This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
Soda is generally considered of little value, and if the reader will consider the position of the vineyard under consideration, he will see that the soil is very probably highly impregnated with soda from the sea. Rendu describes its location thus: "Under the name of Medoc is comprised that tongue of land which lies between the Gironde and the ocean." A reference to any map of France will show that the west winds from the Atlantic will no doubt carry over the surface of the country sufficient spray to impregnate the soil thoroughly with salt, probably with more than is absolutely required for successful vine culture;
But how about the potash ? If the soil contained 1.291 per cent., then it would contain nearly twenty tons of potash - rather more than Mr. Bull would undertake to add per acre.
Of phosphoric acid the soil contains .147 or 2.2 tons per acre. This is equal to about eight or ten tons per acre of common bone dust.
Of carbonate of lime there is enough for all the wants of the plant.
We think, therefore, that a careful consideration, even of the above imperfect analysis, will convince any one that the soil of the vineyard of Chateau Margaux is in reality very rich - rich in the ordinary sense, and rich in all the constituents required by the vine.
I regret that I have been obliged to occupy so much space, but the subject is an important one. The proper soil for vineyards is a point that demands the most careful attention on the part of all interested in vine culture. The man that will thoroughly investigate this subject will deserve the thanks of every grape-grower, and I think that carefully considered observations on the character of the soil of our different vineyards would afford much sound data upon which to base such an investigation. We therefore hope to have numerous reports from different parts of the country. Perhaps, if your readers have not been wearied with what I have presented, I may hereafter give you a resume of what Rendu, Odart, Julien, Franck, Ladrey, and others say of the soil and management of the famous vineyard Cha teau Margaux, of which Rendu says, "La-fitte and Latour themselves pale by the side of this incomparable nectar;" and Biarnez says, in form little more poetical,
"Idole des gourmets, c'est le plus grand des trois, Best seul sur son trone, il est le rol des rois."