Wine Searcher

  • American wine

        Although grapes are grown and wine is made in most American states, only in California and the Pacific northwest are grapes grown in significant quantities. Only wnes from these areas have gainde an international reputation for quality.

     California’s reputation has been built on bold, ripe, fruit-driven wines, which often carry their fair-share of new oak. The state has had its problems, with almost every deadly wine disease rearing its ugly head at some stage, yet it has without doubt, some of the world’s best growing conditions.

     The Pacific Ocean is hugely influential, moderating a hot climate with its cool breezes and fogs. Most of California’s commercial wines come from the warm and fertile Central Valley, but its premium wines tend to be made from fruit grown much closer to the coast. The Napa Valley, sometimes referred to as the Bordeax of California, is situated just north of San Francisco Bay. As an appellation, Napa has a deversity of soil, climate, and topography, which particularly suits Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. A food culture has also evolved here, making it a destionation for the rich and famous. The areas of Sonoma and Carneros, separated from the Napa Valley by the Mayacamus Mountains, are much cooler and are therefore able to specialise in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Warmer districts, such as Dry Creek, are found in northern Sonoma, where some superb Zinfandels are produced, Zinfandel is California’s ‘own grape’. At best it priduces blackberry-flavoured, full-bodied reds, often from old wines. At worst it also makes ‘blush’ of White Zin, a pale relation, bottled with a dash of sweetness.

     The small, but up-and-coming Sierra Foothills area is a great source of Rhône and Italian varietals while south of San Francisco lies the region of Santa Cruz which is home to some top-class wineries.

     Washington State and Oregon, collectively known as the Pacific northwest, like California lie on the western side of the country. Spanning three adjoingh states, this is an area of rolling hills, rivers and valleys. Washington, with approximately 30,000 acres of vineyards, tends to be the warmer of the two regions. Its plantings focus mostly around the eastern side of the Cascade Mountain range.

     Oregon, has only 12,000 acres of vine-yards, which have developed in the cooler Willamette Valley, Burgundian and Alsatian grape varieties, such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Muscat, thrive here. Oregon gained overnight fame in 1979 when David Lett of the Eyrie Vineyard entred the estate’s 1975 Pinot Noir in a blind wine tasting competition, organised by the Burgundian negociant Robert Drouhin. Although Drouhin’s Chambolle-Musigny 1959 came first, the Eyrie vineyard vet meny famous Burgundy wines to come second. Oregon has been linked whit Pinot Noir ever since.

     Over the Columbia River in Eastern Washington, the dry and warm climate of the Columbia Valley is proving to be an excellent area to grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.

    Most of the vineyards here rely on irriagation, even though generally Washington tends to be quite wet. The Columbia Valley maybe the best-known region, but the Walla Walla Valley is beginning to generate a grate deal of excitement.

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  • Burgundy French Wine

    Burgundy grapesThe hallowed ground of Burgundy(French Wine) is home to the greatest Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the world. Sadly though, in recent years not all of the French wines made here have met the standards of their predecessor. Having said that, there are some smart up-and-coming young producers around and today Burgundy finds itself on a bit of a roll.

    Burgundy was one if the first French wines regions to be know for its wine outside its boundaries. Favoired by kings and queens, the much sought-after wines of Burgundy werw also a passion for Thomas Jefferson. Situates in central France, Burgundy stretches from Dijon in the north, to just south of Macon in the south, The districts of Chablis, sixty miles to the northwest of Dijon, and Beaujolais, to the south of Macon, are both considered part of the region. Due to the influence of the church and the France law of inheritance, the wineyards of Burgundy are very fragmented.


    Did you know?

     The French wines in Sauvignon de St Bris, an Appwllation Contrôlêe in Northern Burgundy, are made from Sauvignon Blanc.


     Therefore the ‘nêgociant’ has an important role in the making and selling of the wines. ‘Domaine’ bottled Burgundy is a direct reflection of an individual grower, who often tends the vines, makes thewine, and bottles it.


    Burgundy grapes

     Burgundy GrapesChardonnay is the principal white grape suited to the calcareous/limestone soil of Burgundy. White Burgundy combines power and elegance but early maturing wines are also produced, along with the racy, cool climate white French wines of Chablis. The Alogtê grape is also planted, This makes crisp and lively white wines and is the classical base for Kir. Pinot Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are also planted in small quantities. The major black variety in the region is Pinot Noir, except in Beaujolais where Gamy reigns supreme. In Burgundy, Pinot Noir is capable of producing wines of exceptional class, elegance and ability to age. It’s a difficult customer though and great care is required to grow and vinify this grape. Gamay on the other hand, provides colour, lots of fruit and acidity in Beaujolais and is also used in the Mâconnais.

    The most famous and expresive French wine of Burgundy include the those the Domaine de la Romanée Conti, Domaine Leflaive and Lafon.

    Bourgogne Passetoutgrains is a blend of a minimum of one third Pinot and Gamay.

     Throughout Burgundy there are terroirs with chalk, marl, clay, stony ground, and iron in places. The hard winters and hot summers together with the soil ensure individual characters and personality. The grapes here are Pinot Nair, Chardonnay, Aligote, and Gamay. Near St-Bris in the Auxerrois th.ey also grow a little Sauvignon Blanc. Burgundy is a complex patchwork of vineyards, referred to here as climat, villages, clos, and crus. There are also four Burgundy-wide appellations.



    Bourgogne, Bourgogne Aligote (for white wine), Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire, and Bourgogne.Passe­ Tout-Grains can be used for the appropriate grapes from throughout the area. Tbe better Burgundies come from specific Localities (such as Côtes de uHs, Côtes de Beaune).



    These wines bear the name of the parish or community such as Chablis, Nuits-St-Georges, Vosne-Romanee, or Vougeot).



    In addition to the village or community appellation, these wines are permitted to identify the particular piece of land or climat. These climats are of sufficient quality that their French wines may be termed premier cru. Examples of these are Chablis ler Cru Montmains, Chambolle-Musigny Armoureuses, Puligny-Montrachet Folatieres, Beaune Clos des Mouches, and Beaune Greves.



    These climats have became very famous by their constant quality over the centuries. It is sufficient for these wines just to bear the name of the climat. Examples   are   Chablis   Grand   Cru   Vaudesir, Echezeaux, Charmes-Chambertin, Clos de Vougeot, Bonnes   Mares,   Romanee-St-Vivant, Carton, Montrachet.


    The different French wine areas

    Burgundy is divided into nine different areas: Chablis,   Auxerrois,   Cotes   de Nuits,   Cotes de Beaune, Cotes Chalonnaise, Miiconnais, Beaujolais­ Villages, Beaujolais, and Coteaux du Lyonnais. In reality the last three fall within Beaujolais, and Auxerrois is subsumed in Chablis.

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  • Fribourg, Jura and Berne Wine Regions

    Fribourg Swiss Wine

    Fribourg Swiss WineWhile Neuchâtel wines originate from the north-western shores of the eponymous lake, those of Fribourg are made to the east of Lac de Neuchâtel, from around Broye in the south and Vully in the north. Vully’s vineyards stretch to between the lakes of Neuchâtel and Morat. The ground here is clay, sand, and calciferous sandstone. The climate is clearly moderated by the lake. The Chasselas grape holds sway here too but there are a number of interesting specialities such as the wines of Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Riesling x Sylvaner (Müller-Thurgau), and Freisammer, which is a cross between Sylvaner and Pinot Gris. There is also an excellent Swiss wines like Oeil-de-Perdrix and superb Pinot Noir.

  • Generic Burgundy - French Wine

    Generic Burgundy

    Before we continue   our   journey south let us consider a few of the generic wines of Burgundy.


    White Bourgogn e AC (Chardonnay) is an aromatic, fresh white wine. Drink it at about 51.8°F (11°C)and preferably within two years of the harvest.

    Red BourgogneAC (Pinot Noir) is ruby red and has a nose of red fruit and wood land fruit (raspberry, blackcuriant, blackberry, and redcurrant). It is a lithe, generous, and friendly wine. Drink at about 60.8°F /16°C within five years of the harvest.

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE


    The red French wine is made with a minimum of one third Pinot Noir to which Gamay grapes are added. The better wines though contain more Pinot Noir. It is a light, cheerful , and generous wine that should be drunk when young. For completeness, there is also a rosé variant.


    This appellation is rarely seen these days because it sounds too 'ordinary' for a Burgundy yet very acceptable whites, reds, and roses are to be found at a very reasonable price in this category.

    burgundy WINE *** french WINE



    This French white wine is very popular in Burgundy and much further afield. This very fresh wine is often strongly acidic and has a bouquet of green apple, lemon, and may blossom with the occasional hint of flint.{jcomments on}

  • Luxembourg Wines and Regions

    Luxembourg Wine

    Grand Premier Luxembourg WinePoets and writers have waxed lyrical about the unspoiled beauty of the Luxembourgeois Moselle since the times of the ancient Roman empire, as evidenced by the delightful verse of Ausonius about the ‘Mosella’. Julius Caesar’s words in praise of the magnificent landscape and superb wines of the Luxembourgeois Moselle may have been less poetic but were equally important.

    Yet the valley of the ‘Mouse’ (as it is known locally) forms only a small part of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. There is much more to see in the relatively small European country that is wedged between France, Germany, and Belgium. The country has a character all of its own and three cultures have been melded together to form the true ‘Letzeburger’.


  • More Swiss wines


    Paien Swiss WineThe Swiss wines made from Paien or Heida, as it is also known (meaning heaths), are quite unusual. Grapes grow on this very ancient native variety at altitudes of more than 1,000 metres (3,280 feet). In the Jura and Savoie in Prance it is known as Savagnin, Traminer in Alsace and certain German vineyards, and Tramini in Italy. This Swiss wine is fresh and quite dry with recognisable fresh nose of green apples. Drinking temperature is 8- 10C (46.4-50°F).



    The rare Rèze grape is still used piecemeal in Anniviers to make wine. This Yin des Glaciers ('glacier' wine) is remarkably tart and green if drunk young. Allow it to age though and it develops a quite unusual but exciting nose. Drinking temperature for Rèze Swiss wine is 6- 9°C (42 .8-48.2°F) .

  • Neuchâtel Region

    Neuchâtel Swiss WINE Region

    Neuchatel Swiss WineThe Swiss wine region of Neuchâtel is situated on the north-west shore of the Lac de Neuchâtel and is separated from France by the Jura. The climate is fairly mild, sunny, and dry. The presence of the lake keeps winters mild but autumns can be misty which can be harmful for the grape harvest. The underlying ground here at the foot of the Jura mountains is mainly chalk rock with other rock outcrops, loam, and loess.

  • North-West for American Wine

       The North-West region is better known as Washington State and Oregon. The Columbia and Snake rivers are vital for the wine industry.

    The are lies to the south-east to the south-east of Seattle, on both sides of Portland. Wine-making in this region is a fairly recent phenomenon.

     There wew trials in the nineteenth century with native and hybrid grapes but the first Vitis viniferavarieties were not introducec until the end of that century. Wine-growing started to become larger in scale during the twentieth century thanks to a major irrigation project. The final real breakthrough for areas such as Oregon occurred in the 1970s, when serious-minded growers planted leading European varieties. Oregon’s Pinot Noir is now known worldwide thanks to investment by several leading French companies like Drouhin of Beaune.


    The climate in the north-west of the United States is moderate in Oregon but almost desert-like in Washington State where the dependence on irrigation is total.

    The winters are also colder and drier in Washington State than Oregon. The soil varies widely, from loam in Oregon to layers of volcanic origin in Washington. The chice of grape variety is therefore extremely important.

    Various varieties are grown in the two large AVAs of Washington State (Columbia Valley, Yakima Valley, and Walla Walla Valley), and West Pacific (inclunding Oregon, Willamette Valley, and Umpqua Valley). Pinot Noir with Chenin Blanc, Semillon, and Sauvignon Blanc, while Oregon also produces reasonable to good Pinot Gris.


    It goes without saying that there is much chaff among the corn in both area and results vary from years to years through changing weather, especially in Oregon. But by choosing fron the better wines you will find that are truly some great ones.

    Oregon Pinot Noir

    Some Pinot Noir wines from Oregon can hold their own against the best French wine. They are superb in colour, have seductive bouquets to red and black fruits such as blachberry, blackcurrant, redcurrant, and cherry, and touches of herbs and spices, including sweetwood, and a complex and harmonious texture.

    They are also elegant with a refined taste. There may also be suggestions of truffle, exotic, woods, and a good balance between acidity, alcohol, fruit, and tannin, with a prolonged aftertaste.


     These wines can be kept for at least five to ten years when they develop a nose of plum, fungi, humus, leather, and herbs. Drinking temperature is 53.6-57.2°F (14-16°C) when young and 57.2-60.8°F (14-16°C) when is mature.

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  • Ostschweiz Wines

    Ostschweiz winesThe greatest risk for Swiss wine growers in Ostschweiz is prolonged winter frost or deadly night frosts in spring during blossoming. Over the centuries the creative Swiss have come up with all manner of ways of protecting their vines against the cold. In addition to the widely used spraying and heating methods, the local growers have developed their own method. The vines are covered with straw or even with what resembles an eiderdown. The soil in Ostschweiz varies from west to east. In the western part, close to the Jura mountains, chalk is more prevalent; in the centre it is mainly calciferous sandstone, while in the east glacial scree and shale dominate. Because autumns are quite cold in Ostschweiz, only early ripening varieties of grapes thrive.

  • Other red grapes


     Gamay is the Beaujolais grape, know for its light, soft, and easy-drinking qualities, Light in tannin and full of cherry and strawberry flavour, it peaks in the Beaujolais Crus, such as Morgon and Fleurie. In the Loire, where it is used to make red and rose wines, Gamay accounts for about fifteen percent of all French plantings.

    Gamay is usually fermented thrigh a process called maceration, where fermentation takes place below a protective layer of carbon dioxide.  Gamay is grown almost wxcusively in France, principaly in Burgundy and the Loire Valley.



     Within the trio of Bordeaux varieties, alongside Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, Cabernet Franc is often responsible for lending an aromatic quality and positive acidity to a blend. Known for its raspberry-like aroms, it is, after Pinot Noir, the best grape of the Loire, and is used to make wines such as Chinon. Back in Bordeaux, you will find Cabernet Franc's level of importance elevated in St Emilion, no more so than in the fabulous Château Cheval Blanc. As with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc grows best in warmer climates but hot climates will have a negative effect on the flavour. The grape is sufficiently robust for the fermentation temperature not to be critical.

     Apart from Bordeaux and the Loire, Cabernet Franc is grown in Italy, the USAm Australia, and eastern Europe.



    The strawberry-scented and peppery tones, which often dominate a Côtes du Rhône or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, are the well-known characteristics of Grenace. At best, Grenache can reval concentration and great power from old, low-yielding vines. The Grenache thirives in the exceptionally not climates of Spain and the south France. It blends well with Shiraz and is used with Tempranillo for Riojas. In Spain, where it is known as Garnacha, it is renowned for provideing the colour and flavour in the fruity Rosados.

     As well as being plantes in Spain and France the Graneche is also found in Australia and USA.



     The hallmark characteristics of Malbec wines are deep colour and flavours full of black fruit. The grape originates from southwest France, in the Appellation of Cahors, where the wines were once known as 'Black Wines'. Expect to find Malbec in blends too, such as in Côtes de Bourg, Bordeaux, In recent years Malbec grapes hane thrived in irrigated, sandy soils in the warm climate of Argentina. Good crops combinated with advaces in winemaking techniques have produced some excellent, full-flavoured wines.

     Malbec is grown in France, Italy, Spain, South America, and the USA.



    The two greatest names and expressions of the magical Nebbiolo grape, Barolo and Barberesco, grow in the hills of Piedmont, Italy. Often requiring age, these are rich and savouy wines, with aromas of tar and roses. Nebbiolo is fernented in temperature-controlled stainless steel vessels. Generally, it reqyires a long ageing period in wood in order to soften but trends are towards shorter periodsm in maceration and more bottle ageing.

     Apart from Piedmont, Nebbiolo is grown in California, South America, and the USA.



     Pinotage, the earthy, spicy, deeply coloured grape of South Africa, has aromas of plum skin and a generous, well-structured palate. The grape is actually a hybrid of the Pinot Noir and Cinsault grapes and was created by a professor at Stellenboch University in the 1920s.

     Although most associated with South Africam attempts have been made to grow the grape in New Zealand, Chile, and Australia.



     Sangiovese, the great Italian grape, makes the concentrated red wines of Tuscany. It is the main consitituent of Chiantis, the best of which are rich, plummy, cherry-scented wines, highish in acidity, and with tannins which soften towards cedary elegance with age. The lighter wines, such as the Sangiovese de Romagna, are ideal for everyday drinking, They are best drunk while young and fresh.

     Apart from Italy, the Sangiovese has also impressed in California, Australia and Argentina.



     Spain's best red grape, Tempranillo is the backborn of Rioja and the wines of Ribera del Duero. Wines range in flavour from strawberry and vanilla lightness to full-bodied cherry-dominated depth, Tempranillo is also used in the production of port.

     The Tempranillo varietu is also grown in Portugal, where it is called Tinta Roriz, and Argentina.



     Rarely senn outside of California, Zinfandel can vary enormously in style, from the bland, slightly pink 'White Zins'. to old vine, oak-aged, richy fruity, elegant wines, which finish with an note of tangy acidity.

    Part of the explanation for the variety of Zinfandel wines lies in the fact that the very latest technology is used in production. This technology ensures that the grapes rises to the challenge of adaptability.

    Grown in California, predominantly.


    Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes

    cabernet sauvignon Grapeswhite-grapes

    One of the word's most popular black grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon's deep colour, blackcurrant aroma and flavour is the backbone of many is the backbone of many full-bodid red wines.

    Merlot Grapes

    Merlot Grapes white-grapes 

     A member of the Bordeaux family, Merlot, in constrast to Cabernet Sauvignon, is soft, fruity, fleshy, and less tannic. It's the principal grape variety in the wines of St Emilion and Pomerol, and is often blended with Cabernet Franc.

    Pinot Noir Grapes

    pinot noir Grapes white-grapes 

    A difficult 'customer' described by one well-known winemaker as a 'moving target of a grape variety', on top form Pinot Noir can make the most complex and hedonistic of red wines.   Pinot Noir has fewer colouring pigments than other dark-skinned varieties, so it can appear to be lighter or more aged, when compared to wines such and almost inky on occasions.

    Syrah Grapes

    Syrah Grapeswhite-grapes

    The Hill of Hermitage and vineyards steeply overlooking the Rhône provide the home of Syrah and one of the most famous place names associated with this great grape variety. Hermitage, Cornas and Côte Rôtie are full-bodied red wines, while Crozes Hermitage and St Jopeph are generally a touch lighter. Syrah is a hardy grape, growing well in poor soil, such as the...

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  • Pinot Noir Grapes

    A difficult 'customer' described by one well-known winemaker as a 'moving target of a grape variety', on top form Pinot Noir can make the most complex and hedonistic of red wines.

    pinot noir  Pinot Noir has fewer colouring pigments than other dark-skinned varieties, so it can appear to be lighter or more aged, when compared to wines such and almost inky on occasions. There are exceptions to the rule, such as the wines from the likes of Romanée Conti in Burgundy's Côte D'Or.

     Pinot Noir is a prime example of the importance of terroir, the term used to describe the growing conditions of the grape such as the soil, drainage, microclimate, and exposure to the sun. Pinot Noir is an excellent wine when the grapes have been grown in Burgungy but an altogether more challenging prospect when grown elsewhere.

     Carneros and the Central Coast of California, Oregonn the Yarra Valleym and cooler spots in Australia, are consistently producing 'typical' and different expressions of Pinot Noir. New Zealand, via Martinborough, Marlborough, Central Otago and South Africam via Walker Bay, are also now producing decent Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir nose is often reminiscent of paspberry, strawberry, and redcurrant when young, taking on subtle, earthy, leafy, prune-like aromas with age. It is also one the classic Champagne varieties.

    Burgundy,  Alsace, Champagne and Sancerre in France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, and California, Oregon ans Washington State in the United States.


    Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes

    cabernet sauvignon Grapeswhite-grapes

    One of the word's most popular black grapes, Cabernet Sauvignon's deep colour, blackcurrant aroma and flavour is the backbone of many is the backbone of many full-bodid red wines.

    Merlot Grapes

    Merlot Grapes white-grapes 

     A member of the Bordeaux family, Merlot, in constrast to Cabernet Sauvignon, is soft, fruity, fleshy, and less tannic. It's the principal grape variety in the wines of St Emilion and Pomerol, and is often blended with Cabernet Franc.

    Syrah Grapes

    Syrah Grapeswhite-grapes

    The Hill of Hermitage and vineyards steeply overlooking the Rhône provide the home of Syrah and one of the most famous place names associated with this great grape variety. Hermitage, Cornas and Côte Rôtie are full-bodied red wines, while Crozes Hermitage and St Jopeph are generally a touch lighter. Syrah is a hardy grape, growing well in poor soil, such as the

    Other Red Grapes

    other red Grapeswhite-grapes

    An extremely versatile variety of grapes, Chenin Blanc is capable of making dry and crisp white wines that are great as an aperitif, through to medium, unctuous and sweet styles. Due to the keeen and vibrant acidity often found in Chenin Blanc grape, they make brilliant food wines and can stay in good shape for many years after the vitange.

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  • 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.

  • Wines from California IV


    Somewhat similar to a Cabernet Sauvignon but much softer and more rounded. The Merlot is approachable much sooner than the Cabernet Sauvignon.

    It is real seducer with nose of black cherry, plum, toffee, chocolate, orange, mint, cedarwood, green tea, and violets. The structure is full-bodied and rich while the taste is velvet smooth. Drinking temperature is 57.2-60.8°F (14-16°C).

    Pinot Noir

    The Pinot Noir is able to combine complexity and elegance like no other grape. It requires some courage to plant Pinot Noir in California bur perhaps not in Los Carneros.

    The desired results will not be achieved every year but when the weather permits, the results are overwhelming. Californian Pinot Noir are quick seducer that are fresh and fruity with a hint of herbs and mushrooms, but also a sensual nose containing coffee and cedarwood. The texture is full-bodied, elegant, complex, and velvet smooth. Drinking temperature is 57.2-60.8°F (14-16°C).


    This is the Californian grape. It porbably originated from the Italian Primitivo and certainly not from the Hungarian Zirfandli.

    Zinfande remains recongnisable for the suggestions of vanilla ice cream with strawberries or raspberries in its bouquet, whether made as white, rosé, or red wine. The wine is fairly full-bodied, rich and tannic, with a peppery undertone. The whole of America loves its ‘Zin’ and Europe is also now starting to enjoy it too. Drinking temperature is 57.2 – 60.8°F (14-16°C).

    Petite Syrah/Syrah

    These are two different grape varieties which both originate from the French Rhône. Both produce substantial and firm wines that are deeply coloured and very aromatic with hints of blueberry, raspberry, fruit jam, pepper, and herbs. Drinking temperature is 60.8-62.6°F (12-14°C).


    Gamay/Gamay Beaujolais

    These are very fruity wines that are very fresh and mellow with little acidity or tannin. They are a aperfect introduction for a newcomer to wine drinking, with chicken or turkey for instance. Drinking temperature is 52.6-57.2°F (12-14°C).

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