Wine Searcher

  • African wine

    South African Wine

    South Africa has undergone drastic political, social, and ethnological changes in the past ten to twenty years. Present day South Africa, in which the development ofthe economy is problematical could be given a big impulse by its wine industry. Ten years ago the wine was boycotted throughout most of the world but now South African wine seems set to conquer Europe, having made good starts in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands because ofthe historical links of both these countries with South Africa.

    Proud wine-growers will tell you that South Africa is the oldest of the 'New World' wine countries. The reality is that vines were not introduced into South Africa until 1655 while the first vines were planted in

    Mexico and Japan in 1530 and in Argentina and Peru around 1560. South Africa certainly started cultivating vines before California (1697) and New Zealand (1813).

    South African Wine

  • Brazilian Wines

       Brazil is still a relatively unknown wine-growing area and Brazilian wines are seldom encountered, yet despite this Brazil does produce good wines.

    Brazilian wine-growing dates back to the sixteenth century when Don Martin Afonso de Souza, envoy of the Portuguese king, Don Juan III, planted the first vines at Santos El Baballero Bras Cubas. These vines had been brought from the island of Madeira.

    The Portuguese also took vines to the north-east of Brazil and sold the wine to the Dutch who controlled that territory at the time. The arrival of Portuguese wine-growers from the Azores in the eighteenth century briefly created a new impetus in the Brazilian wine industry. Because the European varieties were too susceptible to disease, the Brazilians chose North American grapes such as Alexander, Isabella, Catawba, Concord, and Delaware which are all varieties of Vitis labrus. The results of these experiments were not uniformly successful and the arrival of German, Italian, and French immigrants in Brazil brought both better knowledge and vines.

    Brazil has three large wine-growing regions: Rio Grande del Sur, Nordeste, and Vale de Sao Francisco. Many of the grapes are still grown as dessert grapes that can be harvested three times each year because of the favourable climate. Slightly less than half of the grapes are destined for wine production.

    Only about 20 percent of Brazil's vines are of the better Vilis vinifera varieties, while the others are hybrids and North American varieties, which are used for industrial wine. Acceptable to very good wines are made from Vitis vinifera varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Barbera, Riesling Italico, Chardonnay, Moscato, Semillon, Trebbiano, and Sauvignon Blanc. Brazil's potential as a wineproducing country can be shown by the many foreign companies investing in the industry like Moét et Chandon, Mumm, Remy Martin, Martini & Rosso, Domecq, and Seagram. Increasing numbers of Japanese companies are also entering the fray. It is clear that Brazil will soon become one of the major South American wine producers.

    Wine quality is getting better year by year. The control of hygiene and grape quality has been increased and the present wines are remarkably pleasing.

     A new era is just beginning for Brazilian wine. For those who wish to try Brazilian wine for themselves the Vinicola Miolo of Vale dos Vinhedos at Porto Alegre can certainly be recommended. It is probably Brazil's best wine at the present time.

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  • Campania Wine Region

    Campania Italian Wine Region

    Campania Italy regionCampania is an elongated area on the Tyrrhenian Sea in south-western Italy. The fortunate country-side of Campania felix was much appreciated by the Romans. Naples, the capital of Campania, is one of the liveliest cities in Italy. The cultivation of vineyards in Campania is yet another proof of how skilled the ancient Greek and Roman wine-growers were. Despite all the modem technology, the best Italian wines of Campania are still produced from the same places as 2000-4000 years ago. The grapes introduced by the Greeks way back then have survived to modern times. The Aglianico and Greco vines of today both originate from the original vines planted by the ancient Greeks.

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  • Lalande De Pomerol and Latour Bordeaux Wines

    Lalande-de-Pomerol Bordeaux Wine

    Lalande de Pomerol Bordeaux WineThe Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC is reserved only for wines produced in the communes of Lalande-de-Pomerol and Neac. This region from Bordeaux is located on one of the pilgrim paths that led to Saint James of Compostela. The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem and the Knights of the Order of Malta built refuges, hospices, and residences here. Dating from the twelfth century, the church of Lalande-de-Pomerol, the only one of its kind in Libourne, is the only remaining monument of the Hospitallers.

    This Bordeaux region, in which vines have been cultivated since the tenth or eleventh century, extends west from Saint-Émilion. The landscape grows less rugged towards the valley of the Isle river.

