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preface 1
preface 2


chapter 1
chapter 2
chapter 3


I will now pass in review the qualities and defects of which the senses of taste and smell take cognizance.
  • AROMA (Aroma, It., Arome, Fr.) :—By aroma must not be understood simply those odors which are delicate and agreeable, as when speaking of a bouquet; for example the foxy odor or aroma of certain American grapes, varieties of the species Vitis labrusca, and of the wine made from them, is far from agreeable.

The aroma is the odor which comes from the skins of aromatic grapes,(1) and varies in quantity and quality, according to the variety of grape and the degree of its maturity. It passes into the wine in wine making; the aroma therefore exists in the grapes as well as in the wine.

  • BOUQUET (Profumo, It.; Bouquet, Fr.).(2) — Every fine wine exhales an odor peculiar to itself, which is always delicate and pleasing. Exception may be made of artificial bouquets, which, if not absolutely disagreeable in themselves, are always too strong and intense in a wine.

The bouquet is due to the volatilization at ordinary temperature of certain substances known as ethers, which are formed by the reactions of the acids and alcohols in the wine during its process of aging. (3) Thus, the bouquet is not to be found ready formed in the grape, as is the case of the aroma.

  • SEVE (Abboccato, It.; Sbve, Fr.; Gohr, Ger.). — The "seve" is neither bouquet nor aroma; it is a certain savor, a certain fragrant quality of the wine due to a smooth and delicate blending of perfections, of aromas and bouquets, which is perceived when the wine is in the mouth and in the act of swallowing, affecting the olfactory organs through the internal nasal ducts.

The bouquet and aroma affect the senses before, the seve after drinking the wine.

Carpene, writing of Moscato de Segesta, says: "Of the most delicate fragrance and exquisite flavor. It is a dainty, fruity wine, which fills the mouth with an harmonious ensemble of delicious flavors, which cannot be described, but can only be experienced."

Seve, which is especially the property of fine wines, is due to the presence of certain substances which are formed in the grapes during the short time preceding their complete maturity; these substances are peculiar to certain varieties of grapes, and owe their existence also to careful cultivation, as well as to certain conditions of climate and soil.(4)

In analyzing wine, writes Faure, I have observed that fine and delicate wines, those renowned for their flavor and general high quality, contain a certain glutinous, viscid substance, which exists only in almost inappreciable quantities in ordinary wines, and is quite absent from inferior ones.

This principle, to which wine owes its seve, has been called by Faure cenanthin(5) or flower of wine, and is only found in grapes which are completely mature. Some vineyards, which usually produce grapes containing this substance, fail to do so in stormy seasons. The only vines containing it in such years are those produced on dry sandy or gravelly soils. The same variety of vines, which, when grown on an appropriate soil, gives a wine full of seve, will, when grown on a rich, heavy, or clayey one, produce a wine containing little or no cenanthin.

Thus it can be seen that the preeminence of high-class wines ia not due to the caprice of the taster, but to actual differences of composition, and to the presence of principles not found in inferior wines.

The ordinary wines of the three communes of the Gironde, where the four high-class Bordeaux wines are produced, are, in general, poor in cenanthin. These four wines, however, contain a larger quantity of the substance, as may be seen by the following:

OEnanthin contained in vines of —

High Class   Ordinary  
Chateaux Margaux 1.25 Margaux 0.70
Chateau Lafite 1.20 Pauillac 0.75
Chateau Latour 1.10 Pessac 0.50
Haut-Brion 0.65    
  • FLAVOR (Sapore, It.; Saveur, Fr.). — In this character we have the effect of the wine on the sense of taste, and more particularly on the tongue, which best distinguishes between various tastes. The flavor is distinct from either aroma, bouquet, or "seve"; unlike the last, it does not affect the sense of smell. As has been shown, the seve is perceived after the wine has passed the base of the tongue, the soft palate; the taste, on the contrary, or better, the flavors, are perceived almost immediately, and continue to affect the tongue and its sides, or posterior portion, with a series of sensations which are agreeable or disagreeable, according to the nature of the flavors and their degree of intensity.(6)
  • NEUTRAL FLAVOR (Sapore neutro, It.; Saveur neutre, Fr.). — A wine is said to be neutral when it has no marked aroma or taste (7) Wines of neutral taste are the best base for the making of imitative wines, as they acquire most easily the taste of the wines with which they are blended.
  • VAPID, FLAT, INSIPID (Insipido, It.; Plat, Fr.). — A wine is vapid when it is lacking in alcohol and vinosity, or when, without having any defect due to secondary fermentations, it lacks some of those qualities which together render a wine agreeable.

An insipid wine may have plenty of color, however. Insipid wines are very subject to unfavorable changes.

