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  • 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.

  • Austrian Wine Regions

    Austria VineyardsAustrian wines have re-established themselves after the great disaster of the anti-freeze scandal of fifteen years ago. Austria can satisfy the true wine lover like no other country with its countless different types and tastes of wine. Austrian wines are convivial, informal, and inviting, reflecting the culture and picturesque landscape of the country.

     

     

     

    Wine regions from Austria

    The Austrian wine industry is concentrated in the east and south-east of the country. The Alps in the west make wine-growing virtually impossible. The country has borders with Germany in the west, Italy to the south, but the vineyards are along the borders with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Slovenia.

  • German wine-growing and regions

    German Wine-growing

    German WinesAlthough a few wine-makers succeed in making excellent red wines, German is white wine country, because of its climate. Although the quality of red German wines has improved, the price charged for the level of quality available is somewhat on the high side. Slightly more than 85% of the area cultivated by vines in Germany is planted with white grape varieties. Before the reunification of Germany the proportion of red wine grapes had risen sharply from 13% in 1984 to almost 19% in 1994. Because the winegrowing areas of the former East Germany mainly grew white varieties, the proportion has now decreased slightly. The choice of grapes grown has also shifted in favour of better quality. Hence the very productive MüllerThurgau is losing ground in favour of Riesling.

  • Italian Wine Regions

    Piemonte wine region

    Lazio Wine The name describes the position of the area: “at the foot of the mountains”, which is the Alps and bounds Italy with France and Switzerland. Countless rivers flow from these mountains to create beautiful valleys in the lower area. The city of Piedmont is Turin (Torino), famous for its large industry. The rest of the region is traditional agricultural and wine region.

    Piemonte has great tradition, which has had many successful generations of farmers. The local food is known for its strong herbs and spices. The Italian red wine is very powerful, especially those made with the Nebbiolo grape. Italian wine has been made in this wine regon for a long time, referenced both in Greek and Roman literature. Today Piedmont, with Tuscany, is a temple to the art of Italian wine making.

  • Spain and Portugal

        In recent years there has been major investment in Spanish vineyards and wineries, and the country’s best wines are now world class. Its reputation has been carved by red wines, perticularly those from Rioja.

     Several growers have identified and recognised the importance of old vines, and today these are partly responsible for the super-concentrated and very expresive premium reds.

     Spain has more land under vine than any other country. The most important Spanish variety is Tempranillo, closely followed by Garnacha. For white wines, Viura and the ‘workhorse’ Airén are grown widely, whith the fashionable Albariño taking centre stage in Rias Baixas. Not surprisingly, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are planted in the majority of Spanish wine regions, except Rioja. The best Spanish wines are quality graded at Denominacionde Origen, the equivalent of the French ACm and DOCa, a higher-quality grade introduced in 1991, initialy for the wines of Rioja. Although DOCa applies onli to Rioja, regions such as Ribera del Duero, Navarra, Penedes and Priorato are also producing some excellent wines.

    Rioja

     In Rioja the wines are made in three districts sub-regions: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta in the highlands and the hot and dry Rijoa Baja. Rioja styles include Joven, Crianza, Reseva and Gran Reserva which is produced in the very best years. Ribera fel Duero, situated at high altitude, is purely a red wine area. It is home to some of Spain’s most sought-after and expresive wines made from the Tempranillo grape, locally known as Tinta Fino.

     Navarra, a neighbouring region to Rioja, is home to experimentation with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot often blended with indigenous grapes such as Garnacha and Tempranillo. Spanish and international grapes are planted in the Mediterranean climate of Penedes, Many of the best Cava vineyards are found in this region.

     Mostly red wines from Garnacha and Cariñena are grown in the mountainous setting of Priorato. These high-quality, structured wines can be truly exciting.

     
     

    Portugal

     Portugal is a country concentrating on its amazing range of indigenous grape varieties, especially Toutiga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Trincadeira and Periquta, The regions of the Douro, Ribatejo, Alentjo, and Bairrada set the pace. For the wine consumer willing to try something different, Portugal can hold many a pleasant discovery.

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  • Wine regions - Africa

      South Africa has had a clear system of naming the places of origin of its wines since 1973, based on the geographical and climatological properties of the wine.

    Most of the wine-growing areas are in the south west of the country, between Cape Town and the coast. Wine is also made in the north and east of the country at Olifantsrivier, Orange River, and Klein Karoo.

    Wines can originate from a specific local area such as these or from larger regions such as Coastal Region (Swartland, Tulbagh, Paarl, and Stellenbosch). and Breede River Region (Worcester and Robertson) . Excellent examples of this type of wine are the successful Fleur du Cap range and Stellenrijck from the Coastal Region.

    In our visit to these wine regions we start in the north, travel via the west to the south and then east.

    wine regions from Africa 

    Orange River

    This is a relatively unknown area alongside the border with Namibia. The wine is acceptable at a reasonable price but little is exported.

     

    Olifantsrivier

    This area is slightly south of Orange River, running more or less parallel to the coast. The climate here between Koekenaap and Citrusdal is somewhat drier with less rain and higher temperatures than near Cape Town. Extremely pleasant wine at very acceptable prices originates from here but virtually only for the domestic market.

     

    Piketberg

    The area around Piketberg has extremely hot summers making irrigation essential, particularly as there is so little rainfall throughout the year. The wine is first class and quite reasonably priced.

     

    Swartland

    This area is further south, between Piketberg, Darling, Malmesbury, and Tulbagh. The quality of the wines start to improve now. The area used to be renowned for its sweet port-type wines. Nowadays two types of wine are produced here: light, tasty, convivial, and inexpensive modern wines such as Swartland, but also top quality wines from noble grapes such as Alles Verloren.

     

    Tulbagh

    This is a very small place of origin in the south east of Swartland.

     Reasonable to good cooperative wines are made alongside excellent classic wines here depending on the microclimate. We know the area in Europe chiefly from Drostdy-Hof and Twee Jonge Gezellen. {jcomments on}