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Camo knit wine koozie for icy days

December 17, 2016 Leave a comment

camocozy

For those cold winter days when you are afraid your bottle of wine will cool down too much, I recommend the wine koozie.  This camo knit, low version, is hand-knit by my niece.

 

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“If I was to drink a glass ‘o XX. I shouldn’t shoot nothing.”

November 13, 2015 Leave a comment

Not all English sporting prints are of serious profiles of horse flesh.  Henry Heath published a series of “humorous” caricatures in his book “Sporting Alphabet.”  In this particular image, two men are drinking beer and wine.  The tall, skinny man is holding a rifle discussing what would happen if he drank further.

Two men drinking from Henry Heath "Sporting Alphabet" 1840. [1]

Two men drinking from Henry Heath “Sporting Alphabet” 1840. [1]


[1] “Doubles and singles” study for “Sporting Alphabet”, Henry Heath, 1828-1832.  #1930,0414.60.  The British Museum.

The Bee’s Wing

November 9, 2015 2 comments

“I don’t see the bee’s wing in this port, Mr. Blackstrap, that you are bouncing about,” said a London traveller to a timber-merchant. “No, sir,” said the humorist, “it is not to be seen until you are a deal higher in spirits”.
Charles Molley Westmacott. The English Spy, Volume 2. 1826.

The Bee's Wing. 1824. [1]

The Bee’s Wing. 1824. [1]

The image in this post is most likely familiar to those who own wine books that pre-date the digital age.  The detail of the corkscrew and decanter are fantastic but of interest is the gentlemen intently staring up and into his glass of wine.  The answer to why he is doing so lies with the title of the picture , “The Bee’s Wing”.  This title informs us he is drinking Port for the bee’s wing is a light film that forms on top of the poured wine as a result of considerable sediment from long-aged bottles.  It was, then, a sign of a fine old bottle of port.  Or at least that is what was commonly believed.  Cyrus Redding writes in Every Man His Own Butler (1839) that it stems from potash in the wine and may be induced by warming young port to near boiling then cooling it in a cellar.


[1] The Bee’s Wing. Henry Dawe after Michael William Sharp. 1824. #2010,7081.4817. The British Museum.

“give him part of a Bottle of Wine, it being his Birth Day”: Twelve accounts involving a bottle of wine

October 28, 2015 2 comments

I love perusing The Proceedings of the Old Bailey for content in anyway related to wine.  This site may sound familiar due to my Murder and Thieves series of posts.  Inspired by Sharon Howard’s investigation of phrases in the criminal proceedings, I present to you extracts from twelve different proceedings spanning the years 1683 – 1737.  This is by no means a thorough list, just one the presents a variety of events involving a Bottle of wine.  I strongly encourage you to read more of these proceedings for in the last case you will find, ” When the Wine came up, they fill’d a Glass, which I believe was a full Pint-glass, and with bitter Oaths and Imprecations, they forced me to drink it off”.

17th century English wine bottles.  The British Museum.

17th century English wine bottles. The British Museum.

1 – “the Prisoner was in Company of another Woman, picked up the Prosecutor in Fleet-street and proffered either to give or take a Bottle of Wine, which agreed on, they went to the Green-Dragon-Tavern , and there Hug’d him so long till they had pickt his Pocket of the Watch and Mony aforesaid”[1]

2 – “Indicted for stealing a Silver Tankard from John Nichols , a Vintner , to whom he went for a Bottle of Wine, and whilst it was drawing, was so nimble to steal the Tankard out of a Closet”[2]

3 – “Geo. Caskey, together with Francis Pevanson, alias Peverson , a French-man, and Daniel Ballantine an Italian having been drinking at a Musick House in Rosemary-lane, as they were coming away they would have had another Bottle of Wine; which the Master of the House refused: at which they were highly offended, broke the Windows of the House, and abused the Woman”[3]

4 – “That Lacy the Prisoner importuning the Plantiff Aldridge to drink a Bottle of Wine, who, after some Importunities going with him, and drinking some part of four Bottles of Wine; which when he had done, refusing to drink any more, going off, the Prisoner assaulted him the said Aldridge with his Fist, beating him to the Ground, very much abusing his Face”[4]

5 – “whilst the Maid of the house (whom he had sent to fetch him a Bottle of Wine, under pretence he had friends to visit him) was absent, he pick’d the lock of a Chest of Drawers that stood in his Chamber, and rifling those that were open, made his escape”[5]

6 – “That being one that practised the Trade of Night walking , she invited him to a Tavern in St. Martins le Grand , in order to partake of a Bottle of Wine, But they had scarcely begun to grow familiar, before she had dived into his Pocket, and getting his Purse of Gold, she gave him the slip”[6]

7 – “he met the Prisoner, who ask’d him for a Bottle of Wine, and he went with her, and being in the Tavern, there came another Woman to them, and then he went home with them to their Lodging; where shewing them his Ring, the Prisoner snatch’d it from him, and gave it to the other, who would not return it”[7]

8 – “asking him where he was going, he answered on Shore for his Health, and that when he return’d he would give him part of a Bottle of Wine, it being his Birth Day”[8]

