“The ripening grape shall hang on every thorn.”
Incultisque ruhens pendebit sentibus uva.Virg. Ecl. iv. 29. Virgil
To make British Port Wine.—”Take of British grape wine, or good cyder, 4 gallons; of the juice of red beet root two quarts; brandy, two quarts; logwood 4 ounces; rhatany root, bruised, half a pound: first infuse the logwood and rhatany root in brandy, and a gallon of grape wine or cyder for one week; then strain off the liquor, and mix it with the other ingredients; keep it in a cask for a month, when it will be fit to bottle.”
Taken from A Treatise on Adulterations of Food, and Culinary Poisons, Frederick Accum, 1820
The small wooden barrel has three inches of dust on top. The paper had been yellowed. It’s letters the purple of poke berries still sharp. The receipe on port wine was centuries old. But why was it here? The keg plug hammered in place well before a machine could make it. Oil lamps burned back when it was sealed. The two foot tall relic stood as a shadow off to the side. If not for a chance passing, would it have ever been noticed.
“Uncle, uncle, uncle what treasures did you bury here?” A voice tears into the dim room.
The barrel moves easy. Most of its contents given as the angel’s share. The slushing inside announce a presence. A mild berry smell beckons from the past. The dark wood and cooper rings have aged in impeccable condition. Grabbing the top edge, he rolls it on edge, out across a deep shelf.
“Joshua, you don’t want to try that.” Uncle’s voice rattles him to the core. The hair on the neck are stood up. Goosebumps run through the arms, like a jolt of electricity.
Joshua stops moving the barrel. The keg plug stares at him. The voice echoes. The lack of body for that voice is a problem. After another minute he pushes the barrel back. Gathering his thoughts, it seems a good time for lunch.