La Vigne - Voyage Autour des Vins de France. Étude Physiologique, Anecdotique, Historique, Humoristique et Même Scientifique - L. Bertall [Charles Albert d'Arnoux] 1878 - E. Plon et Cie., Paris - First Edition A superb example of this magnificently illustrated wine book landmark, with numerous humorous anecdotes about winemakers, merchants, innkeepers...

Black and white frontispiece, 94 full page captioned plates and close to 400 in-text wood-engraved illustrations.

The a vast array of illustrations by Bertall are combined with an interesting potpourri of French viniana. For example, wines are divided into three big categories: white wines, red wines and blue wines, matching the French national colours. The whites are generally luxury wines, from Chablis and Saumur to Champagne and Sauterne - wines of the rich. Red wines are for general use and for tasting, they make glad the heart and the mind, etc. Blue wines are the wines of the workers and of those who prefer not to work, wines warm in the gut but hard on the gullet, good for vitality in moderation, but bad when taken to excess [pages 23-24].
  At Beychevelle, the person in charge was asked about why the pressing of the grapes was done to violin accompaniment. Because we've always done it and will as long as I have any say. Did they do it elsewhere? Probably, but he didn't really know. Did this improve the wine? He believed it did. Thanks to the experience of our ancestors, the wine was good in their time; thanks to them it was still good today. [200-201].

About the so-called weaker sex: the prosperity of the champagne industry is due mainly to the initiative and intelligence of two widows, Cliquot and Pommery, without whom their husbands would have passed on to complete oblivion. [page 529].

The above quoted with thanks to Eberhard Buehler,
Viniana.

Provenance: From the collection of Gerhard Jensen with his pictorial bookplate.

References: Eberhard Buehler,
Viniana, B41. Bitting, Gastronomic Bibliography 38. Vicaire, Bibliographie Gastronomique, 87. Simon, Bibliotheca Vinaria, 110. Cagle, A Matter of Taste, 77. Bitting, Gastronomic Bibliography, 38. Marcus and Elizabeth Crahan, Sotheby’s Auction, 482. Oberlé, Bibliothèque Bachique, 138.

Quarto (binding size 28.6x21cm), pp. [10] 659 [3]. Pagination, as per publisher’s, includes plates.
  In publisher’s red morocco with matching patterned cloth boards, spine lettered nad decorated in gilt, all edges thick gilt, ivory moiré silk endpapers.   Condition: Fine in near fine binding with some minor rubbing to the edges and corners of the binding.   Ref: 110168   Price: HK$ 6,000