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  • The Beaujolais 'satellites' Wine - French Wine

    The Beaujolais 'satellites'

    Although they do not officially fall under the Beaujolais classification, the following three wine regions produce wines that closely resemble Beaujolais in both character and taste. All three of the red wines are made With the Gamay grape.

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE

    CÔTEAUX DU LYONNAIS

    This ancient vineyard is a victim of the expansion of Lyon. It is a friendly, light, but generous wine with pronounced f ruity nose. Drink this French wine chilled to about 53.6°F (12°C). Chardonnay   and Aligote whites are also produced here.

    CÔTE ROANNAISE

    This is a very clear, ruby red coloured wine that is strong on fruit and has a light, pleasing taste. Chill this French wine to about 53.6°F (12°C).

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE

     

    CÔTES DU FOREZ

    These are light, friendly wines that are very fruity. The rose is ideal to serve with informal lunches and picnics. The red wine is ideal for warm summer evenings, for instance with a cold buffet. Serve borth French wines at about 53.6°F (12°C).{jcomments on}

  • The Bergerac French Wines

    BERGERAC ROUGE FRENCH WINES

    This red French wine mainly originates from the slopes and high plateaux. It is predominantly fine fruity wine with nose and aromas of strawberry, blackcurrant, and other small red fruit. This French wine is enjoyable when drunk young. Drinking temperature: 12-14°C (53.6- 57.2°F) .

     

    COTES DE BERGERAC ROUGE

    It is mainly the better Bergerac reds that fall under this name. These are French wines with an intense colour, more structure, greater complexity, that have a bouquet of preserved fruit like plum and prune. These French wines are invariably high in both alcohol and tannin. Drinking temperature: 14- 16°C (57.2-60.8°F).

     

    PECHARMANT

    The vineyards of the quality red wine of Pecharmant are favourably sited in an amphitheatre of hills. The soil determines the quality of the wine. Sand and gravel that have been deposited from the erosion of granite have been washed frequently in the Cotes de Bergerac red winescourse of the centuries by the sea and rivers. It is this hard top layer, that is impermeable by water, which gives the wine its typical terroir derived taste.

    French wine from Pecharmant is generally dark in colour and very concentrated, being high in tannin, and therefore bitter and undrinkable when young. It can certainly be laid down and when more mature it is fuller and has a broad assortment in its nose and taste. Drinking temperature: 16-17°C (60 .8-62.6°F).

     

    BERGERAC ROSE

    Manbazillac liquid gold wineBergerac Rose is generally quite pleasing but a fairly simple French wine. It is produced by the saignee method. Pollowing the short maceration it is always a fresh, companionable wine that is salmon pink and possesses broad aromas of fruit. Drink this simple French wine at 12°C (53.6°F) .

     

    BERGERAC BLANC SEC

    The vineyards of Bergerac Blanc Sec are sited on both banks of the Dordogne, principally on the hills and plateaux. The increasingly widely used modern method of vinification such as maceration pelliculaire imparts greater richness in both taste and aroma than the wine otherwise would possess naturally. Drinking temperature for Bergerac Sec French wine: 10-12°C (50-53.6°F) .

     

    MONTRAVEL

    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) .

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  • 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 Cahors French Wine

    Cahors

    The vineyards of Cahors are among the oldest in France, enjoying great fame as early as the fifth century. This French wine could be shipped throughout the world without loss of quality because it was robust, complex, and highly concentrated. Consequently wine from Cahors was much prized in America but especially in Tsarist Russia.

    Nothing happened around Cahors for many years after the phylloxera epidemic of the late nineteenth century, with the vineyards falling into neglect and little more than 'plonk' for daily consumption being produced. A halt was called to this neglect after World War II.

     

    Ideal circumstances

    The vineyards lie between the 44th and 45th parallel. This latitude guarantees a fine, full-bodied wine in the northern hemisphere.

    Other important influences on the success of the vineyards is their position midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean. This protects them from the moist influence of the westerly winds and from the generally rainy autumn weather of the Mediterranean climate, so that the grapes can ripen fully. There are two different soil types for Cahors: the valley of the Lot has underlying chalk with a topsoil of alluvium with outcrops of boulders and scree; and the chalk uplands or Causses with a fairly shallow upper layer of stones and marl.

     

    The grapes

    Only red wine is produced in Cahors. The basic grape variety is the Auxerrois, which is also known elsewhere as Cot Noir. This must be a minimum 70 per cent of the vines in order to qualify for AC Cahors status. The Auxerrois imparts the backbone to this French wine, the strong tannin, its colour, and its potential for ageing.

    Traditional Cahors red is made using solely Auxerrois or this grape combined with Tannat (known from Madiran and Irouleguy) which has many of the characteristics of Auxerrois. The more modern style of wine often contains a substantial amount of Merlot, which makes this French wine more rounded, more comforting, and more aromatic.