  • SAPID (Sapido, It.; Sapide, Fr.). — A wine is described as sapid; it is meant that the acids are agreeable in quality and proportionate in quantity.
  • VINOUS, VINOSITY (8)( Vinoso, Vinosita, It.; Vineux, Vinosite, "Fr.). — A wine is said to possess vinosity when it imparts in a certain degree that sensation of warmth characteristic of the alcoholic flavor.
  • WEAK (Debole, Vino die scappa in bocca, It.; Faible, pen alcoolique, Fr.). A wine is said to be weak when it is of low alcoholic strength, or when its alcoholic contents are not in proportion to its other constituents. Wines of this character have in general little flavor, are insipid, and difficult to keep, on account of the gummy or mucilaginous substances which they contain, and to which they owe what little flavor they have.
  • LIGHT (Leggero, Sottile, It.; Leger, Mince, Fr.). — A light wine is one which is of good quality, but at the same time contains a relatively small amount of color, body, and alcohol, no prominent flavors, and 110 sweetness. The general effect of a light wine is one of delicacy, though there exists a just equilibrium between the various constituents.
  • SOFT, MILD (Mollc, It.; Mou, Fr.). — A mild wine is one which does not affect the palate by its harshness or astringency, as do rougher wines. Softness characterizes wines which are neither sweet nor dry, and not too alcoholic.
  • ALCOHOLIC (Alcoolico, It.; Alcoolique, Fr.). — When a wine is spoken of as alcoholic, it is generally meant to be one containing a relatively high per cent of alcohol, but of an unsatisfactory and unsatisfying quality.
  • GENEROUS (Generoso, It.; Genereux, Fr.). — A generous wine is one with plenty of alcohol, but of a smooth, warming, strengthening character; one of which a small glass produces a feeling of wel'-being and sensible tonic effects.
  • WARM, HOT (Caldo, It.; Cliaud, Fr.). — A hot wine is one containing a good deal of alcohol, which produces a somewhat burning sensation in the mouth and stomach.
  • SHARP, LIVELY ( Vivo, It.; Vif, Fr.). — This is said of a wine which, without being pronouncedly acid or alcoholic, affects the palate vividly. It is a quality compatible with lightness, but not with smoothness.
  • FULLNESS, ROUNDNESS (Stoffa,It.; Etoffe, Fr.). — Expressive of a robust homogeneity, which gives the impression of solidity and good constitution.
  • BODY (Corpo, It.; Corps, Fr.). — A wine is heavy bodied when it is rich in extractive matter and has high vinosity.
  • HEADY (Fumosa, It.; Fumeux, Fr.). — Wines which contain much carbonic acid, and thus go quickly to the head, produce effects that are usually confounded with those of drunkenness, but which, in reality, differ very much from them physiologically. Wines of this character are unwholesome.
  • DENSE, PULPY (Carnoso, Polputo, Maccherone, It.; Charnu, Pulpeux, Lourd, Fr.). — Expressive of a wine that has what one might almost call a pasty consistency.
  • HEAVY, COARSE (Grave, Gravone, Pesante, Capitoso,It.; Lourd, Gros, Pesant, Capiteux, Fr.). — Wines which have much body and little alcohol, and which, even when drunk in small quantities, go to the head and weigh on the stomach.
  • CLEAN (Franco, It.; Franc, Fr.). — Said of a wine which does not leave the slightest suspicion of any taste indicating unsoundness, or of any defect due to the bad condition of the grapes from which it was made, or to neglect or improper handling of the wine.
  • HARMONIOUS (Armonico, It.; Harmonique, Fr.). — Well constituted. This is said of a wine when its constituents are in exactly the proper proportions, well balanced and blended, forming a perfect whole, which is at the same time pleasing and satisfactory.
  • WINE THAT ENDS WELL ( Vino che finisce bene, It.; Vin qui finit bien, Fr.). — This is an expression used by the taster to define an impression that remains for a certain time after drinking a fine wine; it means a wine in which the constituents are harmonious, and remain so even after the wine has passed from the mouth, impressing the senses with nothing but pleasing sensations to the end. These sensations continue even after the wine has been swallowed, insomuch that one might almost say that it wished to prolong the pleasure of the drinker by a fresh visit to the organs of taste.
  • WINE THAT ENDS QUICKLY (Vino che finisce presto, It.; Vin qui finit vite, Fr.). — Wine that leaves but an ephemeral sensation in the mouth; that is to say, almost as soon as the wine is swallowed all trace of it is gone, and the palate, tongue, and stomach seek in vain to recall its character, flavor, bouquet — all have gone, all have disappeared.
  • WINE THAT ENDS BADLY ( Vino che finisce male, It.; Vin qui finit mal, Fr.). — A wine that after swallowing leaves a disagreeable taste, bitter, woody, etc., in the mouth.
  • DELICATE (Dejicato, It.; Delicate, Fr.). — A wine to be delicate must be perfectly harmonious, soft, and agreeable.
  • FINE, OR HIGH QUALITY (Finn, It.; Fin, Fr.). — A wine that unites a natural delicacy with an exceptionally agreeable flavor and delicious bouquet.
  • MUTE (Muto, It.; Muet, Fr.). — Said of unfermented or only partially fermented wines; they are characterized by a sweetish or gummy taste. They are wines which have been made from musts treated with sulphurous anhydride or fortified with alcohol. The wines that are generally made "mute" are white wines that are to be used to sweeten liquors or to increase the sugar contents of new wines, or that are to be used for the manufacture of syrups by concentration in vacuo.

When a wine is made mute by the use of sulphurous anhydride, the risk is run, if too much is used, of giving the wine, first, a taste of sulph- hydric acid, and afterward more or less pronounced bad flavors due to the sulphates that are formed. These wines are kept in cool cellars, where the temperature is as nearly as possible constant, and in strong and well-hooped casks. They ought to be clarified, prefereably with gelatine. In order to obtain a perfect clarification, about 8 or 10 grammes of tannin are added to each hectolitre before putting in the finings (one tenth per m., or about 1.25 ounces per 100 gallons).

