The Auld Alliance didn't just serve as a military agreement between Scotland and France, the signing in 1295 also gave Scots the privilege of selecting the first choice of Bordeaux’s finest wines, which up until then had been safeguarded by the French for hundreds of years. This new 'alliance' caused much frustration for the English who were left drinking an inferior product.
Edinburgh at the time
recieved the finest wines in the whole of Scotland and the wealthy merchants
of the area gathered to discuss business over a glass, or several, of
what was considered to be a drink only for the elite. The best wines arrived
from France directly to the busy trading port in Leith and were stored
in cellars at Leith Vaults.
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The famous makar, William Dunbar wrote about the wines available in the city in his poem ‘Dunbaris Dirige to the King’ . The verse encouraged the king to leave the ‘wilds’ of Stirling to join the lavish wine lifestyle occurring in Edinburgh.
Dirige to the King’ Patriachis,
prophetis, apostillis deir, Confessouris,
virgynis and martyris cleir And all the saitt celestiall, Devoitlie
we vpon thame call That sone out of our paynis fell he may in hewin heir
with ws duell, To eit swan, cran, peirtrik and pluver, And everie fishe
that swowmis in rever, To drink withe ws the new fresche wyne That grew
apone the revar Ryne, Fresche fragrant claretis out of France, Off Angeo
and of Orliance, With mony