Archive for January, 2016

A view of the vineyard at Chaillot in Paris

January 29, 2016 Leave a comment

A General View of the City of Paris taken from an Eminence in the Village of Chaillot. Parr, Nathaniel. 1749. #B1995.13.87. Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

The Yale Center for British Art recently released over 22,000 high-resolution images through the center’s online collection.  Amongst these images appears a view of the city of Paris from 1749.  The city appears in the background with the green of Chaillot in the foreground.  In the map below, Chaillot is located in the middle, left-hand section where it is colored in blue.  The closest road in the foreground is the Grande Rue des Chaillot.  It is in this area that the famous vines of Chaillot were tended.


Plan de la ville et faubourg de Paris. Mondhare et Jean. 1790. Hollis #010890191. Harvard Map Collection.

A snow day with the 1981 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo, Ghemme

January 28, 2016 Leave a comment


The snow days full of shoveling and sledding left me worn out by the end.  I have mostly drunk inexpensive wines as a result, not wanting to waste anything.  I did manage to open one nice wine.  The 1981 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo, Ghemme is produced mostly from Spanna which is the local name for Nebbiolo.  Ghemme, like its neighbor Gattinara, are lesser known regions compared to Barolo and Barbaresco.  In Sheldon and Pauline Wasserman’s Italy’s Noble Red Wines (1991) the 1981 vintage is not regarded too well.  In fact, the wines of Ghemme in general are damned with the conclusion “one has to wonder if it is really worth the effort to make these wines.”

If you drank this bottle within an hour or two of opening it you might agree.  Confident in the staying-powering of Spanna, I double-decanted this bottle 24 hours before drinking it.  The Wassermans also wrote that Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo is “the finest producer in the zone.”  Given that this basic bottling from a poor vintage showed as well as it did is testament to this estate.  The wine is, in all senses, elegant and tastes as if the flavors are fully mature.  However, this fine wine will continue to hold your attention for many years to come.  This wine was purchased from The Rare Wine Company.


1981 Antichi Vigneti di Cantalupo, Ghemme – $90
Imported by The Rare Wine Co. This wine is a blend of 75-80% Spanna, 15% Vespolina, and 5-10% Bonarda Novarese.  Alcohol 12%.  The nose was finely scented with roast aromas.  In the mouth was a subtle sense of sweetness to the flavors of dried herbs and fruit, the later from a tart cherry core.  The fine interplay between the dry flavors, old wood tannins, and very good acidity, left fresh impressions in the mouth.  ***(*) Now – 2026.


The snow days continue

January 26, 2016 1 comment

I took it easy today after spending the previous two days shoveling and sledding on more than two feet of snow.  With schools closed for the fourth day tomorrow I expect to return to posting by tomorrow evening.  In the meantime I am immersing myself in the 17th century history of English medicine and of course, drinking wine.


Categories: Image

A tasting of Chateau Cos D’Estournel from 2012 back to 1982

January 25, 2016 Leave a comment


On Monday January 18, Panos Kakaviatos (Wine Chronicles) gathered together a group of DC wine lovers for his annual Bordeaux dinner.  As in previous years he invited a guest from the Chateaux and had a vertical representation of multiple vintages.  Also, like in previous years, he did an impeccable job of working with the restaurant staff in preparing the wines to show their best.  His care, attention and expertise always make for an excellent evening! The dinner was at Ripple, where Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley prepared a very good five-course meal that paired well the wines. The wine service was flawless. The guest of honor was Aymeric de Gironde, Director General of Chateau  Cos D’Estournel, the famous St. Estephe Second Growth. The diverse crowd made for excellent conversation and everyone enjoyed a lineup of wonderful wines.


As we prepared for the dinner itself we sipped Michel Reybier Champagne.  This is a grower’s champagne purchased in recent years by Cos d’Estournel. The property consists of 40 hectares of premier and grand cru vineyards sites. The wine is made in a big style, with evident oak aging and low dosage.  Tart green apple, yeast and toasty notes are present in this well balanced, well made Champagne.


