Two discourses
Charleton, Walter, 1619-1707.
Page  201


THe Mysterie of Wines consists in the making and meliorating of Natural Wines. Me∣lioration is either of sound or vitious Wines. Sound Wines are bettered, 1. By preserving. Page  202 2. Timely fining. 3. by mending Colour, Smell or Taste.

To preserve Wines, care must be taken, that, after the Pressing, they may ferment well: for without good Fermentation, they become qually (i. e.) cloudy, thick and dusky, and will never fine of themselves as other Wines do: and when they are fined by Art, they must be spee∣dily spent, or else they will be∣come qually again, and then by no Art recoverable.

The Principal Impediments of the Fermentation of Wines, after pressing the Grapes, are ei∣ther their Unripeness when ga∣thered, or the mixture of Rain water with them, as in wet Page  203 Vintages; or else through the addition of Water to rich Grapes. The Spaniards use Giesso to help the Fermentation of their Ca∣nary Wines.

To preserve Spanish Wines, and chiefly Canary, and there∣of principally that which is Razie, which will not keep so long; they make a Layer of Grapes and Giesso, whereby it acquires a better durance and taste, and a whiter Colour, most pleasing to the English.

Razie wine, is so called, be∣cause it comes from Rhenish∣wine slips, sometimes renewed. The Grape of this Wine is fleshy, yielding but a little juice.

Page  204 French and Rhenish wines are chiefly and commonly pre∣served by the Match, thus, used at Dort in Holland: Take Brimstone 20 or 30 pounds, rack, into it melted, Spices, as Cloves, Cinnamon, Mace, Ginger and Coriander-seeds and some to save charges use the reliques of the Hippocras bag; and having mixed these well with the Brimstone they draw through this Mixture, long, square, narrow pieces of Canvas, which pieces thus drawn through the said mix∣ture, they light and put into the Vessel at the Bung-hole, and presently stop it close: Great care is to be had in proportioning the Brimstone to the quantity Page  205 and quality of the wine; for too much makes it rough; this smoaking keeps the wine long, white, and good, and gives it a pleasant taste.

There's another way for French and Rhenish wines, viz. Firing it: 'tis done in a stove, or else a good fire made round about the Vessel, which will gape wide, yet the wine runs not out; 'twill boyle, and af∣terwards may soon be rack'd.

Secondly, For timely fining of wines. All Wines in the Must are more opacous and cloudy. Good wine soon fines, and the gross Lees settle quick∣ly and also the flying Lee in time. When the grosser Lees Page  206 are setled, they draw off the Wine, called Racking. The usual times for Racking, are Midsommer and Alhallon∣tide.

The practice of the Dutch and English to rid the wine of the flying Lees speedily, and serves most for French and Spanish wine, is thus perform∣ed: Take of Isinglass half a pound, stop it in half a pint of the hardest French wine that can be got, so that the wine may fully cover it. Let them then stand 24 hours, then pull and beat the Isinglass to pieces, and add more wine, and 4 times a day squeez it to a gelly, and as it thickens add more wine. When 'tis fully and perfectly Page  207 gellyed, Take a Pint or Quart to a Hogshead and so proportio∣nably: then overdraw 3 or 4 Gallons of that wine you intend to fine, which mix well with the said quantity of gelly, then put this mixture to the piece of wine and beat it with a staffe, and fill it top-full. Note that French-wines must be bunged up very close, but not the Spa∣nish; and that Isinglass raiseth the Lees to the top of strong wines, but in weaker precipi∣tateth it to the bottom.

They mend the Colour of sound Clarets by adding there∣to Red-wine, Tent or Alicant, or by an infusion of Turnsole made in 2 or 3 Gallons of wine, and then putting it into the Page  208 Vessel, to be then (being well stopt) rowled for a quarter of an hour. This infusion is sometimes twice or thrice re∣peated according as more Co∣lour is to be added to the wine; some 3 hours infusion of the Turnsole is sufficient, but then it must be rubbed and wringed. What Turnsole is, see the Notes on the Art of Glass.

Claret over-red, is amend∣ed with the Addition of White-wines.

White wines coming over sound but brown, thus reme∣died: Take of Alablaster-pow∣der, over-draw the Hogshead 3 or 4 Gallons, then put this powder into the Bung, and stir Page  209 and beat it with a staff, and fill it top-full. The more the wine is stirred, the finer it will come upon the Lee, that is, the finer it will be.

To colour Sack white; Take of white Starch 2 pounds, of Milk 2 Gallons, boyle them together 2 hours, when cold beat them well with a handfull of white Salt, and then put them into a clean and sweet Butt, beating them with a staff, and the wine will be pure and white.

One pound of the afore∣mentioned gelly of Isinglass takes away the browness of French and Spanish wines, mix'd with 2 or 3 gallons of Page  210 wine, accoriding as 'tis brown and strong, more or less to be used. Then overdraw the peice of wine about 8 gallons, and use the Rod, and then fill the Vessel full, and in a day or two 'twill fine and be white, and mend if qualley.

The first Buds of Ribes nigra infused in wines, especially Rhenish, makes it diuretick and more fragrant in Smell and Taste, and so doth Clary. The inconvenience is, that the Wine becomes more heady: a Re∣medy whereof is Elder-flowers added to the Clary; which also betters the fragrancy thereof, as 'tis manifest in Elder-vinegar. But these flowers are apt to make the wine Ropy.

Page  211 To help brown Malago's and Spanish wines; Take powder of Orras-roots and Salt-peter of each 4 ounces, the whites of 8 eggs, whereto add as much Salt as will make a brine, put this mixture into the Wine, and mix them with a Staff.

To meliorate Muddy and Tauny Clarets; Take of Rain∣water 2 pints, the Yelks of 8 Eggs, Salt an handfull, beat them well, let them stand 6 hours before you put them into the Cask, then use the Rod, and in 3 dayes it will come to it self.

Page  212 To amend the Taste and Smell of Malago. Take of the best Almonds 4 pounds, make therewith, and with suffi∣cient quantity of the wine to be cured, an Emulsion; then take the whites and yelks of 12 Eggs, beat them together with Salt an handfull, put them into the Pipe, using the Rod.

To amend the smell and taste of French and Rhenish which are foul. Take, to an Auln of the Wine, of honey one pound, of Elder-flowers a handfull, Orras powder an ounce, one Nutmeg, a few Cloves, boyle them in sufficient quantity of the wine to be cured, to the con∣sumption Page  213 of half, when 'tis cold, strain and use it with the Rod: some add a little Salt. If the wine be sweet enough, add of spirits of Wine one pound to a hoggshead, and give the Cask a strong scent. Spirit of Wine makes any wine brisk, and fines it without the former mix∣ture.

A lee of the Ashes of Vine∣branches, viz. a quart to a Pipe, being beaten into the wine, cures the ropiness of it; and so in∣fallibly doth a Lee of Oaken Ashes. For Spanish ropy wine, rack it from its Lees into a new scented Cask, then take of Alum one pound, Orras roots powder∣ed half a pound, beat them well into the wine with a staff. Some Page  214 add fine and well-dryed sand, put warm to the wine. If the wine besides prove brown, add 3 pottles of Milk to a Pipe. Alias, the Spaen cures ropy wine, used before it begins to fret.

Herrings Roes preserve any Stum wines.

To order Rhenish wines when fretting. Commonly in Iune that Wines begin to ferment and grow sick, then have a special care not to disturb it, either by removing, filling the Vessel, or giving it Vent, only open the Bung, which cover with a slate, and as often as the slate is foul, cleanse it and the bung from their filth, and when the fer∣mentation is past, which you Page  215 shall know by applying your Ear to the Vessel, then give it rest 10 or 12 dayes that the gros∣ser Lees may settle, then rack it into a fresh scented Cask.

