Saturday, March 29, 2014

Early Medieval French wine

This is one of several posts on drink in the Middle Ages. The others are:

In one sense, wine might be considered a casualty of the decline of the Roman Empire. If a multitude of wines are known in the Late Medieval era, for centuries after the Franks took over, it is rare to see any mention of a regional wine and the idea of vintages – known to Roman connoisseurs – disappeared until after the Middle Ages. As with so many other subjects, the history of French wine tends to skip from the Romans to just before the Crusades. Yet substantial evidence exists to show that wine production itself not only continued but probably expanded under the Franks, laying the ground for what would become a rich and flourishing wine trade.



Wine before the Franks

Wine itself came early to both the Gauls and the Germans – that is, to the two groups whose cultures would meld with the Romans' to create France. The Gauls knew it at least from the Greeks at what would become Marseilles; Etruscan amphorae found in France suggest they may already have encountered it from Italy as well. The German exposure too began with the Greeks; Greek amphorae have been found in early Iron Age graves. It is noteworthy that these graves also held various wine-drinking paraphernalia:
These vessels were all part of the accoutrements of the wine-drinking ritual in Greek and Etruscan societies.. This wine-drinking ritual played a special role in status display and social competition in those Mediterranean societies. (Wells)
With Roman rule, the Gauls – now Gallo-Romans – became producers and exporters of wine. The wine of Bordeaux, especially, is noted by authors as different as Pliny the Elder (23 - 79), who praised the wines of Biturica, and Ausonius, whose name is now that of a famous wine variety. Though Ausonius (c. 310- c. 394) was from Bordeaux, which he described as “my country made famous by Bacchus”, he also wrote a famous poem on the Moselle Valley, describing “caverns covered with vines forming a natural amphitheatre” and comparing the effect there to how “vines color my Garonne river”.


Paulin de Pella (376 - c. 459) managed his wife's vines in Aquitaine. Later he took refuge in Marseille and talked (with some exaggeration) of the vines as the only source of the city's wealth.

Sometime in this period, too, wines began to be mentioned in Burgundy. Burgundy wine had existed since at least the third century, when Eumene complained about the effect of taxes on the vines of Autun; there is some evidence tracing it back to the first century (Bazin) Both Chalons (sur-Saone) and Autun have been credited with originating it. (Lantier). Dion says that this region's wines became established between the first and third century.

Otherwise, various indications of Gallo-Roman wine production have been found in the Loir-et-Cher, the Maine-et-Loire, the Haute-Loire and the Loire. Amphora production in the valleys of the Seine, of the Oise and of the Rhine suggests wine production all through the second century. Laubenheimer cites various sources from the end of the Imperial period as mentioning wine production in the regions of Bordeaux, Poitou, Saintonge, the Lyonnais, Moselle, the Cote-d'Or, the Paris basin, the Limagne, the Narbonnais and the Gard, Aquitaine and Marseille.

Wines of Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Loire, and even those farther north, are noted then under the Gallo-Romans. However, as the empire declined, southern wine production decreased, in the Narbonnaise, Provence and Languedoc regions; in Aquitaine, some larger domains persisted in the fourth century. This is noteworthy because, as important as Bordeaux wine, in particular, was before and after the Early Medieval period, far less evidence exists of it in the period itself.

The other big change to note in the Late Empire was the shift from amphorae to barrels. Barrels themselves may have come from Italy, but via the Gauls who lived there for a time; it has also been suggested that the Gauls themselves got the idea from the Etruscans (Marlière). Barrels are already shown on Trajan's column (113); by one account they became more common when Roman soldiers needed a way to transport volumes of wine north from Lyons to the Rhine. Whatever the case, barrels were already being used before the Franks ruled France, though for a long time they coexisted with amphorae.



Roman holdovers

Scattered evidence exists that under the Franks some Roman-style connoisseur-ship persisted at least for a time. The Museum of Cluny, for instance, holds a sixth century liturgical wine strainer, implying a Roman sense of refinement in consumption (as suited the largely Gallo-Roman Medieval church). If such implements fell away under the Franks, it may be not only because they drank wine with less ceremony, but because the spices and other ingredients added to wine became less common and so there was simply nothing to strain out. It is also true that such paraphernalia may have come to seem like a decadent indulgence in the Christian era.

