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Madeira Selections from American Wine Lists, 1851-1866

January 30, 2014 3 comments

I have come to delight in the names attributed to parcels of Madeira while conducting research for my various History of Madeira posts.  These names frequent auction advertisements and articles as well as wine lists.  In this post you will find such great names as Black Dwarf, Bramin, Judicial Wine, Magnum Bonum, Meteor, Robbin’s Coffin, and Wedding Wine.  It is interesting to chart how the early wine lists contained a significant proportion of Madeira which slowly decreased over the decades or how prices tracked between hotels.  However, what I find particularly intriguing is the ability to track the physical distribution of  parcels of Madeira in general.  Through auction advertisements and catalogs it is possible to track such movement specifically.  One could generate some interesting maps.  A few weeks ago I transcribed the Madeira selections from a range of American wine lists dating between 1851 to 1866.  I was fortunate to have a great conversation with Mannie Berk of The Rare Wine Company whose delight in the minute details of the history of wine also encompasses wine lists.  In transcribing the 12 lists below I have sought to maintain the original spelling so any transcription mistakes are solely my own.

American House. Image from NYPL.

American House. Image from NYPL.

American House[1]
Boston, Massachusetts
January 1, 1851
Madeira

  • Monteiros L. P., $1.50
  • Monteiros Reserve, $2.00
  • Newton, Gordon & Murdock’s old and delicate, $2.00
  • Blackburn’s Old London Particular, $2.00
  • Leacock’s Old London Particular, $2.00
  • Victoria, “March’s Wine”, $2.50
  • Wedding Madeira, $2.50
  • Judge Story’s M. M., imported in 1836, rich, $3.00
  • Old London Particular, very old, bottled for E. Johns & co., New Orleans, by Payne & Co., $3.50
  • Judge Story’s Judicial Wine, T. M., imported in 1829, $4.00
  • Donaldson’s #100, $4.00
  • Leacock’s East India, $4.00
  • Honorable Daniel Webster’s, very old, I, $4.00
Revere House. Image from NYPL.

Revere House. Image from NYPL.

Revere House[2]
Boston, Massachusetts
May 18, 1851
Madeira

  • Monteiros, $1.50
  • Newton, Gordon & Murdock, $2.00
  • Blackburn, $2.00
  • Monteiros Reserve, $2.00
  • Com. Nicholson’s D. M. Ship Columbus, 1844, $2.00
  • Archibald Park’s old and delicate, $2.00
  • Symington’s Old London Particular, $2.00
  • Com. Nicholson’s Serial, Ship Columbus, bottled in 1840, $2.00
  • Archibald Park’s extra Bual, $2.00
  • Archibald Park’s Superior, $2.00
  • Dornellos Vasconcellos Sercial, $2.50
  • Symington’s extra choice old London Particular, $2.50
  • Leacock’s Old London Particular, $2.50
  • South Side, old, rich and delicate, $3.00
  • Wedding Wine, $3.00
  • Judge Story’s, M. M. rich, imported in 1826, $3.00
  • Symington’s superior old Reserve, $3.00
  • Gipsy Wine, bottled in 1827, $3.50
  • Symington’s Sercial, very dry, high flavored, $4.00
  • Leacock’s Old East India Madeira, $4.00
  • Thorndike’s very old, bottle racked, $4.00
  • Sir John Keene, imported into Kingston, Jamaica, and bottled in 1826, $4.00
  • Judge Story’s Judicial Wine, T. M. imported in 1829, $4.00
  • Symington’s extra old Reserve, vintage 1807, $4.00
  • Montiero’s Brazil, very old, a favorite wine, $5.00
  • Rapid East India Madeira, imported by J. W. Boott, Esq. in 1819, bottled in 1822, $5.00
  • Monteiro’s “Meteor,” very superior, $5.00
  • Bramin East India Madeira, imported by J. W. Boot, Esq. in 1819, $6.00
  • Ed. Tuckerman’s, imported in 1820, from Scott, Penfold & Loughman, $6.00
  • White Top, $7.00
  • Sercial Madeira, imported in 1818, from Gordon, Duff, Inglis & Co. by J. D. & M. Williams, $8.00
  • Governor Phillips, imported in 1823 from Page, Phelps & Co., $9.00
  • Francis Amory’s, bottled in 1800 marked “M.”, $12.00

CozzensWestPoint_nypl34943
Cozzen’s West Point Hotel[3]
September 3, 1852
Madeira Wine

  • Superior Old Sercial, per bottle, $5.00
  • Brahmin, per bottle, $5.00
  • Sup. Old J. G. 1825, per bottle, $5.00
  • Lewis, per bottle, $3.00
  • Malmsey, per bottle, $3.00
  • Palehinto, per bottle, $2.50
  • Scott, Penfold & co. Gracie, per bottle, $3.00
  • St. Nicholas, per bottle, $2.00
  • St. Nicholas, per half bottle, $1.00
  • Sercial, Symington, per bottle, $3.00
  • Constitution, per bottle, $2.00
  • Constitution, per half bottle, $1.00
  • Constitution, per bottle, $1.40
  • Constitution, per half bottle, $0.75
  • Black Warrior, per bottle, $2.00
  • Reserve Cama de Labos, per bottle, $2.00
  • Reserve St. Antoine, per bottle, $2.00
  • Old East India, Gracie & Co. , per bottle, $3.00
  • Adelaide, March & Benson, per bottle, $2.00
Irving House. Image from NYPL.