     

    The wines

    The modern style Cahors is best drunk while young. Its tannin makes it the perfect accompaniment for goose and duck. Drink this good french wine at 14°C (57.2°F).

    The tradition-style Cahors is much broader and complex. If drunk while young this French wine is dominated by tannin so it is better to wait five to ten years with better wines. These are rounder, velvet soft, fullbodied, and powerful. The bouquet is much finer when more mature. Drink this French wine at 16°C (60.60.8°F).

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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}

  • The Côtes du Rhône Crus - French Wine

       Each of these thirteen great wines has a character of its own. Often the French wine is legendary one that offers the drinker the chance to become acquainted with the region, the soil, the variety of grape, and to meet the wine-maker in person.

    The climate is a mild continental one on the steep, rough slopes around Tain-L'Hermitage with granite beneath the soil. In the southern part of the Rhone the soil is chalky, overlain with sediments in places and the climate is warmer and drier in proximity with the Mediterranean.

     

    CÔTE ROTIE

    Côte Rotie is solely red French wine and comes from two very steep granite hills, the Côte Blonde and the Côte Brune. According to legend the domain of the estate owner Maugiron was divided in the MiddleAges between his two daughters: one was blonde, the other brunette. This is said to be how the hills got their names. Côte Rotie is dark red and has a bouquet in which raspberry, herbs, and a suggestion of violets can be discerned. When older, the upper notes are of vanilla, and apricot or peach stones.

    These French wine is fairly full-bodied with plenty of tannin but well-rounded with a tremendous experience of taste and prolonged aftertaste. Open the bottle in advance of drinking.

     

    CONDRIEU

    This white French wine originates from steep granite slopes which cannot be cultivated other than by hand. The grape used is Viognier and the wine is a pale golden colour and possesses a powerful nose of wild flowers, irises, violets, and apricot. These French wine has considerable strength and is well-rounded. Since 1990 the rare Condrieu Vendanges Tardives Cuvee les Eguets has reappeared, made with sympathy by Yves Cuilleron.

     

    CHÁTEAU-GRILLET

    This minuscule vineyard of only 3.3 hectares and 10,000 bottles per year is one of the smallest appellations and also one of the best white wines of France. The wine will have to be tried locally. The colour is a clear yellow and tends towards straw colouring when older. The bouquet is somewhat closed and only develops after a time. Once again apricot and white peach are discovered in the upper notes. The taste is a full one, fatty, very rich and complex.

    Remember to open the bottle a few hours before drinking.

     

    ST-JOSEPH

    This fine, harmonious and elegant dark red wine, with a subtle perfume of black currant and raspberry, later develops suggestions of leather and liquorice. Drink slightly chilled at approx. 59°F (15°C) . The white wine is a sunny yellow with a green tinge and its nose suggests wild flowers, acacia blossom, and honey. This is a fresh wine with great depths. Drink chilled at approx. 53.6°F (12°C).

     

    CROZES-HERMITAGE

    In terms of volume, this is the largest of the northern Crus. Although not of the same quality as its cousin, Crozes-Hermitage does come close to Hermitage in terms of its characteristic bouquet and taste. The white wine is a clear yellow with very floral nose and full, fatty taste. Drink chilled at approx. 53.6°F (12°C).

     The red French wine is dark red and very intense. The bouquet recalls red fruit, leather, and herbs. The taste is elegant despite the discreet presence of tannin. Drink slightly chilled at approx. 59 °F (15°C).

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  • The four regional appellations of origin of the Jura for French Wine

    CHATEAU-CHALON FRENCH WINE

    Jura wine regionThe village of Chateau-Chalon dominates this wine region both literally and figuratively. It is 450 metres (1,476 feet) above sea-level, in the centre of the Jura, and gave birth to the king of all Jura wines, the vin jaune (yellowFrench wine), which is exclusively made from Savagnin grapes.

     Vins jaunes may be made throughout the Jura but the best originates from Chateau-Chalon. This French wine is of the utmost highest quality and is not made every year. The preparation for making it in the village is the same as elsewhere for vins jaunes but the level of quality control is far higher.

    Vins jaunes, including those of Chateau-Chalon are put in dumpy 62 cl clavelin bottles, since this is all that remains of a litre of-young wine after maturing for six years and three months in a cask. The clavelins of Chateau-Chalon are the only ones to bear a decorative red seal around their necks for the best French Wine.

     

    L'ETOILE FOR FRENCH WINE

    No-one knows precisely why this village got its name (etoile means star in French). It is probably due to the five encircling hills that together form the shape of a star, or the five beautiful castles in the neighbourhood. Perhaps though the name is derived from shells and star fish remains found in the chalky soil of the vineyards. Very high quality and highly regarded white and sparkling wines are made from about 80 hectares in this village for the good French Wine.

