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CLASSIFICATION OF

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Originally appearing in Volume V28, Page 725 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CLASSIFICATION OF SAUTERNES Grand First Growth. Chateau Yquem, Sauternes. First Growths. Chateau La Tour Blanche, Bommes. Peyraguey, Bommes. Vigneau, Bommes. Suduiraud, Preignac. Coutet, Barsac. Climens, Barsac. Bayle (Guiraud), Sauternes. Rieussec, Fargues. Rabaud, Bommes. Second Growths. Chateau Mirat, Barsac. Doisy, Barsac. Feyxotto, Bommes. d'Arche, Sauternes. Filhot, Sauternes. Broustet-Nerac, Barsac. Caillou, Barsac. Suau, Barsac. Malle, Preignac. Romer, Preignac. „ Lamothe, Sauternes. The production of the Sauternes vineyards is, as a rule, smaller than that of the chief red growths, and in consequence of this, and that the district it a relatively small one, the prices of the finer growths are often very high. The Cotes district consists of the slopes rising from the lower marshy regions to the east of the Garonne and the Dordogne respectively. St Bm/llon. The best of the Cotes wines are grown in the St Emilion region. This region consists of the commune of St Emilion, together with the four surrounding communes. It produces wines of a decidedly bigger type than those of the Medoc, and is frequently called the Burgundy of the Bordeaux district. The classification of the St Emilion wines is very complicated, but in principle is similar to that of the Medoc wines. Among the better known wines of the first growths are the following: Chateau Ausone, Chateau Belair, Chateau Clos Fourtet, Chateau Pavie, Chateau Coutet, Chateau Cheval-Blanc, Chateau Figeac. The Chateau Ausone is of peculiar interest, inasmuch as it is here that the poet Ausonius possessed a magnificent villa and cultivated a vineyard (A.D. 300). Palus and Entre-deux-Mers.—The above wines are grown in the marshy regions in the immediate neighbourhood of the Garonne and Dordogne. They produce useful but rather rough wines. The Entre-deux-Mers district forms a peninsula between the Garonne and Dordogne, comprising the arrondissements of La Reole, the south of Libourne and the east of Bordeaux. This district produces both red and white wines. but their character is not comparable to that of the Medoc or of the Cotes. They are generally employed for local consumption and blending. The sparkling wine known to us as champagne takes its name from the former province which is now replaced by the departments of Marne, Haute-Marne, Aube and Ardennes. The best Chamwines, however, are grown almost exclusively in the Marne district. The cultivation of the vine in the Champagne is Pa8°e' of very ancient date. It appears that both red and white wines were produced there in the reign of the Roman emperor, Probus (in the 3rd century A.D.), and according to Victor Rendu the queue of wine was already worth 19 livres in the time of Francis II., and had, in 1694, attained to the value of f000 livres. It was at about the latter date that sparkling or effervescent wine was first made, for, according to M. Perrier, a publication of the year 1718 refers to the fact that wine of this description had then been known for some twenty years. The actual discovery of this type of wine is ascribed to Dom Perignon, a monk who managed the cellars of the abbey of Haut Villers from 167o to 1715. It appears also that it was this same Dom Perignon who first used cork as a material for closing wine bottles. Up till then such primitive means as pads of hemp or cloth steeped in oil had been employed. It is very likely that the discovery of the utility of cork for stoppering led to the invention of effervescent wine, the most plausible explanation being that Dom Perignon closed some bottles filled with partially fermented wine, with the new material, and on opening them later observed the effects produced by the confined carbonic acid gas. The art of making the wine was kept secret for some time, and many mysterious fables were circulated concerning it; inter cilia it was believed that the Evil One had a hand in its manufacture. It does not appear, however, to have become popular or consumed on a large scale until the end of the 18th century. The district producing the finest champagne is divided into two distinct regions, popularly known as the river and the mountain respectively. The former consists of the vineyards situated on or in the neighbourhood of the banks of the Marne. The principal vine-yards in the valley, on the right bank of the river, are those at Ay, Dizy, Hautvillers and Mareuil; on the left bank, on the slopes of Epernay and parallel with the river, those at Pierry and Moussy; in the district towards the south-east, on the slopes of Avize, those of Avize, Cramant, Vertus and Mesnil. The chief vineyards in the " mountain " district are at Versy, Verzenay, Sillery, Rilly and Bou. The soil in the champagne district consists on the slopes largely of chalk and in the plain of alluvial soil. It is interspersed with some clay and