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  • Soils for wine-growing

    THE ADAPTATION OF VARIETIES TO SOIL AND CLIMATE

    Soil Wines GrowingTaken in its broadest sense, the notion of “soils for wine-growing”, often referred to as terroir, brings together several different factors: biological (choice of variety), geographical, climatic, geological and pedological (types of soil). Added to these are the human, historical and commercial aspects: for example, the existence of the port at Bordeaux and its commerce with Scandinavian countries encouraged the wine-growers of the 18th century to improve the quality of their wines.

    In the northern hemisphere the vine is cultivated between the latitudes of 35° and 50°; it therefore has to adapt to very different climates. However, the most northerly vineyards usually cultivate only white varieties,

  • Academy wine from Bordeaux

     

    Academy Wine from Bordeaux

    Bordeaux Wine AcademyFounded on April 17, 1948 by a group of key personalities among the merchants and growers, the Académie du Vin de Bordeaux (Bordeaux Wine Academy) is uniquely qualified to preserve and promote the spirit, history, and culture of Bordeaux wine in France and abroad. The cultivation of the vine in Bordeaux has not only produced wines which are universally recognized, but has also profoundly shaped the lifestyle of the Gironde. The result is a particular form of humanism, a spirit, an ethic, and a striving for perfection that can be felt the world over.

    Like the prestigious Académie Française in Paris, the Bordeaux Academy—the most prestigious representative of Bordeaux wines has forty members. Among these are the owners of the most celebrated crus in Bordeaux, but there are also two members of the Académie Française, writers, artists, scholars, and university professors.

  • Alicante region

    Alicante wine and region

    Alicante blanco wine Alicante is the most southerly of the Valencian DO areas. The area under cultivation by vines comprises a fairly large tract of land from the Mediterranean to the foot of the central hills of the Meseta. This region is further subdivided into two sub-areas of La Marina, around Cabo de la Nao inland from Benidorm, and Alicante, around and to he north¬west of the town of the same name. The famous beaches such as Benidorm and Villajoyosa are to be found between these two sub-areas. Oddly enough almost everyone in the world has probably heard of Benidorm but few will have heard of Alicante wine.

    Here in Alicante like elsewhere the local growers have been engaged for centuries in the production of wine to trade in bulk, such as the doble pasta wine, a heavy double concentration wine for ‘cutting’ with other wines. Alicante was once famous for its rancio Spanish wine, which sold readily.

  • Alsace Wine Region - French Wine

    Alsace wine region

    Alsace with its villages, vineyards and towns linig the foothills of the Vosges mountains, is on of the most picturesque wine regions of France. This unique area of mirtheast France, which produces some of the greatest white wines in the country, still prides itself on making handcrafted wines and steers clear of outside investment.

     The region’s continental climate is exceptionally dry. Almost all Alsace wines are white wine and dry wines, whit exception of late harvest wines and some red wine produced from Pinot Noir. The soil is extremly varied, with the best vineyards classified as Grand Cru.

     

    Alsace grapes

    Alsace grapesMostly grapes of Germanic origin are grown here, but the resulting wines are much more expresive and fuller-bodied than those over the border. Often consumed with food, the main grape varieties, which are always mentioned on the label, are Gewürztraminer, Riesling, Tokay-Pinot-Gris, Muscat, Pinot Blanc, and Sylvaner.

    Some of the greatest wines of Alsace are the Vendange Tardives and Selection des Grains Nobles, which can live for over forty years. Outstanding wines include: Riesling Clos Ste., Hune from F.E. Trimbach, Domaine Zind Himbrecht’s Gewürztraminer Rangen Grand Cru, and Hugel’s Riesling Vendage Tardive.

    Alsace has the nost complex geological make-up of all the great wine regions of France. Some of the greatest wines of Alsace are the Vendange Tardives and Selection des Grains Nobles, which can live for over forty years. Outstanding wines include: Riesling Clos Ste., Hune from F.E. Trimbach, Domaine Zind Himbrecht’s Gewürztraminer Rangen Grand Cru, and Hugel’s Riesling Vendage Tardive.

    Alsace has the nost complex geological make-up of all the great wine regions of France.

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  • Alsace Wine Region and Grapes

    Alsace Wine Region

    Alsace Wine RegionAlsace wine region lies in the eastern corner of France, sandwiched between the Rhine in the east and the foothills of the Vosges in the west, with Switzerland to the south and Germany to the north east. This region runs for 90 miles along the border and has been fought over for centuries. Historical links explain why the wine making techniques are similar to those of the Rhine and why local names often appear Germanic. There are about 30,000 acres of vineyards, which in good years produce about 150 million bottles.