The Romans knew of a wide range of wines by name, both Italian and foreign; notably Falernian and Caecuban, but also including wines from Setia and Opimius. The wines of Gaza (in Palestine) and Chio (in Greece) were also highly prized. Apollinaris (c. 430 - c 486) (who continued to live a Roman life under German rule) writes a friend not to expect wines of Gaza, Chio, Mt. Falernus or Sarepta.  Under the Franks, a number of these wines would maintain their reputation. Gregory, for instance, mentions the wine of Gaza as one of the excellent wines a host orders brought out for a guest.

Fortunatus mentions mixing “Falernian” with honey. The Romans had a separate term – mulsum – for wine mixed with honey and it seems unlikely that true Falernian would have been adulterated in this way, nor that it would have required it (since honey typically would have countered a more bitter taste). It may be that the term took on a general meaning over time similar to “Champagne” today, which has been used to refer to sparkling wines from other regions or even other countries.

Gregory too uses “Falernian” as a synonym for the very best wine. One of the miracles Gregory credits to St. Martin is turning water into Falernian wine (not just any wine, mind you). In fact, in mentioning Christ turning water into wine, he says that he turned it, specifically, into Falernian. Clearly, this would not have been the Italian regional wine (if anything, it would logically have been more like a wine of Gaza). In praising the vines near Dijon, Gregory says they “gave the inhabitants so fine a Falernian that they despise the wine of Chalon”. (The wines of Chalon – Chalon-sur-Saône – had had a reputation since Roman times; some scholars however read Gregory's text as referring to Ascalon, another city in Palestine known for its wine). From these references, it is very unlikely that Gregory still used the term in its literal sense.

Note that both Dijon and, if that is the reference, Chalon-sur-Saône, are in Burgundy. This region's wine production continued and even appears to have flourished under the Franks.

Gregory's praise of specific wines is rare in the period. For most of the later centuries under the Franks, wine is mentioned generically, without distinction of age, origin or color. References to the old Roman favorites – Falernian, Gaza, etc. – mainly disappear, though in describing Jumiéges (Upper Normandy) an eighth-century life of St. Philibert says “here vineyards abound with bunches of grapes whose shining, swelling buds gleam with Falernian.” (hinc vinearum abundant butriones, qui turgentibus gemmis, lucentibus rutilant in falernis.) The same passage shows that valued vines were then grown in Normandy.



Medieval wine

The modern consensus is that Medieval wine was weak and short-lived: “Almost all medieval wine was drunk in the year of its vintaging....We attach importance to the quality of age. Medieval man did not. He was little interested in age and he made no real effort to improve his wines by aging them.” (Mole); Wine …. could not be stored long. Six months old was probably the peak of a medieval wine's quality. It was unusual for wine to keep as long as four years; most of it was gone within a year, either soured to vinegar or consumed at table.” (Johnston); “medieval wine was not as strong as wines are today. ... people consumed wine immediately after production, directly out of wooden casks, ... resulting in a weaker concoction “(Vess); “Medieval wine kept badly and had to be consumed within the year – which did not fail to impose a seasonal rhythm on trade, without changing the prices, the buying and selling methods" (Duby).

This decline in strength and quality, and the disappearance of the idea of a “vintage”, can be attributed to various causes, not least the loss of much Roman husbandry. Certainly, the change from amphorae to barrels played a part (glass bottles were not used for wine until well after the Medieval period). It would be a long time before barrels would be sealed sufficiently to avoid evaporation. As late as the eighteenth century, Le Grand d'Aussy wrote:
It is to be hoped that some sealant will be found and kept which, without communicating any foreign taste to the liquor, nonetheless prevents its evaporation somewhat, so that one can, without loss, let it acquire in the cask that perfection and that maturity which Time alone can give it, and that it can no longer receive once it is bottled.
The fact, however, that wine did not keep did not mean it could not be transported and traded. It remained a key item of trade (which itself did not decline as drastically as some more extreme images of the “Dark Ages” would have it). Gregory of Tours writes of a merchant going to pick up wine at Orleans. “At this time, a merchant named Christophore left for Orleans, because he had heard that a great deal of wine had arrived there: he went there then, bought the wine and had it transported by boat.” Jourdan-Lombard writes: “The fairs of the early Middle Age were in part wine fairs." Devroey has carefully analyzed the transportation in the ninth century of wine by the St. Germain Abbey to various regions and ports.

