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  • Champagne - Part two

    More about Champagne

    Champagne   The particular demands of the champagne method, which takes a number of years (three on average and many more for vintage years), requires that over a milion bottles be kept in storage at any one time. According to the CFCE (Centre Francais du Commerce Exterieur), exportation of champagne represents an important part of total French wine exports.

       Wine has been made in Champagne since at least the time of the Roman invasion. The first wines to be produced were white; laster production was of red and then 'gris' (grey), which is white or nearly-white wine that comes from pressing black grapes. At an early stage the wine had the irritating habit of fizzing up in the barrels. Systematic bottling of these unstable wines was invented in England, to where, dissolve in the wine, and sparkling wine was born. Dom Perignon, the procurator of the Abby in Hautvillers and a forward-looking blending technician, produced the best wines at his Abbey; he was also able to sell them for the highest prices.

  • Fitou Roussillon Maury French Wines

    Fitou

    This is the oldest established red French wine AC of the Languedoc. There is a clear differentiation between Fitou that is made from the coastal strip and that produced inland. A superb full-bodied, and powerful red wine is produced from approx. 2,500 hectares between Narbonne and Perpignan. The bouquet and the taste of the best Fitou have overwhelming influences of Provençal herbs such as bay laurel, thyme, and rosemary, sometimes with a touch of clove, and flint. The best Fitou benefits from lengthy maturing in oak and can certainly be laid down. This French wine is extremely popular with the French and English. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 16°C (60.8°F) .

    Roussillon

    The vineyards of Roussillon are situated south of Corbieres, at the foot of the Pyrenees, on part of Catalonia that has been French since 1642. The vineyards stretch themselves out, beneath the hot and drying Mediterranean sun, across a variety of different types of soil and landscape, from the coast to deep inland. The coastal strip south of Fitou to Argeles-sur-Mer is an oasis of calm for both nature lovers and sun-worshippers. From Argeles to the Spanish border the landscape is more rugged and hilly, with the only haven being the picturesque bay of Collioure.

    Maury

    Once of France's finest wines - the red vin doux naturel - is produced in the country around the small town of Maury. The blue vines of Grenache that are kept pruned low produce very low yields of grapes but they are high in juice in the sun-baked rocky soil. Young Maury is granite red while more mature ones tend to the colour of mahogany. A good Maury is very aromatic: when young is develops above all fruity aromas (red fruit), later suggestions of cocoa coffee, and preserved fruits dominate.

    Although the cheaper Maury wines can be pleasant, it is better to choose the best ones for these are better value. One estate is worthy of particular recommendation for its velvet soft wine with an unparalleled and fascinating bouquet of spiced bread, liquorice, plums, and cocoa: Domaine du

    Mas Amiel. Drinking good temperature for this French wine: 16- 18°C (60.8-64.4°F) .

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  • Italian wine

        Italy has a million grape growers, hundreds of grape varieties, and an amazing number of wine regions and styles.

      Argyably, the country provides greater diversity than any other wine-producing nation. Native grape varieties are still Italy’s strength, but some notable success has also been achieved with international grape varieties, such as Chabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Chardonnay.

     Italian wines tend to be best appreciated with food, This is a nation where regional food and wines are wnjoyed togetherm a natural evolution that has developed over centuries. Cultivation of the vine was introduced by both the Greeks and Italy ‘Oenotria’, land of the wine. Although Italy’s wine laws have come in for some criticism, they broadly follow the French model, with Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantita being reserved for a few ‘top’ wines, which are subject to strict rules of control. Denominazione di Origine Controllata introduced in 1963, guarantees that the wine has been produced in the named vineyard area.

    Italy wine map Methods of production are also specified. The newst category is Indicazione Geographica Tipica, which mirrors the French Vin de Pays. The removal of restrictions had led to winemakers making the most of blending opportunities and at best, making truly exciting and innovative wines. Vino da Tavola or table wine represents not only the simplest wines, but also super-premium and expresive wine made from non-indigenous grape varieties, such as Sassicaia, a pioneering Cabernet produced in Tuscany, which was promoted to a special sub-zone status in the Bolgheri in 1994.

     Italy’s climate tends to be more consistent than northern France’s but there is quite a variation from north to south. The best grape varieties, in terms of the quality of the wines produced, are Nebbiolo which reaches its greatest heights in Barolo and Barbaresco, both of which are Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantitas and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This trio make up some of Tuscany’s most impressive wines.

    Best whites

     Veneto, home to Valpoliclla and Soave, is found in the north.

    Some of Italy’s best white wines are produced in Trentino and Friuli, in what is often referrend to as the varietal northeast. The south has made great stides in improving its wines, and evidence of success can be seen in wines such as Salice Salentino from Apulia.{jcomments on}

  • Saint-Émilion and Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Bordeaux Wines

    SAINT-ÉMILION & SAINT-ÉMILION GRAND CRU (A.O.C.)

    Chateau Cheval Blanc Saint-EmilionKnown as much for its architecture as for the excellence of its wines, Saint-Émilion dates from the Middle Ages. An interesting and unusual town, it has been listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO, it is a jewel-box of old stone, built on a picturesque half-circle of hills facing the Dordogne valley. Its steep and narrow streets, its Roman and Gothic churches, its convents and cloisters all point to its prestigious past.

    The main monuments still visible are the grotto of the hermit, Saint-Émilion, which faces the remains of his disciples’ monastery; the catacombs; and, next to these, the monolithic church, one of France’s largest underground churches.