     

    ARBOIS FRENCH WINE

    The vineyards surrounding the pleasant small town of Arbois supply the greatest volume of wines from the Jura. That these 800 hectares can produce exceptional quality wines with their own character is shown by the fact that wine from Arbois was the first in France to be permitted to bear an Appellation d'Origin e Contralee.

    The production is chiefly of white and red wine but some Pupillin rose is also made and this is good French Wine.

     

    CÔTES DU JURA AND FRENCH WINE

    French Jura WineA colourful collection of white, red, rose, and sparkling wines are covered by this appellation. It is astounding that so many different quality wines are made from such a small area.

    The wholly Chardonnay white French wine is pale yellow and smells of fresh grapes. After two to three years maturing in casks it develops its characteristic flinty smell. Wines made with Chardonnay and Savagnin have an even more clearly pronounced terroir scent and flavour. Those of just Savagnin are above all very delicate and aromatic for a French Wine.

    The Poulsard rose is elegant and subtle. Roses from this area often have a coral-like colour and are exceptionally juicy and full bodied. The red wine is quite peculiar. Made from Poulsard, it resembles a rose but is actually a true red wine. The scent and flavour are reminiscent of mould and wild fruits of the forest.

    By contrast, that made from Trousseau is warm, full of tannin, rounded, and full-bodied with the nose of red fruit. It is strongly alcoholic and be kept until quite old.

     

    SPARKLING WINE FROM THE JURA

    The Mousseux and Cremant originate mainly from !'Etoile and Vemois. These are available in brut, sec, or demi-sec and in white or rose French Wine. They are made by the traditional method with a second fermentation in the bottle.

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  • The French vineyards of Aveyron

    ENTRAYGUES ET LE FEL VDQS

    This minuscule area in the heart of the valley of the Lot, between Rouergue and Auvergne, is one of the most picturesque wine-growing areas of France. The French vineyards are situated on steep hills surrounding the town of Entraygues and the village of Le Fel, and total about 20 hectares. Around Entraygues the soil consists of broken granite, while it is brown shale at Le Fel. Both soil types ensure good drainage and temperature regulation by means of the stony ground in this cold wine-growing area. This French wines from Entraygues, Le Fel, and nearby Marcillac were once famous and highly regarded in France. It took until the 1960s before this area started to re-establish itself following the phylloxera epidemic and the emptying of the French countryside.

    The white French wine is made using the old Chenin grape, which produces a fresh wine full of aromas of flowers, citrus fruit, and box. It is a full-bodied wine to be drunk at 10°C (50°F).

    The rose French wine is fresh and somewhat acidic. Drink it at 12°C (53 .6°F).

    The red French wine in common with the rose is aromatic and fresh-tasting. It possesses a fuller, more rounded taste though. This French wine from the Fer Servadou grape (Mansoi) and Cabernet Franc appears to have been made for the regional dishes of the Auvergne and Aveyron, where Montignac appears to remain unheard of. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 16°C (60.8 °F).

     

    MARCILLAC

    This area around the town of Rodez was one of the classic French wines prior to the phylloxera epidemic. The 135 hectares of vineyards are typically on soil of red clay at the foot of high chalk plateaux.

    The dominant grape for this AC, which was recognised in 1990, is the Mansoi (the local name for the Fer Servadou). The individual character of both Marcillac rose and red wines, which is somewhere between rustic and modern fruitiness, is imparted by the combination of the Mansoi grape and the soil.

    The better Marcillacs are true discoveries for those who like some bite to their wine. The terroir can be tasted in the French wine which has aromas of raspberry, blackcurrant, bilberry, and blackberry, together with vegetal notes of green pepper (paprika) and green chillies.

    There are often also suggestions of cocoa which ensure an extremely complex finish. Spicy and rounded tannin strengthens the individualistic nature of this French wine which is best drunk at 16°C(60.8°F).

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  • The Hungarian Wine

    Wine History

    tokaji-hungarian-winesAlthough vines have been grown for wine in Hungary since Celtic times - before the Roman invasion - it was the Magyars in the 9th century who increased the vineyard acreage and production. Many of the vineyards can trace their history back centuries, and some as far back as the 12th century. The Tokaj- Hagyalja region not only produces Hungary’s most famous wine, but is home to some of the oldest vineyards which were planted at the end of the 9th century. Phylloxera hit Hungary in the 1880s and destroyed three quarters of the vineyards. Those which survived were mostly planted in very sandy soil, through which the phylloxera bug cannot travel.

  • The Italian wine industry

     Italy is a long and narrow peninsula in the form of a thigh-high wading boot. The island of Sicily that is shaped like a bunch of grapes lies off the toe of the boot with the larger island of Sardinia above it.