It may be then that some general reputations existed for the wine of certain regions. But, for a long time, such reputations were not sufficient to be recorded in surviving documents. Towards the end of the Frankish period, several specific wines are mentioned, showing that such distinctions then existed; but most cannot be readily identified today.

Trade in turn impacted cultivation, which was often along or near waterways. Duby, reviewing Dion's classic work on French wine history, writes:
This book shows in a stunning manner the domination which water routes exercised on the history of old vineyards: these were born and grew up along banks, and in absolute dependence on the capacity of boats. .... Yves Renouard has shown that the superiority of transport by boat lay in, as much as by the greater ease (compensated no doubt by the lesser ease of avoiding tolls), the need to spare barrels the shocks which would have displaced them.
How big a part did the Church play in preserving or reviving wine production? Mole:
Another theory holds that it was the Church which brought the tradition of viticulture over from Roman times, and safeguarding it during the years of invasion and anarchy, and deploying it once again in the fullness of the Middle Ages. This theory is patently untrue. The Church had little, if anything, to do with the transmission of viticulture from the Ancient into the Christian world. Wine-growing was brought over the Dark Ages by private enterprise, and the traditions of viticulture were continued through the memories of lay vignerons rather than through the manuscripts of monastic libraries.
He adds further on:
The Christian vineyards were not solely – and not even principally – intended to provide wine for the Mass. Their main function was not religious but economic. They were donated, or created, in order to contribute to the upkeep of a foundation... [The Church's] attitude towards agricultural profit was on the whole severely practical and its view of agricultural trade was seldom distorted by sentiment.
No doubt opposing views have appeared since 1966, when this was published. But Mole's is at least worth considering as a corrective to what is still a common view.



Narrative references

Historical or anecdotal references to French wine in this period are scattered, but useful, especially early in the period of Frankish rule
In the VIth c. the sources remained abundant: the will of Saint Remy includes several donations of vineyards in Champagne, Venantius Fortunatus sings the praises of the vineyard of the Moselle, of the Bordeaux region and of the Val du Loire and Gregory of Tours mentions those of Burgundy, of the valley of the Loire, but also of the vines in Alsace whose vineyards appear for the first time in texts.
(Laubenheimer)
Gregory (539 - 594) tells twice how the Bretons had all the grapes of Nantes and Rennes harvested and carried off. Presumably these grapes were of some quality to be worth stealing. Though the Nantes region (in the Loire) still produces a number of wines today, neither Rennes nor Brittany in general are now known for wine; yet wine was still made in Brittany in later centuries.

In one famous story, Chilperic established a tax of one “amphora” of wine per arpent (a measure of land); the exact size of this vessel (probably a barrel) has been variously estimated, but whatever the case, the tax was considered onerous, especially by the people of Limousin, who burned the tax registers and almost killed the tax collector. (Wine is still produced in Limousin today, though the region is not known for it.)

Gregory also mentions a winemaker on the Ile-de-Ré, an island on the Atlantic coast which still makes wine today and is part of the Poitou-Charentes region.

Arguably, Gregory also is the first to mention wine in Alsace. He tells how the woman in an adulterous couple was sent to Marlenheim (in Alsace) and her lover sent “to work the vine”. The location of the vineyard is not specified (we cannot assume the man and woman were sent to the same place) but it was likely to have been in the same general region, even if it was not Marlenheim itself.

Fortunatus (c. 530 - 609) refers to the “rich vineyards” along the Moselle: “"Every way one turns, the hills are covered with vines... these vines are planted in regular, close rows, and the painted posts which indicate their divisions climb all the way to the top of the mountain." He describes wine near Trier, with a taste as sweet as honey, growing on mountainsides and gathered by men hanging off the rocks. He also makes it plain, however, that wine was not always to be found when he was traveling; wine production and distribution in France appears to have been spotty in the sixth century.


Vineyards in records

Perhaps the richest source on vineyards for the Early Medieval period tells us almost nothing of their reputation or quality, but does at least document the persistence of viticulture in various regions; this is the collection of donations, wills and founding documents which have (unevenly) survived.

This body of documentation is problematic in a number of regards. First of all, it is certainly not complete. Everything from Viking raids to Revolutionary vandalism, not to mention simple decay, has destroyed some of what once existed. Where documents do survive, the Latin place names they use cannot always be identified, either because no corresponding locale has been found or because more than one credible equivalent exists. It is also true that a number of these are forgeries. Ironically, however, this verifies more certainly that the properties they reference existed, since the very purpose of creating such “back-dated” documents was to establish a particular institution's right to the property in question. Since most of these forgeries themselves were created in the Early Medieval period, they prove that vineyards existed in the places named, if not necessarily as early as the supposed date of the document.