    Alsace is unique in France because usually all wines are labeled according to the seven main grape varieties used. Where this is specified the wine is made 100 per cent from that variety.

  • Areas and Regions from Slovenia

    Podravje Slovenian Wine

    Wine and grapes SlovenianPodravje (Podravski Vinorodni Region) means the valley of the Drava, which is one of the two important rivers in this region. The climate here in the extreme north-east of Slovenia is continental of a Central European nature. This helps the area to produce fine, fresh, elegant, and aromatic white Slovenian wines. Podravje is also renowned for its delightful sweet wines (Pozna Trgatev, Izbor, Jagodni Izbor, Suhi Jagodni Izbor, and Ledeno Vino). Podravje borders on Hungary and Austria in the north, and Croatia to the east.

  • Australian Wines

      Australia produces and sells many different types of wine. Those that come from one area are characterised by the combination of terroir and grape variety.

    The wines are very aromatic with characteristic vegetal undertones such as freshly sliced green peppers (paprika).The taste is fresh and lively and less taut than that of a white Bordeaux. Drinking temperature is 46.4- 50°F (8- 10°C) .The type of oak (French, American, or  German) used for the casks is also very important. Pinally, the price of the wine also has a great bearing on the eventual complexity of the wine but in general every bottle of Australian wine offers value for money or even better.

    The following descriptions are intended to stimulate you to do your own research.

    SPARKLING WINES

    In view of the remarkably low price it is best to choose a true traditional method sparkler that has undergone a second fermentation in the bottle. The white Brut sparkling wines are usually fresh and fruity with sometimes vegetal undertones. Drinking temperature is 46.4°F (8°C). The Rose Brut sparkling wines are generally somewhat less dry than the whites. The nose is very fruity with a slight hint of acid drops, strawberry, cherry, and raspberry.Drinking temperature is 42.8-46.4°F (6- 8°C) .

    CHARDONNAY

    This is the success of the Australian wine industry in the past twenty years. The simple, young, Chardonnay that is not cask aged is a nice wine that can be very pleasant but the best ones are cask aged. The wine is fully ripened with an intense colour, very complex structure, and wonderful nose containing exotic and citrus fruit with earthy undertones and suggestions of toast and nuts. Drinking temperature is 50- 53.6°F/10- 12°C (unoaked) or 53.6-57.2°F/12- 14°C (barrel select).

    SEMILLON

    As strange as it may seem this typical Bordeaux grape used in e.g. Sauternes, produces a surprising wine in Australia that closely resembles a white Burgundy. This is why it is often blended with Chardonnay.

    Semillon is a somewhat strange term in Australia though for some areas call it Chenin Blanc, Crouchen, or even Riesling, such as in the Hunter Valley. The true Australian Semillon though is superb. The bouquet is reminiscent of ripe and sweet fruit with suggestions of citrus fruit and flowers .

    Drinking temperature is 50- 53.6°F (10- 12°C) .

    SEMILLON/CHARDONNAY

    This is a popular blend in Australia. This aromatic wine smells of fresh citrus fruit, peach, apricot, and tropical fruit. The Chardonnay imparts a buttery character and the complexity while Semillon and the oak provide smoothness and the rounded taste. A little Colombard is also often added to this blend to make the wine slightly fresher. Drinking temperature is 50- 53.6°F (10- 12°C).

    SAUVIGNON BLANC

    Australian Sauvignon Blanc resembles a good Sancerre rather than a white Bordeaux. Both these French areas grow Sauvignon as their basic variety.

     The wines are very aromatic with characteristic vegetal undertones such as freshly sliced green peppers (paprika).The taste is fresh and lively and less taut than that of a white Bordeaux. Drinking temperature is 46.4- 50°F (8- 10°C) .

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  • Baden Wine

      The wine region of Baden is in the south-east of Germany, forming a fairly long strip from the northern shore of the Bodensee by way of the famous Black Forest (Schwarzwald), Freiburg,

     and BadenBaden, to Karlsruhe and Heidelberg, slightly south of the point where the Neckar and Rhine meet. Baden is the second largest wine region of Germany and it has a great diversity of wines to offer. Baden's soil chiefly consists of loess, loam, gravel, some chalk, and volcanic rocks.

