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  • Bordeaux wine region

    Bordeaux Wine Region

    Bordeaux Wine BottlesThe Gironde, in south west France, is the country’s largest Departement, and the home of Bordeaux wines, including claret, Britain’s favorite French wine for centuries. But while all claret is Bordeaux, not all Bordeaux is claret.

    Bordeaux is the largest region of fine wine production – red, white and dessert – in the world. The vines cover more than 500 square miles, split almost evenly between red and white grapes, and most of the wines have AC status. The vineyards run from the west bank of the Gironde estuary southwards to below the river Garonne.

  • Buy wine

     

       Buy wine can be quite a challenge, as there is often an immense range to choose from. Sometimes a little planning will be in your favour. Just knowing the type or style of a wine you want will make your buying decision that much easier.

     Building up some knowledge of the various wine merchants, in your area and on the internet, can be very advantageous. Each mechant tends to have a particular strong point. One may be extremly good on Bordeaux for example, or specialise in Italian wines, and they will be happy to pass on their experience to you – the customer.

    Remember too, that some knowledge of which producers are making particularly good wine, or which regions offer good value, puts you in a much more secure position.

     

    Bottles

    There was a time when you could almost tell at an instant where a wine came from, just by looking at the shape of the bottle. This still holds true for some of the more traditional regions, such as Alsace or Bordeaux, but a glance or two around the shekves of your local supplier will aslso reveal rha influence of design teams keen to catch the eye with bottle shapes that stand out from the crowd.

     

    The label

    A wine label provides an excellent opportunity to send a message and pass on information to a potential customer.

    In Europe, a place name may suffice. Chablis, Sancerre and Chateauneuf-du-Pape are all examples of French wines that the name is recongnised. In the ‘New World’ however, varietal labelling is the norm, as an increasing amount of wine is sold on the back of the name of the grape variety. The world’s most popular grape, Chardonnay, could be perceived as s wine style, such is the influence carried by its name alone. The fact that most white Burgundy is made from Chardonnay is left for those of us who care to find out.

    Find more about wine label here.

     Depending on the wine, and in some cases the region, the name of the producer can be extremly important. You may wish to take note of the vintage. This is particularly important where grapes are grown in marginal climates. Each label will also indicate the percentage of alcohol by volume, which can range from 7 – 15 per cent.

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  • Making wine

       Many of the world's vest producers believe that great wine is first created in the vineyard.

     Indeed, it is difficult to argue with the suggestion that using top-quality ingredients helps when transforming grapes into red wine or good wine. White wine can be made from both white and black grapes. Crushing breaks the skins, after which de-staking takes place. Gentle pressing is favoured and skins are removed. Fermentation traditionally happends in oak barrels, although today, when minimal change is required, most white wines will ferment in stainless steel vats, Maturation in oak barrels can add another dimension and flavour profile to a good wine.

    FRENCH WINE *** CLUB WINE

    Red wine must be made from black grapes. This time the juice is fermented on the skins for better colour extraction. The juice, which runs freely after fermentation, is of the highest quality. The remaining pomace, or skins, are further crushed to release any more juice, which is generally used in blending for the best red wine.

     Maturation can be controlled on oak barrels. The filtration of red wine may be minimal, if at all. Most fruity wines made to be consumed young will have little further maturation or development in the bottle. Some of the world's great classics however, can evolve slowly, to reach a plateau of maturity and amazing levels of complexity.

    FRENCH WINE *** CLUB WINE 

    Using oak

    Oak wine Oak barrels are used by a winemaker to impart complementary flavours and aromas to a wine. Barrels are toasted at various levels from light to medium to heavy, and will be selected to suit o particular grape variety or style of wine. Barrels are a convenient container in which to store a wine, as the subtle exchanges with oxygen, moisture ans alcohol help the wine to evolpe from the youthul 'green' to more complex and mature flavours.

     Many different types of oak are used in the winemaking process, with white oak being the most common. French, Hungarian, and North American oak are the best-known species used, with each one having slightly different attribures. Just as vines and grapes are distinctly individual when groun under differnet conditions or areas, so are oak trees.

    FRENCH WINE *** CLUB WINE

       Very few wineries have their own cooperage, preferring to rely more often on purchasing barrels that have been carefully milled, cured, and toasted. It is an expresive business to be made by the barrel supplier.