One question to consider too is how much the presence of vineyards implied wine production as opposed to fruit consumption. In fact, in this period in particular, it seems very likely that any place that had a vineyard was also producing wine. As Ruas points out, evidence of grape consumption from the Early Medieval period is rare:
In spite of the greater preservation chances (high frequency in the relatively numerous refuse dumps), pips of Vitis vinifera have only been found in less than half the sites. However, in sites from the Late Middle Ages, Vitis is found more frequently...The urban latrines of Montauban, Troyes, and Paris indicate that grapes were consumed as table fruit, either fresh or dry.... Archeological records of Vitis are not scarce, but the extension of viticulture towards the north is better documented by historical sources.
Finally it is important to know that in the nineteenth century most native French grape stock was wiped out by phylloxera; if many regions have persisted from these centuries, little of the original grape stock has survived today. (Could scientists clone older varieties from the various grape seeds which have been found by archaeologists? No one seems to have suggested the idea so far.)

It is also true that a full analysis of these documents would require a major project; any reference to them here is based on a cursory and incomplete review. Still, certain tendencies do appear in this exercise.

One striking aspect of these documents is the continued appearance of most of the major wine regions known under the Romans, most of which (not all) are still known today: Burgundy, the Loire, the Moselle, but also the Parisian region and northern areas like Picardy and the Nord (north) department. Alsace, whose wines appear to have been unknown under the Romans (despite the success of the neighboring Moselle region), appears more than once in these records. Equally striking is the rarity, though not complete absence, of southern regions, notably Bordeaux.

Some such references can be matched to modern wines. In 587, King Gontran of Burgundy gave vines to monks at Saint-Benigne near Dijon; wine is still produced there today. In 640 the duke of Amagaire gave vines to the abbey of Bezes, at Gevrey (today part of the Cote de Nuits along the Route des Grands Crus), Fixin, Marsannay and Vosne, where today Romanée-Conti wine is produced. Bishop Virgil's will from 680 mentions properties well-known today as “La Chainette” and the “Clos de Migraine”, both near Auxerre. The Saint-Germain Abbey later owned vines near what is today the famous Clos de Vougeot. But as well-known as some of these wines are today, none appear to have had any reputation beyond their own regions in this period.

A large number of these records reference places along the Yonne or elsewhere in Burgundy. This alone gives some idea of the region's continuing importance. The first hint of its having a reputation – continued or renewed – comes in the ninth century, with a mention of it (“de Burgundia m[odio] L”) in Ansegisus' constitution for the Abbey of Fontanelle (c. 823-833). (Ansegisus also mentions several other specific wines, but these cannot currently be identified.)

A 696 charter of Ansebert is especially interesting, because it mentions "Hauxiaco, in pago Belnense"; that is Auxey, in the Beaune region. The wine of Beaune is that most mentioned in France in later centuries, though it may (by one account) then refer to Burgundy wines in general. Still, specific mention of a Beaune wine this early stands out.

Another mention, in Wideradus' will of 721, is of Senseriacum and Ariacum, both in the Nivernois (today, roughly, the Nièvre). Ariacum is Herry. By some interpretations, Senseriacum is Sancerre. If so, this is an early mention of a wine-producing region which soon became important. But at least one author believes it to be another town in the region, Sancergues, slightly to the south of Sancerre and much closer to Herry. (Both Sancergues and Herry, though obscure today, still produce wine.)

UPDATE 3/31/2014 A charter cited in another collection, which dates it from 868 (typically given as December 27, 867) records the donation by Charles the Bald of a cella (storehouse) at Chablis, on the Serein river in the Tonnerre region, to the abbey of Saint-Martin de Tours, along with attendant properties, including vines. The wine's reputation would only come later, but of course the mention is of interest.

Numerous vineyards continue to be referenced in the Moselle region, though not all were in what is France today. Several were near Trier, now in Germany. Abbess Irmina d'Oeren mentions vineyards in Echternach (698) and Steinheim (704), both in Luxembourg, which has never stopped producing wine.

If the vineyards of Alsace appear less, their presence is nonetheless firmly established in this period. Documents from Weroald (in 700) and Pepin (in 768) mention vineyards there.

