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The south west of the United States is not really suited to wine-growing with the exception of certain parts of Texas. But American derermination can overcome much and the odd place has been found here and there to grown vines after a long search.

 The South and Middle-East region is enormous and the vineyards are spread widely. They lie between Denver in the centr of the United States, Columbia on the eastern seaboard, south to a line formed by Austin, New Orleans, and Orlando, and finally Florida.

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   While the vineyards of Ontario in Canada are on the northern shore of Lake Erie, the majority of the North-East’s vineyards in the United States are on the southern shore between Detroit and Buffalo. The Finger Lakers area is slighty further east and to the south of Lake Ontario.

 There are also vineyards towards the coast on the banks of the Hudson River, on Long Island near New York, and further away near Boston. The remaining vineyards of the North-East can be found in the valley of the Ohio river and south of Washington DC, in the Shenandoah Valley.

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The local American wine industry dates back to the first pioneering settles of the sixteenth century. For many years hybrids and natives species that were not varieties of Vitis vinefera were used like Alexander, Catawba, Delaware, and Concord. The results from these were not really satisfactory because of the ‘foxy’ aroma these vines give to the wines that is characteristics of varieties and sub species of Vitis labrusca. The ‘foxy’ aroma is best describes as the smell of a dirty old pelt on which old-fashioned home-made fruit jam has been smeared.

More suitable French hybrids were introduced during the early 1940s such as Baco Noir and Seyval. From the early 1950s and particularly in the 1970s large scale planting were made of Vitis vinifera vines. Thirty years later this helped to cause a major breakthrough.

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New York’s climate is marginal for cultivating vines and making wines. The summers are generally very warm and dry but the winters are often exceptionally raw. Wine-growing is only possible where the climate is moderated by the big rivers, lakes, or the Atlantic Ocean. It is extremely important to plant the vines in subsoil that is free draining. The North-East region contains the following officially recognised places of origin known as AVA (American Viticultural Areas): New York (includes Finger Lakes, Lake Erie, Hidson River, The Hamptons- Long Island), New England (Western Connecticut Highlands, South-estern New England), Ohio, Michagan, and Virginia (inclunding the Shenandoah Valley).

Despite goverment campaigns promoting the planting of Vitis vinifiera varieties, some still persist with the old-fashioned and inferior Concord, Catawba, Delaware, and Niagara. The very best wines though are made with Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc (Hudison River). Merlot, and Pinot Noir.

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The American wines from such as the Concord are really northing soecial.

 
Considerable amounts of sugar are often added to the must to mask the high acidity and strog taste, which certainly do nothing to aid the wine’s finesse. The Vitis vinifera are very taut which is understandable give the climate but they are also extremly aromatic and particularly fruity. These are not high flight wines but the quality is steadily improving.

THE TEN CRUS

Local experts say that an Easter must pass before these Wines are at their best. 'Les Crus du Beaujolais doivent faire leurs Paques.'

The wine is rarely to be found in shops earlier than this in any case. The French wines of the ten Crus only fully develop after being allowed to rest for a few months.

CÔTES DE BROUILLY

Two of the ten Crus of Beaujolais are located on the slopes of the 1,200 feet high Mont Brouilly, on granite and slate soils. The 300 hectare of vineyards of Cotes de Brouilly are found on the sunny side of the extinct volcano. The wine is purple to mauve with a very refined and elegant bouquet of fresh grapes and irises. Leave a Cotes de Brouilly wine to rest for a time before opening. Drink it at approx. 55.4°F (13°C).

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BROUILLY

The vineyards are somewhat more extensive here, covering approx. 1,200 hectares. The soil is mainly granite and sand . The wine is ruby red in colour and has a fruity nose in which red fruits such as plum, and occasionally peach are clearly discernible. The better Brouilly wines also have a hint of mineral in them. This is a full, darker wine with a firm taste. Drink it at about 53.6°F (12°C).

 

REGNIE

The 520 hectares of this vineyard were only recognised as Cru du Beaujolais in 1988. The ground is gently undul­ ating and relatively high (average 1,148 feet /350 metres). A fairly supple wine is made here which is both elegant and seductive. The colour is pure cherry red and the nose reminds of red fruit The colour is a pure ruby red with wonderful reflections and the taste is both velvet smooth and fleshy.

Good Fleurie from the best vintages can be kept for ten years or more. Drink Fleurie at about 55.4°F (13°C).