  • Listrac-Médoc, Loupiac and Lussac-Saint-Émilion Bordeaux Wines

    Listrac-Médoc Bordeaux Wine

    Loupiac Bordeaux WineMonsieur d’Armailhac, in his 1855 book on viticulture in the Médoc, said the Listrac plateau could be compared to the region’s most favorably placed properties. With magnificent outcrops on either side—Forréad to the south and Fourcas to the north—the five-kilometer-long Listrac plateau is one of the highest in the Médoc. Monsieur Boissenot, a wine specialist, describes Listrac wine as follows: “Listrac wine presents in the mouth an extraordinary body, enveloping the palate. Its presence is built. This is the wine of oenophiles, this is the wine that you chew, so tight is its texture. Solidly constituted, tannic and structured, it is the perfect meeting of the fruit provided by Caber-net and the strength supplied by Merlot. As a result it is ample and silky, a mixture of spirit and virility.

  • Montepulciano Italy Wine

     

    ROSSO Di MONTEPULCIANO DOC

    Avignonesi Rosso Italian WineThis Italian wine is kin to the Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The name is somewhat confusing especially if one bears in mind other wines with similar sounding names such as Brunello di Montalcino and Rosso di Montalcino. The difference between the DOC and DOCG wines will be apparent though once tasted. This Rosso di Montepulciano originates from the same wine area as the Vino Nobile. The grapes used are also the same 60-80% Sangiovese (Prugnolo) with other blue grapes and addition of some white.

  • Moulin Haut-Laroque, Mouton Rothschild Bordeaux Wines

    Moulin Haut-Laroque (Ch.) Bordeaux Wine

    Chateau Moulin Haut Laroque Fronsac Bordeaux WineThis cru is an example of a family-run vineyard. The property of the Hervé family for many generations, it took its present form at the end of the nineteenth century. The fifteen hectares of vines in the Saillans commune, part of the Fronsac AOC, are particularly well positioned. Jean-Noël Hervé, who has a great respect for tradition, has devoted himself since 1977 to bringing out the best in this outstanding terroir, and to producing wines typical of the appellation.

     Moulis, Medoc, wines, Mouton, year, Rothschild, Baron, vineyard, vines, quality

  • North-East for American Wine

       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.

    AMERICAN WINE *** WINE SHOP

    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 vineferawere 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 viniferavines. Thirty years later this helped to cause a major breakthrough.

    AMERICAN WINE *** WINE SHOP

    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 vinifieravarieties, 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.

    AMERICAN WINE *** WINE SHOP

    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 viniferaare 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.

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  • Ostschweiz Wines

    Ostschweiz winesThe greatest risk for Swiss wine growers in Ostschweiz is prolonged winter frost or deadly night frosts in spring during blossoming. Over the centuries the creative Swiss have come up with all manner of ways of protecting their vines against the cold. In addition to the widely used spraying and heating methods, the local growers have developed their own method. The vines are covered with straw or even with what resembles an eiderdown. The soil in Ostschweiz varies from west to east. In the western part, close to the Jura mountains, chalk is more prevalent; in the centre it is mainly calciferous sandstone, while in the east glacial scree and shale dominate. Because autumns are quite cold in Ostschweiz, only early ripening varieties of grapes thrive.

  • Other wine Greek region

    Epanomi Greek wine

    Epatiako Greek WineThe Gerovassiliou make very proper and modernstyle topikos oinos or country wines from French and Greek grape varieties in Epanomi to the west of Chalkidiki.Their white Fume (Chardonnay and Assyrtiko) is full-bodied, rounded, and very pleasant. The red Ktima Gerovassiliou (Grenache Rouge and Petite Syrah) is exciting and fulsome in flavour and is also rounded and warm. The tannin in the wine means it can be kept for at least five years. Other good wines, though less impressive are those of Lazaridi (Drama).

    The house of Tsantali makes several quite pleasing white and red topikos oinos or country wines in curious 'belly' bottles known as Makedonikos Topikos Oinos. Tsantali also produce a reasonable Athos Topikos Oinos and a subtle Agioritikos made from Assirtiko and Sauvignon Blanc. Finally, the Cava-style wines made by Tsantali and Boutaris are exceptionally good.

     

    Zitsa region wine

    Zitsa's vineyards are found to the north of Ipeiros, against the Albanian border at a height of about 1,968 feet (600 metres). Delicious still and sparkling wines are made here from Debina grapes. These wines are characterised by their elegance, freshness, and exuberant fruitiness. The sparkling Zitsa is available as semi-sparkling or imiafrodis krasi and fully-sparkling or afrodis krasi versions. Drinking temperature for this Greek wine is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C) .