Irving House. Image from NYPL.

Irving House[4]
New York, New  York
October 12, 1852
Madeira

  • London Particular, $1.50
  • March & Benson’s, South Side, $2.00
  • Stalker’s East India, $2.00
  • Bininger’s Pure Juice, $2.00
  • Tina, or Burgundy Madeira, $2.500
  • Stalker’s East India, $2.50
  • March & Benson’s,  Dry South Side, very fine and delicate, $2.50
  • Stalker’s Sercial, fine and high flavored, $2.50
  • Bual, fine and delicate, $2.50
  • Monteiro, $2.50
  • Melvers, vintage 1832, $2.50
  • Victoria, M. B., very fine $2.50
  • Fruity, rich, vintage 1830, $2.50
  • Leacock, Harris & Co., imported 1832, $2.50
  • Black Warrior, old and fruity wine, $2.50
  • Sercial, very old, $2.50
  • Blackburn’s Dry Reserve, $3.00
  • Blackburn’s Malmsey or Wedding Wine, $3.00
  • San Francisco, vintage 1833, $3.00
  • Blackburn, from private stock of late Tho’s Bloodgood, Esq., $3.00
  • Old Reserve, $3.00
  • Newton, Gordon & co., vintage 1820, been one voyage to the E. I., $3.00
  • Superior Old Madeira, 3 years in India, $3.50
  • Black Dwarf, vintage 1825, $4.00
  • J. Oliveira Co.’s Palhetinho, old, dry and very delicate, $4.00
  • Blackburn’s, Shark, very superior and old, $4.00
  • Charleston Madeira, private stock, $4.00
  • Diploma Madeira, demijohns, extra and old, $4.50
  • Old Madeira, a gentleman’s private stock, 25 years in demijohns, bottles in 1815, $5.00
  • Ivanhoe, $5.00
  • Pomona, original, $6.00
  • Ocean, Hodges’ reserve, $6.00
  • Laycock, original, $6.00
  • John Noble, $8.00
  • Magnum Bonum, old City Hotel, $12.00
American Hotel. Image from NYPL.

American Hotel. Image from NYPL.

American Hotel[5]
Buffalo, New York
October 5, 1855
Madeira

  • Rapid, Imported by March and Benson, $6.00
  • Bramin, 1819, $5.00
  • Ivanhoe, $4.00
  • Black Cork, $3.00
  • Caimha de Bisho, N. Paulding, $3.00
  • Symington’s Verdelho, (highly flavored), $2.00
  • South Side, $2.00
  • Blackburn, $2.00

CongressHall_nypl33492
Congress Hall[6]
Saratoga Springs, NY
September 8, 1856
Madeira

  • Old South Side, $2.00
  • Old Reserve, $2.00
  • Old Regency AHB, $2.00
  • Victoria, $2.00
  • Toree, Pale, $2.00
  • L. P. Madeira, $2.00
  • Newton, A. H. B., $2.00
  • Lond Particular, $2.50
  • Old Rosewood, $2.50
Troy House. Image from NYPL.

Troy House. Image from NYPL.

Troy House[7]
Troy, New  York
October 10, 1856
Maderia

  • March & Benson, $2.00
  • Old Boal, $2.00
  • Wanderer, $2.00
  • Old Serical, “dry,” $2.50
  • Old Reserve Blackburn, $2.50
  • Old Reserve Bloodgood, $2.50
  • Old London Particular, $2.00
  • Howard’s Maderia, $3.50
Battle House. Image from NYPL.

Battle House. Image from NYPL.

Battle House[8]
Mobile, Alabama
March 4, 1857
Madeira

  • Monteiros, $1.50
  • Bemposa, $2.00
  • Sercial, $2.00
  • Old London Particular, $2.50
  • Blackburn, $2.50
  • Monteiro’s M. T. high flavor, $3.00
  • Symingtons extra choice old London Particular, $3.00
  • Old South Side, delicate, $3.00
  • Wedding Wine, $3.00
  • Emperor of Russia, $3.50
  • Georgia, bottled by Jno. D. & M. Williams, 1836, $4.00
  • Revere Vintage, 1835, $4.00
  • Victoria, from Howard, March & Co., $4.00
  • Williams White Top, Vintage 183: West India, $4.50
  • Monteiro’s Meteor. Sup’r, $5.00
  • Rapid East India Madeira, import’d by J. W. Boott, Esq., in 1819, $6.00
  • “Old Virginia,” imported from Monteiros in 1833, $6.00
  • Com. Nicholson’s Sercial, black seal, bottle racked 1842, $5.00
  • Sir John Keene, very old and exceedingly high flavored, $6.00
  • Newton, Gordon & Murdock #100, vintage 1818, $7.00
  • Agrella, Vintage of 1818, $7.00
  • “Old White Top” W. India Madeira, from a private stock, $8.00
Parker House. Image from NYPL.

Parker House. Image from NYPL.