  • SMOOTH ( Vellutato, Morbido, It.; Veloute, Moelleux, FT.). — A smooth wine fills the mouth with its grateful flavors and fagrance, imparting its delightful series of sensations without the slightest harshness.

This quality is due to the presence of a certain quantity of glycerine, and not to glucose, as at first one might be inclined to think. In this latter case the wine would be called "amabile" (fruity).

It is glycerine rather than glucose which gives a wine that kind of smoothness which might almost be called nnctuosity.

In very high-class wines the smoothness or unctuosity is due not only to glycerine, but also to other bodies which have not yet been well studied; they occur more especially in wines of very favorable years; that is, of years when the season has been so propitious that the grapes have been able to attain an exceptionally perfect maturation.

Many chemists have attempted to determine the nature of these substances. II Faure, who studied the wines of the Gironde, believes that this unctuosity is due to the same substance as seve, a substance which is of similar character to pectine and mucilage, and which he called "oenanthin." Batilliat claims to have found in the high-class wines of Bordeaux the peculiar substance which causes their unctuosity, and which he calls " croatine."

Mulder, on the other hand, from observations made on the wines of the Gironde, considers this unctuous substance as analogous to dextrine.

Whatever may be the nature of this substance, it is useful to know that the wines in which it occurs, if not well kept, are liable to undergo an almost insensible fermentation, which destroys this substance, and so takes away from the wine that quality which is due to it; pasteurizing or heating will also deprive a wine of this quality.

  • FRUITY (Amabile, It.; Suave, Fr.; the Latin, Suavis vel subdulcis). — A wine which is very faintly sweet on account of retaining a small quantity of grape sugar or glucose.

As is said sometimes: " Quel vinctto cosi amabile va giu senza accor- gersene."

Technically, a fruity wine cannot be said to possess seve because it tends towards sweetness. However, a wine which is very slightly sweet may possess a good seve in the sense that it produces those sensations which are the quality of wines of the highest class.

  • SWEETISH (Dolcigno, It.; Doucereux, Fr.). — A wine is said to be sweetish when its sweetness is undecided, unsatisfactory, and not in harmony with the other components of the wine; it is due usually to a bad fermentation and incomplete defecation, or it may be, with an ordinary table wine rich in mucilaginous substances, that it is becoming sick or undergoing one of those insensible fermentations, that is, the tartaric fermentation, to which such wines are so subject in the spring. In the latter case there is a moment when the wine can be detected in becoming slightly sweetish, and if prompt measures are not taken it will in a short time be completely spoiled. This turning flat and sweetish is due to the mucilaginous substances which, under the action of dilute acids and a favorable temperature, become transformed into substances resembling dextrine and other saccharine matters, which give place, or rather favor, when the alcoholic fermentation has not been of a thorough character, the development of secondary fermentations.
  • SWEET (Dolce, It.; Doux, Fr.). — A sweet wine is one in which the sweetness is pleasant, because not excessive, and in harmony with the other principal ingredients, and more particularly with the alcoholic contents.

" Il vino dolce e glorioso/ Kende I'uomo pingue e carnoso/ E allargo to stomaco."

  • OVER SWEET (Dolciastro, It.; Doucedtre, Fr.). — This is said of wines which are too sweet, or in which the sweetness does not seem to be well combined; that is, the sugar seems to have been lately dissolved in the wine.
  • HONEY SWEET, SICKLY SWEET (Dolce smaccato, Melacchino, It.; Doux fade, Mielleux, Fr.). — Of white wines when they are very sweet and of a nauseating sweetness, resembling must more than wine. Melacchino is perhaps a corruption of melichino, meaning cider — vinum ex mails, pomatium of the Latins.
  • NEW OR YOUNG WINE (Vino giovane, nuovo, It.; Vin jeune, Fr.). — A wine which has been made but a short time, and which has not undergone those changes and transformations in its composition through which it acquires new qualities, due to the new substances which are formed, and which render it more agreeable to the palate, and in the case of fine wines impart bouquet and even seve.

Another cause of variation in the character of wines is the deposition in whole or in part of various substances on the walls of the cask, or in the form of lees at the bottom, that are thus eliminated from the composition of the wine.

These young wines, compared with their condition at maturity, are more heavy bodied, more deeply colored (green or acid), more astringent, and sometimes rough and harsh.

These wines are, finally, more nutritious than after they become mature; it must not be forgotten, however, that a wine which is too young is somewhat indigestible.

  • GREEN (Verde, Verdetto, Bruschetto, It.; Vert, Aigrelet, Fr.). — Green wine is not synonymous with young wine, as might be supposed at first; greenness is a quality which a new wine may and generally does have.

A wine is said to be green when it has an acidity and roughness which, though pronounced, is of such a character that it will disappear with time.

Thus, incompletely ripened grapes give a green wine, owing to a small quantity of volatile acid and acid salts which they contain, and more especially bi-tartrate of potash.

Greenness is characteristic of certain new wines, and also of many mature wines produced in northern countries.

  • TART (Acidulo, Acidetto, It.; Acidule, Aigrelet, Fr.). — Said of a wine possessing an agreeable and sufficient acidity, due to the presence of free tartaric acid and sometimes of carbonic acid, especially when this latter is in such amount as to become free easily, and so affect sensibly the tip of the tongue.
  • HARSHLY ACID (Acerbo, It,; Acerbe, Fr.).—Expresses a sharp, harsh acidity, like that in sour or unripe fruit, which puts the teeth on edge and draws up the lips and mouth. This acidity comes from immature seeds or green stems, which communicate their acids, such as malic, racemic, etc., to the wine; in other words, the acid is the same chemically as that found in unripe fruit.(9)

Wine produced from grapes which for some cause or other have not reached their maturity, are always more or less harshly acid.

