The lighter red French wine is a lot like the related Bourgueil. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 53.6-57.2°F (12-14°C).
Cabernet Franc here produces a full-bodied wine with aromas of red fruit (redcurrant, wild strawberry, and raspberry), freshly-sliced green pepper (paprika), and violets. Chinon must either be drunk very young (within a year) or after three to five years. In the interim period of two or three years the wine often has less taste and does not release its bouquet. Drink this Cabernet French wine temperature: 53.6-57.2°F (12-14°C) . Chinon rose is very fresh and fruity and delicious with meat, pate, terrine, and especially pork and veal. Drinking temperature: 50-53.6°F (10-12°C).
The Champagne district is the most northerly wine region of France, located some ninety miles northeast of Paris. The method of production for champagne is explainde here.
Originally, the wines of Champagne were still. The cellar master at the Abbey of Hautvillers, a certain Pierre Pérignon (1639-1715), developed a system of blending, whereby the wines from different area in Champagne and made from different grape varieties, were blendend together. Although Dom Pérignon has been credited as being the inventor of sparkling Champagne, there is little real evidence to support this. There are claims that it was the English who put the sparke into imported Champagne wines, in the seventeenth century. On school of thought argues that warm weather caused the wine to undergo a secondary fermentation in the barrels in which it was exported.
Putting the bubbles into wine can be done in several ways but only sparkling wines made in a certain region of narthern France can be called Champagne.
The best way to produce sparkling wine is the 'Methode Traditionelle' , practised in Champagne and elsewhere. Base wines high in acidity and fermented to dryness are bottled and a small amount of sugar and yeast is then introduced to create a second fermentation. It is the second fermentation which creates carbon dioxide and thus the bubbles which give the wine its sprakle. As the carbon dioxide is unable to escape into the air it dissolves into the wine. The sediment, or less, left behind by the spent yeast stays in conctact with the wine until dégorgement, and imparts biscuity flavours and complexity.
'Dégorgement' is the removal of the lees, in order to render the wine clear and bright. A process known as 'rémuge', which invols the twisting and turning of the bottles, slowly shifts the lees to the neck of the bottle. The necks of the bottles are then passed through a solution of freezing brine in order to freeze the first inch or so of wine now containing the lees. When the cap is removed, the pressure in the bottle forces out the ice pellet.
To finish, the wine lost during 'dégorgement' is replaced by a mixture of wine and cane sugar, called the 'dosage' or 'Liquer d'Expedition'. The amount of sugar added has a bearing on the final style of the wine, for example a small amount of sugar is added for the dryish style of Brut while more is added for the quite sweet and sticky rich.
A cheaper form of secondary fermentation can take place in closed tanks. Known as 'Cuve close', the wine is bottled under pressure so that it retains carbon dioxide. This method is generally reserved for less expensive fizz.
Particular grape varieties are sought the world over. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir both have the attributes required to make great champagnes and sparkling wines. Although the best champagne may be a first choice for many as a 'desert island' bottle, there are plenty of fine sparkling wines around.
Areas of England with chalky soil, combined with the country's cool climate, make it capabile of producing top-quality sparkling wine. Fruity and expressive sparklers come from riper fruit in countries such as Australia, USA, New Zealand and South Africa, while the favoured choice from Spain is Cava, a lighter sparkling wine made from indigenous grape varieties.
It is a shame that almost everything with bubbles in gets called Champagne. There are top quality Cavas made by the traditional method that are far better in quality than the most lowly of Champagnes.
Calling these wines Champagne is to undervalue them. Not only is it incorrect but in common with other sparkling wines, the Spanish Cavas have their own story to tell about the grape varieties used, the soil on which they are grown, and the weather conditions that are quite different to those of Champagne. This Spanish wine has been made by the same methode traditionnelle as French sparkling wines since the end of the nineteenth century.
Cava came into being in the province of Barcelona in 1872 because the local innkeepers and hoteliers could not meet the increasing demand for good sparkling wine. The Catalans decided to make their own sparkling wine instead of always having to import either expensive Champagne or cheap Blanquette de Limoux.