Parker House[9]
Boston, Massachusetts
January 4, 1858
Madeira

  • Webster, qts. and pts., $1.50
  • Monteiro’s Old L. P. , qts. and pts., $1.50
  • Leacock, qts. and pts., $2.00
  • Don Pedro, qts. and pts., $2.00
  • Monteiro’s Reserve, qts. and pts., $2.00
  • Monteiro’s Nord Polen, $2.00
  • Georgia, $2.50
  • Palhetinho, $2.50
  • Victoria, $2.50
  • Carvalhal, very old and dry, $2.50
  • Donaldson’s old South Side #100, very rich, $3.00
  • Robbin’s Coffin, warranted 50 years old, $8.00
Willard's Hotel. Image from NYPL.

Willard’s Hotel. Image from NYPL.

Willard’s Hotel[10]
Washington, DC
February 12, 1864
Madeira

  • Old South Side, $2.50
  • Blackburn Madeira, old, $3.00
  • Reserve, very choice, $3.50
  • Oliviera, very old, $4.00
  • Gratz Grape Juice, $5.00
  • Howard, very delicate, $6.00
  • Cochran’s Old Madeira, No. 45, $6.00
  • Cochran’s Old Madeira extra fine, No. 42, $10.00
  • Funchel Madeira, very delicate, and of exquisite flavor, W. Chillingworth & Son, London, $3.50
Revere House. Image from NYPL.

Revere House. Image from NYPL.

Revere House[11]
Boston, Massachusetts
March 8, 1865
Madeira

  • Madeira, from J. D. & M. Williams
  • Monteiro’s $2.00
  • Don Pedro, reserved stock, $3.50
  • Revere, Vintage, 1835, $3.50
  • Judge Story’s S. M., $4.00
  • Thorndike’s Bottle Racked, $5.00
  • Monteiro’s Brazil, very old, $6.00
  • Old Virginia, $5.00
  • Newton, Gordon & Murdock, #100, 1818, $6.00
  • Monteiro’s “Metior.”, $6.00
  • White Top, I. P. Davis, $7.00
  • Sercial, imported in 1818, $7.00
  • Eclipse, I. P. Davis, $8.00
  • Gov. Phillips, 1820, $10.00
  • Edward Tuckerman, 1820, $10.00
  • Fancis Amory, bottled 1800, Marked M, $12.00
  • Symington’s Old Reserve, $4.00
  • Emperor of Russian, $4.00
  • Sir John Keene, $5.00
  • Bramin E. In. im. By J. W. Boott, 1819, $8.00
  • Rapid E. In. im. By J. W. Boott, 1819, $8.00
St. Nicholas House. Image from NYPL.

St. Nicholas House. Image from NYPL.

St Nicholas Hotel[12]
November 17, 1866
Madeira

  • Scott, pale and delicate, $2.50 per quart
  • Newton, Gordon & Murdock’s old, full delicate and high flavored, $3.50 per quart
  • Montero’s very old, pale and delicate, $5,00 per quart
  • From Gil Davis, Victoria Royal, Pale and delicate, $4.00 per quart
  • From Gil Davis, Howard, March & Co, $5.00 per quart
  • From Gil Davis, 1836 Bual Priest’s, $6.00 per quart
  • 1842 Welsh Brothers, Favorite Vintage, imported by Treadwell, Acker & Co., $5.00 per quart
  • 1815 Welsh Brothers, Old Reserve Vintage, imported by Treadwell, Acker & Co., $7.00 per quart
  • 1815 Welsh Brothers, Old Reserve Sercial,  imported by Treadwell, Acker & Co., $10.00 per quart
Categories: History of Wine Tags:

The Calon Segur Vertical 2010-1982

January 29, 2014 1 comment

Chateau-Calon-Segur. Image from Cocks and Feret, Bordeaux and Its Wines. 1883.

Just over one week ago I had the opportunity to taste 16 vintages of Château Calon-Ségur ranging from 2010 back to 1982.  The tasting was organized by Panos Kakaviatos who managed to convince general manager Laurent Dufau to present his wines at Ripple in Washington, DC.  The estate was recently acquired by Crédit Mutuel Arkéa and Jean-François Moueix.  They hired Laurent Dufau who informed us this was the first promotional tasting in the United States in 120 years.  I recommend you read Panos’ post Calon Segur 1982-2010: first ever promotional tasting in the US both for the background information and his perspective on the wines.  Three important facts to consider are that until 2002 the wine was bottled on two separate dates, once in the spring and once in the July to September time frame.  This fact alone introduces bottle variation.  Secondly, in 2006 Vincent Millet took over the winemaking for the estate.  Vintages prior to 2006 tend to have 50% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon but Mr. Millet increased the Cabernet Sauvignon proportion to 80%.  He also sourced the fruit from the main 55ha vineyard.