This mixture meliorates vi∣tious wines both in smell and taste; especially French. Take of the best honey one part, of Rain∣water two parts and one third of sound old wine of the same kind; boyle them on a gentle fire to a third part, scumming them often with a clean Scum∣mer (to which purpose they have a payle of fair water standing by to rince it in) then put this mixture hot into a Ves∣sel of fit capacity, and let it stand unbunged till cool. Some, to better this, put in a bag of Spices. Page  216 This mixture, called by the Dutch Soet, will serve also to fine any Wine new or old. 2. 'Twill mend the hard taste of wine (i. e.) putting a gallon thereof to a hogshead, and using the Rod, and then let it rest 5 or 6 dayes at the least, but if mild enough, add white mustardseed bruised.

To mend and preserve the Colour of Clarets. Take red Beet-roots q. s. scrape them clean and cut them into small pieces, then boyle them in q. s. of the same wine, to the con∣sumption of a third part, scum it well, and when cool, decant off what's clear, and use the Rod.

Page  217Alias, Take of the wine and honey of each 2 pounds, Rain∣water a pottle. 12. Beet-roots, ripe Mulberries 4 or 5 handfulls, boyle them to half, and when cool decant, &c. ut suprà.

To preserve Claret rack'd from its Lees. Take to a Tierce 10 Eggs, make a small hole in the top of the shells, then put them into the wine, and all will be consumed.

To prevent souring of French wines. Take Grains of Para∣dise q. s. beat them in a pan, and hang them or put them loose into a vessel. Some use Lavender tops.

Page  218 To help sour French wine. Take of the best wheat 4 ounces boyled in fair water till it break, and when cold put it into a Vat in a bag, and use the Rod. Alias, Take 5 or 6 Cinnamon canes, bung them up well.

To help Spanish sour wines. First rack the wine into a clean Cask, and fill it up with two or three Gallons of water, and add thereto of burnt Chalk 4 ounces, and after 3 or 4 dayes it must be rackt and filled up again with rain water, if the first time doth not do it. Some use Loam or Plastering. If these Ingredients make the Wine bitter, correct the fault with Nutmegs and Cloves.

Page  219 To help stinking wines. Take Ginger half an ounce, Zedoary 2 drachms, powder and boyle them in a pottle of good wine, which put scald∣ing hot into the Vat: bung it up and let it lye; the species of Diambrae and Diamoscu Dulc do the same; and so Nutmegs and Cloves which also give a kind of Raziness.

To help Wine that hath an ill savour from the Lees. First, rack it into a clean Cask, and if Red or Claret, give him a fresh Lee of the same kind: Then take of Cloves, Ginger and Cinnamon 2 ounces, Or∣ras-root 4 ounces; powder them grosly, hang them in a Page  220 bag, and taste the wine once in 3 dayes, and when 'tis amended take out the bagg. Some do it thus, Take of Cloves half a pound, Mastick, Ginger, Cubebs, of each 2 ounces, Spica nardi 3 drachms, Orras root half a pound, make thereof a fine powder, which put loose into the Vat, and use the Rod, then make a good fire before it.

Firing of Wines in Ger∣many is thus performed: they have in some Vaults 3 or 4 Stoves, which they heat ve∣ry hot; others make fires al∣most before every Vat; by this means the Must ferment∣eth with that Vehemency, that the wine appears between the Page  221 staves; when this Ebullition, fermentation and working ceas∣eth, let the Wine stand some dayes, and then rack it. This firing is only used in cold years, when the wine falls out green.

Stum is nothing else but pure wine kept from fretting by often racking and match∣ing it in clean Vessels and strongly scented (i. e.) new matched, by means whereof it becomes as clear or clearer than any other Wine, preser∣ving it self from both its Lees by precipitation of them: But if through neglect it once fret, it becomes good Wine. The Bung of the Vessel must be continually stopt, and the Page  222 Vessels strong left they break. A little Stum put to Wine de∣cayed, makes it ferment afresh, and gives life and sweetness thereto, but offends the head and stomach, torments the guts, and is apt to cause loosnesses, and some say Barrenness in Wo∣men.