The wines were served in five flights.

First Flight: 2008, 2006, 2004.

These wines all showed well.  While they were all big wines, the cool vintages provided them a nice sense of balance. Spice and white pepper notes were evident on many of the wines throughout the evening. The wines were paired with a lamb heart tartare with pickled mustard seed.  I liked the vinegar acidity in the dish and thought it was a nice foil for the tannins of the wines.  Others thought the acidity was too overpowering.


2008 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : Spice or fruitcake notes were at the forefront.  This leads to a big wine with hard tannins and a finish with a lush, glycerin mouthfeel.  Very good structure and my favorite of the flight. ****(*)

2006 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : Aymeric commented that this was “undrinkable” for many years and is just starting to come around. The nose is actually slightly more open than the 08.  Blackberry, white pepper and wood notes lead to some smoky notes and very drying tannins.  There is a nice energy to this wine but it’s hard to understand right now. ***(*)

2004 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : The spice notes are again very prominent.  The nose is more evolved and clearly the most approachable of the three vintages at present. The tannins are still hard and there was a slightly unbalanced heat at the end.***

Second Flight:  2005, 2003, 2002.


Glazed sweetbreads and radicchio provided a nice richness/bitterness balance that echoed the wines.


2005 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : Aymeric called this a “wine (for) forever.”  This was my favorite of the flight and a very great wine. The wine was rich with excellent integration of the oak.  Currants and a subtle spice lead to a wine that has gotten slightly softer in the mouth.  Perfect balance. ****(*)

2003 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : I expected more evidence of the heat of the vintage but was surprised by how balanced the wine was.  Exotic spices were obvious. Some coffee notes were present but balanced by a lively acidity.   This wine is actually quite approachable now. Some of the other tables notes mint and menthol notes in their bottle.  This was not evident in ours but may suggest some (not unexpected)  bottle variation. ***(*)

2002 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : Dark fruits and licorice are interesting but some hot alcohol is distracting on the nose. The wine is well done for the vintage but lacks some complexity in my mind. ***

Third Flight: 2000, 1996, 1995.


Potato gnocchi with a wild boar ragu was hearty and complex and again balanced the wines well. All these wines showed very well with the 2000 my favorite of the flight.


2000 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe (from magnum): A very exotic nose with Indian spices, herbal, forest floor and leather notes. Rich in the mouth with a firm structure. ****(*)

1996 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : Some initial funk that blew off. Concentrated currants and perfume that leads to an herbal note.  A bit softer in the mouth with a long finish. ****

1995 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : Aymeric called this the “year of the experiment.”  The wine was aged entirely in new oak.  Some hints of maturity were noticeable at first with some hints of iodine. There was an off putting hardness at the end that made me wonder if the fruit would dry up before the wine fully comes together. ***(*)

Fourth Flight: 1989, 1985, 1982.

Seared duck breast with foie gras grits.


1989 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : My WOTN (though the 2005 was close).  Secondary notes on the nose.  Cassis, concentrated figs, bell pepper. Rich in the mouth with a smoky note at the end.  Very long finish.  Beautiful. *****

1985 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe :  Some mustiness on the nose. Asian spices.  Harder and leaner in the mouth. Good but the weakest wine of the flight. ***

1982 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : While a very good wine it failed to live up to its reputation and not at the level I remember from when it was young.  Figs, herbs, some iodine.  The nose came across as younger than it was in the mouth.  Still some tannin and some bitter medicinal herbs at the end. ****

Fifth Flight: 2012, 2010, 2009.


Aged Gouda with date jam.