CalonSegur1

We began the evening with glasses of Krug Champagne served by Maria Denton.  Krug might be a fixture at Panos’ Bordeaux tastings in Washington, DC and it is of good effect.  Everyone gets excited.  There were many familiar faces present including Phil Bernstein (MacArthur Beverages), Chris Bublitz, Maria and David Denton, John Gilman (View From the Cellar), Darryl Priest, Karen Taylor (France Magazine), and David White (Terroirist).   My assigned table included Kathy Morgan, Annette Schiller (Ombiasy Wine Tours), and Christian Schiller (Schiller Wine).  You may find Christian’s post here A 16-Vintage Château Calon Ségur Vertical Tasting in Washington DC, with Wine Writer Panos Kakaviatos and Laurent Dufau, Managing Director, USA/Bordeaux. All of the wines we tasted were decanted as early as 3pm so they had plenty of air.  In adding my brief comments both the 2010 and 2009 vintages have strong long-term development ahead of them.  The 2008 was drinking quite well as was the 2005 vintage, the last prior to Vincent Millet.  The later had initial notes of maturity and was just downright fun to drink.  Reaching back further the 1989 was my favorite wine of the night.  A classic mature wine.  Unfortunately, my 1982 was full of sediment as was the rest of the table.  It was decent but muted and in no way compared to the 1989.  At the very end each person received a small pour from three different bottles of Sauternes.  I have come to love Sauternes very much so it was to my delight that I discovered these bottles were still a third full at the end.  The 1986 Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey provided a lovely end to the evening.

Laurent Dufau and Panos Kakaviatos

Laurent Dufau and Panos Kakaviatos

2010 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This wine had a subtle herbaceous nose.  In the mouth were enjoyable yet firm and concentrated flavors.  There were notes of graphite and spices in the finish followed by a good aftertaste. ***(*)

2009 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This bore a darker nose of black cherry with some deep, meaty aromas.  The flavors were blacker with meat, a little hint of minerals, with some texture in the finish. ***(*)

2008 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
The nose was finely scented with some toast.  In the mouth were firm cherry and black fruit flavors which were lively in the mouth.  This wine was more open, drinking well, and had good acidity. ****

CalonSegur9

2007 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
The nose was richer and aromatic with chocolate notes and vegetal hints.  In the mouth there were initial fruit flavors then a wall of structure.  Much different than the 2006, with more green herbaceous notes. **

2006 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This had a very tight nose of clean fruit.  In the mouth the tight fruit had both good structure and acidity.  There were red fruit flavors which morphed into black fruit.  The wine was elegant, perfumed, and had a good mouthfeel.  A good wine. ***

2005 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
The nose was a touch darker.  This was a fun wine with rustic flavors and chunky tannins.  Drinking really well with hints of maturity. *****

CalonSegur4

2003 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
There was a little perfume on the nose. In the mouth were black fruit flavors, watering acidity, and presence of structure.  This well done wine mixed minerals with structure in the finish.  It had good fruit, texture, and balance.  It was rather open.  ****

2002 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This was a thinner wine with a little more minerals.  The flavors leaned towards the red and it still had structure.  **

2001 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
There was a linear delivery of fruit with some tart red flavors and a touch of vegetal notes.  It bore hints of bottle age but presented a youthful aspect.  There were black minerals in the finish and red fruit which was both dense and cool.  A young wine.  ***

CalonSegur11

2000 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
The nose was a bit earthy with spices.  In the mouth the wine was young and not showing too much.  It had powdery notes of rocks and structure in the mouth.  Clearly meant for the long-haul.  ***(*)

1999 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
There was a good, tight nose.  The flavors were concentrated with prominent acidity and a slightly ripe finish.  This was a good, fresh wine with some baking spices and a little earth.  It was drying in the finish. ***

1998 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This revealed a little volatile sharpness on the nose.  In the mouth this wine came together with air.  It showed complexity with a tough, robust finish.  There were attractive black fruit and floral elements.  ****

CalonSegur13

1996 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This wine was fresh yet firm with some leanness wrapped around the structure.  There was black and red fruit and some spice.  Very nice. ****

1995 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This was more linear in delivery with acidity and more mellow blue fruit flavors.  The flavors had some weight and there was a little toast to the structure. ***

1989 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This bore a lovely, earthy finely scented nose with mature aromas.  In the mouth was good fruit, concentration, drying structure, and a little roast.  My wine of the night.  It had a balance between maturity and liveliness which made it a treat to drink.  ****

CalonSegur12

1982 Château Calon-Ségur, St. Estèphe
This glass full of sediment was poured from a bottle with a perfect label.  There were darker fruit notes, ripeness was there, some roast, a good wine but ultimately lacked that extra dimension. ***

CalonSegur5

1986 Chateau Lafaurie-Peyraguey, Sauternes
This had the lightest color the three Sauternes.  There were apricot and floral notes.  The residual sugar and acidity were balanced with some crispness to the wine.  The apricot flavors became sharper towards the finish.  Drinking well now.  ****.

1989 Chateau Rieussec, Sauternes
This had a piercing nose followed by sharpness in the mouth.  This bottle was not showing well. NR.

2001 Raymond-Lafon, Sauternes
This had a slightly candied aroma followed by sweeter flavors and more obvious residual sugar with less acidity.  The flavors leaned towards marmelade.  ***

CalonSegur8

Good Wines Abound From Emporda, Montsant, Ribera del Duero and More!