    The full-bodied and rounded white wines are made from Miiller-Thurgau, Rulander, Gutedel, Gewürztraminer, and Riesling grapes. These wines often possess spicy and powerful bouquets.

     

    German Württemberg Wine

    German Wine GrapesThe vineyards of Württemberg are situated on hills above the Neckar and its tributaries. 

    Read more about German Württemberg Wine  

    German Rheingau Wine

    German Wine GrapesThe Rheingau is not only the geographical centre of the German wine industry, but also its historic centre.

    Read more about German Rheingau Wine 

    German Rheinpfalz Wine

    German Wine GrapesRheinpfalz is the most French of all the German wine regions.

    Read more about German Rheinpfalz Wine 

    German Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

    German Wine GrapesThis widely known wine region stretches itself out along the Saar, Ruwer, and the Mosel rivers, from Saarburg by way of Trier to Koblenz.. 

    Read more about German Mosel-Saar-Ruwer

    German Saxony Wine

    German Wine GrapesThis is one of the 'new' wine regions of Germany in the former East Germany. Together with the other 'new' region of Saale/ Unstruut they form the most northerly of the German wine areas.

    Read more about  German Saxony Wine 

     

     Spatburgunder is used to make velvet smooth red wines that are lively and rounded, and also the gloriously refreshing Weissherbst. {jcomments on}

  • Beychevelle and Blaye Wines

    Beychevelle Bordeaux Wine Region

    Chateau Beychevelle French WineAlways the territory of powerful men, Beychevelle boasts a long and rich history. During the Middle Ages, when it was owned by the counts of Foix-Candale, the wine was shipped from the port at the bottom of the garden. Bishop François de Foix-Candale had a first château built in 1565. He was followed by Jean-Louis de Nogaret de la Valette, first Due d’Épernon and Admiral of France, his son Bernard who added the central portion of the château in 1644, then Henri de Foix-Candale. In the eighteenth century, the property belonged successively to Jean-Baptiste d’Abadie, President of the Bordeaux parliament; to the Brassier family who partially rebuilt the château, giving the building its present form; and to the ship-owner Jacques Conte.

  • Bordeaux Supérieur and Bordeaux Rosé

    BORDEAUX & BORDEAUX SUPÉRIEUR, BORDEAUX ROSÉ & BORDEAUX CLAIRET (A.O.C.)

    Bordeaux Superieur WineThe Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur AOCs are the largest of the French AOCs in terms of both surface area and volume: more than 50,000 hectares (44 percent of the region’s vineyards) produce more than three million hectoliters annually. Their surface area is equal to the total surface area of all the other appellations in the region.

    The only way to describe these wines is to speak of the diversity of the terroirs (soil and conditions) cov-ered by the title. The vast range of terroirs is united by the vision and passion of the men who grow the grapes and make the wine.

    To describe a Bordeaux AOC wine fully, you would need to speak of each of the two thousand vineyards covered by the label. Red Bordeaux wines are easy to drink: they can be supple, fruity, or rich, depending on the vintage. 

  • 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.

  • Burgundy French Wine

    Burgundy grapesThe hallowed ground of Burgundy(French Wine) is home to the greatest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the world. Sadly though, in recent years not all of the French wines made here have met the standards of their predecessor. Having said that, there are some smart up-and-coming young producers around and today Burgundy finds itself on a bit of a roll.

    Burgundy was one if the first French wines regions to be know for its wine outside its boundaries. Favoired by kings and queens, the much sought-after wines of Burgundy werw also a passion for Thomas Jefferson. Situates in central France, Burgundy stretches from Dijon in the north, to just south of Macon in the south, The districts of Chablis, sixty miles to the northwest of Dijon, and Beaujolais, to the south of Macon, are both considered part of the region. Due to the influence of the church and the France law of inheritance, the wineyards of Burgundy are very fragmented.

     

    Did you know?

     The French wines in Sauvignon de St Bris, an Appwllation Contrôlêe in Northern Burgundy, are made from Sauvignon Blanc.

     

     Therefore the ‘nêgociant’ has an important role in the making and selling of the wines. ‘Domaine’ bottled Burgundy is a direct reflection of an individual grower, who often tends the vines, makes thewine, and bottles it.