2012 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : Very dark.  Black pepper, perfume.  Very fresh and balanced structure. I liked this a lot. ***(*)

2010 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : Very structured, fresh.  Deep cassis fruit. Cigar box. Hard but lots of potential. ****(*)

2009 Château Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estèphe : Spice up front, very lush fruit.  Hard tannins, heat at the end.  More California in structure than Bordeaux.  It’s very well made but I think not the wine that the 2010 is. ****

“Many fantastical experiments”: Hot-wine and sex on ice in 1608

January 22, 2016 Leave a comment

Snowzilla has started falling outside of my house.  While we wait for some 18-26 inches of snow to fall over the next 36 hours, here is a winter-time account from London from 400 years ago.

John Chamberlain was the author of a series of letters which detail both the news and his daily life during the first quarter of the 17th century.  He often spent time in London where on January 8, 1608, he visited the frozen Thames river.  The Thames had frozen several times in the 16th century but it was not until the 17th century that frost fairs were held in celebration.  The first recorded fair was that of 1608.


The Great Frost. Anonymous 1608. Wikimedia.

The Thames had been freezing in fits for a month at that point.  When John Chamberlain set foot on ice the solid part was located between Lambeth and the ferry at Westminster.[1]  Indeed he writes, “Above Westminster the Thames is quite frozen over and the Archbishop came from Lambeth on Twelfthday over the ice to the Court.”[2]  There are written accounts of people dancing, bowling, and even of booths and tents which were set up.  From these locations people sold beer, wine, fruit, and there was even a barber.

John Chamberlain visited the ice two days before the deepest freeze when most booths were set up.  However, there was already activity of which he was enthralled, “Many fantastical experiments are daily put in practice, as certain youths burnt a gallon of wine upon the ice and made all the passengers partakers.”  There is a recipe for burnt wine in John Parkinson’s Theatrum Botanicum (1640).  In essence, you set sugar on fire which burns into the wine then roast it by the fire.[3]

We are fortunate in that the anonymous text The Great Frost (1608) was published describing this frost fair.  It also contains an illustration of the fair.  In the foreground is a merchant man wearing an apron who has a tent, two casks, and three pitchers.  A gentleman with a hat is admiring what appears to be a glass of wine.  The merchant is filling one pitcher up from a cask, another pitcher sits on the ice, and the third sits in a container of fire.  This last pitcher could be an example of the burnt wine.

Not all activities involved eating, drinking, shopping, or games.  At least one couple was a bit naughty.  John Chamberlain concludes “But the best [experiment] is of an honest woman (they say) that had a great longing to have her husband get her with child upon the Thames.”  Perhaps the burnt wine loosened their inhibitions!

[1] Andrews, William. Famous Frosts and Frost Fairs in Great Britain. 1887. URL:
[2] Thomson, Elizabeth. The Chamberlain Letters. 1966. Letter #99 dated January 8, 1608.
[3] Parkinson, John. Theatrum Botanicum (1640). URL:

The savory 1988 Chateau Meyney

January 21, 2016 Leave a comment

In the recent past the 1988 Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estephe would have been one of the oldest wines in my basement.  As such, I carefully saved this final bottle.  Last tasted seven years ago I found it oscillated between shut-down and open states. Today it is a fully open wine which is comforting on the nose and rather savory in the mouth.  I suspect you can drink this with full enjoyment over the next five years or so.  This wine was purchased many years ago at MacArthur Beverages.


1988 Chateau Meyney, Saint-Estephe
Imported by Chateau & Estate Wines.  This wine is a blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 12.5%.  There are comforting, scented aromas of leather and roast earth.  This savory wine has mature, dark fruit and polished wood that matches the juicy acidity.  There is still freshness as well ripe, dry texture but the wine remains at its peak with a touch of earth and vintage perfume.  *** Now – 2021.


Three Austrian wines from the back corner

January 21, 2016 1 comment

The Austrian red wine section is located in the bottom, back right corner of MacArthur Beverages.  There I found the 2011 Netzl, Carnuntum Cuvee which is still on the shelves since I first tasted it two years ago.  Though a shame this wine has not yet sold out, it was a boon for me.  I found the wine has improved with bottle age, readily offering dark fruit, a touch of herbaceousness, and stones.  Moving from a blend to a single variety is the 2012 Paul Achs, Zweigelt, Burgenland.  The musky nose engages followed by tart and puckering flavors. Finally, the 2013 Gernot Heinrich, Blaufrankisch, Burgenland offers the roundest and most fruit driven flavors of all three.  Though attractive now you might be tempted to cellar it for another year.  These wines are available at MacArthur Beverages.