With time this repellant acidity disappears, for the reason, according to Dessaignes, that the malic acid, after eight or ten months, decomposes into succinic and butyric acids(10)

  • MATURE WINE ( Vino maturo, It.; Vin mur, Fr.). — A mature wine is one which has quite developed all its characteristic qualities, and which is therefore ready to be drunk, or to be placed in bottles, where, in aging, it will go on improving.
  • DECREPIT WINE ( Vino decrepito, passato, It.; Vin passe, affiabli, Fr.). — The caducity of a wine is the stage, according to Dr. Guyot, where it has passed its prime maturity, and when it has already commenced to deteriorate; when, in other words, it has lost some or all of the qualities due to its volatile principles and other constituents.

A decrepit wine has lost its fragrance, has become flat; it has not contracted any disagreeable or repelling flavor, for the taste of age that these wines have cannot be called disagreeable in the same sense as a wine which is attacked by the disease called bitterness, but it has a slight bitterness which recalls that of some resinous substances.

These wines, when they find themselves in favorable conditions, as when exposed to the air, decompose readily.

"A wine which has been exposed to the cold of winter and the heat of summer acquires in the month of September the taste which Italians call 'settembrino,' which is exhausted and 'passe.'" — M. Salvini.

  • DRY (11); ( Vino asciutto, It.; Vin sec, Fr.). — This is said of a wine which leaves in the mouth a sense of dryness. It is a characteristic of highly alcoholic and somewhat astringent wines. " Pomino leaves the mouth - dry," say the Tuscans. A dry wine is not only without even the slightest taste of glucose, but it does not contain, or only in the most minute degree, the quality of smoothness due to a certain quantity of glycerine, and, in the case of high-class wines, of other substances.
  • ASTRINGENT (Aspretto, It.; Un peu fipre, Fr.). — When the tannin is somewhat noticeable.
  • ROUGH (Austero, Pavido, Allappante, It.; Austere, Apre, Picotant, Fr.). — These terms are used of wines which, on account of their excess of tannin, or rather oenotannin, are in the highest degree rough and astringent. Their flavor, which is somewhat nauseous, recalls immediately that of ink, or of ferruginous substances.

In drinking a rough, overastringent wine, a feeling of dryness is produced on the tongue and along the oesophagus. The daily use of wines of this character, by persons of delicate constitution, may occasion organic disorders.

This roughness tends to diminish with time, and may completely disappear; the cause being that the tannin, under the influence of oxygen, gives place to a slow formation of carbonic and gallic acids.

OEnotannin (12) possesses tonic properties, and insures the conservation of the wine by causing coagulation, and consequently the elimination of many substances which the wine contains, substances whose presence is dangerous from their instability, and because they favor the development of those organisms to which are due secondary fermentations.

High-class and fine wines when young, and even sometimes when old, are more or less markedly rough; this roughness they lose with time.

  • HARSH (Duro, It.; Dur, Fr.). — Harsh wines are generally young wines rich in tartar and tannin, and which, consequently, leave a repellant impression on the papillae of the tongue and palate. Harsh wines are lacking in delicacy and value.

Harshness, of itself, is a defect; ordinarily it is due to the soil, and in that case the wine is also heavy bodied. This defect may also be owing to unskillful preparation or handling.

Harsh wines keep easily, and can be kept for a longer or shorter time, according to their quality.

The life of ordinary or common wines, which are harsh, is limited to a few, two or three, years. These wines in losing their harshness gain little or nothing in value, in fact, as they lose the defect of harshness, they acquire another, that due to tartaric fermentation.

Harsh wines which have good quality and body keep for a long time, and after some years lose their harshness; they thus become more homogeneous, harmonious, and pleasing, or as the experts express it, they become rounded.

If these wines are drunk before they have lost a portion of their harshness, they are not very hygienic.

  • BITTERISH (Amarognolo, It.; Un pen amer, FT.). — This is not a defect; it is even up to a certain point a good quality; that is, when the bitterness is very slight, delicate, aromatic, in short, pleasing; as a rule, a slight touch of bitterness is characteristic of densely colored wines.

Very often this quality is due to the presence of carbonic acid in solution; for example, in young wines or those which have been treated by the Italian method called "il governo."*

Sometimes, in the common language, all wines are called bitter, but with impropriety, which are not sweet; from which the Tuscan proverb, Vino amaro ticnlo caro, which means, the wine which is not sweet is always of best quality.

  • BITTER (Amaro, It.; Amkre, Fr.). — Bitterness is a defect, and may be due, as in general it is, to a real malady caused by a micro-organism. " L'amertume est pour nous la maladic organiquc des vins de Pinot." — Vergnette Lamotte.

Wines of this kind have a harsh, repelling, nauseating bitterness, due to secondary fermentations, or in the case of young wines, to principles which they have extracted from the skins or stalks during fermentation. According to M. Nessler the tendency of a wine to this disease is augmented by remaining long in contact with the pomace.

The bitter taste affects principally the posterior portions of the tongue and palate, and the sensation persists for some time.This fault, which most oenologists consider confined to red wine, is found also, we are told by M. Ottavi, in white wines. He claims to have encountered it in the white wines of Piedmont.

