This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
We purpose under this heading giving the impressions formed of new or recently-introduced seedling Grapes, - these impressions or opinions being the result of our own more direct experience, and of observations which we have had the opportunity of making in visiting other garden establishments.
This is a vigorous-growing variety, of a free-fruiting character, bearing, when well grown, bunches and berries equal in size or nearly so to the Black Alicant. The berries are in shape very much like the Ali-cant, and, like that Grape, this variety colours well and lays on a very fine bloom, and we need not say that it is a Grape of first-rate appearance. Its flavour has a striking resemblance to the excellent Muscat Hamburg, and that is saying much for it in this particular point. In flesh it is much firmer than the Muscat Hamburg, yet it is sufficiently melting and juicy to be a very palatable Grape. It is a very free setter, and is a good moderately-late hanging Grape. It well deserves a place in every collection of Grapes, and is sure to become popular. We are of the opinion that the Muscat-house is the place for it.
This is a large-bunching free - fruiting Grape, a very vigorous grower, and sets its berries freely. There is no doubt about its showy appearance; but we have not been able to discover that it has anything like the claim to a high Muscat flavour that it was represented to have when introduced to public notice. In flavour we regard it as quite second-rate, and very much doubt if it will work its way into very high esteem, now that the varieties of good black Grapes include such as the Madresfield Court and Muscat Hamburg.
To a considerable extent this Grape has been lost sight of, and it is not often seen. We hear of its being good at some places - as, for instance, at Sandringham, where we believe it is well grown and very highly appreciated. Our own experience of it dates back to before it was sent out; and as a fine-flavoured very large-berried Grape, and a strong-growing Vine, we have a high opinion of it. With us it never has made very large bunches, but the berries are immense, and it is a most luscious juicy Grape, with a decided trace of Muscat flavour. It colours very much as the Grizzly Frontignac does in the same border; and certainly, if it were a more decided colour, it would generally be better liked. We cannot say that it deserves more, all things considered, than just a place in moderate-sized collections of Vines.