Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/533

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THE paternal tenderness with which wine is regarded, both by its producers and consumers, is amusing. They speak of it as being "sick," describe its "diseases" and their remedies as though it were a sentient being; and its diseases, like our own, are now attributed to bacilli, bacteria, or other microbia.

Pasteur, who has worked out this question of the origin of diseases in wine as he is so well known to have done in animals, recommends (in papers read before the French Academy in May and August, 1865) that these microbia be "killed" by filling the bottles close up to the cork, which is thrust in just with sufficient firmness to allow the wine on expanding to force it out a little, but not entirely, thus preventing any air from entering the bottle. The bottles are then placed in a chamber heated to temperatures ranging from 45° to 100° C. (113° to 212° Fahr.), where they remain for an hour or two. They are then set aside, allowed to cool, and the cork driven in. It is said that this treatment kills the microbia, gives to the wine an increased bouquet and improved color—in fact, ages it considerably. Both old and new wines may be thus treated.

I simply state this on the authority of Pasteur, having made no direct experiments or observations on these diseases, which he describes as resulting in acetification, ropiness, bitterness, and decay or decomposition.

There is, however, another kind of sickness which I have studied, both experimentally and theoretically. I refer to the temporary sickness which sometimes occurs to rich wines when they are moved from one cellar to another, and to wines when newly exported from their native climate to our own. The wines that are the most subject to such sickness are those that are the most genuine—the natural, unsophisticated wines, those that have not been subjected to "fortification," to "vinage," to "plastering," "sulphuring," etc.—processes of cookery to be presently described.

This sickness shows itself by the wine becoming turbid, or opalescent, then throwing down either a crust or a loose, troublesome sediment.

Those of my readers who are sufficiently interested in this subject to care to study it practically should make the following experiment:

Dissolve in distilled water, or, better, in water slightly acidulated with hydrochloric acid, as much cream of tartar as will saturate it. This is best done by heating the water, agitating an excess of cream of tartar in it, then allowing the water to cool, the excess of salt to