Home > History of Wine > A forgotten 19th c. account of a hogshead of Chateau Haut-Brion purchased in 1669

A forgotten 19th c. account of a hogshead of Chateau Haut-Brion purchased in 1669


Long View of London from Bankside by Wenceslaus Hollar, 1647. Wikimedia.

The earliest references to the wine of Chateau Haut-Brion in England are found in the cellar book of King Charles II for whom 169 bottles of “wine of Hobriono” were served in 1660 and 1661.[1]  Just a few years later Samuel Pepys famously drank “a sort of French wine, called Ho Bryan” at the Royal Oak Tavern.[2]  Unbeknownst at the time it would soon be difficult to procure French wine.

Between 1665 and 1666, the Great Plague of London killed almost one quarter of the London population only to be followed by the Great Fire of 1666 which destroyed the central part of London.

Outside of London, the Second Anglo Dutch War raged on the seas during the same period.  It was a war fought to control the sea and trade routes.  The Calendar of State Papers of the reign of Charles II are full of references to wine.  During the war the accounts detail the capture of prize ships sometimes “richly laden” with wine.  So much wine was brought into some ports that prices even lowered.

After the war merchants resumed purchasing wine from France.  The calendered accounts follow this normal trade in wine but now add comments on size, price, and sometimes quality of the vintage.  For example during October 1668, many English ships were loading up on wine at Bordeaux even though “the French hold the wines at great price.”[3]  There was less of the 1669 Bordeaux vintage to go around with one report from October 1669 claiming “that there will not be so much wine made there as formerly”.[4]

It is possible that the smaller 1669 vintage is what Lord Montague purchased from Richard Blatchford when he was billed £24 for two hogsheads of “Aubryan wine” on November 19, 1669.[5]  This is, of course, the wine of Chateau Haut-Brion. The 19th century account of this bill was only brought back to contemporary attention by Asa Briggs in Haut-Brion (1994).

It turns out there is another 19th century account of the purchase of “Aubryan” which has been forgotten.  In 1669, Eton College purchased one hogshead also at £12.[6] This account was perhaps forgotten because the author confesses, “I am entirely in the dark as to Aubryan, Cawos, and Palm wine.  The first is low priced”.

 


[1] Robinson, Jancis. The Oxford Companion to Wine. 2015.

[2] Friday 10 April 1663. The Diary of Samuel Pepys. URL: http://www.pepysdiary.com/diary/1663/04/10/

[3] John Pocock to James Hickes. October 19, 1668. Calendar of State Papers, domestic series, of the reign of Charles II, October 1668 to December 1669. 1894. URL: https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015066345714

[4] Thomas Holden to James Hickes. October 25, 1669. Calendar of State Papers, domestic series, of the reign of Charles II, October 1668 to December 1669. 1894. URL: https://hdl.handle.net/2027/mdp.39015066345714

[5] Sussex Archaeological Collections Relating to the History and Antiquities of the County, Volume 15. 1863. URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=jDcGAAAAQAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

[6] Rogers, James E. Thorold.  A History of Agriculture and Prices in England: 1583-1702. https://books.google.com/books?id=iwRGAQAAMAAJ&dq=1660%20england%20wine%20prices%20fixed&pg=PR3#v=onepage&q=wine&f=false

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: