J. L. W. (John Louis William) Thudichum.

A treatise on the origin, nature, and varieties of wine; being a complete manual of viticulture and œnology online

. (page 49 of 64)
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are bottled. The wines after that improve greatly in bouquet,
and keep twenty-five years. No doubt a fine bottle of mature
Johannisberg Castle is, by the fulness of its taste and the mass
of its bouquet, the finest and most powerful drink on earth.
A piece of such wine fetches from £^QO to ;£"i,ooo, and in
some cases even higher prices have been paid. But the
auction wines have nothing like that value, and vary between
£10 and £200^ according to the qualities which they possess
for mixing.

The racking of young wines from rotten grapes is effected
by means of air-pressure pumps and hoses, in order to avoid
contact with air, which imparts to such wine a dark colour.
Such a dark colour is a great objection to Rhine wine, as it
produces the suspicion, only too well founded in the case of
many dark-coloured wines, that it is an artificial product.
The finest Rhine wines are therefore always kept very pale,
and any operation which would destroy this peculiarity, even
if it would be otherwise innocent and beneficial, is carefully-
avoided.

To the east of — and almost at the same elevation as —
Johannisberg Castle, is the property of M. Mumm, a well-



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XVII.] GEISENHEIM. 571

known wine-merchant of Frankfort, consisting of a fiiie house
and large vineyards, with easterly exposure.

The western side of the Johanni^berg passes into a
mountain side of 20'' inclination, which leads to the village
of Johannisberg, situated about a quarter of a mile to
the north from the castle. Yet this exposure gives good
wine. To the north of this village is a somewhat higher hill,
with a hollow on its plateau, called the " Johannisberger
Hohle." Very good wine is here produced, which would rival
the Johannisberg Castle, if it had the same antecedents of
cultivation and preparation. But the entire hollow is divided
into a large number of small holdings, which prevents all
selection, and thus causes an annual loss of good wine to
the cenophilists, while the proprietors get much less than
they might.

Still more to the north, in the side of the actual mountain,
some enterprising people have dug a hole of 12 morgen out
of the mere rock, surrounded it with a great wall after the
pattern of the Steinberg, and covered it with three feet of
earth brought up from the valley, or down from the mountain.
This enterprise took ten years, and vast sums for its comple-
tion. We have learned no particulars about the wines which
it produces, and surmise that they are of the quality of the
wines of the village, and go with the general throng of Johan-
nisberg wines into the cellars of knowing and the stomachs
of enthusiastic people. It is, perhaps, owing to its excavated
origin that the plantation has been termed ** the Dachsberg."

GEISENHEIM.
From the Johannisberg towards Geisenheim extends a decli-
vity with southerly exposition, the best situations of which
are termed " Morschberg," " Lickerstein," and " Hoher Rech."
Near Geisenheim the " Rothe Berg " or red hill projects, much
like the Johannisberg. It has the general geological con-
formation of all similar hills, consisting of clay-schist, and
being covered on the east by loam, on the western declivity
by red clay. Its inclination is about 20*". The majority of
the vineyards belong to Count Ingelheim.



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572 RUDESHEIAf, [chap.

The products of the various parts of the " Rothe Berg " are
very varying in quality. The southerly and south-westerly
side of the hill produce splendid wine, while at the foot of the
north-west side, within a few hundred steps of the former,
there is a vineyard which yields the worst wine of the whole
district. On the plateau of the hill there also grows but
inferior wine.

The " Rothe Berg ** is connected with the district of Riides-
heim by a continued vineyard, situated partly on inclines,
partly in flat hollows. One of the latter, the " Kirchgriibe,"
is reputed to be a good situation.



RUDESHEIM.

The vineyards of Riidesheim begin at Eibingen and termi-
nate at the Bingerloch. Their inclination begins to increase
from Eibingen, where they have IO^ to the Rudesheim Bei^,
where 35° and 40*^ is the average. The exposure is purely
southerly ; on the north they are protected from winds by the
high mountains behind, and the westerly winds are broken by
the mountains on the other side of the Nahe. The direct rays
of the sun fall almost at right angles upon the soil, and the
heat is increased by the reflection from the broad surface of
the river.

The vineyards nearest to Eibingen are called the "Wiiste,'*
"Bokhaus," and ''Tafel," the higher situation towards the
forest in the north, the " Oberfeld." All these are planted
with the Riessling.

The vineyards nearest to Rudesheim are termed *' Hinter-
haus,** or ** behind the house," have a purely southerly ex-
posure, and are built up in many terraces, with an average
inclination of 20^ The contiguous "Rottland" is a more
undulating territory, with many little bogs, hollows, and
terraces. These vineyards appear from a distance like a
gigantic staircase ; they are planted with Riessling.

The greater part of the Rudesheim vineyards is called the
" Riidesheimer Berg." This has an area of upwards of 400
morgen, an inclination of from 30'' to 36"* southerly exposure,



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XVII.] RUDESHEIM. 573

and is the best situation in Riidesheim. The soil is the dis-
int^rated clay-schist, with a little earth, and the vineyards
look so stony that one does not comprehend however the
vines exist and luxuriate. The stones are thrown upon heaps
in many places, and long so-called stone-rossels, or cairns, run
from the top to the bottom of the mountain. The best parts
of the Berg are those situated between the middle of the
declivity and the border of the river. The Nassau Govern-
ment planted some vineyards here at great expense, and
Count Ingelheim possesses the vineyard termed the " Kater-
loch." The mere plantation of a morgen of vineyard, with
the grubbing and removal of the stones, costs from £600 to
£yQO, As many as 7,000 cart-loads of stones have now and
then been built up into cairns, or removed, to make room for
the vines. Whatever may be the quality of the vine, it is
certain that cheap wine cannot be obtained from vineyards
the plantation and cultivation of which is so difficult and
expensive. At the old castle of Ehrenfels, which is a con-
spicuous ruin just above the Bingerloch, the inclination of
the territory is 70°. This is the highest inclination of any vine-
yard in Germany, and equalled only by the steep inclines at
Winningen on the Moselle, at Besigheim upon the Neckar,
and at Werthheim upon the Maine. Of course this inclina-
tion has to be broken by many terrace- walls of from 12 to 20
feet in height, and the earth above these walls has only 20° to
25** inclination.

The entire Berg is traversed by a gradually-ascending
carriage-road, which has bays for turning or siding every 300
paces. This road is kept in order by the proprietors abutting
u[>on it, and is cleared, smoothed, and repaired every autumn
just before the harvest.

The vines cultivated on the Berg are Riessling, with a
sprinkling of Orleans. The plantation of the latter is ascribed
to Charlemagne, who, so goes the fable, on seeing from his
castle at Ingelheim, on a March day, the snow disappearing
from the Riidesheimer Berg, while the rest of the country
all round remained yet white, ordered vines to be brought
from the south of France and to be planted on the Berg. It



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574 ASSAfANNSHAUSEN. [cHAP.

is, however, more probable that this particular Orleans or
Hartheinsch was selected for this stony soil on account of its
great vegetating power.

ASSMANNSHAUSEN.

This is the " ultima Thule " of the Rheingau, of which it
yet preserves the general type, but changed in various parti-
culars. The vines are grown somewhat higher, reminding of
the Moselle, where the high cultivation is carried to an un-
fortunate excess. The set of vines is of a more mixed
character, the vineyards for white wine being planted with
the small-berried Elbling, mixed with TroUinger and Valte-
liner, those fof red wine with the great black Burgundy grape,
the pmeau noir.

The generality of the Assmannshausen vineyards has a
westerly aspect ; one particular section, however, which is
situated in a narrow valley running from east to west, the
HoUenberg, has a number of southerly exposures. This
entire situation was a Nassau domain, but the upper part of
twenty-seven morgen was sold to Count Bassenheim, while
the Nassau Government only retained the lower and best
part of eighteen morgen.

The soil is throughout decayed clay^schist, and very stony.
The plantations are difficult, and require many walls and
great labour.

The white wine of Assmannshausen has no particular
qualities or reputation. It is, however, otherwise with the
red wine, which has acquired somewhat of a name. We will
therefore consider its preparation a little more in detail, in
order to appreciate the better its deficiencies and good
qualities.

The private proprietors proceed in the following manner.
They crush the grapes with wooden clubs, and then put the
entire mass into vats. Many such vats are made of piece
casks cut in two through the middle, or entire piece casks
from which the top has been removed. During the first
violent fermentation the rising husks and stalks are pushed
down about twice every day, at a later period once daily.



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XVII.] ASSMANNSHAUSEN. 575

When the fermentation is complete, the wine is drawn off, the
residue put into the press, and all fluid is united.

The stewards of the Nassau domains, however, observe
greater precautions. In the first instance the grapes are
allowed to hang until they begin to shrivel a little, but they
are not permitted to get rotten; for, although this might
make the wine more sweet and spirituous, yet it would
deteriorate its colour, and therefore one of its main charac-
teristics. All rotten grapes are therefore carefully kept out
of the vintage. The grapes are carried to Rudesheim and
there treated as follows: — The berries are separated from the
stalks, by being stirred about with a stiff broom in a sieve of
iron wire placed over a vat They are then trodden in detail
by men with wine-boots, or pounded with wooden club.s, until
reduced to a pasty mass. This mass is then put into the
fermenting vats. The wine rises nearly to the top, but the
husks are kept in the fluid by a perforated wooden dia-
phragm, which is fixed in the upper third of the vat. After
fermentation the wine is drawn off through the tap at the
bottom, which is guarded inside by a strainer ; the husks are
pressed, and the pressed wine united with the previously
drawn wine. This red wine is mostly kept in smaller casks
of two and four ohms each ; it is racked from the lees in March,
and, after four or six weeks of rest, sold by auction.

The banks of the Rhine from Assmannshausen to Coblentz
have many vineyards, but no very good situations. Amongst
the villages which produce wine is Bacharach. In this village
there was an interesting little inn "To the golden cork-screw,"
where good wine was sold. Some travelling artists of Diissel-
dorff commemorated their approval of the wine which was
served to. them, by painting a great and showy shield in oil
colours upon the wall of the principal wine-room. The names
of other villages producing some wine are Manubach, Caub,
Oberwesel (celebrated amongst Rhine-tourists by its echo),
Steeg, Diebach, Wcinsbcrg, Damscheid, Perscheid, Langscheid,
and Dellhofen. These cultivate Ricssling, often mixed with
the small-berried Elbling (Lorch has Elbling only) : in other
parts some Pineau is grown.



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57^



AREA OF VINEYARDS



[chap.



AREA OF VINEYARDS IN BEARING IN THE FORMER
DUCHY, NOW PRUSSIAN PROVINCE, OF NASSAU.

The areas are here given in old Nassau "morgen," con-
taining each i6o square " ruthen " (or Nassau roods). The
present Nassau land measure is a morgen, of lOO ruthen of
lOO square feet each, equal therefore to 10,000 feet = 2,500
square metres, or 25 French ares. (Law of Dec 12, 1851, and
March 18, 1853.)



1. AMT OF BRAUBACM.


1


AMT ST. GOARSHAUSEN, C(fn(d,






Morgen. Ruthen. |




Morgen. Rutben.


Braubach


. 215


154


Brought forward


. 675


145


Camp .


. 354


89


Lierschied


. 33


76


Filsen .


. 38


40


Nieder&OberKestert . 124


di


Nieder-Lahnstein .


. 191


134


Nochem


. 42


10


Nievern


. 63


95


Patersberg


. 35


98


Ober-Lahnstein .


. 207


159


Wellmich .


. 64


25


Osterspay


. 78
1,141


61
92




975


"5




IV. AMT HOCHHEIM.












n. AMT KLTVILLI


1 OH ELLFELD.


Delkenheim .


. 66


112


Eltville (EUfeld)


. 469


126


Diedenbergen


. 75


156


Erbach .


. 377


60


Florsheim *


. ^59


55


Hallgarten .


. 280


122


Hochheim .


' 904


97


Hattenheim .


. 368


128


Igstadt .


. 41


3


Kiedrich


. 223


95


Massenheim *


. . 69


98


Mittelheim .


. 211


52


Nordenstadt .


. 86


75


Neudorf


. 173


63


WalUu .


. . 83


126


Nieder-Walluf


. 118


72


Wicker .


. . 196


128


Ober-Walluf .


. . 38


57








Oestrich
Kauenthal


. 539
. . 265


104




1,779


50


53










3,066


132


V. AMT I


lOCHST.






>ARSHAUSEN




Hofheim | .


. 80


86


III. AMT ST. GC






Bomich


. IIS


81


VI. AMT


NASSAU.




Caub .


. 303


10


Bad Ems


. 39


44


Dorscheid


. 55


44


Dausenau


. 79


51


Ehrenlhal


. 28


155


Dinunthal


. 8


<57


St. Goarshausen


. 173


_'5


Nassau .


. 109


96


Carried forward


675


145


Carried forward


237


28



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xvn.]



IN THE PROVINCE OF NASSAU.



S77



AMT NASSAU, continued.





Morgen.


Ruthen


Brought forward


. 237


28


Oberahof .


• 41


47


Scheuern .


. 17


»5"


Weinahr .


* 23


131



320 37



VII. AMT kUDESHEIM.



Assmannshausen


, 204


65


Aulhausen


. 22


42


Eibingen .


. 249


113


Geisenheim *


. 627


70


Jdhannisberg


. 226


60


Lorch


• 544


5


Lorchhausen i


. 196


«3S


Riidesheim


. 567


70


Winkel


. 493


68




3»'40


148



VIII. AMT RUNKEL.

Morgen. Ruthen.

Runkel .23 54

Schadeck • . . 14 94

Villmar ... 4 159



42 147



IX. AMT WIESBADEN.

Frauenstein .126 93

Schierstcin . .166 46

Wiesbaden . .47 92



340



X. AMT KONIGSTEIN.

Altenhain .
Neuenhain



86 —



RECAPITULATION.

Morgen. Ruthen.

Braubach 1,141 92

EltviUe (Eflfeld) . ^; 3,066 132

St. Goarshausen 975 115

Hochheim . ii779 50

Hochst 80 86

Nassau 320 37

Riidesheim 3fi40 148

Runkel 42 147

Wiesbaden 340 71

Konigstein 86 —

Total . . 10,974 78



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578



THE MOSELLE AND ITS WINES.



[chap.



Tabular View of tlu Proportion in per cents, which tlie Vines planted
in tlu Ten Divisions of Nassau bear to each other.



No.


Names of Aemter.


Ung.


Orleans.


ner.


Oester-
reicfaer.


Klein-
beigcr.


Mixed
vinea.


Rnean
Klefaroth.


Eartr
Bur. 1


I.


Eltville .


92*8





08


5*2


O'l


OS


0*2


04 t


2.


Riidesheira


42-4


24


41


19


5*4


39'5


41


0-2 '


\


Hochheim


66-2





3J


301




o*4


o-i


O'l !


4-


Wiesbaden


69-6





1*4


17*5





107





08 1


s.


Runkel .












-




io(ro


— ■


6.


Nassau .


37











251


97


591


»-4'


7.


Braubach .


1-6


O'l


1*4


.V8


66-8


ii'S


3-6


11*2 I


8.


St. Goarshn. .


2'4





05


17-8


6219


152


I'l


01 1


9.


Hochst .


ia*9







86s










2-6


lO.


Konigstein
Total Nassau .


465
509


1*2
08


2*2


233





174


'^s


II-6

i




8-9


«6-3


169


15



RHENISH MEASURES OF CAPACITY.

The new (185 1) Nassau ohm is 160 litres; the piece
"Stiick" is 7^ ohms, or 1,200 litres; the same measures for
wine obtain in Hesse Darmstadt and Baden. The Frankfort
ohm, however, by which wine is commonly sold to England,
is only 14341 litres, or 31*56 imperial gallons. Eight ohms
equal to one Stiick, equal to 1,152 litres (calcul. 1147*28)
equal to 640 Frankfort maas. The Palatinate fuder is
1000 litres. There are no barrels of that capacity in use,
but sales are generally made at per fuder, as the stores are
.mostly kept in very large casks.

THE WINES OF THE MOSELLE.

Topography. — The Moselle issues from the western slopes
of the Vosges, and unites with the Saar near Trier. It
then runs nearly northward with many windings, and flows
into the Rhine near Coblentz. Its valley is deeply cut
through the Ilundsriick mountain on the right, and the
Eifel on the left bank. Its undulating banks in Lorraine,
like those of the Saar, are mostly covered with vines, and, as



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XVII.] TOPOGRAPHY. 579

we learned from ocular inspection, most frequently with the
blue Burgundy grape ; but that part of its bank from Trier to
Cochem mostly bears white grapes. The valley of this river
forms an immense contrast to the high plateaux on both sides
of it. These latter are mostly cold and sterile, and covered
only by a vegetation of stunted growth. The banks of the
valley are rich green, and have a mild climate, and
all southerly exposures are covered with the vine. The
depth of this valley is from 200 to 300 feet, and the
rocks frequently come so near to the edge of the water,
that there is not even a path left by the side of it, and the
only communication up and down the river is in many
parts the river itself. In consequence of this narrowness,
many of the towns, such as Cochem, are nothing but long
strips of houses built along the water's edge. Wherever a
little river flows from the side into the Moselle, a small town
or village is sure to be found.

The exposures favourable to the growth of the vine are
mostly produced by the long windings of the river which it
makes from west to east and from east to west, the expanse
of which can be estimated from the following consideration.
From Trier to Coblentz the distance in a straight line is about
ninety Engh'sh miles, while the windings of the river are nearly
double that length. The bend which the Moselle makes at
Graach and Zeltingen affords a southerly exposure of three
miles in length on the left bank.

The southerly exposure at the bend at Piesport and Braune-
berg is a mile and a half in length, and situated on the left
bank of the Moselle. All banks which have a northerly
exposure are covered with forest, which gives to the river this
peculiar character — that forest and vineyard are frequently
close together, and frequently alternate the one with the
other. The inclinations of the vineyards along the whole
river are very steep, changing between zd" and 40^ They
are least considerable at Piesport, but at Brauneberg they
amount to 30^ until at Winningen they reach to 45*" and
upwards. This latter place is the last in the direction
of Coblentz. The vineyards of Winningen rise immediately

P p 2



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58o VINES AND CULTIVATION [chap.

from the river to a height of about 300 feet. They are
interrupted by many terraces and by large blocks of rock,
and present such a peculiarly wild aspect, that the spectator
hardly comprehends how the cultivators of the vine could
dig the ground, bring up the earth, and carry the manure.
We learn that these vineyards are real productions of art,
inasmuch as they were the result of blasting operations
carried out at the instance of the community of Winningen,
by engineer officers of the garrison of Coblentz.

The foundation of tlu soil in the whole of the Moselle valley
from Trier to Coblentz is a kind of clay schist of bluish grey,
greenish black, and reddish colour. The rock is frequently
permeated by veins of white quartz. In many parts the schist
is transformed into the black slate here called "lay," with
which all buildings without exception along the Moselle are
covered.