2011 Netzl, Carnuntum Cuvee – $15
Imported by KW Selection.  This wine is a blend of 40% Zweigelt, 40% Blaufrankisch, and 20% Merlot.Alcohol 13.5%. Though smelling of dark fruit the nose remains fresh and scented.  In the mouth the ripe, puckering flavors exhibit some density.  The wine remains fresh with integrated acidity throughout.  The dark, ripe, black fruit mixes with a greenhouse note before the herbs, sage, and dry stone mixed finish.  *** Now – 2018.


2012 Paul Achs, Zweigelt, Burgenland – $19
Imported by Winebow.  This wine is 100% Zweigelt which was fermented in stainless steel tanks then aged for seven months in large, French oak barrels.  Alcohol 12.5%.  A hint of butter makes way to musky, wafting aromas with hints of pencil.  In the mouth the bright black and red fruit is slightly tart and puckering.  With air it shows vintage perfume and a lipsticky greenhouse vein before a little ripeness comes out in the finish.  ** Now – 2017.


2013 Gernot Heinrich, Blaufrankisch, Burgenland – $22
Imported by Winebow.  The fruit was fermented with indigenous yeasts in both oak vats and stainless steel tanks followed by 13 months of aging in large French and Austrian oak casks.Alcohol 12.5%.  The rounder flavors of blue and black fruit does not have the herbaceousness of other wines.  There is a touch of oak to the weighty flavors along with integrated, salivating acidity.  This good, youthful wine might even evolve over the short-term due to fine and ripe tannins.  *** Now – 2018.


“a classic cabernet with great potential”: Tasting mature Californian wines by the fireplace

January 20, 2016 2 comments

A last minute effort to host a casual wine tasting over the holiday weekend did not turn up any remarkable numbers. Instead, Lou and I relaxed by the fire in my living room to be eventually joined by Jenn. The 1989 Stony Hill, Chardonnay, Napa Valley is a recent purchase from The Rare Wine Company. With perfect fill, label, and cork this wine was fantastic introduction to an elegant style of mature Chardonnay. The aromas and flavors reflect maturity but the acidity and structure speak of years of continued development.


Our two bottle of mature red wine came from the Earthquake Cellar which has yet to let us down. My experience with Lytton Springs has always been positive, stemming from bottles of Ridge which I have tasted including the fine 1973 which Lou opened a few years back. Ridge first bought fruit from Lytton Springs in 1972 eventually acquiring the vineyard and the winery in 1991.  It makes sense then that the 1988 Lytton Springs Winery, Zinfandel, Private Reserve, Sonoma County was in fine shape. There is no doubt that the generous aromas and flavors came from Zinfandel but they were not overdone, rather supported by structure. This bottle was double-decanted to remove sediment. It drank effusively for a few hours before starting to fade.

From a drought vintage came the 1977 Villa Mt. Eden, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. Incredibly, the fruit from this wine was sourced from five year old vines in a 25 acre vineyard.  The wine itself was made by Nils Venge who went on to produce the 1985 Groth, Cabernet Sauvignon which was the first 100 point wine rated by Robert Parker.  Here is Terry Roberts tasting note from 1981 published in The New York Times.

“Villa Mt. Eden cabernet sauvignon 1977. $14.99. Dark ruby color. Slightly peppery, spicy bouquet. Full-bodied, with plenty of fruit evident beneath an astringent overlay. Raspberries and plums, a classic cabernet with great potential.”

