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Images from Dirck Pietersz. Pers “Bachus wonder-werken” (1628)

January 31, 2018 Leave a comment

The three images in this post come from Dirck Pietersz. Pers’ Bachus wonder-werken Vaer in het recht gebruyck en misbryck des Wyns (1628).  In this book, Dirck Pietersz. Pers (1581 – 1659) recounts that wine drives away sadness, worries, and pain but the central point is that it must be taken in moderation. [0]

“There sat a proud lion, who wanted to feed all the people he ruled over, and kingly areas, all the sweet mistress and all the fears” [1]

“the smoke was unprecedented” [1]

“keeps my drunkenness alive” [1]


[0] Dirck Pietersz. Pers. Digitale bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse letteren. URL: http://www.dbnl.org/auteurs/auteur.php?id=pers001

[1] Pers, Dirk. “Bachus wonder-werken”. 1628. Osterreichische Nationalbibliothek. URL: https://search.onb.ac.at/primo_library/libweb/action/dlDisplay.do?vid=ONB&docId=ONB_alma21317115100003338&fn=permalink

The 8th Premiere National Auction of Rare Wines

The Eighth Premiere National Auction of Rare Wines
Thursday, May 27, 1976
Grand Ballroom, Royal Sonesta Hotel
New Orleans, Louisiana
Presented by The Wine Companies of Heublein Inc.

Heublein Inc. has a long history.  It was founded as a restaurant and hotel business in 1862.  In 1895 they started making A1 Steak Sauce.  Throughout the 20th century there is a long history of acquiring and distributing wine and spirits.  In 1962 Alexander C. McNally joined the company where he organized their first wine auction held in 1969.  Michael Broadbent was the wine auctioneer until 1982 when the demands of travel and possible conflicts of interest between Christie’s and Heublein’s arose.

This auction has a range of 19th century Bordeaux, Madeira, and Port.  Most of the vintages are more contemporary such as 27 lots of 1971 Chateau Elysee du Pape, Puisseguin Saint-Emilion totalling almost 900 cases worth.  The only Rhone offering listed is 1970 Cuvee du Vatican, Chateauneuf-du-Pape again totalling almost 900 cases worth.  The handful of German wines are all from 1971 and 1973 vintages. 

A series of older wines came from a “spectacular and extensive” collection in Paris.  For the eldest wine, 1806 Ch. Lafite-Rothschild, it is noted “is believed to have been appreciated by Thomas Jefferson.” 

From the Bouchard Pere & Fils family cellar comes 1864 Beaune Clos de la Mousse.  One bottle was sampled in Beaune.  Here is the tasting note, “The precious potion is poured, tawny red like the blood of a long-sleeping giant awakened as a Brigadoon to breathe an instant in another age.  The pulse quickens and nostrils flare as the fragrant bouquet of a hundred years ago, captured as Lincoln lived, returns to life.”

Wines that were originally sold at a Heublein auction still make appearances today.  For example, this bottle of 1800’s Madeira found off of Savannah, Georgia coast by professional diver Bill Kinsey in the late 1970s.  It was originally sold at the 7th Auction and was just resold at the Spectrum Wine Auction in September 2010 for $4200.

In the back of the catalog is a per-case pricing list from previous auctions.  Particularly expensive wines are:

  • 1887 Inglenook Vineyards, Caberent Sauvignon, Napa Valley – $5000
  • 1866 New Jersey Currant Wine – $700
  • 1846 Cheateau Lafite, Paullac – $5000
  • 1929 Chateau Mouton-Rothschild – $12,000
  • 1893 Chateau d’Yquem – $2880
  • 1864 Beaune Clos de la Mousse – $6240
  • 1885 Chambertin, Cotes de Nuits. Tete de Cuvee – $2500
  • 1865 Clos Vougeot – $6240
  • 1921 Rauenthaler Huhnerberg, Riesling Auslese, Rheinegau: Estate Bottled – $1300
  • 1921 Steinberger, Riesling Spatlese – $1000
  • 1922 Tokaji Eszencia – $1400
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“American Wines” by Frank Schoonmaker and Tom Marvel

I first read an article about Frank Schoonmaker in the Wall Street Journal sometime during May 2010.  He is quite an interesting man so I went to the Gourmet archives and downloaded all of his articles for free.  Of particular interest is “QMC Francais” published in November 1945.

Interested in reading more I browsed through Abebooks.  After publishing “The Complete Wine Book” in 1934 he and Tom Marvel went on to publish “American Wines.”  I purchased a wonderful copy of this first edition, published in 1941, for $6.  In the introductory chapter the authors note:

“Wine consumption in the United States has grown steadily since Repeal; it attained in 1940 some 110,000,000 gallons.  Of this quantity, about three-fourths were sweet, fortified wine containing from 18-21 percent alcohol.”  The authors feel this ratio is “abominable” and go on to primarily promote the lighter table wines.

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