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  • Sainte-Foy-Bordeaux, Serving Wine and Seuil


    Chateau Hostens Picant Sainte Foy Bordeaux WineThe ancient walled town of Sainte-Foy-La-Grande was founded in 1255 by Alphonse de Poitiers, a brother of Saint Louis, to protea its inhabitants from frequent invasions by the English. Though Sainte-Foy-La-Grande has never produced a drop of wine, it has given its name to this appellation. The town has played a role in the wine trade thanks to its location next to the Dordogne river, which has allowed the transport of many types of goods including wine from the hinterland.

    As this appellation requires specific grape varieties and stricter production conditions than those of the Bordeaux AOC, most of the region’s growers prefer to use the Bordeaux appellation.

  • Sauternes Bordeaux Wine

    Sauternes Bordeaux Wine

    Sauternes Bordeaux WineThe region defined by the Sauternes AOC consists of five communes: Sauternes, Fargues, Bommes, Preignac, and Barsac. This is the region that produces the precious nectar known throughout the world as Sauternes, considered by many enthusiasts to be the world's best white wine. The ultimate Sauternes wine is Chateau d'Yquem, which in 1855 was the only Gironde wine to be awarded the title Premier Cru Supérieur.

    Like Cérons, this wine-growing region is included in the southern part of Graves. It is separated from the Graves region on the west by the pleasant, green Ciron valley, which serves as a border for the Sauternes, Bommes, and Preignac communes. On the north, this valley separates Preignac from Barsac. The type of soil and subsoil gives a particular character to the wine produced, which explains the slight differences between wines of different crus. Workers pick the grapes bunch by bunch, selecting the fruit that has been affected by the famous "noble rot", which is the key to Sauternes wines. This rot is caused by the fungus Botrytis cinerea.

  • Sweet and dry Cagliari Wine


    Sardinian wineThis is actually a collection of wines made from Malvasia grapes. They are all produced in the area around Cagliari. The dry Malvasia Secco and sweet Malvasia Dolce Naturale are full-bodied and alcoholic wines (minimum alcohol 14%).

    They are aromatic and refined with some bitter undertones including a suggestion of burnt almond. Drink this Italian wine at 10-12°C (50-53.6°F) for the Secco and 8-10°C (46.4-50°F) for the Dolce Italian wine.

  • 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.


    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.


    Grand cru – classified vineyard site.

    Sélection de grains nobles – wine.

    Vendange Tardive – ‘late harvest’/specially grown ripe grapes.


    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.


    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.


    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,


    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.



    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.



    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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  • Types of Spanish Sherry


    Types of sherry

    Osborne Sherry SpainIt may be possible to find a sherry at the very best Spanish wine merchants that originates from one defined year. These superb quality sherries are usually very expensive and represent such a small percentage of the whole that they are not dealt with here separately. In this book we observe the Spanish grading system.



    This is a straw yellow Spanish wine that is always dry and fresh with the characteristic bouquet and taste of almond and walnut, wood and flor; alcohol 15.5%. It makes a first class aperitif to drink at 50°F (10°C).

  • Valencia wine - part two

    Valencia Spanish wine

    Blanco Valencia wineAlto Turia Blancos are fresh, light wines made wholly with Mersequera. Valencia and Valentino Blancos are produced from a mixture of Merseguera, Planta Fina, Pedro Ximénez, and Malvasía and are available in seco (dry), semi-seco (medium dry) and dulce (sweet) forms. Clariano Blanco Seco is produced from Merseguera, Tortosi and Malvasía. Drink the dry Spanish wines as an aperitif or with fish and shellfish. The slightly sweeter wine can be drunk as an aperitif if you like that kind of thing. The sweet types are best avoided, or if this is not possible then serve with a fresh fruit salad. You can drink this Spanish wine 46.4- 50.0°F (8-10°C) for seco/semi-seco and 42.8-46.4°F(6-8°C) for dulce wines. Valencia, Valentino and Clariano Rosados are fresh and light and have little to say for themselves. These rosados main contribution to a meal is their discretion. Drink this Spanish wine 50-53.6°F (10-12°C).

  • Wines from California III


    Although the Americans have great difficulty with the name this wine is certainly no joke. Most of the local Gewurztramier is made as sweet wine with floral notes, suggestions of Muscat, a hint of spice, and sultry, but Gewurtraminer Dry is becoming increasingly popular.

    White Zinfandel/Blush wines/white grenache

    Zinfandel and Grenache are famous blue grapes but there are also white wines made with them. The wine is of course not truly white but a light pink. These are quite recent creations which are mainly aimed at the younger market.

    Most wines are not wholly dry and some of them are even slightly sweet. They have a nos in which vanilla ice cream with strawberries can be found in the White Zin or res fruit in the White Grenache. Drinkling temperature is 50-53°F (10-12°C).


  • Wines from Valais vineyards


    Petit Arvine Swiss WineWhile the previous two white Swiss wines need to be drunk within three or at most four years after they are made, the wines of the Arvine and Petite Arvine grapes aged well. These are Swiss wines with a strong personality that are seductive, possessing a fruity bouquet, and are often high in alcohol (13% or more) and sometimes sugar residues. These unusual grapes thrive on very steep rocky ground.

    The yield is quite low but the price of these gems is not untoward. Arvine and Petite Arvine Sèche (dry) has a characteristic salty taste and nose of citrus fruit. Arvine and Petite Arvine Flétri (partially dried grapes) is sweet and superb. Drinking temperature for this Arvine Swiss wine is 8-10°C (46.4-50°F) for the dry wines and 6-9°C (42.8°-8.2°F) for the sweet ones.