Nessler observes that white wines are less subject to this defect or malady than red, thus admitting, by implication, that they do sometimes become bitter.

The bitter secondary fermentation may develop in any wine, but is more frequent in fine and delicate wines. In common wines the disease usually occurring is the tartaric fermentation. In general, highly colored wines, rich in extractive matters, are most liable to the attacks of the disease of bitterness.

The high-class wines of Bourgogne, made from the Pinot, not excluding even those made in the most favorable years, are subject to attack by this disease.

In the finest wines Vergnette Lamotte distinguishes two kinds of bitterness:
That which attacks the wine during the first two or three years of its life, and which is the most dangerous; and that which shows itself in old and decrepit wines. This second bitterness, due perhaps more to chemical reactions than to the action of ferments, is only relatively an ill, as the wine can be consumed before it reaches complete decrepitude.

Pasteur holds that even this second bitterness, which Vergnette Lamotte lays to the account of decrepitude, is caused by the same organism which determines the first kind.

This organism may remain inert for a longer or shorter period, till in the course of aging the wine presents the necessary favorable conditions for its development.

In conclusion, I will say that the bitter taste is a somewhat serious defect; a defect which may be more or less marked, as it may be transitory or permanent.(13)

  • EARTHY TASTE (Terroso, It.; Terreux, Gout de terroir, Gout de pikrre a fusil, Fr.). — By the term earthy a single definite taste must not be understood, but divers flavors which are all in general disgusting or bad.

In tasting, these flavors are perceived by the posterior part of the mouth, and may have their origin in the soil, in the use of inappropriate fertilizers, in the plants supporting the vines, or in the weeds infesting the vineyard, etc.

"The earthy taxte is a vague term," writes Ottavi, and with justice, for it is a taste which is not always very definite, resembling sometimes earth, manure, flint, slate, nuts, willow, grass, etc. It is well known that Aristolochia, Mercurialis, etc., if allowed to grow in the vineyard, communicate their flavor to the grapes, and therefore to the wine. Pliny was not mistaken when he wrote: "In general, the vine takes up with an astonishing facility the flavors of neighboring plants. The grapes grown in the marshy soils of Padua have a taste of willow."

Generally the earthy taste is not found in high-class or fine wines. I say generally, because there are exceptions; for example, Chablis has a slight flavor of flint, and yet it is a wine of a certain renown.
Richelieu, speaking to Louis XV of a certain wine of Graves, said: " II sent la pierre a fusil comme une vieille carabine."

The flinty taste, writes Petit Lafitte, has something vinous and energetic, which exactly recalls the sensation experienced by the olfactory organs when a flint recently struck by the steel is held under the nose.(14)

According to the experiments made by Aubergier, the principle to which wines owe their earthy taste is found neither in the seeds nor in the stems, but in the skins of the grapes. From 15 kilogrammes of pomace he extracted 30 grammes of a volatile oil so acrid and penetrating that a single drop was sufficient to infect 10 litres of the best brandy, f This fact supports the opinion of those who see in the prolonged contact of the wine with the pomace the cause of the earthy taste.

Certainly, by improving the soil, by the use of proper fertilizers, by a good defecation of the must, by a prompt removal of the wine from the pomace, by clarification and rackings, the taste under discussion is much diminished, and sometimes completely eliminated.

  • TASTE OF SOIL (Sa di terra, It.; Gout de terre, Fr.). — When the wine has that taste of soil or of clay, due to the presence of soil in the must during fermentation. The soil in the must may come from the skins of the grapes, which may easily become covered with it when the bunches lie too close to the ground, or may have become mixed with the grapes accidentally or by carelessness. This taste may come, also, from the clay which the peasants sometimes use as cement to close the leaks in tubs, vats, or other utensils.
  • TASTE OF BRINE, SALT (Sa di salmastro, di salso, It.* Gout de saumdtre, de sale, Fr.). — The wine has sometimes the taste of common or culinary salt. This defect is found in wines grown in soil rich in salt, or in localities near the sea.
  • COOKED TASTE (Sa di cotto, It.; Gout de cuit, Fr.). — If the wine has a taste more or less pronounced of must or caramel, due generally to the action of fire upon the must when the latter has been concentrated carelessly, or by direct heat.

This taste is caused, also, by an over-maturity of the grapes, as happens in very hot weather, and especially when the grapes are thick- skinned; it may be caused, also, by frozen grapes, or by the freezing of the wine; in the latter case especially when the pieces of ice formed in the wine are not carefully removed.

  • RESINOUS TASTE (Sa di resina, It.; Gout de resine, Fr.). — This taste is found in wines which have been kept in receptacles made of resinous wood.
  • BREAD TASTE (Sa di pane, It.; Gout de pain, Fr.). — Some sweet liquor wines have an agreeable taste which reminds one of the odor of fresh bread.
  • TASTE OF DRUGS, MEDICINAL TASTE (Sa, di droghe, It.; Gout de drogues, Fr.). — A taste due to the addition of some infusion or drug to the wine.

(1) The ancients held aromatic wines in high estimation. They added to the must, during fermentation, different varieties of apples, then cane, amomum, cassia, saffron, ginger, and other species of aromas, to communicate the odor that they desired.