sand. The chief red vines of the champagne district are the Plant-dore, Franc-Pineau and the Plant vert dore. The Plant gris, or Meunier, yields grapes of a somewhat inferior quality. The chief white vine is the Pineau, also known as Chardonay. The best qualities of wine are made almost exclusively from the black grapes. For this reason it is necessary that the process of collection, separation and pressing should proceed as quickly as possible at vintage time in order that the juice may not, through incipient fermentation, dissolve any of the colouring matter from the skins. For the same reason the grapes are collected in baskets in order to avoid excessive pressure, and are transported in these to the press house. As there is no preliminary crushing, the presses used for extracting the juice have to be of a powerful character. As a rule, three qualities of wine are made from one batch of grapes, the first pressing yielding the best quality, whilst the second and third are relatively inferior. After the must has been allowed to rest for some hours in order to effect a partial clearing, it is drawn off into barrels and fermented in the latter. The first racking and fining takes place about December. The wine is allowed to rest for a further short period, and if not bright is again racked and fined. It is then ready for bottling, but previous to this operation it is necessary to ascertain whether the wine contains sufficient remanent sugar to develop the gas " necessary for effervescence. If this is not the case, sugar is added, generally in the form of fine cane or candied sugar. The bottles employed have to be of very fine quality, as the pressure which they have to stand may be as much as 7 to 8 atmospheres or more. Formerly the loss through breakage was very great, but the art of making and selecting these bottles has greatly improved, and the loss now amounts to little more than 5%, whereas formerly 25 % and even 3o% was not an uncommon figure. In the spring-time, shortly after bottling, the rise in temperature produces a secondary fermentation, and this converts the sugar into alcohol and carbonic acid. This fermentation proceeds throughout the summer months, arid in the meantime a sediment which adheres to the side of the bottle is gradually formed. The bottles, which up till now have been in a horizontal position, are then, in order to prepare them for the next process, namely, that known as disgorging, placed in a slanting position, neck down-wards, and are daily shaken very slightly, so that by degrees the sediment works its way on to the cork. This process, which takes several weeks, is a very delicate one, and requires much skill on the part of the workman. When the whole of the sediment is on the cork, the iron clip, with which the latter is kept in position, is removed for a moment, and the force of the wine ejects the sediment and cork simultaneously. This operation also requires much skill in order to avoid an excessive escape of wine. An ingenious modification has of modern times been introduced, which consists in freezing part of the contents of the neck of the bottle. The cork may then be withdrawn and the sediment removed without any wine being lost. 1,161,339 gallons of champagne, to the value of £1,679,611, were imported into the United Kingdom. The general composition of high-class champagnes, as supplied to the English market, will be gathered from the preceding table, which is taken from a large number of analyses published by the author and a collaborator in the Analyst for January 1900. It will be seen that, compared with the dry, light red wines, the proportion of sugar, alcohol and acidity is comparatively high in champagne, and the extract (solid matter) rather low. The fruitful departments watered by the Loire and its tributaries produce considerable quantities of wine. The white growths of the Seumut: Loire have been known for many centuries, but up to 1834 were used only as still wines. At that date, however, it was found that the wines of Saumur (situated in the department of the Maine-et-Loire) could be successfully converted into sparkling wines, and since then a considerable trade in this class of wine has developed. At first it was chiefly used for blending with the wines of the Champagne when the vintage in this district was insufficient, but at the present time it is largely sold under its own name. The imports of sparkling Saumur into the United Kingdom in 1906 amounted to 114,234 gallons, valued at £73,984. Although the average wholesale value of Saumur is considerably less than that of champagne, it compares favourably with the lower grades of that article, and in flavour and character is similar to the latter. The successful evolution of the Saumur sparkling wine industry is largely due to the fact that the range of limestone hills, at the foot of which the town is situated, afford by excavation illimitable cellarage, easy 724 WINE [WINES OF FRANCE After the sediment has been removed the wine is subjected to dosage, of access and of remarkably