The cultivated soil itself consists of disintegrated clay schist
with many fragments of quartz. The fragments are sometimes
rolled by river action, and then the soil of the vineyards
resembles to some extent that which one so frequently sees
in the M^doc.



VARIETIES OF VINES AND MODES OF CULTIVATION PRE-
VAILING ALONG THE MOSELLE.

Along the banks of the river, frequently twining round
trees, there are many varieties of wild vines, probably indi-
genous to the part where they grow. Of the cultivated
varieties, however, only one seems to be indigenous to the
Moselle, and that is the albnelis of Columella, or Elbling or
Kleinberger, which is reported to have been carried by
Ausonius to the Gironde, and thence by Pedro Ximenes to
Xeres, so that (what perhaps no one who drank them side by
side would ever guess). Moselle and Sherry wines are to
some extent made of one and the same grape. The Elbling
occurs alonsT the whole Moselle, and frequently prevails over
the Riessling, but the Riessling is everywhere mixed with it.
A*" Piesport, Braqneberg, Oligsburg, Zeltingen, and Trarbach,



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XVII.]



PREVAILING ALONG THE MOSELLE.



581



Fig. 79.— Vine trained according to
the method recently adopted in
Lorraine, in full bearing. All
hranchef arc lopped off two joinu
above the last bunch. No long
canes are allowed to grow. (Syi-
time Trouillet.)



there are vineyards with nothing but Riessling. Of this vine

there are said to occur two varieties in these parts, one with

red, the other with green stalks. Here and there along the

Moselle are vineyards with the

Burgundy grape. At Piesport and

Kersten more red wine is already

made, and in the neighbourhood

of Cobem, Cochem, Garden, and

a few other places of the lower

Moselle, much red wine is grown,

so that the Burgundy grape can

be said to be the prevailing kind.

The dressing of the vine offers
many peculiarities along the Mo-
selle. There are on the steep
inclines many vineyards belonging

to poor people, which are cultivated upon the so-called
** hedge " principle ; that is to say, the vines are cut, but for
the rest they are allowed to lie on the ground, and to grow as
best they may. The produce of these vineyards is not of
sufficient value to pay the cost of cultivation, including sticks
for supporting the vines ; but the better cultivated vineyards
offer a singular aspect, which is not frequently met with in any
other vine-growing country. They have more the appearance
of hop-gardens than of vineyards. Around
an enormous pole fixed in the ground from
four to eight canes are attached in the manner
in which birch is fixed to a broom. The
canes are bent backwards and downwards at
three different places, being two, three, and
four feet above the ground. In fact, as much
-wood as the vine can produce is left upon
the vine; and there have been instances
•where a cultivator has dismissed his vine-
dressers because they did not leave enough
wood to satisfy his greed for quantity of produce. Now, it is
very well known that the nearer a vine grows to the ground the
better its grapes will mature and the more developed they



Fig. 80. — Vine pruned
according to the
method recently
adopted in Lorraine.
The pruning in the
Herault, Aude, and
Lot is exactly the
same,but the ftummer
dressing is different.



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582 DRESSING OF THE VINE. [chap.

will become, and that the higher it rises above the ground
the more it is exposed to the winds, and the less it is struck
by the radiating heat which is rebounded from the soil, and
consequently the more its grapes are liable not to ripen at all,
but to remain acid and useless fruit. It is this attention to
low cultivation — to the keeping of the g^pe in the closest
proximity to the soil — which produces the excellence of the
wines of the Rheingau, of the M^doc, and of the Champagne.




Fig. %i.— Right f A vine as grown at Pagny in the Meurthe (Department of the
Moselle) : one fruit-btanch and one wood-branch only. Lf/i, Vine with one bent cane
for fruit, and a spur for wood, as grown at Pagny.



But here on the Moselle this experience is in many parts com-
pletely set aside, and accordingly we find the produce of this



Online LibraryJ. L. W. (John Louis William) ThudichumA treatise on the origin, nature, and varieties of wine; being a complete manual of viticulture and œnology → online text (page 49 of 64)