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MOULIN-A-VENT

This Cru derives its name from the recently and perfectly restored windmill in Romaneche-Thorins. The soil of the 650 hectares of vineyards comprises pink granite and manganese. This imparts a darker, more highly concentrated ruby red colo ur to the wine in which purple and dark red al'e also present when young.

The nose is mainly reminiscent of flowers such as roses with a hint of raspberry. The taste is powerful and reasonably full of tannin. This firm texture enables Moulin-a-Vent to be kept for some time (up to 15 years). When mature this wine resembles Burgundy. Allow this French wine to rest for a couple of years before serving at about 57.2°F (14°C).

 

CHENAS

This French wine is almost unknown outside the area but this is not at all just. A very elegant wine is made with ref ined bouquet of peony and roses with occasional hint of wood and herbs on 260 hectares of granite soil. The taste is soft, generous, and friendly. Serve this wine at about 14°C (57.2°F). This wine too can be kept for quite a few years.

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JULIENAS

This is the most northerly Cru of Beaujolais, border­ ing on the Miiconnais. Deeply ruby red coloured wine is produced from 580 hectares of stony soil with layers of clay and sediments. The French wine has a powerful full taste and the bouquet is dominated by frwty (wild strawberry, redcurrant,   and   raspberry) scents with floral undertones (peony and roses).

Good Julienas can be kept for a few years. Drink this French wine at about 55.4°F (13°C).

 

ST-AMOUR

This is the last of these northerly Crus. The vine-yards   extend   for   280 hectares and border the chalky Miiconnais (Char­ donnay) and granite hills of Beau jolais   (Gamay).

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 The soil is a mixture of clay, boulders,   granite, and sandstone. These French wine possesses   a wonderful ruby red colour and very aromatic nose of peony, raspberry, redcurrant, apricot, and also some­times a suggestion of kirsch. The taste is seductive, velvet soft, and full, with hints of herbs. Serve this wine at about 55.4°F (13°C).

The Beaujolais 'satellites'

Although they do not officially fall under the Beaujolais classification, the following three wine regions produce wines that closely resemble Beaujolais in both character and taste. All three of the red wines are made With the Gamay grape.

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CÔTEAUX DU LYONNAIS

This ancient vineyard is a victim of the expansion of Lyon. It is a friendly, light, but generous wine with pronounced f ruity nose. Drink this French wine chilled to about 53.6°F (12°C). Chardonnay   and Aligote whites are also produced here.

CÔTE ROANNAISE

This is a very clear, ruby red coloured wine that is strong on fruit and has a light, pleasing taste. Chill this French wine to about 53.6°F (12°C).

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CÔTES DU FOREZ

These are light, friendly wines that are very fruity. The rose is ideal to serve with informal lunches and picnics. The red wine is ideal for warm summer evenings, for instance with a cold buffet. Serve borth French wines at about 53.6°F (12°C).

Beaujolais Nouveau

This young, extremely fruity wine is sold according to tradition from the third Thursday of November.

Clacking tongues suggest that the early sale ofthese wines is a marketing stunt to reduce French wine stocks.

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 It is not surprising that Beaujolais Nouveau is nicknamed 'the third river of Lyon'. Others wax lyrical about the outstanding fruitiness of the new season's Beaujolais. Expertenced wine drinkers regard this young wine as heralding the results of that vintage and do not make such a fuss. They consider the arrival of Beaujolais Nouveau more as a custom than a passing fad. It is up to you whether to buy them or not. In any event try to avoid the cheaper examples. Always drink the better Beaujolais Nouveau such as a Beaujolais ViJlages Nouveau chilled at about 50°F (10°C).

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BEAUJOLAIS

The basic Beaujolais is produced as a white, rose, and red.. Light, fruity wines are made on more than 10,000 hectares of predominantly chalky soil. Drink these wines at approx. 51.8° (F11°C).

Since the most southerly white Burgundy appellation of St-Veran came into existence the production of white Beaujolais has been significantly reduced. Beaujolais Blanc is made with Chardonnay grapes (and occasionally a little Aligote). The wine is fresh and fruity in taste and nose. Experienced wine drinkers may detect a hint of hazelnut, mint, butter and sometimes green vegetal such as green pepper (paprika).

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BEAUJOLAIS VILLAGES

There are 39 communes which are permitted to call themselves AC Beaujolais Villages. The wine is soft and generous with a delightful cherry red colour and considerable scent and taste of fruit such as blackcurrant and strawberry. Drink at 51.8-53.6°F (11-12°C).

Subcategories

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