domaine de Cristia and the 2012 Domaine Paul Autard on the first night when they were all about fresh, young fruit and integrated acidity.  On the second night they became more citric and tannic.  The Autard continued to have a bit more going on.  The 2012 Saint Cosme was the most serious of the three showing some density to the flavors.  It drank well on both nights.  If these are representative of entry level wines from the 2012 vintage then prospects are looking good.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine de Cristia, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by Constantine Wines.  This wine is 100% Grenache sourced from 40 year old vines on schistous sands.  It was aged for six months in concrete vats.  Alcohol 14%.  The color was a light to medium grapey ruby.  The nose revealed darker aromas which were more berry than grapey.  In the mouth the flavors began with blueberry and mixed red fruit then became more grapey in the middle.  With air the wine still mixed red and blue fruit but was grapier and citric.  It maintained good acidity.  The structure of fine, drying tannins was more pronounced on the second night.  ** Now-2015.

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2012 Domaine Paul Autard, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, and 15% Counoise vinified in temperature controlled vats.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The color was a light to medium cranberry, grape, ruby.  The nose bore a little plum and a hint of fresh, sweetness.  There was fresh, red fruit in the mouth with a hint of red citrus.  The flavors expanded as a puff in the middle with black fruit, acidity, and structure coming forward.  It had a little lipstick bit.  With air it took on a bit more citrus flavors with the structure becoming more evident.  ** Now-2015.

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2012 Saint Cosme, Cotes du Rhone – $13
Imported by The Country Vintner.  This wine is 100% Syrah.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This had a nice, grapey nose.  There were grapey flavors in the mouth with dense and powdery bits of black and red fruit.  It had a youthful finish.  This held up well with air maintaining its youth and density.  The fresh fruit bore a mineral hint, touch of pepper, and a cool aspect.  It had a good aftertaste with a little black fruit in the finish.  ** Now-2016.

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The Early Grapes and Wines of Maryland and New York

October 15, 2013 2 comments

After writing about the 18th century vineyards of Washington County, Maryland I decided to take a look at the earliest accounts of winemaking in Maryland.  Tenis Pale has lately been credited as first making wine in Maryland back in 1648.[1]  He was a member of the New Albion Colony which included land in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland.  The original petition of June 1632, which was sent to King Charles I, for the Colony of New Albion included the plan to “settle there 300 Inhabitants for making of Wine, Saulte and iron”.[2]

Map Showing Virginia, Maryland, and New Albion from 1651.  Image reproduced from Winsor, Justin. Narrative and Critical History of America Vol 3. 1884.  Located at Maps ETC.

Map Showing Virginia, Maryland, and New Albion from 1651. Image reproduced from Winsor, Justin. Narrative and Critical History of America Vol 3. 1884. Located at Maps ETC.

There were certainly grapevines observed in what was to become Maryland during the 16th century. Giovanni di Pier Andrea di Bernardo da Verrazzano was an Italian sailing officer in the service of the French.  His explorations of the east coast of America included a landing in the Chincoteague/Assateague area.[3]  Here he noted[4]:

We saw in this country many vines growing naturally which entwine about the trees and run up upon them as they do in the plains of Lombardy These vines would doubtless produce excellent wine if they were properly cultivated and attended to as we have often seen the grapes which they produce very sweet and pleasant and not unlike our own They must be held in estimation by them as they carefully remove the shrubbery from around them wherever they grow to allow the fruit to ripen better.

On June 20, 1632, Cecil, the second Lord Baltimore, received a patent from King Charles I for the Colony of Maryland.  In seeking others to join him for a September, 1633, departure the Lord Baron of Baltimore published An Account of the Colony of the Lord Baron of Baltimore.  After describing the benefits and expectations of the colony, he wrote that there were “fruitful vines, from which wine can be made”.[5]

On November 22, 1633, Leonard Calvert, the brother of Cecil, the second Lord Baltimore, departed with two ships The Ark and The Dove.  Amongst the settlers was a Father Andrew White.  Father Andrew White noted they had only experienced sea-sickness until their Christmas celebration aboard the ship in December 1633.[6]  He noted “for the celebrity of the daye wine being given over all the ship, it was soe immoderately taken as the next day 30 sickened of fevers, whereof about a dozen died afterwards”.  Perhaps these early explorers were killed by adulterated wine.  The ships landed in Virginia on February 24, 1634, then sailed to what is now St. Clement’s Island on March 25, 1634.  The next year A Relation of the Sucessefull Beginnings of the Lord Baltimore’s Plantation in Maryland was published in 1635. This book presents much information gathered from Father Andrew White and other reports.  It contains a chapter on the availability of commodities in which “for Wine, there is no doubt but it will be made there in plenty, for the ground doth naturally bring foorth Vines, in such aboundance, that they are as frequently there, as Brambles are here.”[7]   Despite the presence of grapevines it appears that wine had not yet been made in Maryland.