The aroma most highly appreciated was that obtained by the addition of myrrh. We read, in fact, in Pliny: Lautissima apud priscos mna erant mi/rrhss odore condita, ut adparet Plauti fabula, quae Persa iscribitur, quamquam in ea et calamos addijubet. Peppered wine, which was prepared by fermenting the must with apples and pepper, was very much appreciated in the time of Pliny.

(2)Even the bouquet of wines has not escaped imitation and adulteration. The manufacture of artificial bouquets or perfumes for wines has become a regular industry in France and Germany, where it is carried on on a large scale. There is a large consumption of such articles as "bouquet" of Pomard, or of Bourgogne, extract of Bourdeaux, the "Kancio des vins," "seve" of Baumfi, of Medoc, of St. Julien, of Champagne, of Sillery, etc.

The substances most usually employed to add an artificial bouquet to dinner wines, are: Florentine iris, raspberries, cloves, vine flowers, mignonette, nutmegs, bitter almonds, etc. To these should be added certain chemical products which are prepared more especially in Germany. All these attempts to imitate nature have been but very partially successful.

A wine may be perfumed artificially, but it is impossible to give it "seve." This artificial perfume is always too pronounced, and is never as delicate as the natural bouquet of wine. These artificial bouquets impress the sense of smell, but not that of taste. If a perfumed wine, then, is tasted without being smelled, its natural " seve " can be distinguished. Artificial aromas are not lasting, and gradually disappear from the wine.

(3) Chemically, the difference between aroma and bouquet is, according to Maumene' and Berthelot, the following:

The former is due to certain hydro-carbons and to the products of their oxidation;perhaps, also, as Ordonneau states, to the ether of a high, fatty acid produced by intercellular alcoholic fermentation, and which, being fixed, remains in the pellicle; this has enabled the experimenter to obtain it from the pomace of Polle Blanche.

The latter seems to be due to a mixture of aldehydes with one or more essential oils and of numerous ethers, the product of the combination of fatty and other polyatonic acids with ethylic and other alchohols; there are, for instance, valerian, amylic, propylacetic, etc.

(4)The result of many observations and studies regarding the influence of soil composition or the character of wine, may be summed up as follows: High alcoholic strength is characteristic of wines grown on calcareous soils; color depends on the iron in the soil; smoothness on the alumina and on the variety of grape; bouquet on the silica.

Chambertin, writes Julian, is a wine which has a good color, much seve, is very delicate and smooth, faultless in taste, and possessing the most agreeable bouquet.

The vineyard which produces this wine has the following soil composition:
Alkaline salts - 0.031
Carbonate of calcium and magnesium 4.425
Ferric oxide - - - - - 2.961
Phosphoric acid 0.235
Alumina - 2.063
Silica (soluble) 0.110
Organic matter 1.973
Insoluble residue (silica) 89.302

(5) By oenathin should not be understood, as perhaps was done by Faure, a single chemical compound, but rather a comlpex mixture of ethers.

(6)With regard to tastes in general, writers are at variance. The greater or less number of tastes and the possibility of their classification have been discussed. The number of tastes may be considered as infinite, and therefore a classification almost impossible. Such classification, however, has been attempted. Ilaller distinguishes twelve tastes, which have been reduced by Linmuus to ten: sweet, acrid, fatty, astringent, bitter, viscous, saltish, watery, and insipid. Vintschgau proposes another taste — metallic.

Physiologists distinguish in the sense of taste four specific energies, that is, four elementary sensations, viz.: sweet, bitter, acid, and salt. The first two affect only the nerves of taste; the acid taste, on the other hand, if too strong, may cause pain, for which reason Vintschgau believed that acid and salt tastes affect also the sense of feeling, as is seen in touching concentrated solutions of acids.

Nothing is known with certainty as to the way in which different tastes are distinguished, and we must be content with supposing that each flavor — sweet, sour, bitter, salt — acts upon special nerves which serve to distinguish them. This is the more probable, as different parts of the tongue are unequally affected by different tastes. We are still more in the dark regarding the intimate nature of the tastes, the chemical composition of the substances which they characterize seeming to have no connection with them.

The chemical composition of a substance has nothing to do with its sweet, bitter, or salt taste; with regard to the acid taste, however, it may be said that every substance which tastes acid is also an acid from the chemical point of view.

(7)The vineyardist in making a choice of varieties to plant should keep in view the flavor which they will give to his wine. If he is planting in a new locality, where it cannot be known what kind of grape will there best develop its flavor, he should choose a variety which gives a wine of neutral taste. The French, who are masters of the art of imitating wines, have this maxim: "There are more buyers than there are connoisseurs."

Trusting to the truth of this saying, they have been able to establish that great commerce of wine which has become one of the principal sources of riches to France. The cities of Cette, Bordeaux, Marseilles, Lunel, Montpellier, and others of the south of France are centers of the production of large quantities of " wines of imitation." Do you wish to make, for example, a hectolitre of fine Bordeaux ?
Red wine of the south (Roussillon or Narbonne) ... - -.- 60 litres.
White wine of good quality —.25 litres.
Old wine of Alicante 12 litres.
Old wine of Malaga - 3 litres. "
Conservatore enantico " 25 grammes.
The cenanthic conservative is dissolved in about a litre of warm white wine; the whole is then well mixed and allowed to stand for two weeks. During this time a slow, insensible fermentation goes on, which completely mixes or blends the ingredients. The wine is then drawn into sulphured casks, clarified, racked again, and the Bordeaux is made.

