The prestige of Hermitage (sometimes Ermitage) wine can be clearly traced back to the 17th Century, when it was an official wine in the French courts of King Louis XIII and his successor Louis XIV, the 'Sun King'. Not just the monarchs' preferred wine, it was also used as a gift for visiting dignitaries and foreign royalty. It was no less respected across the English Channel, as confirmed by Thomas Shadwell's comedy of 1680, 'The Woman-Captain'. In the play's opening scene, the wealthy Sir Humphrey and his friend Bellamy cite 'Champaign and Burgundy...and Hermitage' wines as superior to those of 'Langoon and Burdeaux' which they deem suitable only for 'porters and carriers'. Sir Humphrey later boasts 'I do confess I am an epicurean'. The wine's high status remained untouched for a full two centuries after this. It peaked in the mid-19th century, just as the famous wines of Bordeaux's Medoc were beginning their rise to stardom.