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment

This past week we have been fortunate to taste five very enjoyable wines from Spain.  We first began with the 2010 Bodega Vina Enebro, Quercus Red recommended by Lindsey and Zach at Despaña Vinos y Mas.  I asked for a bottle to try in our hotel room and after confirming that an earthy wine would be acceptable, they recommended the Quercus.  And it was quite earthy but with good character added by its juicy and textured qualities.  Lou recommended we check out the Union Market in DC.  After eating lunch we picked up some cheese, charcuterie, bread, and of course wine from Cordial Fine Wine and Spirits.  The 2011 Bodegas y Vinedos Valderiz, Valdehermoso, Roble immediately attracts you by the nose that leaves you a little unprepared for the fine, drying structure.  Still the wine was very tasty but I would cellar it for one year.  I picked the 2011 Roig Parals, Tocat De l’Ala because it was imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This was still a primary wine but the minimal structure meant it was more approachable than the Valdehermoso.  I like the interplay between fresh fruit, acidity, and spices.  From MacArthur Beverages come another pair.  The 2010 Bodegas Palacios Remondo, La Montesa offers up a lot of modern flavor and extract for the price.  It is a wine you can tuck into with your friends.  Finally the 2011 Orto Vins, Orto shows elegance with very attractive acidity and mineral notes.  While it is a wine for the short-term do not neglect to give it some air.  There is quite a range of wines featured in this post so I would simply try what sounds the most agreeable to you!  The Bodega Vina Enebro was purchased at Despaña Vinos y Mas in Manhattan, the Valderiz and Parals at Cordial Fine Wine and Spirits in DC, and the Remondo and Orto at MacArthur Beverages.

Spanish1

2010 Bodega Vina Enebro, Quercus Red, Murcia – $23
Imported by Critical Mass Selections.  This wine is 100% Monastrell which was fermented with indigenous yeasts.  No sulphur was used.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were definite earthy and funky textured flavors of macerated berries.  The wine possessed ripeness and seamlessly integrated acidity.  There was really good fruit which turned cooler towards the finish as some watery acidity came out.  This was a juicy wine for drinking right now.  It had a bit of a wood note with lots of texture and ripe tannins in the aftertaste.  The flavors become less earthy as it progresses in the mouth.  Nice.  *** Now-2019.

Spanish2

2011 Bodegas y Vinedos Valderiz, Valdehermoso, Roble, Ribera del Duero – $21
Imported by C&P Wines.  This wine is 100% Tinta del Pais which was aged for six months in French and America oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  This wine possessed a good, fruity and floral nose which revealed depth.  The mouth followed the nose but with a dry start.  There were flavors of blue fruit, a little cool, dry structure, and overall attractive youth.  There is perfume lurking within the structure.  With air the flavors become rounder, a little salty, and the fine drying tannins take on a touch of spiciness.  A young but tasty wine.  *** 2015-2022.

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2011 Roig Parals, Tocat De l’Ala, Emporda – $22
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is a blend of 60% Grenache from 30-100 year old vines and 40% Carignan from 40-90 year old vines.  The wine was aged for four months in French and American oak barrels  Alcohol 14.5%.  There was a youthful nose followed by roundish flavors of blue fruit surrounding some structure.  Notes of dried herbs come out with the intertwined structure and acidity. The younger flavors become a touch tart towards the end with a hints of ripe spices and berries.  With air the fruit becomes perfumed and takes on weight towards the finish.  *** Now-2019.

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2010 Bodegas Palacios Remondo, La Montesa, Crianza, Rioja – $18
Imported Folio Wine Partners.  This wine is a blend of  55% Garnacha, 40% Tempranillo, and 5% Mazuelo which was aged 12 months in French and American oak barrels.  Alcohol 14.5%.  There were plummy berries and vanilla notes on the nose.  In the mouth was a soft entry of plummy, blacker fruit.  There was a lot of flavor with some concentration and extract.  The acidity was noticeable in the back of the throat and sides of the tongue.  I enjoyed the floral violet notes in the aftertaste.  ***  Now-2018.

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2011 Orto Vins, Orto, Montsant – $29
Imported by Peninsula Wines.  This wine is a blend of 55% Samso, 29% Garnacha, 10% Ulle de Llebre, and 6% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from vines 18-90 years of age.  It was aged for three months in 100% used French oak barrels.  Alcohol 14%.  The nose revealed a certain baking spice sweetness with its fruit.  The mouth followed the nose with plummy fruit a touch of vanilla and very moderate tannins.  The acidity was integrated.  The juicy fruit flavors become a little brighter with air as notes of stone and good acidity come out.  *** Now-2017.

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The Ten Most Expensive Bordeaux Wines on Three Wine Lists From 1918, 1987, and 2014

January 25, 2014 2 comments
At Mouquin's.  William Glackens. 1905.  At The Art Institute of Chicago.  Image from www.wikipaintings.org.

At Mouquin’s. William Glackens. 1905. At The Art Institute of Chicago. Image from http://www.wikipaintings.org.

I have lately been interested in presenting lists and statistics related to wine.  For this post I decided to compare the ten most expensive Bordeaux wines on three different wine lists.  I have limited this post to standard sized bottles and have preserved the original spelling.  I manually scanned the lists so if I omitted a bottle please let me know.  The 1918 wine list of Mouquin Restaurant and Wine Co. claims they were the “Largest Importers of Bordeaux and Burgundy Wines.”[1].  Whether that claim bears out is immaterial because the list is of good size for the time.  Bordeaux makes up a significant portion with selections both bottled on premises and at the chateaux.

