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  • 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 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.



    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.



    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.



    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).



    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


    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.



    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.



    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.



    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.



    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 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 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 nine AC French wines


    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.



    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).



    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.



    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).



    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).



    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.



    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.



    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.


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


    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.


    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 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 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.



    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.


    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.



    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.



    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.



    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.



    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.



    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).



    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.



    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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  • Valdeorras, Bierzo, Castilla y León Spanish Wine

    This Spanish wine area lies mainly inland on the border with Castilla y Leon. Most of this Spanish vineyards are in the valley of the Sil. Until recently a heavy dark wine was made here that disappeared anonymously on draught through the local bars. The grape varieties of Godello (white) and Mencía (red) are gradually being restored to their true position of honour and increasing amounts of quality Spanish wine are now being made. The Spanish wine-making installations are greatly improved and the wine-making itself is now far more hygienic.

  • Valle d'Aosta - Italian Wine


      The picturesque valley of Aosta is in the north of Piedmont, at the foot of the mighty Mont Blanc and the Matterhorn. The Aosta valley owes more in terms of culture to the Francophone Swiss and the French from Savoie than to the rest of Italy. 

     This can be seen in both the local place names and the names of the wines such as Donnaz, Enfer d'Arvier, Blanc de Morgex et de La Salle. You are unlikely though to encounter the wines from the Valle d'Aosta elsewhere for production is quite limited and the local inhabitants and passing tourists can happily consume it all.



    This is an exceptionally delicious gentle dry white wine that is delicate with a distinctive bouquet of mountain herbs and grass and a fresh taste due to the presence of carbonic acid. This wine is often drunk with the local cheese fondue of Toma and Fontina. Drinking temperature 46.4-50°F (8- 10°C).


  • White Grapes

    White grapes wine

    The taste of a wine depends principally on the grapes from which it is made. Different climates, soils and winemaking tehniques also play a part.

    White wine is almost always made from white grapes, although black grapes can be uses if contact between the skins (where colour is obtained) and the juice is avoided. All grapes varieties have individual characteristics and ripen at different times, the type of grape exerting a heavy influence an the taste of a wine.


    Broadly speaking the style of white wine produced can be broken down into three categories: light-bodies white wines such as German Riesling, aromatic white wines such as Gewürztraminer, and full-bodied and wooded white wines such as Chardonnay or Sémillon.

    Chardonnay Grapes

    Chardonnay Grapeswhite-grapes

    Today world's most popular white grape, Chadonnay express its varietal character in many forms: from the racy, steely, and nervy wines of Chablis, to the fuller-bodied, buttery rich wine made in the Napa Vally, California. 

    Sauvignon Blanc Grapes

    Sauvignon Blanc Grapes white-grapes

    This is an aromatic grape, which ripens early and is mostly grown in cool-climate vineyards.   Its range extends from featherweight tangy, dry white wines like Sauvignon de Touraine, to the ripe, almost tropical-like fruitiness obtained in California, where the less common addition of oak is often adopted and labelled 'Fume Blanc'. Sauvignon Blanc thrives on chalk or gravel soil.

    Riesling Grapes

    Riesling Grapes white-grapes

    The Riesling grape is seen by many as the most versatile variety of white grape in the world. It is without doubt a class act with a number of strengths, not least its ability to outperform Chardonnay in the longevity stakes.

    Semillon Grapes

    Semillon Grapeswhite-grapes

    Arguably one fo the most underrated verieties of grapes, Sémillon, Bordeaux's most widely planted white grape, makes delicious dry and sweet wines. With an almost honeyed texture, Sémillon is often partnered by Sauvignon Blanc to lift the acidity, although Australian winemakers also blend Sémillon Trebbiano.

    Chenin Blanc Grapes

    Chenin Blanc 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.

    Other white grapes

    Other white grapeswhite-grapes

     This distinctive grape variety is known by its friends simply as Gewürtz but sometimes also as Traminer. It provides interese aromas, reminiscent of lychee, rose petals and spice.

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  • Wine Regions from Slovenia

    Posavje Slovenian Wine

    Slovenian winePosavje(Posavski Vinorodni Region) means the valley of the Sava, which is the river that together with its tributaries, the Sotla, Savinja, and Krka provides the necessary moisture to this region. Posavje is situated south of Podravje, against the Croatian border. The area has a climate that is principally central European and continental but with moderating Mediterranean influences from the south, especially in Bela Krajina. Every type of this Slovenian wine is produced here from fresh to sweet, from light to moderately full-bodied, and white, rosé, and red, still or sparkling. Posavje is renowned for its excellent late harvest sweet Slovenian wines such as (Pozna Trgatev) and for Eiswein (Ledeno Vino), and others produced from grapes carefully selected such as Izbor, Jagodni Izbor, and Suhi Jagodni Izbor.