even temperature, at a very small cost. or liqueuring. It is by this process that the degree of sweetness The method of manufacture is similar to that followed in the required to suit the particular class of wine being made is attained. Champagne. In the east of France, not far from the Jura, lies the oldest viticultural district of Europe, namely that of Burgundy. It is still so called, after the old French provinces, Upper and Lower Burgundy. It comprises the departments of the Yonne on the north-west, the Cote d'Or in the centre, and the Saone-et-Loire on the south. In the Yonne are made chiefly the white wines known to us as Chablis; in the Saone-et-Loire are made the red Burgundy. and white wines of Macon, and there is also, stretching into the department of the Rhone, the district producing the Beaujolais wines. The most important wines, however, the Burgundy wines proper, are made in the centre of this region on the range of low hills running north-east by south-west called the Cote d'Or, or the golden slope. The soil of the Cote d'Or is chiefly limestone, with a little clay and sand. The vineyards producing the best wines are situated about half-way up the slopes, those at the top producing somewhat inferior, and those at the foot and in the plain ordinary growths. Practically all the best vineyards (which are grown on flat terraces on the slopes, and not on the slopes themselves) face south-west and so get the full benefit of the sun's rays. The most important vine—in fact on the slopes of the C8te d'Or practically the only vine—is the Pineau or Noirien, but in the plain and in the districts of Macon and Beaujolais the Gamay is much cultivated. The influence of the soil on one and the same vine is interestingly illustrated by the different character of the vines grown in those districts, the Beaujolais wines having far greater distinction than those of Macon. The commune of Beaune must be regarded as the centre of the Burgundy district, and possesses numerous vineyards of the highest class. To the north of Beaune lie the famous vineyards of Chambertin, Clos Vougeot, Romanee, Richebourg, Nuits St Georges and Corton; to the south those of Pommard, Volnay, Monthelie and Meursault with its famous white wines. The vinification of the Burgundy wines takes. place in coves of 500 to 2000 gallons capacity, and it has for very many years been the common practice in vintages in which the must is deficient in saccharine to ensure the stability of the wine by the addition of some sugar in the cuve. The first rackings generally take place in February or March, and the second in July. The practice of sugaring has ensured greater stability and keeping power to the wines, which formerly were frequently irregular in character and difficult to preserve. There is no official classification of the Burgundy wines, but the following is a list comprising some of the finest growths in geographical order, from north to south, together with the localities in or near which they are situated. Analyses of Champagne.* Alcohol Total Sugar Total Carbonic No. Description of Wine. Vintage. per cent. Acid. Extract. Ash. Tartaric as invert Glycerin. Acid. by vol. Acid. Sugar). I Champagne nature 1892 14'01 5.22 20.95 1.17 2'20 3.36 7'55 8'27 2 Brut 1892 12.57 3'23 19.78 2.53 2.76 I.32 7.64 7.79 3 Dry 1892 13.50 5.99 27.07 1.16 2•IO 9.20 9'IO 9'55 4 Extra sec 1893 13'53 5'01 22.95 I•Io 2.18 7.84 6.5o 8.12 5 Extra dry 1893 12'56 5.43 23'18 1.13 2'49 7.23 8.18 7'75 6 Dry 1893 14'44 4'8o 30.33 1.05 2.04 13.86 9.05 For wines exported to England very little liqueur is employed; in the case of some wines, known as Brut or Nature, none at all is added. Wines intended for consumption in France receive a moderate quantity of liqueur, but those for the Russian and South American markets, where very sweet wines are liked, receive more. This liqueur is made of fine wine, brandy and candied sugar. The liqueuring is nowadays generally carried out by means of a machine which regulates the quantity to a nicety. Champagne is not, as is the case, for instance, with the classified growths of the Gironde, the product of a single vineyard. The bulk of the wine is made in vine-yards belonging to small peasant proprietors, who sell their produce to the great mercantile houses. The latter blend the wines received from the various proprietors, and the chief aim in this blending is to maintain the character of the wine which is sold under a particular trade mark or brand. Similarly, it has been said that, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as vintage champagne, for it is almost invariably the practice, in order to maintain the general character of a specific brand, to blend the new wines with some old wine or wines which have been vatted for this particular purpose. These vattings, and indeed all blendings of any particular batch of wines, are termed cuvees. The vintage date, therefore, which is borne by " vintage champagne," refers rather to the date of vintage prior to bottling than to the age of the wine, although