AULD ALLIANCE

"Because the maist Christian King of France has granted ane letter of naturalitie for him and his successors to all and sundrie Scotsmen registered in the chalmer of compts therefore the Queen's grace, Dowager and regent of this Realme and the three estates of the saim....."
(Extract from the Auld Alliance)

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.

WINE
In the age before the corking process and vintage wines were unheard of,
it was the freshness of the grape that counted. The so-called fine wines of the time had a young and fresh taste and would have been similar to the Beaujolais style wines today.Leith vaults

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.

Wine in Edinburgh - low quality (modem)
Wine in Edinburgh - high quality (ISDN)

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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.wine glass

Dunbaris 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
ane coursof grit daynte. Say he amen, for chirrite.

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