Volume 72: Macarthur family correspondence relating to wine, 1846-1900: No. 112
I should not have taken as a wine of first celebrity. It was so roughish & strong for claret and without any very remarkable flavour or bouquet. I have hence been assured by several of the judges, at different times & places, that this wine has nothing remarkable to recommend it. But they can at once distinguish it to be "Lafitte" but that in certain years some 3d or 4th Cru may attain higher qualities, that for La Fitte although the year was a good one it is a failure. He did not cask any of the bottled wine but sent the cellar with the bottles all [indecipherable] up, containing 100,000 bottles. The bottles are all stacked in iron frames of simple construction.
and Saw dust is never used here or in any cellars. The temperature was just 60º farht. I also saw the mode of bottling with a bottling machine which sorts 120 [indecipherable], an ingenious contrivance. The [indecipherable] kept us here 3 hours and we then preceded to the Phelans who conducts his processes on a more extensive scale. His vats contain 7500 gall. each and he does not crush his grapes. His vineyards formerly more level than La Fitte produce only Bourgeois wine below 5th "Cru" and yet [indecipherable] can see no reason why there should be any difference; indeed was [indecipherable] many which seemed in many reports as likely to produce 1st Crus La Fitte itself, but which only gives the common Medoc or Bourgeois wine. I find that I have witnessed today every thing in the first process which I am likely to see were I to see a hundred establishments in full operation. I [dined ?] at Beychevelle with numerous parties all related to each other. Lastly, Sunday & Monday and during these days [indecipherable] in the company of wine brokers & gentlemen knowing the character of the produce of every estate in each year tasted the wine of every celebrated growth of the Medoc still preferred Leoville of 1847. All told me I am right, that it might not suite some tastes so well as some others on hand but that they themselves would choose it if not to be kept too long.