the main bulk of the wine of a certain ' ` vintage " will actually have been made in the year indicated. It is not unusual in the case of champagne to add some sugar to the must in the years in which the latter is deficient in this regard. No legitimate objection can be raised to this practice inasmuch as champagne in any case must be regarded in the light of a manufactured article rather than as a natural product. The principal centres of the champagne trade are at Reims, Epernay, Ay and Avize. The total output of the Marne district has for the past three years averaged about 9 million gallons, but it occasionally runs as high as 20 million gallons. A great part of this wine, how-ever, is not suitable for making high-class champagne. As a rule, the supply considerably exceeds the demand, and the stock in hand at the present time amounts to roughly four years' consumption of finished wine, but to this must be added the stock existing In cask, which is considerable. For the period 1906–1907 the total number of bottles in stock amounted to over 121 millions, the bottles exported to over 23 millions, and the bottles required for internal commerce in France to something over Io millions. There is, thus, at the present a total annual consumption of rather over 30 millions of bottles. The chief trade in champagne is with the United Kingdom, to which the finest varieties are exported. In the year 1906, 1. Red Wines. Growth. Les Arvelets. Clos de la Perriere. Chambertin, Clos de Biz, Clos St Jacques. Clos de Tart, Les Bonnes Mares, Les Larrets. Les Musigny. Clos de Vougeot. Les Grandes Eschezeaux. Romanee-Conti, Les Richebeurgs, La Tache. Romanee la Tache. Les Saint-Georges, Les Vaucrains, Les Porrets, Les Pruliers, Les Boudots, Les Thorey. Le Corton, Le Clos-du-Roi-Corton. Les Vergelesses. Les Feves, Les Greves, Le Clos de la Mousse. Les Arvelets, Les Rugiens. Les Caillerets, Les Champans. Les Santenots, Le Clos-Tavannes. 2. White Wines. Les Perrieres, Les Genevrieres. Montrachet, Les Chevaliers-Montrachet Le Batard Montrachet. Aloxe . Savigny Beaune . Pommard Volnay . Santenay Locality. Fixey . Fixin . Chambertin Morey. . Chambolle Vougeot Flagey Vosne. Nuits . Meursault Puligny . An interesting feature of the Cote d'Oris the Hospice de Beaune, a celebrated charitable institution and hospital, the revenues of which are principally derived from certain vineyards in Beaune, Corton, Volnay and Pommard. The wines of these vineyards are sold every year by auction early in November, and the prices they make serve as standards for the valuation of the other growths. To the south of Lyons, in the department of the Dr3me, are made in the district of Valence the celebrated Hermitage red and white Hermitage. wines. The quality of some of these, particularly of the sweet white wines, is considered very fine. The quantity produced is very small. The red wines made at the present time are after the style of Burgundy and possess good keeping qualities. If we except the wines of Roussillon, produced in the old province of that name, in the extreme south of France, the above constitute the principal varieties of French wines known in the United Kingdom. They form, however, but a small fraction of the entire production of the country. The most prolific viticultural district of France is that known as the Midi, comprising the four departments of the Herault, Aude, Gard, and the Pyrenees-Orientales. Thus in 1901 the department of the Herault alone produced nearly 300 million gallons of wine, or approximately a quarter of the whole output of France. The average amount of wine made iii the four departments for the past three years has been roughly Soo million gallons. These wines formerly were largely exported as vin de cargaison to South America, the United States, Australia, &c., and were also much employed for local consumption in other parts of France. Owing, however, to the fact that viticulture has made much progress in South America, in California, in Australia and particularly in Algeria, and also to the fact that the quality of these Midi wines has fallen off considerably since the phylloxera period, the outlet for them has become much reduced. These and other reasons, notably the manufacture of much fictitious wine with the aid of sugar (fortunately stopped by the rigid new wine laws), led to the grave wine crisis, which almost amounted to a revolution in the Midi in the spring and summer of 1907. Viticulture has made great strides in Algeria during recent years. The first impetus to this department was given by the destruction Algeria, or crippling of many of the French vineyards during the phylloxera period. The present output amounts to roughly 150 million gallons, and the acreage under the vine has increased from 107,048 hectares in 1890 to 167,657 hectares in 1905. The wines, moreover, of Algeria are on the whole of decidedly fair quality, possessing body and strength and also stability. In this regard they are superior to the wines of the Midi.
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