     

    Metsovo Greek wine

    Gerovassiliou Chardonnay Epanomi Greek wineA Greek politician named Averoff dreamed of making the best wine of Greece. Although he never achieved this himself, his company has scaled unprecedented heights and may well make its founder's dreams come true. The vineyards are on south-easterly facing slopes of the Pindos mountains.

    Pine red wines have been produced here for centuries but unfortunately the ancient vines were entirely destroyed by phylloxera. The original vines were replaced by Cabernet Sauvignon. Excellent Katogi Averoff red wine is made from these grapes, which are related to the Greek Agiorgitiko. This great wine can certainly be kept for ten years because of the tannin it contains. This ruby red wine is characterised by its intense aromatic power and fulsome taste that is velvet smooth (after maturing).

    Katogi Averoff is now regarded as one of Greece's best wines and it is very expensive. Drinking temperature for this Greek wine is 62.6-64.4°F (17- 18°C) .

     

    Thessalia Greek wine

    Thessalia is situated to the south of Macedonia and it borders Ipeiros to the west, the Aegaen to the east, and Central Greece to the south. The area is dominated by the imposing Mount Olympus (9,570 feet /2,917 metres) and it is bisected by the Pineios river. Thessalia is clearly an agricultural region. The best vineyards are sited on slopes or close to the sea. The vines planted on flat countryside are for grapes sold to be eaten or for poor wines.

     

    Rapsani Greek wine

    Rapsani's vineyards are planted on the slopes of Mount Olympus at heights of 984-1,640 feet (300-500 metres). The climate here is fairly moist and above all cold in the winter. Yet the siting of the vineyards guarantees full sunshine and excellent red wines. The basic grapes used for Rapsani are Xinomavro, Krassato, and Stavroto, which combines to produce a fresh, rich, and elegant red wine. Drinking temperature for this Greek wine is 57.2-60.8°F (14-16°C).

     

    Nea Anchialos Greek wine

    The vineyards of Nea Anchialos are sited close to the sea near Volos. The Rhoditis vines grow at a height of 328-656 feet (100- 200 metres) and their grapes make a fresh and elegant white wine. Drinking temperature for this Greek wine is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).{jcomments on}

  • Portugal Wines

    Port

     

    Although the Douro region is one of the most Portuguese of the wine territories, the famous port or port wine as it was once called from the Douro valley is almost entirely due to the inventiveness of the English.

     

    Port or porto derives its name from the harbour town of Porto, the second city of Portugal. Porto is situated close to Vila Nova de Gaia where most port is stored, bottled, and traded.

    Ideal circumstances

    The valley of the Alto-Douro is probably the most picturesque wine area anywhere in the world. The vineyards start about 80 km (50 miles) to the east of Porto and Vila Nova de Gaia and they are protected by the 1,400 metre high Marao mountain against the worst influences of a maritime climate.

    The soil is chiefly comprised of shale and folds of crumbled basalt which force the vines to send down long roots in search of nutrients and water. The summers are extremely warm and dry with bitingly cold and very wet winters. To prevent erosion and make it easier to tend the vines, the area is widely terraced. Despite this everything is hard manual work. That these working conditions are difficult is underscored by the fact that only 40,000 hectares of the permitted 250,000 hectares are actually planted with vines.

    The traditional varieties of grape for making white port are Arinto, Boal Cachudo, Cercial, Malvasia Fina, Samarrinho, and Verdelho. Red port is made from a choice that includes Bastardo, Malvasia, Tinto Mourisco, Touriga Francesa, Tinta Roriz, Touriga Nacional, Periquita, and Tinta Barroca. This wide variety helps in part explain the wide differences between different ports.

    The same exciting ritual takes place in about mid September of each year. Long lines of grape-pickers

    enter the quintas or vineyards to pick the ripe grapes, terrace by terrace. After picking, the grapes are collected in huge baskets to be brought to the press some tens of kilometres away. Today most port-making companies use pneumatic presses but some of the smaller companies still utilise the traditional huge but low granite tubs or lagares, in which the family, pickers, and friends press the grapes with their bare feet or with special shoes. This scene out of folklore is often done to music and attracts scores of tourists.

    During vinification, which nowadays happens in stainless steel tanks, wine alcohol is added during fermentation at the rate of 10 litres per 45 litres of fermenting must. The new port is then transferred to wooden casks and left to rest for several months.