This, however, is too expensive a Bordeaux; here is a cheaper one:
Red common Spanish wine , 70 litres.
Wine of Narbonne 25 litres.
Wine of Malaga 5 litres.
Bordeaux extract A quarter of a bottle.
Enanthic conservative _ 30 grammes.
This is treated in the same way as the first.

If a still cheaper Bordeaux is desired —
Ordinary red wine _ 81 litres.
Roussillon and Narbonne - 15 litres.
Old brandy 4 litres.
Bordeaux extract -A quarter of a bottle.
O Enanthic conservative — 30 grammes.

The above information is for the edification of those who prefer a bottle of this bordeax to a bottle of Chianti of Valpolicella of Valtellina, and many other italian wines which are fare superior to these French concoctions.

(8) Many use this word in a somewhat different sense; by it they mean "wine-like", that is, having a full supply of the quality or qualities which preemintently distinguish wine from other alcoholic beverages—trans.

(9)This acidity must not be confounded with that due to the acetification of the wine. This excessive acidity may be amended by an indirect method, which is that suggested by Gall, and which aims to correct the must before fermentation. Or some may have recourse to "marmorizzazione;" that is, the addition to the wine of powdered calcium carbonate (marble), which is, however, a method which cannot be very highly recommended, and when necessary, Liebig's method is much to be preferred. This method is to add to the wine a concentrated solution of neutral tartrate of potash in such proportion as to bring down the acidity to the desired degree.

As a preliminary test, to ascertain with an approximation near enough for practical purposes, several quart bottles are filled with the wine to be treated, and to each bottle is added a certain quantity of the solution of neutral tartrate of potash, each bottle being given a slightly greater dose than the one before. The bottles are then corked and left to themselves for a few days. They are then tasted, and the one giving the desired result is used as the basis of calculation for treating the whole quantity.

(10)The organic acids contained in the must are the following: Tartaric, racemic, malic, citric, tannic, palmitic, stearic, etc.
The acids, 0n the other hand, which arc produced by fermentation, the oxidation of the alcohol, or the breaking up of the sugar, are: Carbonic, acetic, propionic, butyric, valerianic, capronic, uenanthilic, pelargonic, succinic, lactic, etc.

(11)This is a restricted use of the term dry, somewhat different from its more general meaning, which is simply not sweet, that is, containing no glucode - Tran.

(12) OEnotannin has the property of forming with gelatine and with albumen voluminous insoluble compounds, which precipitate with great readiness. By means of clarification, therefore, the contents of oenotannin can be notably diminished, thus curing, or at least considerably lessening, the defect of roughness.

I have called roughness a defect, but that should be understood relatively, not absolutely, for it should not be forgotten that the general trade demands a certain roughness, and wines in which it is lacking are often given this character artificially by tne addition of alum, which is undeniablv an adulteration, or by the addition of tannin.

Alum is used by unprincipled dealers, and has the quality of reviving the color, precipitating the albuminoids, and imparting a roughness, almost styptic, analogous to that presented by the common Bordeaux wines.

The wine maker has the choice of two kinds of tannin which are found in commerce, and which differ in their mode of extraction or preparation. Thus, the tannin may be extracted from galls by means of ether, giving a tannin pure, but retaining a taste of ether, which renders it objectionable in the treatment of wine. The other kind, which is extracted by alcohol, is inodorous, and therefore preferable for the wine maker.

Pure tannin dissolves completely in alcohol, and in water mixed with 10 per cent of alcohol, and the solution should be limpid. When the wine maker needs tannin he can make use of the grape seeds, which contain a considerable quantity; the seeds may be used either fresh or dry, the latter being more convenient, as they can be preserved from year to year.

It is to be remarked that clarification attempted with isinglass, gelatine, or white of egg, does not always succeed; the failure is due to the lack or insufficiency of tannin in the wine, or to its superabundance.

This explains the common usage of adding tannin to white wines before attempting to clarify them; or in the case of highly tannic red wines why, after adding the clarification, it is often necessary in order to produce perfect limpidity, to have recourse to sulphuring and racking. This is what the cellarman means when he says that the wine has not taken the finings.

Wines which have fermented slowly, and which contain substances resembling humic compounds, can sometimes be fined even when lacking in tannin.

It is also worthy of remark that tannin has a great influence on the color of wine; it tends ot increase it, and, according to M. Nessler, if the wine remains for some time in contact with the lees, it prevents, to a great extent, the dimunition of the color.

(13) The bitter taste in wine may be the consequence of imperfect maturity of the grapes, owing either to an unpropitious season, or to the damage caused by insect or crypto gamic pests; or it may be the consequence of a secondary fermentation, caused by a micro-organism, i. e., the "bitter ferment," which determines the formation of those substances which impart this taste to the wine. In the latter case we have a true disease.

When the bitterness is due to the principles which have passed from the grapes and stems into the wine, then with time and successive finings and rackings it will disappear. This is explained by the supposition that the nitrogenous substances become impregnated with the bitter principles, and thus, when the former are precipitated, they carry along with them the latter, the wine in this way losing this defect.

The bitter taste, if very pronounced, may not disappear after the first rackings, in which case the wine should be fined with gelatine or white of egg.

If the wine be weak, the coagulation of the albumen may be facilitated by the addition of alcohol. According to the quality of the wine, it may be given a light clarification with the whites of three or four eggs per hectolitre, or a more energetic treatment with 25 grammes of gelatine.