Sir Edmund Ployden. Image from Reminiscences of Old Gloucester. 1845.

Curious about the specific wines made by Tenis Pale I read through the early narratives of New Albion.  Sir Edmund Plowden received the patent for the Colony of New Albion.  Wine is also mentioned in The Commodities of the Island Called Manati Ore Long Isle Wthin the Continent of Virginia which was published the same month the patent was received.[8]  The Colony of New Albion included the land of Long Isle. The first paragraph of this book details:

First thear grow naturally store of Black wilde vines wch make uerie good vergies or vinniger for to use wth meate or to dress sturgeon but by the French mens Arte being boyde and ordred is good wine and remeanes for three moneths and no longer, But replanting the vines in 2 yeares it will then be excellent wine.

Sir Edmund Plowden decided to send Beauchamp Plantagenet out to visit the territory to select the eight best seats for the knights who would be settling there.  Captain Young and his nephew Robert Evelin went out in 1633 to establish a fort and wait for the arrival of Sir Edmund Plowden.[9]  According to Beauchamp Plantangenet, in 1637, both he and Robert Evelin almost simultaneously published accounts of New Albion.  Robert Evelin writes of the “4 sorts of Grapes for wine, and Raisins” and specifically “the barren grounds have fower kindes of Grapes” of New Albion in 1641.[10] It is not until Beauchamp Plantagenet published his third edition of A Description of the Province of New Albion in 1648 that the production of wine is mentioned.[11]  He notes “4 sorts of Grapes for wine, and Raisins” perhaps quoting Robert Evelin.  In describing the production of wine we find it took place as Uvedale.

The fourth seat is Uvedale under Websneck, and is a valley sixe miles long, sheltred by hils from the North-west windes: below it is sixe miles a thicket of four sorts of excellent great Vines running on Mulberry and Sassafras trees; there are four sorts of Grapes, the first is the Tholouse Muscat, sweet sented, the second the great foxe and thick Grape, after five moneths reaped being boyled and salted, and well fined, it is a strong red Xeres; the third a light Claret, the fourth a white Grape creeps on the land, maketh a pure GOLD colour white wine: Tenis Pale the French man of these four made eight sorts of excellent wine, and of the Muscat acute boyled that the second draught will fox a reasonable pate four moneths old: and here may be gathered and made two hundred tun in the Vintage moneth, and re-planted will mend; two other valleys there of the same Grapes and large, above Uvedale, the hill is called Websneck, environed with three rivers round

The production of wine as described both in 1632 and 1648, includes boiling it.  In 1632, the description is actually for verjus which is the unfermented juice obtained from unripe grapes.  This was often boiled down and mixed with salt to help preserve it.  A recipe from 1661 details how to make an artificial Greek wine involving just the boiling and salting of wine.[12]  Whether all of the eight types of wine were truly “excellent” is debatable.

The location of Uvedale is describes as “over land into Charles river, and Delaware Bay, this neck is a rare work of God, for it is 450 miles compasse to goe by sea and water, from one side to the other of this eleven miles street, and Uvedale is on one of these branches.” The land west and east of the Delaware Bay was past of New Netherlands which was under Dutch control until 1667 when it was transfered to the British. Lord Baltimore did attempt to claim the land on the western shore of the Delaware Bay for Maryland starting in 1670.  But in 1685 it was established that the Maryland border ended halfway between the Chesapeake Bay and Delaware Bay.[13]  As early as 1852 federal documents list the wine of Uvedale in documenting the history of American wine.  However, Uvedale is referenced as “now in Delaware”.[14]  The placement of Uvedale in Delaware continues into the 20th century through Frank Schoonmaker in 1941.  With the early wines of Tenis Pale having been made outside of Maryland, it appears the first winemaking efforts could have taken place at the vineyard in St. Mary’s County which was surveyed by Jerome White.[15]  Jerome White was the Surveyor General of Maryland.  On September 16, 1662, Cecil, Lord Baltimore instructed that 200 or 300 acres of land near Jerome White’s seat at Saint John’s be assigned which were “the most convenient place for the planting of a Vineyard there under the usual rent.”[16]  The 100 acre Vineyard and 200 acre Brick Hill were surveyed for Jerome White on May 9, 1665. [17]  I have yet to come across actual accounts of wine being produced here.

t’ Fort nieuw Amsterdam op de Manhatans. From Van der Donck, Adriaen. Beschryvinge van Nieuw-Nederlant. 1655.