    After this the casks are transferred to Vila Nova de Gaia, where they are stored to mature in enormous cellars or lodges (armazens). More recently some port is now also left in the Douro valley to mature.

     The maturing process takes a minimum of two years. During the maturing in the huge 550 litre casks known as pipas the wine changes colour from purple/red to tan and the immature wine acquires specific character and bouquet.

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  • South American

    Argentinian Wine

    The Conquistadors also introduced vines into Argentina in the sixteenth century. The resulting wines were used by Spanish Jesuits for both religious and medicinal purposes.

    The industry only acquired its present form in the nineteenth century as a result of a flood of European immigrants who brought better vines with them such as Cabemet, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Syrah, Barbera, and Sangiovese for red wines and Chenin, Riesling, and Torrontés for whites.

    The first independent wine houses were established by German, Italian, Spanish, and French immigrants. Argentina's vineyards lie at the foot of the Andes, far removed from the pollution of industrial cities. The climate is continental, being very dry and very hot, verging on desert.

    Irrigation with water from pure mountain streams has created the ideal conditions for wine-growing.

    Argentinian Wine

  • The cycle of work in the vineyard

     Working in vineyardAnnual pruning, aimed at limiting excessive growth of the woody stem and giving a balanced yield, normally takes place between December and March. The potential number of buds is determined by the strength of the plant, and this has a direct effect on the size of the harvest. In spring the work consists of “unearthing” the vines - the soil is raked into the middle of the row, creating a loose layer that should stay relatively dry.

    The ground is tended throughout the whole growing cycle, according to need: self- propagating plants are destroyed, the loose topsoil is maintained and loss of moisture through evaporation is prevented.

  • Trentino Wines

    The southern part of Trentino-Alto Adige also makes fine white wines of course but generally produces better and more red wines than the northern (Alto Adige) part of the region.

    Most of the vineyards are sited in the hills in the valleys of the Adige, Cembra, Lagarina, or the slopes above Lake Garda. 

    The only exception are the vineyards of the Rotaliana valley where they are on the valley floor. The giant trellis along which the vines are trained is a typical scene in Trentino. The trellis keeps the vines off the ground so that fewer leaves are formed, enabling the sun to penetrate better in order to ripen the grapes. This also allows air to circulate freely through the vines to reduce the risk of autumn night frosts. Considerable development work is underway in this area, not just in the field of wine-making itself but also in respect of cultivation and pruning techniques and the introduction of experimental grape varieties. Large scale trials are underway with the Rebo grape, which is a cross between Merlot and Marzemino. Most Trentino wines are single varietals made with just one sort of grape. Por the whites the most popular is the Chardonnay (50% of the white grapes and 15% of total production).

    Chardonnay is used for making both Chardonnay Trentino DOC and the excellent Spumante Trento Classico. An exceptional white grape can be found amid the others here which is a native of Trentino: the Nosiola. This highly aromatic grape imparts its Nosiola-Trentino wine with a delicate and fruity character but even more so in the magnificent Vino Santo Trentino DOC.

      Schiava holds sway here as the leading red wine grape accounting for at least 30% of all the vines planted.

    Por those who like Grappa (eaux-de-vie), Trentino perhaps makes the finest in all Italy.{jcomments on}

  • Vinhos Verdes

      The wine territory of the Vinhos Verdes is situated in the north west of Portugal, just below Spanish Galicia and north of the town of Porto. The area extends between the de Minho river which forms a natural border with Spain and the Douro river in the south, between the coast and the foot

      of the eastern mountains. The area has the appearance of a natural amphitheatre in which the vines and wine­ growers play the leading roles in a mythological play.

    Portugal wine mapWine-growing in the Vinhos Verde can be traced back to Roman times but it is probable that the Celts made wine here long before that as they did in neighbouring Galicia. The wine-growing strength of this region lies in the combination of an ideally suitable microclimate, the suitable soil (granite overlaid with sand and humus) , the gentle contours of the landscape, and the excellent traditional and ancient grape varieties.

    The vineyards of the Vinhos Verde comprise about 10% of the total area of vines in cultivation on the Portuguese mainland. The biggest producing areas are Viana de Castelo, Porto, and Braga. The manner in which the vines are cultivated in the Vinhos Verdes is very striking for instead of pruning to keep them low, the vines are trained upwards to more than 6 feet high (2 metres). This is done to prevent the grape from rotting in the humid climate that rules in these parts.

