Volume 72: Macarthur family correspondence relating to wine, 1846-1900: No. 117

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[Page 117]

same, not so the produce.  In this Medoc country are three small estates formerly four producing what are called 1st growths, six or seven producing 2nd growths;  some 30 or 40 producing 3rd, 4th & 5th growths, the remainder consisting of the greater portion, yielding only what is called Bourgeois or common wines of various degrees of goodness.  I could see a reason why a portion of these should yield wine inferior to 1st or 2nd growths etc. because there is much very flat and ill drained land & some in which the stoney character is not nearly so prominent a feature.  But after carefully examining I could see no difference between the aspect, slope, dryness, and stoney character of "La Fitte" reputed to be the best of all, and other properties close by producing only "Bourgeois" wine.  They say no [indecipherable] will make the latter produce wine at all of the same character as the former.  And upon Leoville & Langoa a 2nd growth & a 3rd growth, adjoining each other, & in the same [hands ?] I saw much land very imperfectly drained, as it seemed to me, and very level.  They have introduced the pipe tile draining so much practised in the United Kingdom but only 3 feet deep, a alledging in reply to my remarks that they have estimated that their vine roots go no deeper (?).  I could have told them (only I have come to learn if possible, & not to fine fault) that in England the roots of the common [indecipherable] have been traced much deeper.  They complain of the great expense of draining.  What must it not be in the stiff wet soils of England where they put in the pipe tile drains 5 feet deep? and in lines only a rod

[Lines crossed through not transcribed.]

Paris, 28th Octr.
I intended to have extended this letter very considerably but shall have to cut it short.  I came back here two days ago having slept at Tours to break the journey.  I saw just enough of this place to make me wish to see more of its serious [indecipherable] scene of the city part of "Quentin Durward".  I find I have so much to do here that God knows when I shall have leisure to write what I wished to have added.  God bless you all,

I am your affecte brother
James Macarthur

Just as I was leaving the Hotel Bordinnay [possibly Hotel Bourdonnais] for the railway station to come back here I received your welcome letters to the 14th July arrived and with them a letter from [indecipherable] & Co. enclosing the 1st of the [indecipherable] for £500.

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