     

    Burgundy grapes

     Burgundy GrapesChardonnay is the principal white grape suited to the calcareous/limestone soil of Burgundy. White Burgundy combines power and elegance but early maturing wines are also produced, along with the racy, cool climate white French wines of Chablis. The Alogtê grape is also planted, This makes crisp and lively white wines and is the classical base for Kir. Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are also planted in small quantities. The major black variety in the region is Pinot Noir, except in Beaujolais where Gamy reigns supreme. In Burgundy, Pinot Noir is capable of producing wines of exceptional class, elegance and ability to age. It’s a difficult customer though and great care is required to grow and vinify this grape. Gamay on the other hand, provides colour, lots of fruit and acidity in Beaujolais and is also used in the Mâconnais.

    The most famous and expresive French wine of Burgundy include the those the Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Domaine Leflaive and Lafon.

    Bourgogne Passetoutgrains is a blend of a minimum of one third Pinot and Gamay.

     Throughout Burgundy there are terroirs with chalk, marl, clay, stony ground, and iron in places. The hard winters and hot summers together with the soil ensure individual characters and personality. The grapes here are Pinot Nair, Chardonnay, Aligote, and Gamay. Near St-Bris in the Auxerrois th.ey also grow a little Sauvignon Blanc. Burgundy is a complex patchwork of vineyards, referred to here as climat, villages, clos, and crus. There are also four Burgundy-wide appellations.

     

    APPELLATIONS REGIONALES

    Bourgogne, Bourgogne Aligote (for white wine), Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire, and Bourgogne.Passe­ Tout-Grains can be used for the appropriate grapes from throughout the area. Tbe better Burgundies come from specific Localities (such as Côtes de uHs, Côtes de Beaune).

     

    THE 53 APPELLATIONS COMMUNALES

    These wines bear the name of the parish or community such as Chablis, Nuits-St-Georges, Vosne-Romanee, or Vougeot).

     

    THE 561   PREMIER CRU APPELLATIONS

    In addition to the village or community appellation, these wines are permitted to identify the particular piece of land or climat. These climats are of sufficient quality that their French wines may be termed premier cru. Examples of these are Chablis ler Cru Montmains, Chambolle-Musigny Armoureuses, Puligny-Montrachet Folatieres, Beaune Clos des Mouches, and Beaune Greves.

     

    THE 32 GRAND CRUS

    These climats have became very famous by their constant quality over the centuries. It is sufficient for these wines just to bear the name of the climat. Examples   are   Chablis   Grand   Cru   Vaudesir, Echezeaux, Charmes-Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, Bonnes   Mares,   Romanee-St-Vivant, Carton, Montrachet.

     

    The different French wine areas

    Burgundy is divided into nine different areas: Chablis,   Auxerrois,   Cotes   de Nuits,   Cotes de Beaune, Cotes Chalonnaise, Miiconnais, Beaujolais­ Villages, Beaujolais, and Coteaux du Lyonnais. In reality the last three fall within Beaujolais, and Auxerrois is subsumed in Chablis.

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  • Burgundy Region and Style

    Burgundy wine and region

    Burgundy wineBurgundy stretches from Chablis, about 114 miles south east of Paris, southwards along autoroute A6 almost to Lyon. The 75,000 acres of vine include a number of clearly defined region – Chablis and the Auxerrois, Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune, Cote de Chalonnaise, Macon and Beaujolais. The region is home to many of the world’s finest wines, both red and white – and many of the most expensive. Prices of the best wines have rocketed in the last few years, but there are still many bargains to be had.

  • Burgundy style and white wine

    Region and style from Burgungy

    Burgundy Wine GlassesMorey-St.Denis (Côte de Nuits): Deep colour, big bouquet and full fruity flavour. Age well.

    Musigny (Côte de Nuits): Smooth and stylish with velvety fruit. Will keep for ages.

    Nuits St. George (Côte de Nuits): Has improved recently. Spicy nose and big, rich plummy fruit flavour with touches of sweetness. Age well.

    Pernand-Vergelesses (Côte de Beaune): Can be silky- smooth and fruity, but often not. Best drunk youngish.

    Pommard (Côte de Beaune): Big and solid but classy, with plummy fruit. Age well.

  • Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes

    One of the word's most popular black grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon's deep colour, blackcurrant aroma and flavour is the backbone of many is the backbone of many full-bodid red wines.

     An international traveller, successful in many parts of the world, Cabernet Sauvignon is easy to grow and just loves warm, free-draining soils. It reaches great heiths in Bordeaux's Haut-Médoc, as  well as in the Napa Valley, Australia, Chile, Argentina, and South Africa.

