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[Page 116]

comes, or it does not.  When it does the wines are fit to bottle and soon bring very high prices;  but what perhaps you would not imagine the produce of no two years however good resemble each other.  It is quite impossible they say to anticipate when the wine is young or from any peculiarities attending the crop at the vintage what it will turn out to be at last.  Of course the very bad years when the grapes are not ripe they know it will always be bad;  but a moderate degree of maturity sometimes is the forerunner of a much finer wine than when the crop is in the highest state of ripeness.  They profess to be unable to assign reasons for this uncertainty and truly I am astonished to find amongst the largest & most intelligent proprietors such entire ignorance of the theory of their calling.  They follow with the greatest care a certain system which long experience has transmitted, it is probably an excellent one upon the whole, but they do not know why it sometimes fails in producing the reputed results, and evidently are so ignorant of the rationale of some of the most important processes that they cannot define in what consists the elements of failure or success.  This I have reason to believe that the finer wines are no longer to be compared to the finer wines which were produced some generations back.  The case now seems to be this.  The Medoc country, a long narrow tract between the "Landes" and the "Gironde" with a very stoney soil produces a red wine with the general character of being soft, and for its strength remarkably well suited for carriage to distant places remarkably cool in the mouth and occasionally very fragrant.  None of the rest of the Departments produce a wine at all like it although to the eye the soil & other conditions may seem to be the 

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