9 – “that presently they went out, and after some Time came in again, that it seem’d as if they had been a quarreling, but then both of them seem’d satisfied, that they then call’d for a Bottle of Wine; that Captain Otway call’d the Deceas’d Scrub and Coward, to which the Deceas’d answer’d, he was no Coward, but a Soldier”[9]

10 – “that they all went into the Room, and she carried in a Bottle of Wine, and she heard no more, till she heard the Deceas’d was kill’d”[10]

11 – “here I and Mrs. M – drank 3 three Shilling Bowls of Punch and a Bottle of Wine: After which, he made me a present of half a Guinea, and eight Shillings in Silver, and offered me half a Guinea more to lie with him”[11]

12 – “I (thinking myself very safe) sat down, and drank Part of his Bottle of Wine, and when that Bottle was out, I called for another, in Answer to Mr. Car’s Bottle. When this Bottle was drank out, we had another”[12]


[1] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), August 1683, trial of Frances Marsh (t16830829-2).
[2] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), April 1684, trial of Lawrence Axtel Elizabeth Axtel (t16840409-25).
[3] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), September 1684, trial of George Caskey Francis Pevanson, alias Peverson Daniel Ballantine (t16840903-18).
[4] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), October 1685, trial of William Lacy (t16851014-4).
[5] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), January 1686, trial of Edward Reyon (t16860114-13).
[6] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), December 1688, trial of Jane King (t16881205-22).
[7] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), June 1714, trial of Eleanor Collins (t17140630-53).
[8] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), December 1720, trial of Edward Ely (t17201207-37).
[9] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), December 1728, trial of Thomas Otway (t17281204-13).
[10] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), August 1730, trial of David Murphey (t17300828-30).
[11] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), December 1734, trial of Martha Holcomb , alias Nichols Charles Holcomb (t17341204-28).
[12] Old Bailey Proceedings Online (www.oldbaileyonline.org, version 7.2, 27 October 2015), October 1737, trial of Thomas Car Elizabeth Adams (t17371012-3).

A picture of a 19th century device that preserved wine through carbonation

October 23, 2015 Leave a comment

The Carbonicateur Pini debuted in 1898 as a device designed to preserve wine in barrel through carbonation.  It was felt that young wine, which still had carbonation, was attractive due to its pungency.  As the carbonation faded, the wine came across as flat and stale as it was exposed to more oxygen.  It was felt the pumping the wine full of carbonation could fend off oxygen contact.  Research and meetings about the use of carbonation appear to have gained favor during the second half of the 19th century.  The Carbonicateur Pini is a 30 kilogram device that allows the user to carbonate barrels of various sizes at the rate of 100 hectoliters per day. It uses a tube and metal pipes with tiny holes to inject the gas into the wine.  The pressure of the barrel may be regulated.  The inventor hoped it would gain popularity in southern France and Algeria.  It was even felt that it could improve wine.

Carbonicateur Pini. 1898. [1]

Carbonicateur Pini. 1898. [1]


[1] Le Progrès agricole et viticole, Volume 29. 1898 URL: https://books.google.com/books?id=floEAQAAIAAJ&pg=PP1#v=onepage&q&f=false

“Le vin de la comet”: Wine of the comet

October 22, 2015 Leave a comment

Printed 7 or 8 years after the Great Comet of 1811, this image showing a happy cobbler holding up a jug of wine. Above the doorframe appears the image of a comet with the letters “LA COM” underneath it.  Perhaps the cobbler is smiling because he is drinking wine from the 1811 harvest.  A vintage which Michael Broadbent once rated five stars for the wines of Sauternes.

Le vin de la comet. Nicolas Toussaint Charlet. 1818-1819. [1]

Le vin de la comet. Nicolas Toussaint Charlet. 1818-1819. [1]


[1] Le vin de la comet. Print by Nicolas Toussaint Charlet. Printd by Delpech. 1818-1819. #1875,0612.116. The British Museum.

Debut of the Library Company Madeira this Saturday in Philadelphia

October 15, 2015 Leave a comment

This Saturday, October 17, 2015, I will be participating in the debut of the “Library Company Madeira” in Philadelphia.  This Madeira is the latest in the Historic Series and stems from a collaboration between Mannie Berk, The Rare Wine Co., Ricardo Freitas, Vinhos Barbeito, and the Library Company.  The Library Company was founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1731 and is considered the first successful lending library in America.

Hill-Physick House which was originally owned by Madeira merchant Henry Hill. Image from HABS at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Hill-Physick House which was originally owned by Madeira merchant Henry Hill. Image from HABS at the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

Henry Hill was a successful Madeira merchant who lived in Philadelphia and also knew Benjamin Franklin.  As a partner in the firm Hill, Lamar, & Bisset, he sold Madeira to wealthy Americans including financier Robert Morris, signers of the Declaration of Independence, Charles Carroll and John Hancock, and George Washington.  Many of the business letters sent to Henry Hill reside at the Library Company.  I recently studied a selection of these letters and will be presenting a brief talk on “The Role of the Madeira Shipper in Relation to American Connoisseurs: The Case of Henry Hill”.  For further information please see Unveiling of the “Library Company Madeira.