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  • Making wine

    Many of the world's vest producers believe that great wine is first created in the vineyard. 

    Indeed, it is difficult to argue with the suggestion that using top-quality ingredients helps when transforming grapes into red wine or good wine. White wine can be made from both white and black grapes. Crushing breaks the skins, after which de-staking takes place. Gentle pressing is favoured and skins are removed. Fermentation traditionally happends in oak barrels, although today, when minimal change is required, most white wines will ferment in stainless steel vats, Maturation in oak barrels can add another dimension and flavour profile to a good wine.

    Red wine must be made from black grapes. This time the juice is fermented on the skins for better colour extraction. The juice, which runs freely after fermentation, is of the highest quality. The remaining pomace, or skins, are further crushed to release any more juice, which is generally used in blending for the best red wine.

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  • Moldavian Wines

    Moldavian WineMoldova is a relatively small state wedged in between the big neighbours of the Ukraine and Romania. In terms of culture and language, Moldova forms an entity with Romania. Moldova's wine-making goes back to the times of the ancient Romans.  In the times of the Cezars, Moldova's wine industry flourished greatly. When phylloxera decimated the vineyards of Western Europe, certain French growers set up in Moldova in order to survive the crisis. These brought French varieties of grapevine with them.

    Moldova's climate is ideal for growing grapes and making wine from them: it is cold in winter and hot in summer, which is particularly beneficial for white wine. Despite this it is difficult to find any good wines in Moldova.

  • More wine regions from Klein Karoo

    CABERNET SAUVIGNON

    This is the ubiquitous Bordeaux grape variety. Here in South Africa, Cabernet Sauvignon produces sturdy, highly tannic wines with herbal aromas and hints of red fruit and blackcurrant.

    There is a good balance between fruit and ripe woody notes. It is superb with red meat and mature hard cheeses. Drinking temperature is 60.8-62.6°F (16-17°C).

    MERLOT

    This Bordeaux grape appears to be gaining ground in South Africa, especially in the Stellenbosch and Paarl regions. Merlot is a full-bodied and velvet smooth wine with rich and warm nuances that include cherry. Drinking temperature is 60.8°F (16°C).

    PINOT NOIR

    This grape, like Chardonnay originates in Burgundy. It is a fairly temperamental variety which only produces excellent results in good hands and in good years. A good Pinot Noir is characteristically light in colour and quite aromatic with herbal notes and those of red fruit in its nose. Drinking temperature is 57.2-60.8°F (14-16°C).

    SHIRAZ

    The Shiraz here is often an amenable if not slightly exotic wine with sensual nose and taste. This wine is often excellent with plenty of warmth and spicy undertones and is ideal with grilled lamb or game. Drinking temperature is 60.8°F (16°C) .

    TlNTA BAROCCA

    Tinta Barocca is a surprising wine that is full-bodied, warm, exciting, but also fruity, elegant, and refined. Drinking temperature is 60.8°F (16°C).

    BLENDS

    The Bordeaux type blends of Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Pranc/Merlot (Meerlust Rubicon) are often excellent, especially where the process of cask maturing in oak is well done. These are superb, fullbodied, rich, and complex wines with blackcurrant and bilberry in their bouquet, mixed with spices and vanilla.

     Cabernet-Shiraz are very exciting wines which often age extremely well. Serve this full-bodied, warm, powerful, and complex wine with roast or grilled meat or mature hard cheese. The fairly new Pinotage-Merlots are quite promising. This is a wine filled with taste that combines spice and fruit. Drinking temperature is 60.8- 62.6°F (16-17°C).

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  • More wine regions South Africa

    Paarl-Wellington Region from South Africa

    Ellisrust African WineWe have come closer now to Cape Town - about 50 km (31 miles) away. This is the home of the KWV and is undoubtedly the most famous of the South African wine region (in part because of the annual Nederburg wine auctions and tasting sessions).

    The best known African wines from this region are the Sauvignon Blanc, Steen (Chenin Blanc), and Chardonnay whites, and Pinotage and Cabernet Sauvignon reds.