  • Cadillac, Cérons and Cheval Blanc Bordeaux Wines

    Brokers from Bordeaux

    Chateau Cadillac Bordeaux WineBrokers' perfect knowledge of the region allow them to act as go-betweens for the grower and merchant. They advise buyers and sellers and make sure that there are no disputes between them; they never do a deal for themselves.

     

    Cadillac (A.O.C.)Bordeaux Wine

    Cadillac is a very ancient town; part of it is still enclosed by the ruins of a wall erected in 1280 by Jean de Grailly, Mayor of Buch. The town contains the chateau of the Dues d'Épernon, built between 1600 and 1650. Created in 1973, the Cadillac AOC has undergone dramatic changes. It is classified for its sweet white wines, which must come from over-ripe grapes affected by noble rot that have been picked in a series of selective harvests.

  • Californian Wine

    Californian WinesCalifornia is the best-known wine region of America. The region is subdivided into six main areas. From north to south these are the North Coast (north of San Francisco, home of Napa Valley, Sonama, Carneros wines),Humboldt (on the banks of the Sacrmamento River), Sierra Foothills (at the foot of the Sierra Mountains east of Sacramento), Central Coast (south of San Francisco to slighty north of Los Angeles), Central Valley (a huge area on the banks of the San Joaquin River), and South Coast (between Los Angeles and San Diego).

    Franciscan monks from Bordeaux with the rather appropriate name of Jean Louis saw th possibilities here in 1830 and he improted countless European varieties of grapes.

    Things really took off though after the Gold Rush. The growers left the south alone and concentrated their efforts in the central and northern area where there was a ready market with the lager city of San Francisco. The quality of those wines was from modest to poor. In those days California made ponderous syrupy wines of little character and freshness. This was the start of the huge American bulk wine industry. Prohibition from 1919 to 1933, which banned the production of alcoholic drink on a commercial scale, was a major blow for the Californian wine trade.

    It seemed for a long time as though the growers would not survive this crisis. It was not until the 1970s that changes started to take place. Wine-making became a recongnised profession and people form California went to study at first hand in Europe with the best wine-makers. The result is nothing les than spectacular.

    There are still many ‘wimpy wines’ (plonk) in California, but quality is becoming more important than quantity with both the big business and small wineries.

    California wineYet many still regard California as a massive industrialised wine region with its enornous vineyards, wineries like palaces, batteries of high towering stainless steel storage tanks etc. Despite this the numbers of smaller producers is growing in places like the Sonoma Valley, and Carneros. These growers and makers not only know what they are talking about, they also bring much verve and passion to their wine-making.

    Hence the massive rows of readily saleable Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are becoming smaller in scale and some even dare to replace them with specialist varieties such as Viognier for white wines and Barbera, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Granche for reds.

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  • Champagne and Cava

    It is a shame that almost everything with bubbles in gets called Champagne. There are top quality Cavas made by the traditional method that are far better in quality than the most lowly of Champagnes.

     Calling these wines Champagne is to undervalue them. Not only is it incorrect but in common with other sparkling wines, the Spanish Cavas have their own story to tell about the grape varieties used, the soil on which they are grown, and the weather conditions that are quite different to those of Champagne. This Spanish wine has been made by the same methode traditionnelle as French sparkling wines since the end of the nineteenth century.

    Cava came into being in the province of Barcelona in 1872 because the local innkeepers and hoteliers could not meet the increasing demand for good sparkling wine. The Catalans decided to make their own sparkling wine instead of always having to import either expensive Champagne or cheap Blanquette de Limoux.

     This wine was made in precisely the same way as the other methode­ traditionnelle wines, but the Cavas have their own taste and character. This is determined by the use of different grapes and other ideas about how a good sparkling wine should taste.

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  • Chardonnay White Grapes

    Today world's most popular white grape, Chardonnay express its varietal character in many forms: from the racy, steely, and nervy wines of Chablis, to the fuller-bodied, buttery rich wine made in the Napa Vally, California.

     Chardonnay grapes could be described as a 'winemaker's dream' because it's easy to work with and produces an amazing range of flavours- lemon, pineapple, peach, apple, honey, butter, bread, hazelnut, vanillia, and biscuit. The butter and creamy texture often associated with Chardonnay grapes is a signifiant sign that malolactic fermentation, which softens the 'green', underripe characteristics, has occurred. Malolactic fermentation will be encouraged in cool-climate wines that may well have excess acidity but is usually avoided in warmer climates, where acidity tends to be low.

