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  • Thanks for the info--and the misspelling. ;-) I forgot to sign my previous comment "Too Lazy to Look It Up," too.

    July 17, 2009

  • Looks like it. Here's what the OED sez because I know you hate when I spell it that way :):

    vin sec, ‘dry wine’. Cf. G. sekt, earlier (17th c.) sek, Du. sek.

    Vin sec is given by Sherwood 1632 (but not by Cotgrave 1611-32) as the Fr. equivalent of ‘sacke’. According to Littré, vin sec meant only ‘dry wine’ in the current Eng. sense, i.e. wine ‘free from sweetness and fruity flavour’; there appears to be no ground for the assumption made in Grimm's Deutsches Wörterbuch, s.v. Sekt (and in earlier German dictionaries from the 17th c. onwards), that it at some time meant ‘wine from dried or partially dried grapes’. Some difficulty therefore arises from the fact that sack in English, as well as sekt in German, was often described as a sweet wine (so already in our earliest quot.), though Shakespeare's mention of ‘sack and sugar’ shows that it was not always such even in the 16th c. It is possible that before the recorded history of the name begins it had already been extended from the ‘dry’ wines of a certain class to the whole class, and had afterwards come to be applied esp. to those wines of the class which were originally excluded. But evidence is wanting. The Sp. *vino seco, It. *vino secco, usually cited by etymologists, appear not to be recognized by the lexicographers of the respective langs.

    The form sack is not a normal development from the original seck. It may perhaps be explained by the fact that in the 16th c. seck was a provincial form of SACK n.1; persons who were accustomed to regard ‘seck’ as a mispronunciation of sack may have applied the supposed correction to the name of the wine. It is not, in the present state of the evidence, probable that there was ever any confusion with the OF. vin de sac (‘Saccatum, vin de buffet, vin de sac’, in a gloss quoted by Godefr.), OHG. sacwîn (written saicwin), MDu. sacwijn, which according to early explanations meant a beverage made by steeping the lees of wine in water, and then straining through a bag.'>Early 16th c. wyne seck, ad. F. vin sec, ‘dry wine’. Cf. G. sekt, earlier (17th c.) sek, Du. sek.

    Vin sec is given by Sherwood 1632 (but not by Cotgrave 1611-32) as the Fr. equivalent of ‘sacke’. According to Littré, vin sec meant only ‘dry wine’ in the current Eng. sense, i.e. wine ‘free from sweetness and fruity flavour’; there appears to be no ground for the assumption made in Grimm's Deutsches Wörterbuch, s.v. Sekt (and in earlier German dictionaries from the 17th c. onwards), that it at some time meant ‘wine from dried or partially dried grapes’. Some difficulty therefore arises from the fact that sack in English, as well as sekt in German, was often described as a sweet wine (so already in our earliest quot.), though Shakespeare's mention of ‘sack and sugar’ shows that it was not always such even in the 16th c. It is possible that before the recorded history of the name begins it had already been extended from the ‘dry’ wines of a certain class to the whole class, and had afterwards come to be applied esp. to those wines of the class which were originally excluded. But evidence is wanting. The Sp. *vino seco, It. *vino secco, usually cited by etymologists, appear not to be recognized by the lexicographers of the respective langs.

    The form sack is not a normal development from the original seck. It may perhaps be explained by the fact that in the 16th c. seck was a provincial form of SACK n.1; persons who were accustomed to regard ‘seck’ as a mispronunciation of sack may have applied the supposed correction to the name of the wine. It is not, in the present state of the evidence, probable that there was ever any confusion with the OF. vin de sac (‘Saccatum, vin de buffet, vin de sac’, in a gloss quoted by Godefr.), OHG. sacwîn (written saicwin), MDu. sacwijn, which according to early explanations meant a beverage made by steeping the lees of wine in water, and then straining through a bag.

    1. a. A general name for a class of white wines formerly imported from Spain and the Canaries.

    b. With qualifying word, chiefly with words indicating the place of production or exportation, as Canary, Malaga, Palm = Palma, Sherris or Sherry = Xeres: see SHERRY sack.

    July 17, 2009

  • I always wondered how "dry sack" sherry got its description. Maybe this is related?

    July 15, 2009

  • "Trade ships, called sack ships because they carried vin sec, dry white French wine, came from England and took the cod to Spain, from where they returned to England with wine and other southern European products. They brought trade to England but nothing to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. As Boston grew from its three-pointed trade, sack ships started trading between Newfoundland and Boston."

    —Mark Kurlansky, Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World (New York: Penguin, 1997), 74

    July 15, 2009