  • Wines from California

    Wine areas


    California is a very large wine region in which the following guaranteed places of origin are the best known: Mendocino Country, Lake Country, Sonoma Country (includes the famous Russian River Valley and Sonoma Valley),

     Napa Valley, Los Carneros, Central Valley, Sierra Foothills, Livermore Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains, Monterey Country, San Joaquin Valley, San Luis Obispo Valley, and Santa Barbara Country.

    Irrigation is permitted throughout California but not necessary everywhere. The most popular grape varieties are Chardonnay, Colonbard, Chenin Blanc, Fumé Blanc, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Pinot Blanc, and Viognier for white wines and Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Barbera, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Grenache for red wine. The classic Californian grape variety of Zinfandel is starting to play an incresingly important role.



    You mai encounter thousands of different types of Californian wine because of the great differences in climate, soil, wine-making method, yield, and target group for marketing.

    Californian Champagne

    The powerful house of Champagne forbid everyone from using their name outside the designated area of Champagne in France yet you will find the term ‘Champagne’ used in the USA on other wines. To avoid long drawn out and costly law siuts in the American courts, the Champagne houses have had to accept that names such as ‘Californian Champagne’ are legally permitted here.

    They are however restricted to the domestic markets so that the so-called Californian Champagne must be sold in Europe merely as ‘sparkling wine’. American sparkling wines are made in both pink (rosé) and white and from quite dry to sweet. The driest is the Brut, followed by Extra Dry, Dry/Sec, and Demi-Sec, which is the sweetest.

    Only the highest quality sparkling are made in the United States by the traditional method with second fermentation in the bottle. Most are produced by the charmat or bulk method. This shows to be made down to a price. A thrid method is the transfer method which combines aspects of both the other methods. The results are of better quality than with the ordinary bulk method but remain cheaper than the traditional way.

    Whether white or rosé, some of these wines are well worth discovering. Two of the leading Champagne nouses make good ‘Champagne’ style wines in America. Those of Mumm are good while the Taittinger product is excellent.

     The Mumm wines from the Napa Valley are livelier and more unrully tha those of Taittinger, which come from Carneros, and are more grown-up and full-bodied. Drinking temperature is 42.8 – 46.4°F (6-8°C).

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  • Wines from California


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

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

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

    Fumé Blanc (Sauvignon Blanc)

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

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

    Chenin Blanc

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

    Hohannisberg Riesling/White Riesling

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

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

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  • Wines from California


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

    Many Americans drink the sweet of slightly sweet ‘off-dry’ Gewurztraminer as an apertif. The dry Gewürztraminer is excellent with chichen and Oriental dishes. Drinking temperature is 50-53.6°F (10-12°C) for dry, 46.4-50°F (8-10°C) for off-dry, and 42.8-46.4°F (6-8°C) for sweet.

    White Zinfandel/Blush wines/white grenache

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

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


    There are sultry, sweet wines that in addition to the recongnisable Muscat grape nose hane apricot, peach, and ripe pear in their bouquet. The wine is often served with goose liver in California but it is better suited to serve with a fruit dessert. Drinking temperature is 42.8-46.4°F (6-8°C).

    Cabernet Sauvignon

    The name is often unceremoniously shorted to ‘Cab’. This classic is one of the better wines of California. It is dark coloured and very aromatic with grassy and vegetal hints here, plus suggestions of green tea and leaves.

     The wine is quite full-bodied. The wine can be undrinkable when young through an over-exposure to new oak. After a few years it develops its full beauty with a nose in which cherry, berries, herbs, currant, cedarwood, tobacco, vanilla, mint, pepper, and chocolate can be discerned. It is very much a wine to serve wiht haute cuisine. Drinking temperature is 60.8-62.6°F (16-17°C).

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  • 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).


  • Zimbabwe Wine

       Pew people will have heard of wine-growing in Zimbabwe and for those who have it will not be very positive. This fairly young wine industry is concentrated in the north-east of the country between the capital, Harare, and the border town of Mutare,

     in the wine areas of Marodera and Odzi, and the southern wine areas of Gweru and Bulawayo. Zimbabwe produces white, rose, and red wines.

    The white wines are made from grapes such as Clairette, Colombard, Chenin Blanc, and Riesling for dry wines and Muscatel and Hanenpoot for sweet ones. The white wines are certainly not for keeping. The first attempts have delivered reasonably fullbodied wines with fairly harsh acidity. Roses from Pinotage and Cinsault are fairly dry but less fullbodied.

     These too should be drunk young. The reds come from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, and Cinsault. They are fairly full-bodied, quite dry, but lack backbone. It is not a wine to keep. It is to be seen if Zimbabwe can make pleasing and drinkable wines in the future.

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