    The vines are trained along trellis, pergolas, or even cruciform concrete structures and they are usually harvest from below by standing on a trailer drawn behind a tractor.

    The Vinhos Verdes (literally 'green wines') get their name from the attractive green countryside and not as some suggest because of the acidity of the wines. It is also quite wrong to believe that Vinhos Verdes are only white wines, since more red wine is actually produced but this is consumed locally by the inhabitants and many tourists. The relatively low alcoholic content of these wines (8.5% or more) makes them especially popular for it is possible to enjoy drinking   them in greater volume. These Vinhos Verdes should ideally be consumed within one year and not more than two of their harvest. The only exception to this is wine from the sub­region of Monc;ao, made entirely from Alvarinho grapes. These Vinhos Verdes Alvarinho are undoubtedly the best of their type and can also be kept longer.

    Vinho Verdes Portugal WineThe grape varieties used for the ordinary Vinhos Verde   include   Alvarinho,   Avesso,   Loureiro, Pedermi, and Trajadura for whites and Azal Tinto, Borrac;al, Brancelho, Padeiro de Basto, and Pedral for red wines.

    The Vinhos Verdes Brancos are ideal aperitifs with their slight carbonic acid sparkle. The fine bubbles are formed naturally by quickly bottling the wine following a second fermentation (malolactic fermentation). Carbonic acid gas is given off during this second fermentation and by quick bottling at this stage the tiny bubbles are captured in the bottle.

    The bubbles give the wine additional freshness in its taste. This wine is about 10% alcohol, making them tasty thirst-quenchers. Drinking temperature is 46.4- 50°F (8- 10°C).

     The Vinhos Verdes Alvarinho are better quality and are slightly more alcoholic. Drinking temperature is 50-53.6°F (1O- 12°C).Vinhos Verdes Tinto are just as light and refreshing as the white wines but have perhaps slightly more body. Drink this wine with lunch. Drinking temperature is 50- 53.6°F (10- 12°C).

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  • Wine-growing conditions

     Australian wine-growing is quite typical of the New World scene with huge vineyards spread across enormous territories between South Australia (Barossa and Coonawarra),

    Victoria (Yarra), and New South Wales (Hunter), plus hi-tech equipment and methodology and staggering yields. Despite all this Australia is not anywhere near the output of wine-producing countries like Italy, France, and Spain. A large proportion of the potential harvest is destroyed by natural hazards such as hail, rain, extreme heat, fire, kangaroos, foxes, crows, and greybacked silvereyes.

    Considerable government support has been invested developing and extending the local wine industry. Up to the 1970s the most popular wines were mainly sweet Rieslings. The plantings of Riesling have been decimated since the arrival of Chardonnay vines, because the wines from these are more successful in the export market.

    Chardonnay is now the most widely planted grape variety but Shiraz is also gaining ground too. Besides these there are also a number of other varieties which are new to Australia that are gaining popularity.

    Hence in addition to new plantings of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and Ruby Cabernet (Cabernet and Cinsaut), increasing numbers of Sangiovese and Barbera vines are also being planted. The white grape that surprises everyone and is gaining popularity at the expense of Chardonnay, Semillon, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Colombard, Muscadelle, and Traminer is the Verdelho.

    Australian wine-makers are often accused of putting more emphasis on the variety of grape than on the aspects related to terroir. The criticism is not entirely justified because each wine is a combination of factors: the grape variety, soil, climate, and of course the underground water.

    Australian winemakers can guarantee their customers constant quality by blending together wines from different areas. This can compensate year in year out for the vagaries of the Australian climate. The result is a superb wine with a distinctive character. Australian wines are almost always produced from a number of vineyards. It is possible for 'single vineyard' wines to be made in Australia, but given the enormous size of many of them, this would lack credibility while also adding unnecessary costs and uncertainty. This would also be contrary to the 'flavour for dollar' policy that has made Australian wines world famous. A 'single vineyard' wine would vary in quality from year to year and this is not what today's consumers want.

    It is often essential in Australia to irrigate the vines. This is strictly forbidden in most European countries, even during the most extreme periods of dry weather. New World wine countries though regard irrigation as a perfectly natural occurrence. Their systems are so well refined that the vines can be drip fed at whatever height is required. Spray equipment is installed on both sides of the vines but it is also possible to spray from just one side. This gives the vine a contrasting signal so that the leaves absorb water rather than the grapes in order to maintain a good balance between sun and moisture.