Such a treatment not being found sufficient recourse must be had to the use of olive oil of good quality; of this the dose to be used is one half litre per hectolitre. The oil is poured into the wine, the whole thoroughly stirred, and then allowed to rest; the oil separates from the wine, and carries with it the substances which have caused the bitterness.

Directly after racking a wine with access of air, it will sometimes become slightly bitter; this seems to be caused by the action of the oxygen of the air upon substances contained in the wine; later the bitterness disappears, owing very probably to the rapid oxidation which causes these substances to precipitate. In this way M. Mona explains how bitter wines in bottles can, with time, lose this defect. Formerly various opinions were held regarding this malady, because, in all probability, people failed to distinguish between bitterness proper and the malady due to tartanc fermentation, or " la pousse'

Thus De Blassis attributed it to changes of the salts, especially of bi-tartrate of potash; Machard to an invisible action of the fermentative principle, decomposing the last remnants of sugar and salts in the wine; Lebceuf to an abnormal fermentation, which produced, sometimes, citric ether, which has a bitter taste; Vergnette Lamotte to a secondary fomentation, caused by a parasitic vegetation, which decomposed the wine in consuming the coloring matter; Neubauer found that the quantity of tannin and of coloring matter diminished with the progress of the malady. Finally Pasteur, after the study of many bitter wines, has demonstrated that this malady is caused by the action of a micro-organism, which multiplies with extraordinary rapidity in the superior wines of the "Cote d'Or," but very slowly in the common wines 01 liourgogne, the Jura, and the Bordelais. lie adds that this malady presents many diversities in its development, according to the origin and the nature of the wine, but that all wines are subject to it.

Ducleaux, in 1873, determined the volatile acids of bitter wines, the following being the result of his analyses :

  Volatile Acid. Total Acidity Acetic Acid Butyric Acid
Sound wine 1.01 gr 4.40 gr. 0.97 gr 0.04 gr
Bitter wine (1866) 1.50 gr 5.15 gr 0.97 gr o.o4 gr
Bitter wine (1873) 1.96 gt 6.67 gr 1.83 gr 0.1g gr

The inrease of total acidity in the sick wine being greater than could be accounted for by the formation of acetic acid at the expense of the alcohol, it ust be attributed to the fermentation of the glycerine, which, in fact, had diminshed.

The diminution of the glycerine was also pointed out by Pasteur, who, besides, stated that the tartaric acid did not diminish. As the researches of Fritz have shown, many microbes are able to cause fermentation of the glycerine ; thus, under the action of the Bacillus butylicun it is transformed into butylic alcohol and butyric acid.

Recently, B. I lass experimented with a view of ascertaining whether the bitter taste was due to citric ether, as Miiller and other French chemists had supposed, or to some resinous substance produced by changes of the aldehyde in presence of ammoniacal compositions having their origin in the albuminoid matters of the wine. By exhausting a wine which was afflicted with the bitter disease, and which he had previously rendered alkaline with ether, he obtained a resin slightly soluble in water, very soluble in alcohol and in acetic ether, insoluble in carbon bi-sulphide, turning brown in contact with the alcohols, becoming greenish with ferric chloride, and having the extremely bitter taste of the diseased wine.

Hass has found by his experiments that the best way of curing a wine afflicted with this malady, is by the use of oxidizing agents. Oxygenated water in small quantities is inefficacious ; in larger quantities it destroj'S the bitter taste, but produces another not less disgusting. The best results have been obtained by aeration.

The wine is fortified by the addition of alcohol till it contains 13 per cent by volume, if of feeble character and liable to acetify. A current of air is then passed through the wine for two hours, and the bitterness disappears completely.

Filtration through pomace or cellulose has an excellent effect, the bitter substance seeming to be removed by physical attraction. This disease may be said to have several stages. At first the wine is still clear, but less fragrant, duller in color, and with a slight bitter taste. Later it acquires an odor sui generis; the bitter taste increases, becoming piquant on account of the small quantity of carbonic acid produced by the secondary fermentation which takes place. Finally it loses its natural color, becoming brownish, with a tendency to blue; there has then taken place a serious change in one of the principal components of the wine — the extractive matter — and the wine has become an undrmkable liquid.

(14)According to Doussieux, the earthy taste is due probably to the solution and evaporation of a part of the mineral and metallic substances which are found in the soil of certain vineyards.

Petit Lafitte seems inclined to attribute the flinty taste to iron and alumina. Ladrey, on the other hand, accounts for it by the presence of much silica in the soil, and many analyses show silica not only in the leaves and seeds of the vine, but also in the wine.

Joulie states that the flinty taste isdue to the fact that pyroniac silica contains a bituminous substance of organic origin, the peculiar taste of which is communicated to the wine.

Regarding the quantity of silica contained in wine, we have the analyses of Boussin- gault, who, in analyzing his wine grown at Smalzberg (Bas Rhin), found 6.096 gr. of silica per 1.870 gr. of ash in a gallon of wine, 5 per cent of the mineral ingredients.

Grasso, in the ash of four different musts, found the following quantities of silica:
Petit Bourgogne (not mature) 1.991 per cent.
Petit Bourgogne (mature) .2.099 per cent.
Petit Bourgogne (mature, but from a different soil) 1.191 per cent.
Grim Sylvaner (white, mature) - 2.181 per cent.

In the skins the proportion was greater; in those of the first it was 3.464, and 2.571 in those of the fourth.

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