    The descendants of French Huguenots have turned their region into a place of pilgrimage. There is a Huguenot monument at Franschhoek (which translates literally as 'French corner') but also superb wines. In addition to the other well-known varieties, the French Huguenots had a preference for Semillon.

  • Pairing food with wine

    Pairing wine with good does not have to be a science although it can be confusing, particularly today when there is such choice in the food and wine available.

    Concentrating on the basic characteristics of various wines and the flavours of different foods is the key to finding compability. For a dinner party, it’s well worth taking the trouble to select a wine which will show off your food to good effect.

    When slelcting a wine to accompany food, consider the main ingradient and more importantly, the strongest flavour in the dish. It’s easy to match chichen when it;s plainly cooked, but in most cases a sauce or marinade provides the predominant flavour. A Thai green chicken curry presents a bit more of a challenge, but can be matched with a fruiy Sémillon or Sauvignon Blanc. Sharply flavoured chutneys and spicy salsas can affect the taste of a wine, and if a dish is cooked in beer, or generally makes sense to drink o similar beverage with it.

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  • South West French Wine Regions

    SOUTH WEST Wine Regions

    A massive wine producing area running from Bergerac to the west of Bordeaux, and stretching south to the Spanish frontier and south east to the Mediterranean.

    Red wine FranceGrapes

    Sauvignon Blanc.

    Semilion.

    Muscadelle.

    Cabernet Sauvignon.

    Cabernet Franc.

    Merlot.

    Malbec.

  • Wine regions - Australia

     Vines are grown in almost every part of Australia but wines are only produced in the cooler southern parts. Australia can be roughly split into seven large regions.

    Western Australia

    The only good wine area of Western Australia lies far to the south of Perth, just inland from the southwestern coastal strip.

    Margaret River

    Margaret river is an extremely interesting area that is less well-known outside Australia, but this is likely to change. The climate is strongly influenced by the ocean.

     The soil is mainly a mixture of gravel and gravelbearing loam and sand on underlying granite. Margaret River is mainly known for its good Cabernet Sauvignon, but other grapes do well here too.{jcomments on}
  • Wines from California

    Wine areas

     

    California is a very large wine region in which the following guaranteed places of origin are the best known: Mendocino Country, Lake Country, Sonoma Country (includes the famous Russian River Valley and Sonoma Valley),

     Napa Valley, Los Carneros, Central Valley, Sierra Foothills, Livermore Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey Country, San Joaquin Valley, San Luis Obispo Valley, and Santa Barbara Country.

    Irrigation is permitted throughout California but not necessary everywhere. The most popular grape varieties are Chardonnay, Colonbard, Chenin Blanc, Fumé Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Viognier for white wines and Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Barbera, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Grenache for red wine. The classic Californian grape variety of Zinfandel is starting to play an incresingly important role.

     

    Wines

    You mai encounter thousands of different types of Californian wine because of the great differences in climate, soil, wine-making method, yield, and target group for marketing.

    Californian Champagne

    The powerful house of Champagne forbid everyone from using their name outside the designated area of Champagne in France yet you will find the term ‘Champagne’ used in the USA on other wines. To avoid long drawn out and costly law siuts in the American courts, the Champagne houses have had to accept that names such as ‘Californian Champagne’ are legally permitted here.

    They are however restricted to the domestic markets so that the so-called Californian Champagne must be sold in Europe merely as ‘sparkling wine’. American sparkling wines are made in both pink (rosé) and white and from quite dry to sweet. The driest is the Brut, followed by Extra Dry, Dry/Sec, and Demi-Sec, which is the sweetest.

    Only the highest quality sparkling are made in the United States by the traditional method with second fermentation in the bottle. Most are produced by the charmat or bulk method. This shows to be made down to a price. A thrid method is the transfer method which combines aspects of both the other methods. The results are of better quality than with the ordinary bulk method but remain cheaper than the traditional way.

    Whether white or rosé, some of these wines are well worth discovering. Two of the leading Champagne nouses make good ‘Champagne’ style wines in America. Those of Mumm are good while the Taittinger product is excellent.

     The Mumm wines from the Napa Valley are livelier and more unrully tha those of Taittinger, which come from Carneros, and are more grown-up and full-bodied. Drinking temperature is 42.8 – 46.4°F (6-8°C).

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