The top-shoulder fill was matched by a perfect label and solid cork that was soundly seated in the neck. Popped and poured, the nose was low-lying while a quick sip revealed the wine was solid. A few more sips revealed the wine was really quite good with deep fruit, mature wood box flavors, and even fresh acidity. It was the opposite of the fruity, berry driven Lytton Springs. I really liked the Villa Mt. Eden. There was no need to make allowances for its age, it was outright satisfying.

We wrapped up the early evening with a bottle Lou purchased during his trip to the Finger Lakes. It seems incongruous to move forward decades but the 2013 Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, Cabernet Franc, Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes neither overwhelmed nor felt out of place. Zippy with persistent flavors this is an excellent example of Cabernet Franc. And an excellent example of a wine from New York.


1989 Stony Hill Vineyard, Chardonnay, Napa Valley
Alcohol 13%. The golden color was taking on amber hints, clearly reflecting time spent in bottle. In the mouth were yeast and toast accented, tart yellow fruit which was rather lively and structured. It took some time for this elegant wine to open up. It remained focused with quiet complexity from flavors of dry spiced, fallen apples, chalk, and a finish, which left noticeable tannins on the gums, that kept me returning to the glass. Drinking great. **** Now but will last for a long time.


1988 Lytton Springs Winery, Zinfandel, Private Reserve, Sonoma County
Alcohol 14.4%. The aromatic nose was scented with bramble berry and hints of leather. In the mouth this berrylicious wine had a hint of animale and leather. It still bore plenty of ripe fruit that was almost zippy from the watering acidity. The maturity was noticeable with air. After a few hours the flavors became higher toned, simpler and began to fade. **** Now.


1977 Villa Mt. Eden, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
Alcohol 13%. Top shoulder fill. There was a little animale stink to the nose. In the mouth the wine was surprisingly deep with menthol, wood box, and pleasing tannins on the gums. There was fresh acidity, perfectly integrated with the blue and black fruit. It is true that the finish was a touch short but this wine had fine flavor and fruit which lasted for hours. It stayed lively until there was no more.  The acidity always bound with pleasing wood influences. **** Now but will easily last.


2013 Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard, Cabernet Franc, Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes
Alcohol 13%. The nose bore some green leafiness. The wine was driven by zippy acidity which brought mineral, clinging fruit flavors which were undeniably alive. The good fruit made for a juicy, berry wine which drank with complete satisfaction. *** Now – 2018.


An unexpected stunner

January 19, 2016 Leave a comment

David was unable to join us this weekend but that did not prevent him from drinking a great bottle and sending over his impressions.

Having to work over the long weekend is no joy. Picked up some diver scallops for dinner and decided a Chablis would be a fine pairing.


2007 Jean-Marc Brocard, Chablis Grand Cru Valmur
An unexpected stunner. Gold in color. A nose of the sea. Some lime. A lot of minerality. Chalk and shells. Bone dry and lip smacking. Really long. This is a great Valmur from a producer that doesn’t have the panache of the trendy vignerons. The wine is well on the way to secondary development. Will hold for five more years, easy. In a great spot now.

The Vineyard at Walcot near Bath

January 15, 2016 3 comments

The Citty of Bath. Lens, AB. 1727. The British Library.

The vineyard at Walcot near Bath was in existence by 1590 when Queen Elizabeth granted the charter to the City of Bath.[1]  In detailing the boundaries of the city the charter describes “from thence unto the highway leading from Weston towards Walcot, so continuing by the said way unto a close of pasture commonly called the Wyniards, and from the said close”.  The Reverend Canon Ellacombe mentions this vineyard in his paper “The Vineyards of Somerset and Gloucestershire” (1890).[2] Noting that the charter was the “only old record” that he could find on the vineyard of Bath he felt the description “looks as if even then the Vineyards were discontinued and the land put into pasture.”  Reverend Ellacombe references Savage and Meyler’s “Map of Five Miles Round Bath” (1805) which only details the vineyard at Claverton.  Had he seen Thorpe’s first map “An Actual Survey of the City of Bath” (1742) he would have also seen the old Bath vineyard laid out.


