Wine Searcher

  • Argentinan Wine

        Despite its ecomonic problems Argentina is, undeniably, one of the world’s most important wine-producing nations.

     Mostly planted at high altitude, at tha feet of the Andes mountains, vines benefit from long, warmm sunny days, and very cold nights. The melted snow from the mountains provides plenty of water to compensate for the low annual rainfall. Not everything however, focuses on the Andes. From Salta in the north to Patagonia in the southm Argentina’s northern and southernmost vineyards are 900 miles apart and the differnet regions produce wines with a distict individuality. Massive investment has taken place so the country’s most progressive producers now have up-to-date equipment and facilities at their disposal. This investment has enabled the country’s producers to concentrate on wines made ar varios price points, from the fruity and inexpensive, to the sophisticated wines of iconic status.

    The three most significant wine-producing area of Argentina are Mendoza, San Juan and Rioja. The most significant wines exported from Argentina are the reds from Malbec and Cabernet Sauvingnon, grown in Mendoza, where 75 per cent of the country’s wines are produced. Aromatic white wines from the Torrontes grape variety aslo provide interest.

     Malbec, which produces distinctive world-class wines, is the grat trump card. Although very different to the Malbec you would find in France, the image of Argentina’s winemakering is associated with this variety. Tempranillo, Barbera, Syrah, along with different styles of Bonarda and Sangiovese, can also provide some excellent wines.{jcomments on}

  • Czech Wine

    Czech Republic and Wine History

    Czech WineThe Czech and Slovak Republics separated from each other quite in 1989 . Both countries have a very turbulent history behind them.

    The economic position in both countries is far from ideal, although the Czech Republic is developing rapidly. Slovakia is of greater interest as a wine producer while the Czech Republic is more of a place of pilgrimage for true beer lovers as the home of Pilsener Urquell and the true Budweiser. The Czech Republic is the origin in the town of Plzen (Pilsen) of all Pilsener type beers. Despite this, vines are also cultivated in the Czech Republic as well as in Slovakia.

  • New Zealand

    New Zealand WinesWith new wineries coming on stream at an amazing rate, New Zealand seems to raise the standard year on year.  Dramatic improvments have been made with red wines, with Pinot Noir all the rage. The total area under vine in New Zealand has more than doubled since 1990, and its wine industry is one of the most forward-thinking in the world.

    New Zealand wine is exciting because of the number of wines being produced from slightly less predictable grape varieties. Pinot Gris, Gewürztraminer and Riesling perform well while beyond Pinot Noir, it may be suprising to find Syrah, Zinfandek and even Pinotage producing the goods and joining Cabernet Saugvinon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.

     New Zealand’s wine-producing regions strech from Auckland on the North Island to Central Otago, the country’s most southerly wine region on South Island. The country benefits from a temperate, maritime climate and a wide range of wine style are produced. On the North Island some of New Zealand’s top Cabernet-based reds are made in the Auchlakd/Henderson area. Waiheke Island, a short ferry journey from Auckland, enjoys a warm microclimate, which helps it ot produce rich Bordeaux blends. In Northland, a number of boutiqui wineries are making hight-class Cabernet-based reds and Chardonnay. Gisborne is Chardonnay country but also produces some promising Gewürztraminer.

    New Zealand Wine Map Hawke’s Bay is a region with a range of soils, including the Gimblett gravels, a 2,000- acre area of deep, stony soil. Full, rich Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot blends are made in good vitanges. The Chardonnay are some of New Zealand’s most powerful and Sauvignon Blanc tends to be more rounded than the Marlborough style, from South Island. On the southeastern tip of North Island, the tiny region of Martinborough, also known as Wairarapa, excels in fine Pinot Noir.

     On the South Island, Marlborough, the largest region in the New Zealand, has seen extensive expasion since the mid 1970s. The maritime climate and stony soils are perfect for Sauvignon Blanc, which has become synonymous with Marlborough. Distinctive Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sparkling wines are also made in this hugely fashionable region.

      Very slighty cooler than Marlborough, Nelson has been successful with aromatic whites while Canterbury, in the Waipara sub-region, is particularly promising. In the small, cool, scenic, mountainous region of Central Otago, Pinot Noir is the star, rivalling the best of Martinborough. Riesling and Pinot Gris also perform well here.

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  • Uruguayan Wines

      While Chile and Argentina have been known as wine producers for some time, Uruguay has been busy in recent years in a spectacular effort to overtake them.

    Uruguay is relatively small as a country in comparison with its two giant neighbours Brazil and Argentina. Despite this the country has a rich history of wine production. Vines were introduced by the Conquistadors in the sixteenth century and wine-making was in the hands of the Monks for a considerable period of time.

    Uruguay wine production got a major boost when thousands of immigrants settled from France, Algeria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. These brought the noble grapevine Vitis vinifera with them. A leading role was played by the French Basque Pascal Harriague who introduced Tannat and Folie Noire to Uruguay in 1870. Tannat is wellknown from South-West France, especially in Madiran where it makes superb wines for laying down from people like Alain Brumon. Meanwhile Tannat has become the flagship of the Uruguayan wine industry.

    Other Vitis vinifera varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Gamay, Spanish varieties such as Bobal, and Garnacha and Italian vines like Barbera and Nebbiolo were planted in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. None of these grapes though managed to achieve the popularity or quality of Tannat.

    There are nine producing zones in Uruguay: Norte, Litoral Norte, Noreste, Literal Sur, Centro, Centro Oriental, Suroeste, Sur, and Sureste but most wine is produced in the south of the country around the capital Montevideo.

    The climate is moderate with sufficient rain to make irrigation unnecessary. The difference between day and night time temperatures is considerable in the north of the country. The soil varies between loose clay in the south through loose and fertile sediments in the south-east, sand and gravel in the centre, firm clay in the north-east, and gravel in the north.

    White wines are overwhelmingly in the majority in Uruguay and they are not of the best quality. The best of them come from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewilrtztraminer, and Viognier and are fresh, powerful, and very aromatic.

    The red wine from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Nebbiolo, and Barbara are carefully made and concentrated with bouquets of ripe fruit. Despite this Tannat is the more convincing wine. It is full-bodied and deep, very concentrated with firm but not harsh tannin and possesses heady aromas of ripe fruit and spices with a rich, powerful, and rounded masculine taste. It is certainly a wine that can be kept and is ideal with roasted and grilled meat. Drinking temperature is 60-64°F (16-18°C).

    Bear in mind that good Uruguayan wine is not cheap and avoid doubtful cheap examples in supermarkets, seeking out instead better wines such as Tannat RPF of Bodega Pisano, Castel Pujol Tannat of Juan Carrau, Tannat Viejo of Bodega Stagnari, or Don Pascual Tannat Barrels.

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  • 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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