     Chardonnay White Grapes Chardonnay grapes reaches its greatest heights in Burgungy's Cote D'Or, where the best wines, such as Meursault or Montrachet, gain sublime richness and complexity from the all-important limestone soil.

     This grape's rise to stardom has been dramatic, considering that in South Australia, no Chardonnay was planted until the early 1970s. There is a danger though, that the full-bodied, buttery, fruity Chardonnay with an oak flavour will become so popular that it may become difficult to convince consumers that a fresh, lively, oak-free version not only show the true characteristics of the grape variety, but is an alternative to the 'international style.'

      The Chardonnay grapes is grown in Burgungy, Champagne and the south of France, Australia, New Zealand, California, South America and South Africa.

     

    Sauvignon Blanc Grapes

    Sauvignon Blanc Grapeswhite-grapes

    This is an aromatic grape, which ripens early and is mostly grown in cool-climate vineyards.   Its range extends from featherweight tangy, dry white wines like Sauvignon de Touraine, to the ripe, almost tropical-like fruitiness obtained in California, where the less common addition of oak is often adopted and labelled 'Fume Blanc'. Sauvignon Blanc thrives on chalk or gravel soil.

    Riesling Grapes

    Riesling Grapeswhite-grapes

    The Riesling grape is seen by many as the most versatile variety of white grape in the world. It is without doubt a class act with a number of strengths, not least its ability to outperform Chardonnay in the longevity stakes.

    Semillon Grapes

    Semillon Grapeswhite-grapes

    Arguably one fo the most underrated verieties of grapes, Sémillon, Bordeaux's most widely planted white grape, makes delicious dry and sweet wines. With an almost honeyed texture, Sémillon is often partnered by Sauvignon Blanc to lift the acidity, although Australian winemakers also blend Sémillon Trebbiano.

    Chenin Blanc Grapes

    Chenin Blanc Grapeswhite-grapes

    An extremely versatile variety of grapes, Chenin Blanc is capable of making dry and crisp white wines that are great as an aperitif, through to medium, unctuous and sweet styles. Due to the keeen and vibrant acidity often found in Chenin Blanc grape, they make brilliant food wines and can stay in good shape for many years after the vitange.

    Other white grapes

    Other white grapeswhite-grapes

     This distinctive grape variety is known by its friends simply as Gewürtz but sometimes also as Traminer. It provides interese aromas, reminiscent of lychee, rose petals and spice.

     

    Shopping for 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. {jcomments on}

  • Cooking with wine

    Wine can add colour, richness, acidity and body to sauces, stews, soups, and casseroles. It is also an ingredient in many marinades. To be successful, a wine should not be completely devoid of fruit or, even worse, faulty, Neither does it have to be the best bottle in the cellar. Research shows however, that the better the wine, the better the final result.

     Cooking with wine If you are looking for a successful match between the wine in your glass and the wine in a dish, it makes sense to use a wine with similar characteristics. A good cook will consider the individual facets of a wine before incorporating it into a dish. Alcohol will be boiled off when added to a hot pan but care should be taken when making iced desserts as, if too much wine is added, alcohol will lower the freezing point and the dessert may not set.

     

    Sweet wines

    When using sweet wines, or any wine with an element of sweetmess, the flavour will intensify as the sauce cooks and reduces. Taste, to make sure that the wine you are about to drink has the same degree of sweetness as the sauce.

    Remenber too, that fruit and vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots, onions and garlic, will reveal sweetness when cooked. Tomatoes also contain acidity, so look for complementary characteristics in a wine. If cooking with a white wine which has fairly crisp acidity, remember that the acidity also intensifies as it cooks. If you sauce becomes too acidic, adjust by adding cream or butter.

     

    Dishes

    Some dishes rely very much on wine as an ingredient, for example boeuf bourgignon and coq au vin. The wine adds a richness and intensity of flavour to the dish.

    However, highly flavoured or aromatic and oaked wines are often best avoided. Aromatics are lost very quickly once the wine begins to boil, while oak does not evapoarte, but the oak flavour concentrates as it reduces, rendering a sauce possibly too powerful for the food.

    If you keep leftover wine, or have a separate supply for cooking purposes, use a wine preserver to keep it in good condition. Keeping bottles in the refrigerator will also help to retain an element of freshness.

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