     Italian wine-growing has clearly defined areas in the same way as France and Spain. Wine-growing takes place throughout the peninsula except in the highest mountains. In the north of the country the Alps run from west to east. while the Apennines run down the country from the centre to the south from north to south. The mountains, which form the back bone of the country, do account though for about 40% of the area cultivated by vines. Vineyards can be found in every sheltered valley. Between the two areas of mountains is the fertile Po valley. Although there are countless micro climates throughout Italian vineyards, in general terms the north has a continental climate while the south enjoys a Mediterranean climate. The vineyards are never far from the sea so that extremes of temperature are moderated. In broad terms, the geology of the north is chalk bearing while the south and Sicily is of volcanic origin.

    Grape varieties and types of wine Italy is a veritable labyrinth of vineyards from which the enthusiastic wine connoisseur can discover more than 2,000 different types of grape. Most of these grapes have been growing in the peninsula for almost 3,000 years. There are ancient native grapes but also vines that were introduced by the Greeks and then more modern varieties, which mainly originate from France. Italy has a total of about 14 DOCG wine denominations, 270 DOC denominations, and 115 IGT wines. When you consider that most production areas make white, rose, and red wines and that some denominated areas may use 20 different varieties of grapes it becomes obvious that it is impossible to give a complete survey of all Italian wines. This book will concentrate on the most popular wines and where possible mention the others.

    Virtually every type of wine that exists is to be found in Italy from superb dry sparkling wines (spumante), made in the same traditional way as in Champagne, or by the charmatlcuve-close (sealed tank) method; or seductive sweet sparkling Moscato wine; dry white wine that is fresh, light and fruity or fullbodied white wine that is cask aged in small French barriques;

     semi-sweet (abbocato) or sweet (dolce) white wine and rose; light and fruity or full-bodied and powerful red wines; and finally a number of different late harvested grape wines (passito), such as the sweet Recioto and Vin Santo or the dry Recioto Amarone. Whatever you want, Italy has it.

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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 Loire Valley - French Wine

       In comparison of the rest of France, the Loire has a cool climate. The area is capable of producing a wide range of wines, from light, dry, and crisp whites, to rosé, mediun-bodied reds, and luscious dessert wines.

      It is also a region where extremely good sparking wines are made. It was not until the mid 1940s that the Loire’s wines began to gain a reputation outside their local markets but since then, the region’s white wines, in particular, have featured on many restaurant wine lists. The Loire is the longest river in France and provides an entry to four main wine areas which lie between the Atlantic and the cebtre of France. Around Nantes, the influence of the sea is evident, while inland, the so-called central vineyards, including Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé, have a continental climate. Anjou-Saumur and Touraine lie between these two extremes. The vast size of the region means theat there are many different soil types, but chalk and clay are the most prominent for a good white wine.

     Loire Valley WineThe most important grape varieties are Muscadet, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc for the best white wines, and Cabernet Franc for red wines, with a little Pinot Noir grown in and aroud Sancerre. Muscadet, is a dry, fresh and crisp white wine, and a seafood wine ‘par excellence’. The term ‘sur lie’, usually assocuated with better-qualty Muscadet, indicates that the wine has spent time maturig on the lees and is bottled directly, to give added concentration and a faint pickle of carbon dioxide. In Anjou-Saumur, mostly dry or medium sweet white wines are produced form the Chenin Blanc grape. As well as having a bearing of the wines, the local chalk soil is evident in the extraordinary buildings typical of the area, where the white stone has a striking effect.

     Many of the sweet wines come from the sheltered area around the river Layon, a tributary of the Loire and are affected by noble rot. They are some of the hidden gems of the wine world and, like many of the white wines made from the Chenin Blanc, can age amazingly well. The best red wines of the Loire are made from the Cabernet Franc grape, in the subdistrict of Touraine. Generally medium-bodied, these delicious and elegant wines are made to drink young, but can also surprise with mid-term cellaring. Chinon, Bourgueil, Saint Nicholas de Bourgueil and Saumur Champigny are four appellations to look out for. Frustratingly, there’s some variation with the quality of wines from Vouvray and Montlouis but the best white wines are magnificent expression of the Chenin Blanc grape.

    Wine Loire Valley Sancerre wine takes its name from the hilltop town of the area. The district’s wines are arguably the word’s most famous appellation connected to the tangy, piquant wines made from the Sauvignon Blanc grape. Across the river Loire and just a few miles away, is Pouilly Sur Loire, home to Pouilly-Fume, where the white wines are produced from Sauvignon. Tending to be a little sterner, they are very good with food. Due to its proximity to the central vineyards are made from the Pinot Noir grape. Look out too, for the wines of Quincy, Reyilly, and Menetou Salon.

      Many of the white wines of the Loire Valley age remarkably well, changing in character from the mineral, flintlike flavours of youth to an almost honey-and-apricot textured complexity. Even 50-60-year-old wines can be in perfect shape.    Read more about Valley of the Loire here...

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  • The Netherlands Wine

    The Netherlands Wine

    the-netherlands-wineQuite a few small-scale Dutch growers in The Netherlands also make their own ‘wine’ just as the Belgian growers but much of that originates from grape extract or grapes grown under glass which falls outside the scope of this wine website.

    This The Netherlands wine that interests us is that made from grapes picked from genuine vineyards. The Netherlands has at least 100 small vineyards plus some ten larger professional scale vineyards of more than one hectare. A guild of vineyard proprietors has been in existence in The Netherlands for at least seven years. This fulfils a mainly advisory rather than controlling function.

  • The nine AC French wines

    CÔTEAUX DU CAP CORSE

    This is a minuscule wine-growing appellation area with a mere 30 hectares, situated on mountainous slopes to the north of Bastia. Red, rose, but chiefly white French wines are made here. The white, based on the Vermentinu grape, is excellent and very refined.

     

    MUSCAT DU CAP CORSE

    This French wine is produced in the same mountainous areas as the Côteaux du Cap Corse and also in the Patrimonio area. This appellation was officially recognised in 1993, although the local Muscat wines have enjoyed international fame for centuries. It is fine and very aromatic French wine.

    The best Muscat is made from grapes that are picked very late, ripened and dried under the sun in small boxes. This makes a full-flavoured, very aromatic wine, that is fatty and strong. It can be readily laid

    down and should be drunk chilled to approx. 8°C (46.4°F).

     

    PATRIMONIO

    This is one of the best known and often also best French wines of Corsica. Red and rose wines are produced from the Niellucciu group and the Vermentinu grape here produces a superb white.

     

    PATRIMONIO BLANC

    This is a pale yellow wine that is tinged with green, It has floral notes (may blossom and white flowers), a fresh and fruity taste and it is full-bodied and rounded, sometimes causing a light tingling of the tongue. Drink this elegant French wine at approx. 10°C (50°F).

     

    PATRIMONIO ROSE

    This French wine has a pale, clear pink colour and aromas of red fruit (cherry, redcurrant), and sometimes also of exotic fruit. Drink this fresh and fruity rose at approx. 10°C (50°F).

     

    PATRIMONIO ROUGE

    Two different types of Patrimonio red are made: a lighter one and the traditional more robust French wine. The lighter Patrimonio is generally ruby red, very fruity (blackcurrant, blackberry), velvet soft in spite of the presence of tannin, and very well balanced.

    When it is older the fruity nose develops earthly notes such as humus. Drink this French wine at approx. 16°C (60 .8°F) with red meat, game, casseroles, and hard cheeses. The more robust, traditional Patrimonio is darker in colour and has more tannin than the lighter version. When older its fruity bouquet develops into a complex nose of overripe preserved fruit, leather, and liquorice. Drink this 'strong man' of a French wine between 16- l8°C (60 .8- 64.4°F) . Both French wines are best decanted several hours before a meal.

     

    VIN DE CORSE CALVI

    Here very fruity red wines, fascinating, refined, and aromatic roses, and almost colourless, comforting, and approachable white wines are produced on very changeable soils of coarse stones, boulders, and gravel using Niellucciu, Grenache, Cinsault, Sciaccarellu, and Vermentinu grapes.

     

    Ajaccio

    This French wine area lies on rough, rocky hills. Ajaccio is proud of its permanent resident - the Sciaccarellu grape - with which the greatest French wines from this area develop a nose that evokes roasted almond and red fruit such as raspberry.

    This traditional French wine is good for laying down. The white Malvoisie (Vermentinu) is also worth laying down.

     

    Vin de Corse Sarténais

    The Sciaccarellu, Grenache and Cinsault vines cultivated on these steep hills produce a full-bodied red wine and fresh rose. These French wines are mainly consumed by the local populace and are rarely seen outside the island.

    • VIN DE CORSE FIGARI

    The most southerly wine-growing area of France, just north of the town of Bonifacio. Sturdy red, rose, and white wines are produced.

    • VIN DE CORSE PORTO VECCHIO

    An elegant, full-bodied, and rounded red wine and fresh, refined, and very aromatic rose are made in the south-east of the island using the Niellucciu and Sciaccarellu grapes, together with Grenache. A very dry white wine that is intensely fruity is made here with Vermentinu grapes.

    • VIN DE CORSE

    In Corsican terms the vineyards around Aleria and close to Bastia are immense at 1,550 hectares. This is a relatively new appellation but the early results are promising. After centuries of neglect the vineyards have been re-established in places where the Greeks and Romans made their best wines, at the foot of 1,200 metres (3 ,937 feet) high rocky walls. All the types of French wine are produced here, including Vin de Pays.

    There are both very traditional winemakers and ultra-modern co-operatives which are gaining an increasing reputation in France and abroad for their less traditional but well-made wines. Even the Vin de Pays here is of quality. The demand for this AC is increasing as is also the case for the Vins de Pays and vins de cepages. Fewer inferior French wines are now being produced on Corsica with the growers having decided to improve their image.{jcomments on}

  • The Rhône

       The Rhône Vally is one of the oldest wine-producing regions of France. There is evidence of wine production taking place here as long ago as 600 BC.

     The wine region of the Rhône Vally starts just south of Vienne, the gateway to the northern Rhône, where the only permitted black grape variety in Syah. The southern Rhône, where the Grenache grape variety takes centre stage, lies south of Montelimar and extends to Avignon. More often than not, the Grenache will be blended with other grapes, such as Carignan, Cinsault and Mourvédre.

    Hand harvesting takes place in many of the terraced vineyards in the narrow northern Rhône Vally. Vines are often trained on ingeniuos supports, so that they can withstand the powerful Mistral wind which blows down the valley. Planted on mostly granite and sandstone slils, Syrah produces full-bodied wines, ehich have high tannin content when young and therefore age very well. Côte Rôtie, one of the great wines of France, can mix power and elegance and os often a blend of Syrah and the white grape Viognier.

     

    Hermitage

    Hermitage is not only the most rexognised name associated with Syrah, but also an appellation making wines of great depth, concentration and structure which are capable of ageing over decades in bottle. Crozes-Hermitage and St. Joseph are generally lighter, while the very best vineyards from Cronas, with their attractive ‘rustic’ edge, make wines which at best rival those from Hermitage.

    The white wines of the northern Rhône are predominantly made from Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne. In Condrieu, Viognier is used to make distinctive peach and apricot-flavoured wines, with high alcohol and ample body. Marsanne and Roussanne are often blended together to make the dramatic white wine of Hermitage and other neighbouring appellations.

    The world-famous wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape are produced in the southern Rhône, where up to thirteen different grape vatieties are permited in the blend. The wines of Gigondas and Vacqueryas often represent great value and possess similar characteristics to the best Chateauneufs, while Tavel is home to the dry and full-bedied rosé. Most generic Côtes du Rhône, along with Côtes du Rhône Villages, come from the Southern Rhône. The latter, which can include the name of the village, such as Viscan, can be another source of well-priced wines.

     Chateau Grillet is a single estate appellation, making wines from Viognier. Pope John XXII died in 1334, only a year after his new palace was complete.

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  • The Rhone satellites - French wine

    These are FRENCH wine-growing areas that are geographically part of the Rhone but have their own identities: Clairette de Die, Cremant de Die, Vins du Diois, Coteaux du Tricastin, Cotes du Ventoux and Costieres de Nimes.

    CLAIRETTE DE DIE

    Clairette de Die is an ancient wine that was known by the Romans (Plinus the Elder 77 BC). At that time the wine was called Aigleucos and was made by the local Celts. They dipped the vats in which the wine had just started to ferment into the ice-cold mountain streams. This brought an early end to the fermentation process so that the bubbles were retained. Up to World War II Clairette was only ever intended to be drunk as a young, still fermenting wine, drawn from the barrel. This situation changed radically in 1950 when the Cave Cooperative Clairette de Die was established. The vineyards were extended and the technique of wine-making was enormously improved. With respect for tradition, a new elan was given to this almost lost traditional local drink. Clairette de Die is made from Muscat and Clairette grapes. These French wine is bottled before the fermentation is complete without any other additives. The carbonic acid gas that is produced during the fermentation is therefore trapped in the bottles as naturally-occurring bubbles. This ancient method is officially known under the name 'Methode Dioise Ancestrale'. Thetaste of this traditionally made Clairette de Die is exceptionally fruity (the Muscat grapes) , gentle, and seductive. The low alcoholic content (7%) makes it a sensual aperitif but it can also be served with chicken or rabbit casserole to which a generous amount of this wine has been added.

     

    CREMANT DE DIE

    The dry (brut) version of this French wine, made exclusively with Clairette grapes and by the Methode Traditionnelle, has been known as Cremant de Die since 1993. The nose is reminiscent of apples and other white and green fruit. When older these are supplemented by suggestions of dried fruit and almonds.

    CHATILLON-EN-DIOIS

    This small area of appellation is found at the foot of the first outcrops of the Alps. Chatillon Gamay, red or rose, is a fruity and yielding wine with a rich bouquet. Drink these French wines young except for the special cuvee that is aged in oak, which can be kept for a time before drinking. Chatillon Aligote is an elegant, fresh dry white wine with a bouquet of wild herbs. It needs to be drunk when young, for instance as an aperitif. Chiitillon Chardonnay is a fuller, more serious white wine, which improves with a year's maturing in the bottle. In addition to these generic wines there are also various domain wines of superb quality. Be quick off the mark though because the demand exceeds the supply.

     

    COTEAUX DU TRICASTIN

    This French wine is little different from Cotes du Rhone. For some obscure reason it is not included within ,the elite Rhone wines. White, rose, and red wines are produced here on the same types of vine, and similar soils.

     

    COTES DU VENTOUX

    The climate is somewhat cooler here than in the Rhone Valley. The wine is therefore less alcoholic than other Rhone wines. Red wine predominates and this is fresh, elegant, and needs to be drunk while still relatively young.

     

    COTES DU LUBERON

    This appellation has only existed for white, rose, and red wine since 1988. The climate here is also cooler which explains a predominance of white wine.

    Generally speaking these are quite inexpensive but good quality wines which are becoming increasingly popular. It is expected that this area will develop further in the twenty-first century. Keep an eye on these wines. In terms of taste there is little difference with Rhone wines, except perhaps that Luberon is slightly less full-bodied and structured. Finally, a mention for a good VDQS wine: the Cotes du Vivarais.

     

    COTES DU VIVARAIS

    Red French wine is mainly made here from the Grenache and Syrah grapes. There is also a local fresh-tasting rose that is particularly pleasing.

     

    NATURALLY SWEET WINES

    Two communes in the Rhone Valley region make high quality sweet desert wines using Muscat grapes. A full -bodied. strong white wine with enormous aromatic potential is made in a natural manner in Beaumes-de-Venise. This white wine both smells and tastes of the Muscat grape, together with peach, apricots, and occasionally also of freshly-picked wild flowers. Drink this wine well chilled 41-42.8°F (5-8°C).

    By contrast, a fortified red wine is made in Rasteau. Fermentation is stopped by adding pure wine alcohol to the wine juice. The wine produced is very sweet, very fruity, and somewhat resembles Port. Drink slightly below room temperature.

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  • The Rhone Valley - French Wine

       Wine(actually French Wine) has been made for more than 2,000 years between Vienne and Avignon in the valley of the Rhone river. The basis of arguably the best known wine-growing region of France - Cotes du Rhone was established by the Celts, Greeks, and Romans.

    This very extensive French wine region with its many different terroirs and micro climates eventually became established as a distinctive entity.

     

    A fresh breeze

    The French wine from the district around Uzes in the department of Gard enjoyed so much fame in the seventeenth century that it was readily imitated. To protect its origins and quality it was officially recognised in 1650 and its area of origin strictly defined. After a further battle lasting more than a century the Appellation Cotes du Rhone Controlee eventually became a fact in 1937. In 1956 the feared winter mistral blew at speeds of more than 62 miles/100 km per hour for three weeks and the thermometer remained stuck at about minus 59°F (15°C). Disastrously this killed all the olive trees but since the vines had survived these conditions the ruined farmers decided to switch to wine-growing.

    This was the start of the enormous growth of Cotes du Rhone.

     

    23 types of grape

    There are at least 23 different varieties of grape permitted to be used in the wine-growing region of Cotes du Rhone plus the Muscat Petit Grain that is used for the naturally sweet Beaumes-de-Venise. In the northern part ofthe Rhone Valley red wine is exclusively made with Syrah but white wines are produced from Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne.

    In the south they use some Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsauit, and Carignan grapes in addition to Syrah for their reds with the Grenache Blanc, Clairette and Bourboulenc for the white French wines.

     

    The appellations

    Rhone wines are divided into four categories: the generic Appellation Cotes du Rhone Regionale, the better Cotes du Rhone Villages, the Crus, and the satellites that are geographically related but have their own identities (Clairette de Die, Cremant de Die, Vins du Diois, Coteaux du Tricastin, Cotes du Ventoux en Costieres de Nimes).

     

    CÔTES DU RHONE AC - FRENCH WINE

    About 80 per cent of the generic Côtes du Rhone produced are very good. Because this category represents such a wide diversity of terroirs, micro climates. and winemakers, the wine has an equally diverse range of aromatic properties.

    Generally these are comforting and friendly wines. The red is well structured, full of aroma and taste and very rounded. It can be drunk when still young but can also be left for a while.The rose wines come from the south of the region and they range from raspberry colour to salmon pink. These roses are always fruity and yielding. The white wine is dry, well-balanced, well structured, very aromatic, and thirst-quenching.

     

    CÔTES DU RHONE VILLAGES AC

    There are 77 communes in the southern Rhone Valley which are permitted to use Côtes du Rhone Villages on the label of their wines and of these sixteen may also use the village name on the label.

    The stipulations about the planting, care of the vines, yield, and wine-making for these white, rose, and red wines are more rigid. Certain of the best known Côtes du Rhone Villages are Beaumes-deVenise (red and rose), Cairanne (red, rose, and white), Chusclan (red and rose), Laudun (red, rose, and white), Rasteau (red, rose, and white), Rochegude (red, rose, and white),

     Seguret red, rose, and white), Valreas (red, rose, and white), Vinsobres (red, rose, and white) and Visan (red, rose, and white) . These wines are ideal for drinking with Proven~al dishes. Drink the red  French wine at approx. 60.8°F (16°C), the rose at approx. 57.2°F (14°C), and the white at about 53.6°F (12°C).

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  • The seven Alsace grapes - French Wine

    ALSACE GRAPES

    Alsace Grapes Wine With most French wines the area from which they originate is the most important information on the label. All wines in Alsace are Alsace AOC but they are identified by their grapes. A wine may be ordered in France as a Riesling, Sylvaner, Gewürtztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, or Pinot Gris/ Tokay but everyone knows immediately that these are Alsace wines. Only the local place name is indicated on the labels of Muscat wines because there are different types of Muscat wine in France (such as the sweet wines of the south). No other area in France follows this practice.

  • The Ten Crus Wines - French Wine

    THE TEN CRUS

    Local experts say that an Easter must pass before these Wines are at their best. 'Les Crus du Beaujolais doivent faire leurs Paques.'

    The wine is rarely to be found in shops earlier than this in any case. The French wines of the ten Crus only fully develop after being allowed to rest for a few months.

    CÔTES DE BROUILLY

    Two of the ten Crus of Beaujolais are located on the slopes of the 1,200 feet high Mont Brouilly, on granite and slate soils. The 300 hectare of vineyards of Cotes de Brouilly are found on the sunny side of the extinct volcano. The wine is purple to mauve with a very refined and elegant bouquet of fresh grapes and irises. Leave a Cotes de Brouilly wine to rest for a time before opening. Drink it at approx. 55.4°F (13°C).

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE

    BROUILLY

    The vineyards are somewhat more extensive here, covering approx. 1,200 hectares. The soil is mainly granite and sand . The wine is ruby red in colour and has a fruity nose in which red fruits such as plum, and occasionally peach are clearly discernible. The better Brouilly wines also have a hint of mineral in them. This is a full, darker wine with a firm taste. Drink it at about 53.6°F (12°C).

     

    REGNIE

    The 520 hectares of this vineyard were only recognised as Cru du Beaujolais in 1988. The ground is gently undul­ ating and relatively high (average 1,148 feet /350 metres). A fairly supple wine is made here which is both elegant and seductive. The colour is pure cherry red and the nose reminds of red fruit The colour is a pure ruby red with wonderful reflections and the taste is both velvet smooth and fleshy.

    Good Fleurie from the best vintages can be kept for ten years or more. Drink Fleurie at about 55.4°F (13°C).

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE

    MOULIN-A-VENT

    This Cru derives its name from the recently and perfectly restored windmill in Romaneche-Thorins. The soil of the 650 hectares of vineyards comprises pink granite and manganese. This imparts a darker, more highly concentrated ruby red colo ur to the wine in which purple and dark red al'e also present when young.

    The nose is mainly reminiscent of flowers such as roses with a hint of raspberry. The taste is powerful and reasonably full of tannin. This firm texture enables Moulin-a-Vent to be kept for some time (up to 15 years). When mature this wine resembles Burgundy. Allow this French wine to rest for a couple of years before serving at about 57.2°F (14°C).

     

    CHENAS

    This French wine is almost unknown outside the area but this is not at all just. A very elegant wine is made with ref ined bouquet of peony and roses with occasional hint of wood and herbs on 260 hectares of granite soil. The taste is soft, generous, and friendly. Serve this wine at about 14°C (57.2°F). This wine too can be kept for quite a few years.

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE

    JULIENAS

    This is the most northerly Cru of Beaujolais, border­ ing on the Miiconnais. Deeply ruby red coloured wine is produced from 580 hectares of stony soil with layers of clay and sediments. The French wine has a powerful full taste and the bouquet is dominated by frwty (wild strawberry, redcurrant,   and   raspberry) scents with floral undertones (peony and roses).

    Good Julienas can be kept for a few years. Drink this French wine at about 55.4°F (13°C).

     

    ST-AMOUR

    This is the last of these northerly Crus. The vine-yards   extend   for   280 hectares and border the chalky Miiconnais (Char­ donnay) and granite hills of Beau jolais   (Gamay).

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE

     The soil is a mixture of clay, boulders,   granite, and sandstone. These French wine possesses   a wonderful ruby red colour and very aromatic nose of peony, raspberry, redcurrant, apricot, and also some­times a suggestion of kirsch. The taste is seductive, velvet soft, and full, with hints of herbs. Serve this wine at about 55.4°F (13°C).

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  • The valley of the Loire - French Wines

    France's longest river, the Loire, (approx. 1,012 km/632 long) has its source in the Ardeche. The wild mountain stream first flows northwards towards Orleans where it turns with a broad sweeping bend to the left into a majestic river as it then calmly proceeds towards the sea. The valley of the Loire displays a constantly changing face. The French vineyards are spread out from the flat land near the banks and on gently undulating hills alongside forests and every type of agriculture. Its nickname of 'Le jardin de la France' (the garden of France) comes from the colourful fields of flowers.