The vineyard at Walcot. From Thomas Thorpe’s map of Bath. 1742.

It is not yet clear whether a vineyard was tended either in the late 16th century when the charter was granted or throughout any of the 17th century.  We do know there was a vineyard from which wine was annually produced during the first half of the 18th century.  A late 19th century guidebook to Bath even described it as a “commercial vineyard”.

Walcot is located just north-east of the center of Bath.  In 1730 it was a small village of some 80 houses but has now been absorbed as a suburb of Bath.  Outside of the vineyard, it was an unremarkable village.  A few decades after production ceased, Daniel Defoe only notes of Walcot in 1761 that “many Roman Antiquities have been found”.[3]

According to several sources the vineyard was “celebrated”.  I can only imagine that the proximity of vineyard to the center of Bath and its placement along a road readily allowed visitors.  There were apparently enough visitors for it was simply known as the vineyard at Bath without any reference to the owner.

Richard Bradley, a professor of Botany at the University of Cambridge, wrote extensively of “the celebrated Vineyard near Bath, which has made so much Noise in the World” in his book A General Treatise of Husbandry & Gardening (1726).[4]  The vineyard of some six acres “lies upon the side of a steep Hill, facing the South, the Ground very rocky or stony: In this place, the Vines are planted in Lines about six Foot asunder and are treated much after the manner that Vines are manag’d about Germany.  The sorts of Grapes here planted, are the white Muscadine, Muscadine, and the black Cluster-Grape; and though they are not proper Wine-making Grapes, nor the most early in ripening, yet there was made sixty-six Hogshead of Wine”. James Tunstall in Rambles about Bath and its Neighbourhood (1876) describes “Two vines, planted together, were trained on stakes, at right angles, six feet apart”.[5]

These types of grapevines were certainly known in England.  These vines are listed in John Rea’s Flora: seu, De Florum Cultura (1665).[6]  John Rea, an English gardener, felt the black Cluster Grape was the best choice for English vineyards as it was the first to ripen.  The white Muscadine Grape, ranked second, ripened “well most years” with the red Muscadine Grape, ranked fourth, “not so apt to ripen with us, requiring more Sun.”

There were ripening issues with these varieties at this location.  Richard Bradley visited the vineyard on July 26, 1722 and found “the Vines were then hardly in Blossom, so that little could be expected from them”.  He did have an upbeat attitude for it was an “extraordinary Summer”.  He held that the vineyard site at Bath was more advantageous than Thomas Fairchild’s vineyard at Hoxton and John Warner’s vineyard at Rotherhith.  Fairchild’s fruit ripened ten days earlier than at Bath.  Even Warner’s fruit was almost fully grown too.  Richard Bradley concluded that the difference must be due to “the Sorts of Grapes, as well as from the Management of them” which resulted in a vineyard that did not “bear as constantly”.

From three different accounts we learn of the yields for four vintages from 1718 through 1736.

1718 – 66 hogsheads of Wine[7]
1719 – 69 hogsheads of Wine[8]
1721 – 3 hogsheads of Wine[9]
1736 – 80 hogsheads of Wine[10]

A brief observation published in the Bath Herald during 1815 notes an entry found in an old book of “Chronology” stating, “There is a Vineyard at Bath, which (though not above 6 or 7 acres of ground) yielded not less than 80 hogsheads of excellent wine in the year 1736.”[11]  The old book appears to have a tie to Samuel Trowell’s  A new Treatise of Husbandry, Gardening, and other Curious Matters relating to Country Affairs (1739) which mentions 80 hogsheads of wine coming from the “Plantation of about seven Acres” which was “near the Bath”.

As for value the, 66 hogsheads from 1718 sold for £660.[12]  The following year, the 69 hogsheads from 1719 were shipped from Bristol, to where is not stated, at £10 10s per hogshead for a total of £702 9s.  Richard Bradley wrote that “no one would dislike an Acre that will yield him yearly above” £100 per acre.  The Bath vineyard could certainly yield a large revenue.  Richard Bradley felt the black Cluster Grape yielded the least amount of juice.  If it were planted with “a more juicy Kind” then revenue could reach £150 per acre. However, if well-tended even £50 per acre could yield profits.

