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Archive for August, 2014

Eradicating the Grape Leaf Hopper during the early 1910s

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

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

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


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

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

August 29, 2014 1 comment

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“Vinum Bonum Bonum Sanguinem Facit”

August 28, 2014 1 comment

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

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

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

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


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

Endangered Winemaking Images from Georgia

August 27, 2014 1 comment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Four Vintages of Domaine Rimbert

The wines of Jean-Marie Rimbert always provide interest and personality at affordable prices.  I recently tasted Jean-Marie Rimbert’s Carignator which is made from deadly old vines.  That wine was made from pure Carignan.  This post features two vintages each of Les Travers de Marceau and Les Mas au Schiste both of which are Carignan based blends.  You may find background information on these wines in my post about Domaine Rimbert.

What I enjoyed about these four wines is how they wear the vintage variations.  The 2012 Domaine Rimbert, Les Travers de Marceau, Saint-Chinian was the most forward of the wines, though this took several hours of air.   On the first night it overshadowed the 2011 Domaine Rimbert, Les Travers de Marceau, Saint-Chinian which took until the second night to show that good stuff is yet to come.  The 2010 Domaine Rimbert, Les Mas au Schiste, Saint-Chinian has a complex nose but ultimately remained tight in flavor.   The 2009 Domaine Rimbert, Les Mas au Schiste, Saint-Chinian was lighter and less rounded than the 2010 vintage.  It too sports a  complex nose but this time it was more old-school rather than fruity.  All four of these wines will continue to benefit from cellar age.  I would stash a few away while you can still purchase them.   These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2012 Domaine Rimbert, Les Travers de Marceau, Saint-Chinian – $15
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Carignan.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose revealed raspberry candy aromas.  The mouth followed the nose with raspberry flavors that were tart on the tongue.  It show orange notes that took on some weight as the wine picked up low-lying black structure.  This wine clearly needs air!  It had some black tea notes followed by graphite and butter in the lively, flavorful finish.  *** 2015-2018.

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2011 Domaine Rimbert, Les Travers de Marceau, Saint-Chinian – $15
Imported by Dionysos Imports. This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah and 50% Carignan.  Alcohol 12.5%.  The flavors played it closer showing more drying structure at the end.  With air the wine developed some puffy flavors followed by a nice lipstick finish and aftertaste.  **(*) Now – 2018.

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2010 Domaine Rimbert, Les Mas au Schiste, Saint-Chinian – $18
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is a blend of 33% Carignan, 33% Syrah, and 33% Grenache with 33% aged in old barrels. Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose was complex with floral and fruit aromas that developed notes of sweet, sugared black tea.  The flavors filled the mouth with tart and ripe fruit.  There was a roundness to the wine with a  sense of approachability but ultimately it remained tight.  It took on wood and stone notes with the dry, structured finish.  **(*) 2015-2020.

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2009 Domaine Rimbert, Les Mas au Schiste, Saint-Chinian – $18
Imported by Dionysos Imports.  This wine is a blend of 33% Carignan, 33% Syrah, and 33% Grenache with 33% aged in old barrels. Alcohol 12.5%.  The nose bore attractive, old-school aromas.  In the mouth were tart red fruit flavors that had no edges.  The flavors morphed to firm black fruit that had a lightness of flavor.  This uniquely flavored wine took on notes of dried tea and herbs that matched the acidity.  **(*) Now-2019.

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French Officers at luncheon in the field

August 26, 2014 3 comments

These officers appear to be drinking red wine out of metal cups and a glass tumbler.

French Officers at luncheon in the field. 1914-1915. [1]

French Officers at luncheon in the field. 1914-1915. [1]


[1] Bain News Service. French Officers at luncheon in the field. Between ca. 1914 and ca. 1915. Call Number: LC-B2- 3188-2 [P&P]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. URL: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ggb2005017079/