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.
"Raised by Mr. Steel, of Hartford, Connecticut: Hardy, vigorous and productive." We refer to one of our best authorities, our well-informed friend Charles Downing, Esq. We agree with him in all points about this grape, excepting the thickness of skin and toughness of pulp. Either cultivation has improved the fruit, or it was better the past year than at the time when Mr. Downing described it. We found it a very fine berry with a little acidity, but soft, and with a remarkably thin skin, which yields easily its deep coloring matter, and must be, on that account suited, to red wine-making. We have no doubt of this, or its very acidity (of which it has little indeed) would be a quality as a bottom for a good wine.
Is it not time that we do away with the spurious drugs imported and carefully labelled, and, of course, preferred by some slaves of foreign products and manners, by substituting to these poisonous substances our own pure products of the grape? We have tasted repeatedly some South Carolina wines, and have found the wine made of the Lenoir equal to very good Claret, which it resembles altogether in "acobit." We have no doubt either the Clinton or Beatty would be fully as good for Claret wine-making. The Isabella wine, made by our friend Mr. Caradeud, South Carolina, has altogether a Burgundy taste and flavor, while his Pauline ranks between this and the Claret, and is a delicious wine. Those who have tasted the still Catawba, of Georgia, will no longer doubt its capability of competing with good Hock or Rhine wines; and when we consider that the first is made almost under our immediate control, and that we have nothing but faith and reliance upon foreign skill to sustain the other, we shall perhaps come to the conclusion that it is safer, although not so stylish, to drink our own wines, than to pay ridiculous prices for Champagne made in all parts of the world, except in Champagne; for Logwood, Sugar of Lead, Huckleberry juice, and two or three score more melanges sold under the name of cheap table wines, - cheap indeed I for their manufacturing costs almost nothing.
Such wines the writer of this note has seen condemned by the hundred barrels in the Entrepot of Barcy, and the contents poured into the Seine, to the great annoyance of the fish, and to the immense benefit of the community. But such stuff is good enough for America, and sells here as almost every foreign humbug does under "a name upon a gilt label," and nicely corked and warranted. By the by, Mr. Editor, let me ask you, "Where are the responsible parts of all those and other warranters?
What is the means to make a spurious warranted article pay for its sophistication? a law suit? that would be mere folly; retaliation? that is unmanly, unchristian. The only safe way to guard against such barefaced impositions is, abstinence, and substitution of a better and more genuine article for articles of "doubtful import" Let us remember the good Persian maxim "when you doubt, abstain," and, let us apply it, not only as it was meant, to moral obligations and duties, but also to our diet, that fruitful source of health and diseases. - L. E. Berckmans.
Much has been said of the dropping of the berries of this grape; bat we have had specimens this season, from different parties, on which the fruit hung as well as on most other kinds. Mr. Fuller sent us a basket of the Prolific, which we found to be about equal to the Isabella in its best estate, and which has advanced our opinion of it somewhat.