Samuel Trowell wrote in 1739 that the vineyard was “planted with Burgundy, Champagne, and Frontiniack”.[13]  This entry either incorrectly states the varieties planted, for every other account mentions the Cluster Grape or Muscadine, or it implies that the vineyard was replanted.  If so this could have spelled doom for Richard Bradley did not recommend Frontigniac for planting in England.  He found it “will not ripen in the open Ground” and that it required planting against a wall.

Late 19th century guidebooks to Bath indicate that “The crops began to fail about 1730” and in another case the vineyard was “done away with about 1730”.[14]  James Tunstall is more specific, he states that about “1730 the crops began to fail, the reasons assigned for it being that, as the spring seasons were more backward than they used to be, the grapes did not mature before winter.”  He found this “as shewing the change of climate that has taken place.”

Two 18th century accounts suggest all or some of the blame on the lack of care taken by the owners instead of the climate.  Thomas Hale wrote, “The Bath vineyards might serve as a better example to the husbandman who should consider only profit for them the juice of the grapes was fold there as it was pressed from the fruit and the owners had no farther care than managing the ground and gathering”.[15]  He continues that the vineyard at Hammersmith and vineyard at Bath “might have been better managed, and their profit rendered three-fold”.  A later account of England Vineyards suggests both the vineyards at Darking and Bath “turned to little account, either from cultivating a sort of grape unsuitable to the climate, or for want of skill in management.”  [16] A most interesting reason for the demise of the vineyard appears in the property alternation application for an 18th century house in The Vineyards.[17]  It states the land had “previously been used as a vineyard until c1730 when the springs, which watered it began to fail.”


The former vineyard at Walcot. From Thomas Thorpe’s map of Bath. 1787.

Whether it be due to poor management, the grape varieties, the climate, or lack of irrigation, I can find no further references to a productive vineyard after 1736. The buildings of Harlequin Row appear to be among the first that went up in the former vineyard beginning in 1765.  The area became known as “The Vineyards” which also saw the building of The Countess of Huntingdon’s Chapel in 1765.

[1] The Municipal Records of Bath, 1189-1604. 1885. URL:
[2] Ellacombe, Reverand Canon. “The Vineyards of Somerset and Gloucestershire”. Proceedings of the Bath Natural History and Antiquarian Field Club, Volume 7. 1893. URL:
[3] Defoe, Daniel. A Tour Thro’ the Whole Island of Great Britain. (1761). URL:
[4] Bradley, Richard. A General Treatise on Husbandry & Gardening. (1726). URL:
[5] Tunstall. Rambles about Bath and its Neighbourhood. 1876. URL:
[6] Rea, John. FLORA: seu, De Florum Cultura. 1665.
[7] Bradley (1726).
[8] Major (1879).
[9] Bradley (1726).
[10] Trowell (1736).
[11] Newspaper article noting the discovery of a vineyard in Bath, 1815. From the Bath Herald September 30th, 1815. Bath in Time. URL:
[12] Bentley, Samuel. Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century. 1812. URL:
[13] Trowell, Samuel. A new Treatise of Husbandry, Gardening, and other Curious Matters relating to Country Affairs. (1739) URL:
[14] Major, S. D. Notabilia of Bath. (1879). URL: and Peach, Robert Edward Myhill. Street-lore of Bath. (1893). URL:
[15] Hale, Thomas. A Compleate Body of Husbandry. 1759. URL:
[16] “A slight Sketch of English Vineyards” The Gentleman’s Magazine, Volume 57, Part 2. 1787. URL:
[17] Pre Application Advice request Form Harlequin House, 8 Vineyards BA1 5NS. Date 11.09.2015. URL: