Wine Searcher

  • More wine regions from Klein Karoo

    CABERNET SAUVIGNON

    This is the ubiquitous Bordeaux grape variety. Here in South Africa, Cabernet Sauvignon produces sturdy, highly tannic wines with herbal aromas and hints of red fruit and blackcurrant.

    There is a good balance between fruit and ripe woody notes. It is superb with red meat and mature hard cheeses. Drinking temperature is 60.8-62.6°F (16-17°C).

    MERLOT

    This Bordeaux grape appears to be gaining ground in South Africa, especially in the Stellenbosch and Paarl regions. Merlot is a full-bodied and velvet smooth wine with rich and warm nuances that include cherry. Drinking temperature is 60.8°F (16°C).

    PINOT NOIR

    This grape, like Chardonnay originates in Burgundy. It is a fairly temperamental variety which only produces excellent results in good hands and in good years. A good Pinot Noir is characteristically light in colour and quite aromatic with herbal notes and those of red fruit in its nose. Drinking temperature is 57.2-60.8°F (14-16°C).

    SHIRAZ

    The Shiraz here is often an amenable if not slightly exotic wine with sensual nose and taste. This wine is often excellent with plenty of warmth and spicy undertones and is ideal with grilled lamb or game. Drinking temperature is 60.8°F (16°C) .

    TlNTA BAROCCA

    Tinta Barocca is a surprising wine that is full-bodied, warm, exciting, but also fruity, elegant, and refined. Drinking temperature is 60.8°F (16°C).

    BLENDS

    The Bordeaux type blends of Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Pranc/Merlot (Meerlust Rubicon) are often excellent, especially where the process of cask maturing in oak is well done. These are superb, fullbodied, rich, and complex wines with blackcurrant and bilberry in their bouquet, mixed with spices and vanilla.

     Cabernet-Shiraz are very exciting wines which often age extremely well. Serve this full-bodied, warm, powerful, and complex wine with roast or grilled meat or mature hard cheese. The fairly new Pinotage-Merlots are quite promising. This is a wine filled with taste that combines spice and fruit. Drinking temperature is 60.8- 62.6°F (16-17°C).

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  • Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh/Jurançon French Wines

    Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh Wines

    The Vic-Bilh wine-growing area is the same one that produces Madiran. This area produces the red Madiran wine and dry, medium sweet, and sweet French white wines as Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh. Pacherenc is derived from the Basque or Gascon word for little berry or grape. The ideal soil for this white French wine is a mixture of clay and sandstone. The grapes used are the native Arrufiac, Petit Manseng, Gros Manseng, and Courbu, with a little Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon being used for the modern type of French wine.

    Pacherenc du Vic-BilhDry Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh is very aromatic with floral notes and hints of citrus fruit combined with a full taste of ripe and preserved fruits. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 10- 12°C (50- 53.6°F). The medium-sweet or sweet Pacherenc du Vic-Bilh shares the aromatic properties ofthe dry wine (citrus fruit, preserved fruit, dried fruit, and flowers) with the addition of a little honey, toast, and exotic fruit. The texture and taste are fuller, fatter, more fleshy, and juicy. Drinking temperature for French wine: 8-10°C ( 46.4-50° F).

    Your attention is drawn to the excellent quality of the local vins de pays des Cotes de Gascogne and the   many vins de cepages. The vins de pays des Cotes de Gascogne of Colombard, Gros Manseng, and Sauvignon (white French wines) and reds of Egiodola, Tannat and Cabernet Sauvignon, together with those from Jurançon are worth a separate mention.

     

    Jurançon Wines

    Juracon Label WineThis wine-growing area, south of Pau and close to the French Pyrenees, is slightly less ancient than its predecessors. The first signs of wine-growing date back only to the tenth century. Jurançon was one of the first AC status French wines in 1936 and Jurançon Sec acquired its own recognition in 1975.

     

    The wine-growing

    The area is barely larger than 600 hectares with the vineyards being dispersed throughout the district. They can be found strung out along a 40 km (25 miles) stretch like small islands amidst the other greenery. The better French wines are produced on hills of about 300 metres (984 feet) high with soil of clay, sandstone, and boulders.

    The climate is a mixture of high and regular rainfall from the Atlantic combined with the harsh winters of the Pyrenees. The area does though appear always to be blessed with warm autumns and dry southerly winds that make it possible for the grapes to be left to overripen in order to make a great sweet French wine. The grapes used for Jurançon are the native Gros Manseng, Petit Manseng, Courbu, Camaralet, and Lauzet. Jurançon Sec is truly dry with fresh acidity, with floral notes (broom and acacia) and fruity aromas (passion fruit, white peach, and citrus fruit) . As the French wine matures it develops a more complex bouquet with almond and other nuts, dried fruit, and sometimes a marked suggestion of truffle. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 8- 10°C (46.4-50°F) .

    Either Jurançon Doux or Moelleux are little gems. The colour drifts between gold and amber, the bouquet is fine and complex, varying from honey, vanilla, toast and preserved fruit to the subtlest hints of white flowers, lime blossom, camomile, pineapple, and citrus fruit. The taste is full and rounded for this French wine. The high sugar content is perfectly balanced with fresh acidity. This sweet French wine can be kept for a very long time. Drinking temperature this French wine: 10-12°C (50- 53.6°F).

     

    Bearn-Bellocq

    Beam is fairly hilly, lying at the foot of the Pyrenees where it enjoys an ideal microclimate that combines Atlantic moisture with a harsher mountain climate. Bearn white French wine is quite rare and is produced in the vicinity of Bellocq. This white French wine made with Raffiat and Manseng grapes is fresh and fruity with an undertone of floral notes (broom, acacia) . Drinking temperature for this white French wine: 10- 12°C (50- 53.6°F) .

    The more widely available Rose de Beam owes its charm to the combination of Tannat with Cabernet

    Sauvignon and Cabernet Pranc (better known in this locality as Bouchy). This is a wonderful rose that is velvet smooth, full-bodied, rounded, and very fruity. Drinking temperature for this rose French wine: 10- 12°C (50- 53 .6°F).

    The more straightforward Bearn red is lightweight but comforting and easily consumed. The taste and scent tend more towards Cabernet Pranc than Tannat. Drinking temperature for this Bearn French wine: 12°C (53.6°F).

    The better Bearn-Bellocq red by contrast is sturdier, fuller, more full -bodied, and fleshier. Tannin clearly has the upper hand in this French wine. Drinking temperature for this red French wine: 14-16°C (57.2- 60.8°F) .{jcomments on}

     

  • Piemonte Wine

    Piemonte Wine LabelPiemonte (Piedmont) ITALY REGION

    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 area is traditional agricultural. Piemont 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 Piedmont 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.

     

    ASTI SPUMANTE DOCG AND MOSCATOD ‘ASTIDOCG

    The sparkling Asti Spumante is made by a natural second fermentation or in tanks. The colour is clear, ranges from yellow to golden and the nose is reminiscent of Muscat grapes which form the basis of this Italian wine. The taste is fruity, sweet and is a good balance between acidity and sweetness. Women prefer this Italian wine chilled. The drinking temperature should be 6- 8°C (42.8-46.4°F). The bubbles of Moscato d’ Asti, made with Muscat (or Moscato) grapes, is clear straw yellow with an intense bouquet of Muscat grapes. It has an aromatic and sweet taste, and acidity leaves an impression on the palate. A genuine Moscato d' Asti Italian wine is not cheap. The drinking temperature should be 8-10°C (46.4-50°F). 

    Piemonte Map Wine

    BARBARESCO DOCG ITALIAN WINE

    This Italian red wine made with Nebbiolo, the name from the Bararesco district of the providence of Cuneo. It’s an exceptional Italian wine and deep red colouring. It’s very aromatic and has a rich flavor. The Italian wine when young can be harsh, but is fine after a few years lying down. Riserva Italian wine needs four years to age. The drinking temperature of Italian wine when young should be 13- 15°C (55.4- 59°F) but 16- 17°C (60.5-62.6°F ) when fully mature.

     

    BAROLO DOCG ITALIAN WINE

    Probably is the best known Italian wine from Piedmont. Barolo is also made with Nebbiolo and originates from Cuneo. This top Italian wine is a deep and dark granite red and has a aromatic bouquet, it is alcoholic at a minimum of 13%.

     

    Barolo, when young has a harshness of its tannin when drinking; leave it for at least five years. You can’t sell ordinary Barolo until at least three years. Riserva Italian wine must be at least five years old. The drinking temperature should be 16-18°C (60.8-64.4°F).

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  • Puglia Italian Wines

    PRIMITIVO DI MANDURIA DOC ITALIAN WINE

    Primitivo di Manduria wineFour types of heavy and sultry red Italian wines are made here from Primitivo grapes that probably arrived from ancient Greece. The ordinary Primitivo has low residual sugars and 14% alcohol. The Dolce Naturale is clearly sweeter and contains at least 16% alcohol. Drinking temperature is 10-16°C (50-60.8°F) for the Secco Italian wine and ordinary Primitivo but 6-12°C (42.8-53.6°F) for the Dolce and Liquoroso Dolce Italian wine.

  • Rueda Spanish Wines

    Rueda Wine Region

    Rueda-label-spanish-wineRueda has a similar name for white wines to that established by Toro for its reds. The area of 5,700 hectares has become famous since 1980 for its superb white Spanish wines. The area is situated between Valladolid, Seville, and Avila.

    The climate here is very continental with treacherous frosts which naturally reduce the output of the vines. The ground is very infertile chalky soil and the vineyards are sited at heights of between 2,296-2,624 feet (700-800 metres). Excellent Spanish wine has been made here for centuries but the arrival of the famous Rioja house of Marqués de Riscal has caused Rueda to make a breakthrough in the international wine market.

  • Saumur Rouge/ Cabernet/ Champigny French wines

    SAUMUR BLANC

    This is a dry white French wine produced with Chenin Blanc grapes, both with and without the addition of Chardonnay and Sauvignon. Served chilled, this subtle and fruity French wine is best as an accompaniment to lobster, crayfish, and freshwater fish. Drinking temperature for this Saumur Blanc French wine: 8-10°C (46.4- 50°F) .

    Por those who do not want to spend endless time searching for a white Saumur then the best to try is to be found at Souzay-Champigny. Very traditional style Saumur Blanc Sec is made here at the Chateau de Villeuneuve. So much power and grandeur is not to be found elsewhere along the Loire (and perhaps difficult to improve upon throughout France).

  • Swiss Ticino Wine Region

    Ticino, Mesolcina, and Poschiavo Swiss Wine Regions

    Ticino Wine Swiss RegionIt is not correct to speak of just Ticino as part of Italian speaking Switzerland for parts of Grisons Mesolcina and Poschiavo are also Italian speaking. Grisonso is therefore also included here.

     

    Mesolcina and Poschiavo SWISS WINE REGIONS

    These two southern areas of Grisons, Mesolcina (also known as Misox) and Poschiavo, solely produce red wine from Merlot and several hybrid blue grape Wine regions.

  • Tarragona climate and region

    Tarragona climate and region

    tarragona wine spanishThe winters are mild in the valley but harsher higher up where an almost continental climate rules. The major white grapes of Tarragona are the white Macabeo, Xarel-lo, Parellada, and Garnacha Blanca, with blue Garnacha, Mazuelo (Cariñena), and Ull de Liebre (Tempranillo). Tarragona too is busy experimenting with new varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay. The vineyards of Comarca de Falset are restricted exclusively to Cariñena and Garnacha. Six different types of wine are made here. El Camp Blanco and Rosado are dry, fruity wines for every day consumption and these have little to offer except when they are young.J6WAGX3X62Z8

  • The Bergerac French Wines

    Montravel French wineMONTRAVEL

    The superb dry white Montravel is produced in the extreme west of the Dordogne. Here too modern French wine-making methods produce a wine that is very aromatic, and also velvet smooth in the mouth. Ordinary Montravel can be drunk young as a fruity French wine but can also be kept a couple of years. Better quality Montravel, which is first aged in oak, needs to be kept somewhat longer. Drinking temperature for Montravel French wine: 10-12°C (50-53.6°F) .

     

    COTES DE MONTRAVEL

    The slightly sweet Cotes de Montravel white French wine provides a subtle change between the dry white Montravel and the sweeter white Haut- Montravel. Drinking temperature: 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

     

    HAUT-MONTRAVEL

    Haut-Montravel originates mainly from the banks of the river. It is generally a smooth French wine that is high in sugar but it has sufficient acidity to provide balance and enable the wine to be kept. Drinking temperature: 8- 10°C (46.4- 50°F) .

     

    COTES DE BERGERAC

    Cotes de Bergerac Moelleux, which is mainly produced with Semillon, can originate from throughout the area. It is darker in colour than the companion dry wines and it often has a greater bouquet, more finesse, and more body. The quality of the French wine is partially determined by the soil, but also by the grape variety and method of vinification.

    This French wine is ready to drink after four or five years but it can also be kept much longer. Drinking temperature: 8- 10°C (46.4-50°F) .

     

    ROSETTE

    Rosette Moelleux, comes from the sunny slopes north of the town of Bergerac but is rarely encountered outside the district. This is a pity because a good Rosette is always a masterpiece, pale straw yellow with an overwhelming bouquet of flowers and fruit.

    The elegant civility of this French wine and its fine acidity are in perfect balance. Drinking temperature for Rosette French wine: 9- 10°C (4S.2- 50°F).

     

    SAUSSIGNAC

    Haut-Montreal French wineSaussignac is very small area, consisting of a small valley between the vineyards of Monbazillac and the first vineyards of the Bordelais. This French wine from this district is mainly produced from old vineyards. Saussignac Moelleux is well balanced, lithe, and has a subtle aroma of honey, lime blossom, and grapefruit. Drinking temperature for Saussignac French wine: 10-12°C (50- 53.6°F). Saussignac Liquoreux are comforting, rounded wines that are broad and fat, with aromas of acacia and peach.

    Both French wines need to lay for a minimum of five to ten years before they are drunk. They are then absolute gems to be drunk at 9- 10°C (48.2 .2-50°F).

     

    MONBAZILLAC

    The honey sweet, liqueur like Monbazillac Liquoreux comes from the south bank of the Dordogne. The vineyards are on the northern slopes at a height of 50- 180 metres (164-590 feet), opposite the town of Bergerac. The good position and microclimate ensure plenty of moisture and warmth in the vineyard in autumn which enables Botrytis cinerea to develop, which is essential for the creation of truly great liqueur type French wines.

    Monbazillac should certainly not be drunk too cold, say 6-8°C (42.8- 46.4°F) for the lighter types but 10- 12°C (50- 53 .6°F) for the richer French wines. This enables the sumptuous scent of acacia and honey to develop fully and the broad range in the taste also has the chance to be fully appreciated.

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  • The Canadian Wines

       It is best advised to buy only wines that have a VQA neck seal (Vintner's Quality Alliance). These wines are not only strictly controlled in respect of their guaranteed origin but are also quality tested for taste, colour, bouquet etc.

    Canada WinesThis gives assurance that you have bought one of the better Canadian wines. Canada also has two levels of guarantee of origin: the broad Provincial Designation Wines category i.e. British Columbia or Ontario, and the more precise Viticultural Areas Wines which originate from one of the recognised wine districts su'ch as Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, or Vancouver Island for British Columbia, and Niagara Peninsula, Lake Erie North Shore, or Pelee Island for Ontario.

    The strength of Canadian wines is their firm and fresh white wines and the sultry, overripe sweet wines. Some wine-makers and growers though, mainly in Ontario, can also make excellent rounded and full-bodied reds. Most ofthe Canadian red wines though are very light in structure and a bit shallow. The same goes for Canadian wines as elsewhere: do not choose the very cheapest wines for a little more money will yield far better quality. The following types of white wine are generally recommended.

    VIDAL DRY CANADIAN WINE

    This is a fresh and firm dry Canadian wine with a bouquet of green apple and sometimes, with the better ones, hints of citrus fruit. Drinking temperature for this Canadian wine is 50-53.6°F(10-12°C).

    SEYVAL DRY CANADIAN WINE

    This wine is less severely dry than the Vidal and it has a nose containing grapefruit and the occasional hint of flowers and spices. It has a good balance between acidity, alcohol, fruit, and sweetness. Drinking temperature is 50- 53.6°F (1O-12°C).

    RIESLING DRY CANADIAN WINE

    This is a very elegant wine that is quite fresh but not harsh and it possesses interesting floral notes in its nose. Most of these wines are of the 'off-dry' sort with some sugar residues which enhance the delicious taste.

    The best of these wines are drier but they have seductive bouquets in which pear, apple, and spring blossom appear. Late harvest wines have a touch of botrytis, which makes them more complex and attractive. Drinking temperature is 50- 53.6°F (1O-12°C).

    CHARDONNAY DRY CANADIAN WINE

    Canadian WineMost Canadian Chardonnays are fresh and a touch green (unripe apples), partially full-bodied, with a subtle bouquet of butter, wood, and citrus fruit. The best Chardonnays (bottled sur lie, reserve, and barrel fermented) are more complex, full-bodied, and creamier.

    These wines also possess the elegant hints of toast and croissants of the better Burgundies. There are also typically hints of butterscotch, toffee, or caramel which are more Californian and Chilean in nature.

    Drinking temperature is 50- 53.6°F (1O-12°C) for the simpler wines and 53 .6- 57.2°F(12- 14°C) for the better examples.

    GEWURZTRAMINER CANDIAN WINE

    This wine that is generally vinified as 'off-dry' with sugar residues, is full bodied and slightly spicy. It has a seductive bouquet in which lychee, melon, peach, and spices can be detected. Drinking temperature is 50- 53.6°F (1O-12°C).

    GEWORZTRAMINER MEDIUM DRY/ LATE HARVEST CANADIAN WINE

    This one is fuller and more seductive than the 'offdry' version. It has a good balance between sweetness, alcohol, fruit, and acidity.{jcomments on}

  • Tolna Wine Region From Hungary

    Tolna Hungarian wine

    Tolnai Wine RegionTolna is a new Hungarian wine area that was part of Szekszárd until recently. Although the name of Tolna is little known outside of Hungary, the area produces wines of exceptional quality. The Hungarian wines were better known for a long time under the name Bátaapáti, but these days the better wines bear the Möscényi Kastélyborok name on the label. The company of Európai Bortermelök, which is a joint venture between Piero Antinori and Peter Zwack set up in 1991, is a typical example of what can happen elsewhere in Hungary. Hungary has the capability to become a top wine-producing country. With good insight, plenty of foreign investment, government help, and good wine-making skills, everything is possible. The wines from this company are the fruit of bringing together the Hungarian wine traditions with the latest technology, combined with ideal climate and geological conditions.

  • Valdepeñas Spanish Wine

    Valdepeñas wine and region

    Valdepenas Spanish wineA quick glance at a wine map of Spain will reveal that Valdepeñas is actually an enclave in the southern part of La Mancha. The traditional trading centre of Valdepeñas lies at the heart of the wine-growing area that bears its name. Valdepeñas is situated somewhat lower than the rest of the Meseta in a broad valley encircled by small hills on the boundary between the Meseta en Andalucía.

    The Spanish wine from Valdepeñas, in common with much of the Meseta, was thick, sticky, and very alcoholic. It was as if time had stood still with the same type of wine being produced at the start of the nineteenth century that had been made in Roman times. The wine was stored in huge earthenware jugs or tinajas, often covered by nothing more than a couple of straw mats. When the railway reached Valdepeñas in 1861 it was decided to improve the quality of the Spanish wines. Less wine was made but of better quality and it was sold to wealthy consumers in Madrid, on the coast, and even as far afield as the Americas and the Philippines.

  • 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).

     

  • Vaud Wines

    Chablais Swiss Wine

    Chablais wine RegionThis Swiss wine area comprises five places of origin: Bex, Ollon, Aigle, Yvome, and Villeneuve. The Chasselas white Swiss wine are fresh and lively while remaining elegant and rich. They can be recognised by the relatively high mineral content (magnesium in Aigle and Villeneuve, other minerals in Ollon, lots of flint in Bex, and gypsum in Ollon and Bex). This Swiss wine also reflects their terroir in the bouquet. If you take the wine route you will be confronted with a tremendous assortment of different aromatic nuances.

  • Villány Wine

    Villány-Siklós Hungarian Wine

    Villanyi Siklos Hungarian CellarThis is the most southerly of Hungary’s wine areas and it consists of two parts. Both sections are sited at the foot of the Villányi mountain. Siklós is better known for its predominantly white wines and Villány for its fine reds. There are six top Hungarian wine producers in Villány. It is surely no coincidence that the six best wine-makers of Hungary originated from Villány. They are Attila and Támas Gere, Zoltán Polgár, Ede Tiffan, Joszef Bock, Vylyan. Villány wines are quite likely to develop into some of the best in Europe in the coming years.

  • Villanyi and Siklos Wines

    Villany Cabernet Sauvignon CuveeVILLANYI CABERNET SAUVIGNON HUNGARIAN WINE

    Villany’s volcanic soils and favourable climate helps to produce Cabernet Sauvignon wines of great style. Although not native, the grapes here produce a Hungarian wine that is characteristic of this southern region, filled with colour, very aromatic with suggestions of berries and peppers, with a fulsome and powerfully fiery taste with considerable tannin. These Hungarian wines of superb class have great potential for ageing well, especially those that are cask aged (such as those of Vylyan, Bock, and Tiffan). Drinking temperature for this Hungarian wine is 16-17°C (60.8-62.6°F).

     

    CUVÉES HUNGARIAN WINE

    A cuvée is generally a better class of wine. These Hungarian wine are made from various combinations such as the classic Cabernet Sauvignon,

  • Wine Storage

    Storing wine

    Store WineIf you are buying wine to lay down, the problem is where to keep it. Having made the investment it is essential to store the wine properly until it is ready for drinking. The ideal store is the old-fashioned cellar, where the air temperature is constant, the humidity is not too high and there is a reasonable flow of air. Modem architecture, however, means few of us have this luxury.

    The main requirement in choosing storage space is finding a place where the temperature does not fluctuate. Wine can withstand cold but it cannot cope with constantly changing temperatures. There is a lot of nonsense talked about correct temperatures, but obviously a storage spot next to the hot water boiler is not suitable, nor is a space in the attic, where the sun’s heat can raise the temperature by many degrees each day, before it plunges back down during the night.

  • Wines from Australia

    CABERNET FRANC

     

    Cabernet Franc grapes are mainly grown in northeast Victoria and blended with grapes such as Merlot. This rather rare red wine is unfortunately somewhat underestimated in Australia. Drinking temperature is 57.2- 60.8°F (14-16°C).

    MERLOT/CABERNET FRANC

    Merlot is also little used on its own and mainly vinified or blended with the Cabernets or even with Shiraz. The combination of 65% Merlot and 35% Cabernet Pranc that is then cask aged for twelve months is quite common in Australia. This produces a fruity wine with fresh acidity and mellow taste.

    Drinking temperature is 57.2- 60.8°F (14-16°C).

    PINOT NOIR

    This Burgundian grape will be encountered here less widely than in the Bordeaux or Rhone types. Despite this, Australian Pinot N oir is proof of the skill of the successful Australian wine-makers. Anybody can make wine from the idiosyncratic Pinot Noir but to make good wine requires considerable know-how and plenty of passion. Various styles of Pinot Noir are to be found in Australia, from light, fruity and generous, to full-bodied, sultry, with animal undertones and sometimes a little on the heavy side.

    The best of them are somewhere in between these two extremes and simultaneously elegant and fullbodied with a seductive nose containing plum and cherry with a rich, almost caressing taste.

    Drinking temperature is 57.2- 60.8°F (14-16°C).

    SHIRAZ

    The Australians use the original name for this grape and not its bastardisation into French as Syrah. The Shiraz grape originally came from the Shiraz valley in Iran and was brought to Europe by the Crusaders. Australian Shiraz is a sensual tour-de-force with plenty of colour, tannin, and acidity but also a wonderful bouquet containing overripe dark fruit such as plum, and spices (e.g. white pepper). Mature Shiraz develops animal undertones with a nose of leather and Russian fur, plus sometimes the smell of freshly-roasted Mocca coffee.

    Drinking temperature is 60.8- 62.6°F (16- 17°C).

    SHIRAZ/CABERNET

    This is very common blend that produces a wine of intense colour with plenty of fruit and a mellow and rounded but fulsome taste. The bouquet mainly evokes thoughts of cherry and blackcurrant with a hint of pepper.

    Drinking temperature is 60.8- 62.6°F (16- 17°C).

    TARRANGO

    This is an interesting hybrid resulting from crossing the Portuguese Touriga and extremely productive Sultana, which is better known in its dried form. This fairly recent Australian development is causing a major revolution. People who are not accustomed to drinking wine fall for the fruity charm of the Tarrango, which can be served at almost any time if chilled.

     Tarrango wines have been deliberately inserted into international blind wine-tastings to cause confusion because it so closely resembles a French Beaujolais.

    Drinking temperature is 53.6- 57.2°F (12- 14°C).

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  • Wines from California

    Chardonnay

    Chardonnay is regarded as the best variety of white wine grape in the world and the best Chardonnay some declare comes from the Sonoma Valley.

     Certainly there are remarkably good Chardonnays made in California, especially in Sonoma Country. Californian Chardonnay is full-bodied, broad, rich, and very aromatic with hints of fig, pineapple, ripe apple, melon, citrus fruit, and honey.

    The wine is further imprived by cask maturing in oak with notes of toast, nuts, vanilla, butter, toffee, and butterscoth etc. These Chardonnays are not cheap but if you choose a good one you will find it is sumptuos. Drinking temperature is 50-53.6°F (10-12°C).

    Fumé Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc)

    Sauvignon Blanc in generally known as Fumé Blanc here, which is a trend started by Robert Mondavi in the 1960s.

    Californian Sauvignon Blanc often possesses light smoky aromas and is notably vegetal too with hints of green olives, freshly-mown grass, dill, and fennel, but generally is also very fruity with fresh fig, melon, and cutrus fruit etc. to be discovered. The wine is fresh but not firm like a white Bordeaux. Although most Sauvignon Blancs are dry, you may also encounter some sweeter examples. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).

    Chenin Blanc

    This grape is highly popular in California, especially in the Central Valley, where it is used to make fresh, fruity, and inexpresive wines. A more delicious, light, and fruty version that is ideal for a ‘happy hour’ in made in Sonoma. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).

    Hohannisberg Riesling/White Riesling

    Do not expect elegance and refinement here but a firm white wine. This noble grape delivers fresh and melon fruity wine for everyday drinking, say with fish or poultry, here in California.

     Only a handful of wine-makers succeed in creating very elegant Riesling, which have a passing resenblance ar great distance with thewines of Alsace and Germany. There are also several very good Late Harvest Rieslings. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).

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  • 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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