    The technique by which the skins are left in contact to extract the maximum possible aromatic and flavour substances in the juice (maceration pelliculaire), is only used in poor years in Australia. The grapes normally have more than adequate aromatic and flavour substances in them as a result of the good sun/moisture balance.

    The malolactic fermentation with lactic acids that is used in Europe is only partially used here. Australian wines do not by nature have high levels of acidity, so that it makes no sense, nor is it desirable for a complete malolactic fermentation to take place. The sun also has a beneficial effect on the growth of the vines. Australian winemakers rarely need to add fertilizer to the soil. Those in favour of organic winemaking do not need to ring any alarm bells here as they do in Europe.

    Australian wine-makers ideas about cask maturing in wood are also different. In order to provide plenty of flavour at a price they have used wood chips to give cheaper wines a characteristic 'oaked' taste. This is a thing of the past though for today the best Australian companies use huge tanks in which a sort of giant wheel constantly agitates the young wine.

    This gives the wine regular contact with large oak planks that can be pushed into the tank through special apertures. The length of time that the wine spends in these tanks is determined by the desired strength of the taste of oak required. The eventual result has much greater finesse than the use of oak chips.

     High-technology therefore can also have its good sides. In this way the top wines are still matured in oak casks, while cheaper ones acquire their oak taste more quickly and efficiently. This system is also more environmentally friendly and considerably reduces the number of oak trees that need to be felled.

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  • Wine-growing regions Canada

    Quebec

    Quebec is the French-speaking province of Canada. The weather circumstances are everything but ideal for cultivating vines and making wine.

     Temperatures can drop to minus 40°F/C or even lower in winter which is fatal for vines. A handful of enthusiasts tried a surprising way to protect the vines against the cold of winter. The vines are kept pruned low and before the first frosts they are covered with a layer of earth which is then removed in spring. Apart from this interesting cultivation technique and the hard working nature of the local growers, there is little else positive to say about this wine region. The wines that we tasted were extremely dubious and their prices far too high.

     

    Ontario

    Ontario is the wine region in Canada with the longest continuous activity. The vineyards are in three districts: the Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore, and Pelee Island. These three districts are all close to the Great Lakes. The epicentre of the wine industry is the town of Niagara-on-Lake, where the present-day generation of wine growers and makers have their origins in Germany, France, Italy, and even The Netherlands. Although Ontario shares the same latitude as the Cotes du Rhone, its climate is much harsher. The summers are hot and winters extremely cold. Wine-growing is only possible close to the most southerly of the five Great Lakes, Lake Erie. The soil here consists of a mixture of clay, gravel, and loam which is rich in minerals and trace elements. The underlying geology consists of hard rock which gives additional complexity to the wines.

    Various hybrid grape varieties are grown here such as Seyval Blanc and Vidal for white wines and Maréchal Foch and Baco Noir for reds. Although Seyval, Vidal, and Baco Noir deliver good to excellent results the Ontario growers are increasingly choosing to plant more vinifera varieties such as Pinot Auxerrois, Chardonnay, Gewiirztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling on the one hand and Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot on the other.

     

    British Columbia

    Although wine has been made here for some considerable time which left much to be desired, the past decade has seen this region striving for the best quality. The old hybrid or even worse native America Vilis labrusca vines have increasingly been replaced with Vitis vinifera varieties. Wine is made in two districts: the western Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island, and the eastern Okanagan and Similkameen valleys.

    The first two areas and the Similkameen Valley are recent additions that are busily in the process of development. The historical heart of British Columbia lies in the Okanagan Valley where the weather conditions are more suited to growing grapes and making wines. The summers are hot and dry, with little rainfall.

    The soil consists of rock, fine sand, clay, and alluvial deposits in the south. The more northerly vineyards that are cooler and more humid are mainly planted with French and German grape varieties of Auxerrois, Bacchus, Chardonnay, Erenfelser, Gewiirztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, and Riesling, while the more southerly ones have the traditional red varieties of Pinot Noir and Merlot.

    British Columbia has three types of winery.

    The Majors are the large wine industries which get their grapes from far and wide, the Estates use only those grown in British Columbia, of which at least 50% is from their own vineyards.

     They are required to conduct all viticultural and wine-making activities within their own winery. The Farms are mainly smaller in scale and must meet the same requirements as the Estates except that 75% of the grapes must come from their own vineyards.

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