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  • The label wine

     

    French wine

     In general

    Appellation contrôlée (AC) – in theory the best-quality category of French wine, with regulations defining vineyard, soil, grape varieties, yields, and alcohol levels. 

    Clos – an enclosed vineyard.

    Cru – literally ‘growth’, indicating a distinguished vineyard site in Burgundy or property in Bordeaux.

    Vieilles Vignes – old vines. Although unregulated, there can be a disctinct bearing of quality. A Chablis Vieillies Vignes for exemple, may have added concentration of flavour.

    Champagne

    Blanc de blancs – made from white grapes (Chardonnay only).

    Blanc de noirs – made from red grapes, vinified without skin contact.

    Brut – dry or dryish in style.

    Demi-sec – sweet.

    Doux – very sweet.

    Vintage – a blend froa a single year, solg after at leat there years ageing.

    Alsace

    Grand cru – classified vineyard site.

    Sélection de grains nobles – wine.

    Vendange Tardive – ‘late harvest’/specially grown ripe grapes.

    Bordeaux

    Cru Bourgeois – classification of chateaux in the Médoc and some of the best value-for-money wines.

    Cru-classé/grand cru-classé/premier grand cru-classé – ‘classified growth’, divided into five ‘tables’ in the Médoc, or from the classification system of the Graves, Sauternes, or St Emilion.

    In Bordeaux, the name of the chateau, or property, is all improtant.

    Burgundy

    Domaine – estate or vineyard hoding, belonging to a grower or négociant.

    Grand cru – top or finest vineyard sites.

    Premier cru – second highest category of vineyard site.

    In Burgundym the name of the grower of negociant is extremly important.

    Loire

    Sec – dry.

    Demi-sec – medium to dry.

    Molelleux – medium sweet to sweet.

    Sur Lie – generally associated with Muscadet, sur lie indicates that the wine has been bottled directly from its lees, without being rached of filtered.

    The Loire has a relatively cool climate, so take note of the vitange,

    Rhône

    The best wines are often from a specified region, appellation or cru, i.e. Côte Rôtie. Côte du Rhône Villages carries a higher reputation than the general appellation.

     

    Germany

    Trochken – dry.

    Halbtroken –semi-dry. In Germany, the grower and grape variety is worth nothing.

    Verband Deutcher Pradikatsweinguter e. V (VDP) – group of estates whose members have agreed to a set of regulations.

     

    Italy

    Amarone – dry Passito wine from Valpolicella.

    Classico – heartland of a DOC zone, generally producing better wines.

    Passito – wine made from dried of semi-dried grapes.

     
     

    Recioto – sweet passito wine.

    Riserva – should be the best wines, from the better vintages, which are held back or aged for longer than normal.

    Superior – wine whit higher alcohol than usual.

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  • The various types of Champagne

    Some labels bear predicates such as ‘Grand Cru’ or ‘Premier Cru’. These descriptions are in no way a guarantee of quality of the Champagne. They merely relate to the quality of the Champagne. They merely relate to the quality of the grapes used in the making of the wine.

    Extra brut/Brut sauvage/Ultra brut

    This wine is very very dry. After degorgement, extra brut is solely topped up with the same wine and therefore contains virtually no residual sugar. Few people appreciate Champagne as dry as chalk.

  • Types of Spanish Sherry

     

    Types of sherry

    Osborne Sherry SpainIt may be possible to find a sherry at the very best Spanish wine merchants that originates from one defined year. These superb quality sherries are usually very expensive and represent such a small percentage of the whole that they are not dealt with here separately. In this book we observe the Spanish grading system.

     

    FINO

    This is a straw yellow Spanish wine that is always dry and fresh with the characteristic bouquet and taste of almond and walnut, wood and flor; alcohol 15.5%. It makes a first class aperitif to drink at 50°F (10°C).

  • Valle d'Aosta - Italian Wine

     

      The picturesque valley of Aosta is in the north of Piedmont, at the foot of the mighty Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. The Aosta valley owes more in terms of culture to the Francophone Swiss and the French from Savoie than to the rest of Italy. 

     This can be seen in both the local place names and the names of the wines such as Donnaz, Enfer d'Arvier, Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle. You are unlikely though to encounter the wines from the Valle d'Aosta elsewhere for production is quite limited and the local inhabitants and passing tourists can happily consume it all.

     

    BLANC DE MORGEX ET DE LA SALLE

    This is an exceptionally delicious gentle dry white wine that is delicate with a distinctive bouquet of mountain herbs and grass and a fresh taste due to the presence of carbonic acid. This wine is often drunk with the local cheese fondue of Toma and Fontina. Drinking temperature 46.4-50°F (8- 10°C).

     

  • Wines from California

    Gewürztraminer

    Although the Americans have great difficulty with the name this wine is certainly no joke. Most of the local Gewurztramier is made as sweet wine with floral notes, suggestions of Muscat, a hint of spice, and sultry, but Gewurtraminer Dry is becoming increasingly popular.

    Many Americans drink the sweet of slightly sweet ‘off-dry’ Gewurztraminer as an apertif. The dry Gewürztraminer is excellent with chichen and Oriental dishes. Drinking temperature is 50-53.6°F (10-12°C) for dry, 46.4-50°F (8-10°C) for off-dry, and 42.8-46.4°F (6-8°C) for sweet.

    White Zinfandel/Blush wines/white grenache

    Zinfandel and Grenache are famous blue grapes but there are also white wines made with them. The wine is of course not truly white but a light pink. These are quite recent creations which are mainly aimed at the younger market.

    Most wines are not wholly dry and some of them are even slightly sweet. They have a nos in which vanilla ice cream with strawberries can be found in the White Zin or res fruit in the White Grenache. Drinkling temperature is 50-53°F (10-12°C).

    Muscat

    There are sultry, sweet wines that in addition to the recongnisable Muscat grape nose hane apricot, peach, and ripe pear in their bouquet. The wine is often served with goose liver in California but it is better suited to serve with a fruit dessert. Drinking temperature is 42.8-46.4°F (6-8°C).

    Cabernet Sauvignon

    The name is often unceremoniously shorted to ‘Cab’. This classic is one of the better wines of California. It is dark coloured and very aromatic with grassy and vegetal hints here, plus suggestions of green tea and leaves.

     
     The wine is quite full-bodied. The wine can be undrinkable when young through an over-exposure to new oak. After a few years it develops its full beauty with a nose in which cherry, berries, herbs, currant, cedarwood, tobacco, vanilla, mint, pepper, and chocolate can be discerned. It is very much a wine to serve wiht haute cuisine. Drinking temperature is 60.8-62.6°F (16-17°C).

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  • Wines from Valais vineyards

    ARVINE SWISS WINE

    Petit Arvine Swiss WineWhile the previous two white Swiss wines need to be drunk within three or at most four years after they are made, the wines of the Arvine and Petite Arvine grapes aged well. These are Swiss wines with a strong personality that are seductive, possessing a fruity bouquet, and are often high in alcohol (13% or more) and sometimes sugar residues. These unusual grapes thrive on very steep rocky ground.

    The yield is quite low but the price of these gems is not untoward. Arvine and Petite Arvine Sèche (dry) has a characteristic salty taste and nose of citrus fruit. Arvine and Petite Arvine Flétri (partially dried grapes) is sweet and superb. Drinking temperature for this Arvine Swiss wine is 8-10°C (46.4-50°F) for the dry wines and 6-9°C (42.8°-8.2°F) for the sweet ones.