To Fine Wine presently▪ Fill a Cask with shavings or chips of Beech or Oak (which are best) this is to be done with much art, or else it sel∣dome hits right, but lasteth long: put these chips into a Cask which is called by the Dutch een Spaen (i. e.) a Chip, into which they pour in as much Wine as the Cask will hold, and in 24 hours the Page  223 wine will be fine. Or a quart of Vinegar in three dayes will fine a hogshead of Wine.

To set old Wine a fretting being deadish and dull in taste. Take of Stum 2 Gallons, to a hogshead, put it hot upon the wine, then set a pan of fire before the hogshead, which will then ferment till all the sweetness of the Stum is com∣municated to the wine, which thereby becomes brisk and plea∣sant. Some use this Stumming at any time, some in August only, when the wine hath a Disposi∣tion to fret of it self, more or less Stum to be added, as the wine requires.

Page  224 The best time to rack wine is the decrease of the Moon, and when the wine is free from fretting; the wind being at North-east or North-west, and not at South, the Sky se∣rene, free from Thunder and Lightning.

Another Match for French Clarets and Spanish wines. Take Orras-roots, Mastick and Brimstone, of each 4 ounces, Cloves 2 ounces; ordering it ut suprà in Matching wines. This will serve for all wines, adding if you please Nutmegs, Ginger, Cinnamon and other Spices. Double the quantity of Orras root is to be used for Spa∣nish wines.

Page  225 To help Malago's which will not fine. Take of crude Tartar powdered, sifted and dryed, 2 pounds, mix it with the whites of 6 Eggs: dry, powder and sift them again, then overdraw the Pipe as much as will serve to mix with this powder, and fill the Pipe there∣with, beating it with a Staff as before, and this wine will be Fine in ten dayes.

Another speedy way to fine French wines. Hang a piece of scent in the Cask, and when 'tis burnt out, put in a pint of the best Spirit of Wine, and stir it about. Some add, a little salt well dryed. This fines the wine in 24 hours.

Page  226 To keep Must a Year. Take Must, put it into a Cask pitcht within and without, half full, stop the bung close with mor∣ter. Others few the Cask in Skins, and sink it for 30 dayes into a Well or River. Or else a Garland of Polium Montanum hung in the Vessel. Or rub the inside of the Vessel with Cheese: all these preserve Rhenish Must, As the Scholiast on Dodonaus in Dutch.

Alum put into a hogs-blad∣der, keeps wine from turning flat, faint or brown and beaten with the whites of Eggs removes its ropiness.

Page  227 Flat Wines recovered with spirit of Wine, Raisins and Sugar or Melosses; and Sacks, by drawing them on fresh Lees.

Our Wine-Coopers of lat∣ter times use vast quantities of Sugar and Melosses to all sorts of Wines, to make them drink brisk and spark∣ling, and to give them Spi∣rits, as also to mend their bad tastes, all which Rai∣sins and Cute and Stum per∣form.

Page  228 Countrey Vintners feed their fretting Wines with raw Beef; and here, their Cana∣ries with Malago, which is added more or less to all Ca∣naries.

The Composition of Wines is manifold, the Vintners usu∣ally drawing out of 2 or 3 Casks, for one Pint, to accom∣modate it to the Palate of those that drink it. Most of the Ca∣nary is made with Malago and Zerez Sack.

I shall conclude with two common compunded Wines, Muscaden and Hippocrass: the former usually made with 30 Gallons of Cute (which is Page  229 Wine boyled to the consum∣ption of half) to a Butt of Wine. Or the Lees and drop∣pings boyl'd and clarified; its Flavour is made of Cori∣ander seeds prepared and sha∣vings of Cyprus wood. Some instead of Cute, make it of Sugar, Melosses and Honey, or mix them with the Cute. This following is an Hypocrass of my own mak∣ing, and the best I have tasted.

Take of Cardamoms, Car∣pobalsamus of each half an ounce, Coriander seeds prepa∣red, Nutmegs, Ginger, of each 2 ounces, Cloves 2 drachms; bruise and infuse them 48 hours in Zerez and White wine, Page  230 of each a Gallon, often stirring them; then add thereto of Milk 3 pints, strain through an Hippocrass bag, and sweeten it with a pound of Sugar∣candy.

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