Champagne wine was also mentioned early on. Two versions exist of a will by St. Remy (V-VIth c). In the one that is generally accepted as genuine, he left several vineyards which were probably in Champagne; one (at Vendresse) was certainly there, another was at Laon (that is, in Picardy). Centuries later, around 853, Pardulfe sent medical advice to Hincmar, bishop of Rheims, and recommended several wines from the region, including those from Sparnaco (Epernay), Mount “Ebon” (probably Mount Bernon, looking over Epernay), and Calmiciaco (Rouvroy in Chaumuzy). The ninth century polyptique for St. Remy also lists a number of vineyards in areas around Reims. These may have been red wines as well as white, however, and there is no reason to believe they were sparkling. Vizetelly writes:
A conscientious writer candidly acknowledges that, despite minute and painstaking researches, he cannot tell when what is now known as sparkling Champagne first made its appearance. The most ancient references to it of a positive character that he could discover are contained in the poems of Grenan and Coffin, printed in 1711 and 1712; yet its invention certainly dates prior to that epoch, and earlier poets have also praised it. It seems most probable that the tendency to effervescence already noted became even more marked in the strong-bodied gray and'partridge-eye' wines, first made from red grapes about 1670, than in the yellowish wine previously produced, like that of Ay, from white grapes, and recommended, from its deficiency in body, to be drunk off within the year.
Still, it is clear that by the ninth century the wines of Burgundy, Alsace and Champagne were already known.

The records from St. Remy also mention vineyards near Laon, as does one from Childeric II in 671 and from the Abbot Huntbertus in the same year. Laon, utterly unknown for wine today, would remain a wine-producing region into the nineteenth century. Though its proximity to Reims may make this unsurprising, it may be more surprising to know that all of Picardy (now known for beer and cider) was once a wine-producing region.

Writing in the eighteenth century, Le Grand d'Aussy says of the wines of Picardy:
Master Le Moine, Archivist of Corbie, published, three or four years ago, a notice where he claims that Picardy once had vines. ...still now there are vines near Amiens on the territory of Cagni; there are some near Montdidier, and in some other areas of this Province. It is true that these vines yield an awful wine, which is only consumed by the common folk; but still it is wine. Among the vineyards of France Baccius (in 1596) counted those of this same territory of Amiens, and of a large part of Picardy. When, towards the middle of the VIIth century, Clothaire III founded the Abbey of Corbie, he gave the Monks, by his title, lands, woods, meadows, and the wines of this region. Finally, we have another charter from the same Prince, by which he permits the Abbey of St. Bertin, in Thérouanne, to make several exchanges; and where he speaks again of wine.
In fact, a number of documents from the Early Middle Ages reference wines in Picardy and even in what is now known as the “north" (Nord) department. For a long time, wine production in these regions was perfectly standard, as was producing wine around Paris.

A 558 donation from Childebert I mentions vineyards in Issy (Isciacus) in the Paris region. Other records mention Argenteuil and Puteaux which, like Issy, most Parisians today probably know only as stops on the RER (the suburban rail system). But the reputation of wine from the Paris region would endure long after the Middle Ages. Le Grand d'Aussy cites praise of wines from the Paris region (those of Argenteuil in particular) through the sixteenth century. It may well be that simple proximity to a city which has a disproportionate importance in France helped here. But Le Grand also sees in that one reason for the local vineyards' decline: “Could it not be that the owners, blinded by the lure of the sure and prompt sale which the proximity of the Capital offered them, had the impudence to neglect the care of their vines; to choose plants of an inferior quality but greater yield; in a word, to prefer abundance to quality!”

Two apocryphal documents from Dagobert I record vines in the Vienne, now in the Poitou-Charentes region. This area today is best known for cognac, but in 1281, Eleanor of Castile ordered wine from La Rochelle, also in the Poitou-Charentes region, to be sent to England. Wine from La Rochelle is also mentioned in the Bataille des Vins (see below).

