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The Côte-d'Or is a chain of hills extending
about five-and-thirty English miles in length
from the city of Dijon at its northern end to
Santenay, the last village at its southern
extremity. Along this range are produced
the wines which have conferred on Burgundy
a cosmopolitan reputation as the out-and-out
prince of jollity and good cheer. The line of
this chain runs from north-east to south-west,
in such a way that the first rays of the
rising and the last of the setting sun gild
and warm the outspread vineyards. Once,
the summits of the hills were all crowned
with wood, which now only remains as a rare
exception. The forests were all cut down,
because it was believed they attracted
hailstorms (that might be merely an excuse for
raising the wind); but since their removal
the evil has proved as destructive as ever,
while their shelter and mist-attracting
powers are lost. For the most part, the top
of the Hill of Gold is a lump of cold, grey,
barren limestone, with hardly sufficient
moisture and mould upon it to keep alive a
few half-starved tufts of grass and stunted
bushes. Mosses and lichens, those outcasts
of vegetation, shift for themselves as well as
they can. The vineyards, all along the Côte,
run up to the very verge of this stony
desert; and within a few feet, sometimes
within a few inches of each other, you see
blushing the grape which produces the most
luscious wine, and the astringent sloe and
the vapid blackberry. Sometimes a low cliff,
a few feet in height, serves as a wall to
separate the vineyard from the wilderness, and
so causes the transition to appear less abrupt.

As a general rule, the wine-producing
portions of Burgundy and Champagne are what
we should call dry, even short of water.
There are neither marshes, lakes, nor
considerable rivers, to send up mists which pollute
the atmosphere and screen the vivifying action
of the sun; and the ocean is too far distant
to overspread the sky with a mantle of sea-
fog night and morning. You can fancy,
therefore, that the grapes (like the cucumbers
from which the Laputa chemist proposed to
extract the sunbeams), imbibe the heat of the
solar rays, and treasure it up, for the purpose
of yielding it back by and by, as they do
when they cause the old man's heart to glow
within him. The Côte-d'Or, in spite of its
gray, barren, bald forehead, looks everywhere
warm, dry, and comfortable. Its slope is
thickly studded with snug villages, whose
names, when you ask them, are familiar
words,—Vougeot, Gevrey-Chambertin, and
Vollenay,—each with its square, solid steeple,
and dwarf, stubby, would-be spire. Many
present a deceitfully-dilapidated aspect, from
being roofed with shingle of self-splitting
rock; they nevertheless are weatherproof
habitations of men, wherein dwell wealth,
ease, and good living, besides contented because
constant labour. The Côte, so smiling
upon the whole, every now and then yawns
wide, opening into rocky and precipitous
ravines, tufted and overhung with clumps of
trees, and tempting to penetrate their shady
recesses. But the foot of the Côte is a
continuous carpet of vineyards stretching further
north and south than the eye can follow it
either way. We should wonder what the
inhabitants can do with all the wine produced
(and epochs, as we shall see, have
occurred when they have been sorely puzzled
how to dispose of it), did we not know that
the whole world, just now, like a thousand-
armed Briareus, is constantly holding out
innumerable cups for generous Jean Raisin
to fill with good liquor. In the Department
de la Côte-d'Or alone there are, in round
numbers, sixty-nine thousand English acres
entirely occupied by vineyards. This
immense field of viniferous verdure is dotted
with, not broken up by, standard fruit-trees
of various kinds. The vine-forest is over-
topped at distant intervals by vegetable
monsters of colossal growth, the humblest in
rank, though not in stature, being the walnut,
with its valuable wood. There are a few
apple-trees, more pears, still more cherries,
with apricot and peach-trees in unaccountable
abundance. The fruit from these is in great
part sent off to less favoured regions, and to
the all-consuming metropolis. There are
vignerons who have sold this year six hundred
francs' worth of apricots alone, thus
slightly stopping the gap caused by the
failure of the grape-blossoms in spring. And
as to the fruit from the standard peach-trees,
à plein vent, in the full wind, though inferior
in size, they are in flavour what can only be
expressed by smacking the lips with the
accompaniment of a look of ecstacy. Less
pretending intruders are numerous;
asparagus stools dispersed throughout the
vineyards to render an acceptable tribute in their
season. Then come undulating tracts, sinking
into valleys of a very Welsh character; hills
breaking out into cliffs, with shrubs sprouting
on their perpendicular face; with vineyards
running merrily to the tops of the respective
portions of Côte, till the bare rock, cropping
out, effectually stops all further progress.
The whole scene fills the mind with that
indescribable complacency which arises from
the contemplation of a lovely landscape. The
best and choicest wine, be it ever remembered,
is grown neither at the very top of the
cultivated part, nor yet upon the flat fertile
part which sends forth such abundant streams
of rosy juice. It is found just upon the final
slope by which the hill dissolves and descends
into the plain.

The very fields amidst the vineyards on the
plain are but temporary gaps. Burgundy
does not grow enough wheat for its own
consumption, even on the alluvial bottoms that
skirt the Saone, the Ouche, and the Yonne.
When vines show symptoms of wearing out,
they are stubbed up, and the ground is
cultivated with other crops for a few years to