  1. 1907 Chateau Yquem, estate bottled,          $4.00
  2. 1911 Chateau Yquem, estate bottled,          $3.75
  3. 1912 Chateau Yquem, estate bottled,          $3.75
  4. 1906 Chateau Suduiraut, estate bottled,      $3.25
  5. 1907 Chateau Margaux, estate bottled,        $3.25
  6. 1907 Chateau Haut Brion, estate bottled,     $3.00
  7. 1908 Chateau Latour Blanche, estate bottled, $3.00
  8. 1911 Chateau Gruaud Larose, estate bottled,  $3.00
  9. 1908 Chateau Margaux, estate bottled,        $2.75
  10. 1909 Chateau Margaux, estate bottled,       $2.70

The 45th edition of the wine list at Berns’ Steakhouse from August 1987 is rich in Bordeaux from both the 20th and 19th centuries.[2]

  1. 1841 Chateau Lafite Rothschild,             $5,100
  2. 1833 Chateau Gruaud Larose,                 $3,651
  3. 1862 Chateau Lafite Rothschild,             $2,400
  4. 1900 Chateau Mouton Rothschild,             $1,510
  5. 1875 Chateau Lafite Rothschild,             $1,410
  6. 1881 Chateau Lafite Rothschild,             $1,410
  7. 1883 Chateau Lafite Rothschild,             $1,410
  8. 1876 Chateau Gruaud Larose,                 $1,310
  9. 1878 Chateau Lafite Rothschild              $1,210
  10. 1888 Chateau Marguax,                      $1,100

Eric Asimov writes in the recent (for me) article The 12 Best Restaurants in New York for Wine that “A standout Bordeaux list is given at Daniel.”[3]

  1. 1982 Chateau Petrus,                       $12,000
  2. 1937 Chateau d’Yquem,                      $10,000
  3. 1918 Chateau d’Yquem,                      $10,000
  4. 1945 Chateau d’Yquem,                       $9,500
  5. 1990 Chateau Petrus,                        $9,000
  6. 1945 Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion,         $8,500
  7. 2000 Chateau Petrus,                        $7,500
  8. 1959 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild,             $7,500
  9. 1945 Chateau Lafite-Rothschild,             $7,500
  10. 1961 Chateau Palmer, 1947 Chateau d’Yquem  $7,000

Chateau Gruaud Larose makes the top ten lists for both Mouquin and Berns.  I am not too surprised by this for 19th century advertisements and wine lists frequency include this chateau.  The presence of multiple vintages of Chateau d’Yquem on both the Mouquin and Daniel wine list is fascinating for it does not appear on the Bern’s list.  This may be due to the Bern’s Chateau d’Yquem vintages going back only to 1929 at $671 per bottle.  Perhaps if it had extended into the 19th century the wines would be more expensive.  The most expensive wine at Daniel is some 3,000 times greater in price than that of Mouquin’s but it should be noted that Mouquin’s top-ten list only reaches back 12 years.  While the 1982 Petrus at Daniel is only some 30 years old half of the top-ten list dates prior to 1950.

Mouquin Restaurant & Wine Co., Sixth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 1905-1915. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Mouquin Restaurant & Wine Co., Sixth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 1905-1915. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.


[1] The Mouquin Restaurant and Wine Co. January 18, 1918. URL: http://menus.nypl.org/menus/32516
[2] Wine List. Berns’ Steakhouse. August 1987.
[3] Asimov, Eric. The 12 Best Restaurants in New York for Wine. The New York Times. October 8, 2013.
[4] Daniel Wine Cellar. URL: http://danielnyc.com/wine-celler

The Top Ten Wine Producing States in 1880 as Compared to 2012

January 24, 2014 7 comments
Colton's intermediate railroad map of the United States. 1882. Call Number G3701.P3 1882 .G15.  Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Colton’s intermediate railroad map of the United States. 1882. Call Number G3701.P3 1882 .G15. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

In 1880 the Department of Agriculture submitted the Report Upon Statistics of Grape Culture and Wine Production in the United States.[1]  This report sought to summarize cultivation and production on a per county basis.  The report was in part driven by the decline of European wine production, particularly that of France.  It was conceded that the young American wine industry did not yet produce wine which would be received the same as the European offerings.  However, it was noted that most Americans lived near areas of wine production, the quality of which was increasing, and perhaps could replace the imported casks of table wine.  The statistics were generated from approximately 7,500 inquiries on average production which were felt to underestimate the true levels.  For the following chart I ranked the states based on Total average wine production.  As I expected, California was by far the largest producing state.  I was surprised to find Missouri, Illinois, New Mexico, and Georgia highly ranked.  For those interested at the other end, Louisiana reported 9 acres of vines and Colorado 52 acres but neither state produced any wine.  The lowest production fell to the 262 gallons from the 55 acres of vines in Rhode Island.