If southern wines appear less in these records, this may reflect a difference in the monasteries (which kept many of these records) as well as the reality of cultivation. The wines of Toulon are unknown today, but in 739, Abbo, the Patrician of Provence, left a vineyard near Toulon in his will. The area's wines endured well beyond the Middle Ages; as late as the eighteenth century Samuel Johnson found them familiar enough to propose for a drinking match:
"I wish," said he, "my master would say to me, Johnson, if you will oblige me, you will call for a bottle of Toulon, and then we will set to it, glass for  glass, till it is done; and after that, I will say, Thrale, if you will oblige me, you will call for another bottle of Toulon, and then we will set to it, glass for glass, till that is done: and by the time we should have drunk the two bottles, we should be so happy, and such good friends, that we should fly into each other's arms, and both together call for the third!"
Several donations from Sigismund of Burgundy in 523 concern the Valle d'Aosta (the Aosta Valley), a region that is today part of Italy (known for Fontina cheese and dishes made with it), but was long a part of France and remains officially bilingual. One of the documents mentions vineyards in Morgex, whose Blanc de Morgex is still produced today. Fumin, another grape variety, is also from this region, which in general has the particularity of having preserved its original vine stock, being too high to be affected by phylloxera.

In 615, Bertechramnus, the Bishop of Mans, left land with vineyards at Floriac, “between two seas”, that is, Entre-Deux-Mers, an area in Bordeaux still known today for its wines. Otherwise, if Bordelaise vineyards appear rarely in these records, it nonetheless remains true that they were already again praised in the twelfth century, and so surely must have been revived at some point in this period. Whether evidence of this lies in texts or archeological digs remains to be seen.



Coming attractions...

These references show that viticulture was thriving in the Early Middle Ages, even if the infrastructure did not yet exist to create a coherent market and corresponding appreciations of different wines. But by the ninth century, Ansegisus' constitution and Pardulfe's letter both show that certain wines were beginning to have at least local reputations. Probably similar recommendations were made that have not survived in documents. Certainly within a few centuries, wines of specific French regions were not only known but exported to other countries.

The first really extensive look at French wines comes under Philip-Auguste (reigned 1180 - 1223) with d'Andeli's famous verse “the Battle of Wines” (la Bataille des vins) in which different wines dispute their title as the best wines in France. But for so many wines to have established reputations at this point, some at least must have been known in the centuries just before and one can reasonably speculate that at least part of the poem's remarks held true in earlier times. Le Grand d'Aussy resumes the information in this colorful document as follows:
Among the wines of the Provinces or of regions, the Poet praises those of the Gâtinais, of Auxois, of Anjou, and of Provence.
Regarding particular wines, known in different Provinces, one sees that,
The Angoumois, had that of Angoulême.
The Aunis, that of La Rochelle.
Auvergne, that of St. Pourçain (a).
a. Another of our XIIIth century Poets, speaking of a man who became very rich, says of him, to give us an idea of his luxury, that he no longer drank anything but the wine of St. Pourçain.
The Berry, of Sancerre*, of Châteauroux, of Issoudun, and of Buzançais.
[*Le Grand has “Santerre” here, but that is in Picardy. The manuscript too says “Sancerre”]
Champagne, of Chabli [near, and at one time part of, Champagne], Epernay, Rheims, Hauvilliers, Sezanne, Tonnerre.
Guyenne, of Bordeaux, Saint-Emilion, Trie and Moissac.
The Isle de France, of Argenteuil, Deuil, Marly, Meulan, Soissons, Montmorenci, Pierrefite and St. Yon.
The poet adds that the wines of Argenteuil are as “clear as a tear in the eye, and better than all others”.
The Languedoc, of Narbone, Béziers, Montpeller, and Carcassonne.
The Nievernais, that of Névers, Vézelay.
The Orléanais, of Orleans, Orchese, Jergeau, Samoy.
The Poitou, of Poitiers.
The Saintonge, of Saintes, Taillebourg, St. Jean D'Angéli.
The Touraine, of Montrichart.
Le Grand adds these more eloquent notes as well:
The Poet speaks with contempt of the wines of Estampes, of Tours and of Mans. He accuses these last two of tending to go sour in summer.
(Note that some of the most mentioned wines in earlier centuries are from Mans, not least because a disproportionate number of forgeries were produced in that region.)

By this period, too, the wine of Beaune – whether from that region in particular or Burgundy in general – had already established itself as the first in France, The poet, says Le Grand, “shows us the wine of Beaune with a yellow color, leaning somewhat towards that of ox horn. Such a color in a wine is rather difficult to imagine.” In fact, the verse is closer to:
A wine which is not best too yellow;
More is it green than ox horn.
seeming to say that the wine was best when more green than yellow. Which is, if anything, harder to imagine, but together with the reference to Argenteuil wine as like a tear drop shows that much of the preferred wine of this period was lighter in color.