Conscious that sparkling AOC Bordeaux wines produced according to traditional methods are original and unique, winemakers and professionals in Bordeaux decided to apply rigorous rules to the making of these wines.
Thus was born the Crémant de Bordeaux AOC in 1990. These sparkling wines are fine and perfumed, very pleasant as an aperitif, to round off a meal, or even with food. Made with white Bordeaux that meers the AOC requirements, and sometimes with the must of red grapes used to make white wines, Crémants have less of a reputation than other sparkling AOC wines that are made in a similar wayrhis is due to the small quantity of Crémant de Bordeaux produced. The term methode champenoise was once
Still and sparkling white French wines are produced in the 41 communes around Limoux. The climate in this area is clearly influenced by the Mediterranean, moderated by the influence of the Atlantic. It is much greener here than elsewhere in the Languedoc but from this apparent cool the local wines are somewhat tempestuous. Various Roman authors extolled the quality of the still wine of Limoux around the start ofthe first millennium. The natural conversion of still wine into sparkling was not discovered by a Benedictine monk until 1531. The first brut was produced at St-Hilaire, close to Limoux.
BLANQUETTE DE LlMOUX
This fresh sparkling wine must be produced with a minimum of 90 per cent of Mauzac grapes. The only grapes permitted to be supplemented are Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. After the initial fermentation and acquisition of the basic wine, tirage de liqueur is added to the wine. This causes a second fermentation in the bottle which adds bubbles to this French wine.
The residues from the fermentation are removed after at least nine months in the process of degorgement. Depending on the desired taste (brut or demi-sec) either none, a little, or more liqueur is added. Blanquette de Limoux is pale yellow tinged with green, is lightly but enduringly sparkling and has a fine nose of green apple and spring blossom together with a floral, fresh, and fruity taste.
Drinking temperature for this French wine at: 6- 8°C (42.8-46.4°F).
CREMANT DE LlMOUX
This French wine is actually closely related to the Blanquette. The differences are in the proportion of grapes used: a minimum of 60 per cent Mauzac (instead of 90) and a maximum of 20 per cent Chardonnay and 20 per cent Chenin Blanc together with a minimum maturation of 12 months instead of nine. The colour is pale golden, while the nose is very aromatic with suggestions of white flowers and toast, the taste is complex, light, and fresh. This Cremant is always characterised by its gentle, more delicate bubbles that make this a very subtle and elegant wine. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 6-8°C (42.8-46.4°F). There are special luxury cuvees of both the Blanquette and the Cremant. These do not perhaps possess the same finesse at top Champagnes but they do benefit from the warmth and generosity of the Mediterranean and the South of France. The price is exceptionally reasonable for a French wine.
Only a few of these wines, such as the Pongnicz, could compete with top quality Champagnes The other sparkling wines that are not made by the traditional method are also known as sparkling wine, and they can also be very tasty. Drinking temperature is 42.5-46.4°F (6-8°C).
The sweet South African wines such as Muscadel and Hanenpoot (Muscat of Alexandria) can be readily recommended.
The heavy and sultry wines that used to be have become somewhat fresher and more interesting.
This area is likely to become better known for its sparkling wines, which are Australia's first. Great Western resembles an Australian
desert-like version of Tuscany, with many gently undulating hills. The climate is dry but fairly cool by Australian standards.The difference between day and night temperatures can be quite high in summer. There is low rainfall and irrigation is therefore usually necessary. The soil consists principally of layers of poor, highly acidic soil with salty undertones which does not simplify the making of the wines from here.
This is a fairly unknown area within the hinterland of Portland. The three well-known grapes of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier provide the basis for sparkling wines. The area is ideally suited for making sparkling wines because it gets relatively less hours of sun than the rest of southern Australia.
The Yarra Valley, which is better known than the other two areas of Victoria, is situated on the outskirts of Melbourne. The soil is a mixture of loam, clay, and sand that is extremely acidic.