  1. California    13,557,115 Gallons
  2. Missouri       1,824,207 Gallons
  3. Ohio           1,632,073 Gallons
  4. Illinois       1,047,875 Gallons
  5. New Mexico       908,600 Gallons
  6. Georgia          903,244 Gallons
  7. New York         584,148 Gallons
  8. Alabama          422,672 Gallons
  9. Iowa             334,970 Gallons
  10. North Carolina  334,701 Gallons

After looking at the top ten states for 1880 I thought they should be compared to a contemporary ranking.  The ranking of states is used to different effects as noted by Frank Morgan in Is Virginia Really the 5th Largest Wine Producing State? and Todd Godbout’s recent Who’s #5 Trying to Unscramble State Wine Production Statistics.  To produce my contemporary ranking of states I looked at the TTB Statistical Report by State – Wine for 2012.[2]  As Todd noted the Bulk Wine Gallons By State for Still Wines includes cider production.  As I am only interested in the general differences between the last 132 years I based my table on Bottled Wine Gallons by State for Still Wines minus Cider production plus Effervescent production.  Granted this does not account for bulk sales or other factors which would surely switch up rankings after the top three.

  1. California   542,456,564 Gallons
  2. New York      33,771,681 Gallons
  3. Washington    23,613,098 Gallons
  4. Oregon         5,944,277 Gallons
  5. Pennsylvania   5,666,831 Gallons
  6. Texas          2,445,443 Gallons
  7. Iowa           1,706,381 Gallons
  8. Ohio           1,680,495 Gallons
  9. Vermont        1,645,527 Gallons
  10. Florida       1,529,060 Gallons

Given the background on the two tables only California, Ohio, and New York persist from the 1880 list to the 2012 list.  California remains at the top, New York moves up, and Ohio with its similar production levels moves down in ranking.  The Washington Territory was not included in the 1880 survey but the state of Oregon was with only 126 acres of vines producing some 16,900 gallons.  It has come a long way since then!


[1] McMurtrie, William. Report Upon Statistics of Grape Culture and Wine Production in the United States for 1880. 1881. URL: https://ia601602.us.archive.org/26/items/reportuponstatis36mcmu/reportuponstatis36mcmu.pdf
[2] Statistical Report – Wine. January 2012-December 2012. URL: http://www.ttb.gov/statistics/2012/2012wine-final.pdf

Recently Tasted Italian Wines From Grignolino d’Asti to Montefalco Rosso

January 23, 2014 Leave a comment

Just prior to the holidays we managed to taste through a number of Italian wines.  My favorites include the 2006 IcarioVino Nobile di Montepulciano, 2010 Perticaia,  Montefalco Rosso, and the 2012 Boscarelli de Ferrari, Rosso Toscana.  In need of some cellar time are the 2006 Busi, Riserva, Chianti Rufina, and 2010 Fattoria del Cerro, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano.  I recommend that you purchase any of those five wines.  I should also point out that if you want something different then try the 2012 Vini Bocchino, Grignolino d’Asti.  This is a lighter wine, perhaps best to start the evening with before moving on.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur  Beverages.

2012 Boscarelli de Ferrari, Rosso Toscana – $22
Imported by Empson USA.  This wine is a blend of 90% Prugnolo Gentile, 5% Merlot, and 5% Cannaiolo.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There were brighter red fruit flavors in the mouth which were tangy with acidity.  Though bright there was some stuffing, moderate structure, and juicy acidity.  This was a serious young with stuffing for the short term.  *** Now – 2018.

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2012 Vini Bocchino, Grignolino d’Asti – $13
Imported by Williams Corner Wines.  This wine is 100% Grignolino.  The color was rather light.  There was a light nose of berry candy then complex bitters.  In the mouth were firm and lighter flavors, firm acidity on the tongue tip and a midpalate of ethereal flavors.  With air it revealed delicate red candy notes and integrated acidity.  The finish was drier with tart flavors, and structure.  ** Now-2016.

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2010 Le Bertille, Rosso di Montepulciano – $19
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is a blend of 80% Prugnolo Gentile, 20% Ciliegiolo, Colorino and Mammolo sourced from younger vines.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was a light but scented nose of red fruit becoming more perfumed on the second night.  There were red flavors leaning towards black fruit then tart black fruit which almost puckers the mouth.  There was a little greenhouse note along with more obvious structure and acidity.  It had a little texture in the back aftertaste.  ** 2016 – 2024.

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2010 Fattoria del Cerro, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – $18
Imported by Vias Imports.  This wine is a blend of 90% Prugnolo Gentile, 5% Colorino, and 5% Mammolo.Alcohol 13%.  There was a subtle black nose which was a touch sweeter on the second night.  In the mouth were slightly tart, red fruit, a little weight, then a hint of creamy black fruit.  The wine played it close with its tangy notes and a little chewy personality.  On the second night it was much better with density, length, and acidity to brighten things in the finish.  The structure was good.  **(*)  2015 – 2025.

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2010 Perticaia, Montefalco Rosso – $23
Imported by Cantiniere Imports.  This wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 5% Colorino.  Alcohol 13.5%.  There was slightly tart red fruit with some dark notes.  There was a bit of juicy acidity and ripe orange pith before blacker, round fruit and spices came out in the finish.  It had some gravity, darkness, and allure.  *** Now-2018.