Le Grand goes on:
Whatever the case, the vineyard in question was considered one of the first of the Realm. When the Popes, in 1308, came to carry the Pontifical Seat into France, their table, for almost the whole time they stayed in Avignon, the table of their principal Officers, and that of the Cardinals themselves, was always furnished with wine at the expense of the Monastery of Cluny. This wine was probably wine of Beaune: because Petrarch writing in 1366 to Urbain V, to get him to return to Rome; and responding to the different reasons which kept the Cardinals beyond the mountains says, I have heard them claim sometimes that there is no Beaune wine in Italy.
The wine of Beaune would retain its primacy for centuries, even as the lists (which Le Grand provides at length) for subsequent centuries would vary greatly. What would not change from this period on was the rich variety and the renown of many French wines; a renown which had been, as it were, gestating in what are still too often called “the Dark Ages”.




FOR FURTHER READING



Wells, Peter S., The Barbarians Speak: How the Conquered Peoples Shaped Roman Europe 1999

Ausonius, V1 ed Evely-White, Hugh Gerard d. 1924



Dion, Roger, Histoire de la vigne et du vin en France: des origines au XIXE siècle, Flammarion, 1977





"La viticulture en Gaule", Gallia.V58, 2001 Volume consecrated to wine in Gaul, including:







Mole, William, Gods, men, and wine 1966

Johnston. Ruth A, All Things Medieval: An Encyclopedia of the Medieval World 2011

Vess, Deborah, "Monastic Moonshine: Alcohol in the Middle Ages", Religion & Alcohol: Sobering Thoughts,ed Charles Kevin Robertson 2004


Duby, Georges, “Une synthèse : le vignoble français [Roger Dion, Histoire de la Vigne et du Vin en France des origines au XIXe siècle]”, Annales. Économies, Sociétés, Civilisations V16 1961













Ruas, Marie-Pierre, “The archaeobotanical record of cultivated and collected plants of economic importance from medieval sites in France”, Review of Paleobotany and Polynology,  1992

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phylloxera



Portail Telma: Chartes originales antérieures à 1121 conservées en France

Diplomata chartae, epistolae, leges aliaque instrumenta ad res Gallo- Francicasspectantia: Instrumenta ab anno 417 ad annum 627, ed Louis Georges Oudart-Feudrix de Bréquigny, François Jean Gabriel de La Porte Du Theil, Jean-Marie Pardessus V1 1843

Diplomata chartae, epistolae, leges aliaque instrumenta ad res Gallo- Francicas spectantia: Instrumenta ab anno 417 ad annum 627, ed Louis Georges Oudart-Feudrix de Bréquigny, François Jean Gabriel de La Porte Du Theil, Jean-Marie Pardessus
V2 1849





“Parduli Episcopi Laudunensis ad Hincmarum Remensem nunc primum ex Codicesancti Remigii Remensis”, ed.Sébastien Bricout, 2004, Corpus scriptorum latinorum

Irminon (Abbot), Polyptique de l'abbé Irminon, ou Dénombrement des manses,serfs et revenus de l'abbaye de Saint-Germain-des-Prés sous le règne de Charlemagne, ed Benjamin Edme Charles Guérard v2 1844

Vizetelly, Henry, A History of Champagne: With Notes on the Other Sparkling Wines of France 1882



Hermentrude, "Queen Eleanor's Purchases (from the Liberate Rolls)", Notes and Queries 1866


Fanny Burney, Baron Thomas Babington Macaulay Macaulay, The Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay (Frances Burney): 1778-1787


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valle_d'Aosta_DOC

"Fumin", Wine Monger



d'Andeli, "la Bataille des Vins", Fabliaux et contes des poètes François des XIe, XIIe, XIIIe, XIVe et XVe siècles:tirés des meilleurs auteurs. Contenant l'Ordene de Chevalerie ¬u.¬a,ed. Étienne Barbazan, Dominique Martin Méon V1 1808

"La Bataille des Vins", Recueil de fabliaux, dits,contes en vers (manuscript), Bibliothèque nationale de France,Département des manuscrits, Français 837



FOR AN ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF LE GRAND ON WINE:

Le Grand d'Aussy, Pierre Jean-Baptiste, A History of Wine in France: From the Gauls to the Eighteenth Century



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