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Page:Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management.djvu/1647

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1471
GENERAL OBSERVATIONS ON BEVERAGES

These substitutes are in no wise imitations of tea and coffee, but are consumed for their own merits. Other substitutes are of the nature of adulteration, and contain no theine nor analogous alkaloids. Much of the prepared coffee drunk in England is merely an infusion of burnt rye, beans and chicory, with coffee to flavour, and its power as a stimulant is that possessed by any hot liquid with accompanying nourishment in the shape of milk or sugar, a power that is very often forgotten or overlooked.

Wines.—The wines of France are more highly esteemed than those of any other country, and of these, champagne takes the lead. Sparkling wine was first made in the neighbourhood of Epernay, and the methods employed then were practically the same as those of today. Both red and white grapes are grown in the Marne. The red gives a dryer wine, the white a softer one; and the two are generally mixed together, so as to make a satisfactory average. Great care has to be exercised in the gathering of the red grapes, and much swiftness used in pressing them, so that none of the colouring matter contained in the skin be communicated to the juice. In hot years the grapes are so ripe that they easily burst when they are gathered, and during the pressing some of the pigments of colour from the skin communicate that light pink hue which distinguishes vintages of that year; but on the other hand, hot seasons usually give an exceptionally good wine. Immediately after pressing, the juice is stored in casks and directly undergoes the first stage of fermentation, after which it is racked so as to be freed from the heavier lees. The area that can be planted as vineyards in the champagne district is rather limited, and as the demand has gone on increasing at a very rapid rate, prices have been forced up, and other districts of France have tried their hand at making sparkling wine. Thus we have now sparkling Burgundy, sparkling Chablis, sparkling Saumur, all excellent wines for the prices they command. The name of claret is practically given to all red wine coming from France, with the exception of Burgundy and Roussillon, which form small classes apart. The best clarets are those grown in the Gironde, but there are many other departments which furnish claret to Bordeaux, to Paris, and to foreign parts.

The wines of Germany are generally dearer than those of France, owing chiefly to the large proportion of bad seasons in the Rheingan. The best are the superior Hocks and Moselles, still and sparkling, known to consumers as Johannisberger, Steinberger, Marcobrünner, Hockheimer, Niersteiner, etc.

Storage of Wine.—Wine of every description should be stored in a cool, dry cellar. This is particularly necessary in the case of sparkling wines that have to be stored for a great length of time, for a damp atmosphere is apt to destroy the wire and strings which secure the corks.

Service of Wine.—Formerly it was considered necessary that a different