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2010 Antonelli, Montefalco Rosso – $18
Imported by Grappoli Imports.  This wine is a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, and 15% Merlot.  Alcohol 14%.  There were light aromas of dark red fruit.  In the mouth were initial billowy flavors of soft red fruit.  After a few hours the wine tightened up showing a modern structure which dried the gums.  The acidity came out as well.  The wine was not heavy but the flavors coated the tongue like a blanket.  Could use more verve.  ** Now-2017.

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2009 Marammalta, Micante, Maremma – $13
Imported by IMA Imports.  This wine is a blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Alcohol 13%.  There was juicy fruit flavors, with some slight prune notes, good acidity, then black fruit.  With air it took on a touch of smoke, cherry notes, and smoked bacon.  ** Now-2014.

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2006 Icario, Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – $25
Imported by Vinifera Imports Ltd.  This wine is a blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Merlot.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The nose bore a little dark roast.  In the mouth the wine was taking on mature notes but was still robust.  The wine was bristling with saline flavors and controlled ripeness.  It had expansive power in the finish along with a structure of tannins which coated the back sides of the mouth.  Very Italian.  *** Now-2020.

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2006 Busi, Riserva, Chianti Rufina – $18
Imported by Kysela Pere et Fils.  This wine is 100% Sangiovese sourced from 10-25 year old vines.  Alcohol 14%.  There were more mature notes on the nose.  In the mouth there was tart black fruit with some mature flavors within the low-lying cloud of flavors.  The grip came out with the acidity.  There were some wood notes, salivating acidity, and drying tannins left on the gums in the aftertaste.  This was perhaps lean, not thin but not rich.  This is currently on the up-slope of development.  **(*) Now-2024.

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“In the shortest Space of Time he is froze” : The Effects of Cold on Wine at Hudson’s Bay

January 22, 2014 2 comments

Captain Christopher Middleton was appointed in command of H.M.S. Furnace on March 5, 1741.  The Furnace was built as a bomb vessel which were exceedingly stout ships designed to withstand the forces generated by the mortars they contained.  Their rigid hulls were viewed as ideal for arctic ice conditions thus they were commonly refitted for arctic expedition.  In May 1741, Captain Middleton left England for the Hudson Bay in search of a northwest passage.    The H.M.S. Furnace arrived at the Hudson’s Bay Company fort in August 1741.[1]  By September the winter had set in.  Nearly one year later on October 28, 1742,  Captain Middleton read his paper on The Effects of Cold to the Royal Society in London.[2]  The winter cold was brutal, the men wore several layers of clothes yet “not withstanding this warm Cloathing, almost every Day…some have their Arms, Hands, and Face blistered and frozen in a terrible manner.”  The ground was frozen to a depth beyond their discovery.  The bottles of strong beer, brandy, strong brine, and spirits of wine which were “set out in the open Air for Three or Four Hours, freeze to solid Ice.”

Detail from A new and accurate map of North America. Huske, John. 1755. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

Detail from A new and accurate map of North America. Huske, John. 1755. Library of Congress Geography and Map Division.

The houses in the fort had walls of stone two feet thick with very small windows that had wooden shutters.  The wines, brandy, strong beer, butter, and cheese were stored underneath in cellars.  Four large fires were made each day.  Once the fires died out the chimney was closed to preserve heat and within four to five hours the walls were “Two or Three Inches thick with Ice”.  Every morning they cut away at the ice with hatchets.  To counter the heat escaping through the windows they hung red-hot 24 pound shot in front of each window.  Captain Middleton kept a fire burning in his room almost 24 hours per day.  These efforts did “not preserve my Beer, Wine, Ink, &c. from freezing.”  Another description of a subsequent journey noted that any liquid with less alcohol than common spirits froze “perfectly solid, and burst the Vessels that contain them, whether of Wood, Tin, or even Copper.”[3]  In 1786 Henry Cavendish published the results of his experiments relating to the freezing of mixtures at Hudson’s Bay.[4]  Mr. Cavendish sent a variety of bottles to John McNab at Henley House to observe what happened to them in the cold.  Mr. Cavendish remarked that “the natural cold, when these experiments were made, is remarkable”.  He concluded that the temperatures reached a low of -45 °F to -50 °F.


[1] “From on Board His Majesty’s Ship the Furnace in Churchill River, North America, June 21, 1742” Date: Sunday, July 28, 1743 Paper: American Weekly Mercury (Philadelphia, PA) Issue: 1229 Page: 1
[2] Middleton, Christopher.  The Effects of Cold; Together with Observations of the Longitude, Latitude, and Declination of the Magnetic Needle, at Prince of Wales’s Fort, upon Churchill-River in Hudson’s Bay, North America; By Capt. Christopher Middleton, F. R. S. Commander of His Majesty’s Ship Furnace, 1741-2  Phil Trans R Soc 1742 42: 157-171.
[3] Ellis, Henry. A Voyage to Hudson’s Bay by the Dobbs Galley and California, in the Years 1746 and 1747. 1748. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=hcdOAAAAcAAJ&pg=PR1#v=onepage&q&f=false
[4] Cavendish, Henry. Account of Experiments made by Mr. John McNab, at Henley House, Hudson’s Bay, related to freezing Mixtures. The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Volume 16. 1809. URL: http://books.google.com/books?id=0Oc_AAAAYAAJ&pg=PP7#v=onepage&q&f=false