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bons vivants, who take it for a sort of improved
soda-water. The estate and vineyards of Carbonnieux
formerly belonged to the Benedictine
Abbey of Sainte Croix, at Bordeaux. The
jolly monks, after enjoying the fruits of the
earth themselves, drove a thriving trade with
Turkey in bottles filled with limpid liquid, and
It was a terrible infraction of the Mussulman
law; which law, however, the Benedictines
were in no way bound to obey. The monks
and the imams may be left to discuss which is
really the greater offence: the selling of wine
under the semblance of water, or the selling of
water disguised as wine. As a punishment to
the backsliding followers of the prophet, a few
bottles of vermuth (wine made with wormwood
combined with the grapes, and taken as bitters)
might have been rightly substituted for an
equal quantity of " mineral water."

Another settled belief in France is that the
Bordeaux are the wholesomest of all their red
wines. Of course, in wine-growing neighbourhoods,
nearly everybody drinks the wine grown
there as the habitual beverage. But in departments
and districts where people have to buy their
wine from a distance, the growths of Bordeaux
and its environs, though dearer than most others,
are preferred, on account of their supposed
superior qualities. In the north, too, whither
they arrive direct by sea, they are believed to
stand the voyage better than other wines. There
is a curious but deep-rooted idea that sea air,
the mere vicinity of the sea, injures Burgundian
wines, even when they are safe in bottle. How
sea air should influence a liquid defended from
it by a coating of glass and an inch depth of
cork, is not attempted to be explained; but so
it is that wine-merchants in the north keep (professedly
and confessedly) very short stocks
indeed of wine from the central interior .

The consequence of the prejudice is that, in
the markets, and in table-talk, the existence of a
great number of growths of wine is quite ignored,
people speak of Burgundies and Bordeaux, and
that is all, forgetting that the term Bordeaux
wines ought in strictness to mean only those of
Medoc. True, there are the Beaujolais wines;
but they would rank as Burgundies: those of
the Côtes du Rhone, such as Hermitage, Côte-Rôtie,
and St. Peray (sparkling), hang on close
to the skirts of the former. But then there is
an immense quantity of Vins du Midi, wines of
the south, such as Roussillon, which are imbibed
by the natives only, which are the object of an
enormous commerce at Cette and elsewhere, and
which disappear from vulgar ken. They go in
very large quantities to Bordeaux, and never
come out of it, to anybody's cognisance. As to
what becomes of them, we had better imitate the
prudent discretion of the minister without portfolio
respecting Spanish wines imported into
France. Our guesses would only lead to the
reflection what a fine thing fancy is for numerous
discriminating and fastidious persons who can
drink none but the purest clarets, the unquestioned
produce of Medoc. Alas! for those who
have not faith. In France alone, at least one
hundred times as much Château Lafitte claret is
drunk as the whole estate yields annually.
Where do the false ninety-nine bottles come
from? And who are the lucky individuals who
manage to secure the genuine hundredth?

A fresh attempt might now be advantageously
made to introduce several of these vins du midi
to English favour. They are full-bodied, fruity,
cheap, and strong; wholesome, also, if used with
caution. But they are not light wines. Let no
one make the inconvenient mistake of drinking
ad libitum at his first experiment. He will discover
more double stars than the Observatories
acknowledge, and will feel the earth's revolution
on her axis to be wonderfully accelerated.

The Touraine, again, and many a square
league thereto adjacent, draws from the earth
hogsheads upon hogsheads of excellent wines,
which no one has ever seen or tasted out of
the Touraine; which appear on nobody's table,
which figure in no French innkeeper's bill of
fare. Nevertheless, the writer knows by experience
that they are very drinkable; nay, exhilarating.
There are ruby-coloured, clarety
growths, more or less light; there are the white
wines of Blois and Beaugency; and at Vouvray,
near Tours, is concocted an effervescent draught
which, with your eyes shut or open, might pass
for champagne. What becomes of the Touraine
wines? Total ignorance; Egyptian darkness.
Inquire for them of your wine-merchant. He
keeps nothing of the kind, and never has kept
anything of the kind. What do you mean by
asking him such a question? All his clarets,
without exception, come to him direct from
Bordeaux. Plenty of Touraine wine, however,
reaches Paris, perhaps even Bordeaux, where it
is lost, like the Rhône, in holes in the ground.

Instead of buying questionable Châteaux
Margaux and St. Juliens, the lover of light
wines might venture to patronise some of those
of the Touraine, boldly calling them by their
real names, and giving them out, at table, for
what they are. The Touraine barrique or hogshead
gauges two hundred and fifty litres. Now,
although wines are dear just now, I am offered
(on the spot) a good table wine, of 1859, for
one hundred and ninety francs the hogshead,
and an extra sample of 1857 for two hundred
and fifty francs, or ten pounds, i.e. at tenpence a
litre (a trifle more than a pint and three-quarters)
for the best. Their carriage is easy;
there is a railway direct from Tours to Paris.
Touraine wines might be reckoned on being
supplied genuine, because there is no temptation
to substitute changelings for them. The growers
truly say, " Our red wines are similar in character
to those of Bordeaux, and are often
given as such; we may even state that they are
better (at equal prices) as ordinary table wines."
But names have such great weight in this
world! If there is no disputing about tastes,
there is also no discussion about names. A
bottle of wine ticketed Château Margaux must
be better, say inexperienced epicures, than
another humbly labelled Vernou or Vouvray, or