As mentioned earlier, the Colony of New Albion included the land in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and New York.  An excellent description of early vineyards and winemaking in New York appears in A Description of the New Netherlands published by Adriaen Van der Donck in 1651.[18]  An entire section is dedicated to “Grape Vines and Vineyards.” Here Adriaen Van der Donck writes of “how numerous the vine stocks are in the New-Netherlands, where they grow wild throughout the country.  We do not find a district or a nook of land without grape vines.”  He continues his description of the wild vines then notes  that these vines “with proper care and management, will produce as good grapes and as good wine as is made in Germany and France, is clear and undeniable.   Proofs and examples of this fact are seen…where the Swedes reside…they make delightful wine year after year.”  They made white, reddish, and dark wines.  One of the pressed wines was “a dark red colour, resembling dragon’s blood more than wine.”  It appears the biggest hurdle to overcome was the proper cultivation of the vine.  While there were haphazard attempts several people “already have vineyards and wine hills under cultivation.”  Foreign grapevines had already been introduced and several vine dressers from Heidelberg had come over.  Adriaen Van der Donck believed “in a few years there will be wine in abundance in the New-Netherlands.”


[1] McCarthy, Regina.  Maryland Wine: A Full-bodied History. 2012.
[2] ‘America and West Indies: June 1632’, Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies, Volume 1: 1574-1660 (1860), pp. 151-154. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=69092&strquery=”new albion” wine Date accessed: 10 October 2013.  The full text is in: Collections of the New York Historical Society. 1870. URL:  http://books.google.com/books?id=hCM8AAAAIAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false.
[3] Langley, Susan B. M. Archeological Overview and Assessment of Maritime Resources in Assateague Island National Seashore.  2009. URL: http://mht.maryland.gov/documents/PDF/Archeology_MMAP_AINS_Overview&Assess_optimized.pdf
[4] Wise, Jennings Cropper.  Ye Kingdome of Accawmacke, Or, The Eastern Shore of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century. 1911. URLhttp://books.google.com/books?id=8jcUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[5] Hall, Clayton Colman.  Narratives of Early Maryland, 1633-1683. 1910 URL:  http://books.google.com/books?id=jBYOAAAAIAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[6] Hall, Clayton Colman. Page 32.
[7] Hall, Clayton Colman. Page 82.
[8] Hall, Clayton Colman. Page 82.
[9] Evelyn, William.  Memoir and Letters of Captain W. Glanville Evelyn. 1879. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=iGOHzvhOSUsC&lpg=PP1&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[10] Evelin, Robert. A Direction For Adventurers.  1641. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=f3lUAAAAYAAJ&pg=PP6#v=onepage&q&f=false
[11] Plantagenet, Beauchamp.  A Description of the Province of New Albion. 1648. URL: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/etcbin/jamestown-browse?id=J1053
[12] Wecker, Johann Jacob.  Eighteen Books on the Secrets of Art and Nature.  1661. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=nDYVAAAAQAAJ&pg=PP9#v=onepage&q&f=false
[13] Skirven, Percy G. Durham County: Lord Baltimore’s Attempt At Settlement Of His Lands On The Delaware Bay, 1670-1685. 1930. URL: http://nabbhistory.salisbury.edu/dho/themes/places/md_durhamskirven.html
[14] The Seventh Census. 1853. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=vdVYx8Qsu_IC&pg=PA1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[15] Griffith, Thomas Waters.  Sketches of the Early History of Maryland. 1821. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=4tYRAAAAYAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[16] Kilty, John. The Land-holder’s Assistant, and Land-office Guide.  1808. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=9zkwAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PR7#v=onepage&q&f=false
[17] Richardson, Hester Dorsey. Side-lights on Maryland History. 1913. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=fUtsb9vuojMC&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[18] Van der Donck, Adriaen.  Beschryvinge van Nieuw-Nederlant. 1655. URL: Beschryvinge van Nieuw-Nederlant Translation from Collections of the New-York Historical Society.  1841. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=rGxIAAAAYAAJ&pg=PR1#v=onepage&q&f=false