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    Italian Bolgheri WineThis area is close to the Mediterranean coast in the west of Tuscany, between Montescudaio and Massa Marittima. It was famous for many years for its sublime rosé wines but this was overtaken about fifteen years ago by the ‘super Tuscan' Sassicaia, which is one of the best and the most expensive wines of Italy.

    Because of the stifling bureaucracy of the Italian wine laws, this wine was formerly merely classified as vino da tavola. Now it may be sold as Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC, because Sassicaia has been recognised as a sub zone within the area of the Bolgheri denomination. The Bolgheri Bianco is made from 10-70% of Trebbiano Toscano, Vermentino or Sauvignon Blanc.


    Wine Pyramid ItalyThis is the final Tuscan denomination and certainly not the worst. Excellent white, rosé, and red wines are made on the island of Elba off the coast of Tuscany. It is surprising to discover here such authentic Italian wines still made with native grapes. The island is perhaps best known as the place to which Napoleon was first exiled. The French and the Tuscans introduced grape vines to the island and these provide an exciting array of different types and tastes. The fresh, light, and elegant Elba Bianco uses 80-100% Trebbiano Toscano (known here as Procanico). Drinking temperature for this Italian wine is 46.4- 50.0°F (8-10°C). The fuller-bodied and more intense Ansonica white made from not less than 85% Ansonica grapes is much more interesting and authentic in style though.

  •     Italy has a million grape growers, hundreds of grape varieties, and an amazing number of wine regions and styles.

      Argyably, the country provides greater diversity than any other wine-producing nation. Native grape varieties are still Italy’s strength, but some notable success has also been achieved with international grape varieties, such as Chabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Chardonnay.

     Italian wines tend to be best appreciated with food, This is a nation where regional food and wines are wnjoyed togetherm a natural evolution that has developed over centuries. Cultivation of the vine was introduced by both the Greeks and Italy ‘Oenotria’, land of the wine. Although Italy’s wine laws have come in for some criticism, they broadly follow the French model, with Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantita being reserved for a few ‘top’ wines, which are subject to strict rules of control. Denominazione di Origine Controllata introduced in 1963, guarantees that the wine has been produced in the named vineyard area.

    Italy wine map Methods of production are also specified. The newst category is Indicazione Geographica Tipica, which mirrors the French Vin de Pays. The removal of restrictions had led to winemakers making the most of blending opportunities and at best, making truly exciting and innovative wines. Vino da Tavola or table wine represents not only the simplest wines, but also super-premium and expresive wine made from non-indigenous grape varieties, such as Sassicaia, a pioneering Cabernet produced in Tuscany, which was promoted to a special sub-zone status in the Bolgheri in 1994.

     Italy’s climate tends to be more consistent than northern France’s but there is quite a variation from north to south. The best grape varieties, in terms of the quality of the wines produced, are Nebbiolo which reaches its greatest heights in Barolo and Barbaresco, both of which are Denominazione Origine Controllata e Garantitas and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. This trio make up some of Tuscany’s most impressive wines.

    Best whites

     Veneto, home to Valpoliclla and Soave, is found in the north.

    Some of Italy’s best white wines are produced in Trentino and Friuli, in what is often referrend to as the varietal northeast. The south has made great stides in improving its wines, and evidence of success can be seen in wines such as Salice Salentino from Apulia.{jcomments on}


    Vino nobile di Montepulciano DOCGThis Vino Nobile is one of the top three denominated wines of Tuscany, and one of Italy’s best-known wines. The vineyards are situated to the south west of Sienna, around the small community of Montepulciano, at heights ranging from 656 to 1,968 feet (250 to 600 metres). Montepulciano’s soil consists chiefly of sedimentary layers. This ‘noble’ Italian wine from Montepulciano has a long and rich history although the name was in danger of being pushed into the shadows by the success and popularity of Chianti.

  • Piemonte wine region

    Lazio Wine The name describes the position of the area: “at the foot of the mountains”, which is the Alps and bounds Italy with France and Switzerland. Countless rivers flow from these mountains to create beautiful valleys in the lower area. The city of Piedmont is Turin (Torino), famous for its large industry. The rest of the region is traditional agricultural and wine region.

    Piemonte has great tradition, which has had many successful generations of farmers. The local food is known for its strong herbs and spices. The Italian red wine is very powerful, especially those made with the Nebbiolo grape. Italian wine has been made in this wine regon for a long time, referenced both in Greek and Roman literature. Today Piedmont, with Tuscany, is a temple to the art of Italian wine making.


    Montefalcione Italian Map WineThis Italian wine has a richer past than the present-day quality might suggest. According to stories originating in the fourteenth century this was once an excellent wine. On one of his journeys, the bishop Giovanni Defuk sent his page Martino on ahead in search of the best wine with instructions to write ‘Est!’ (here it is) on the door of the inn that served the best wine. When he arrived in Montefialcone, the page was so taken with the local wine that he wrote ‘Est! Est!! Est!!!’ on the door of the inn.


    Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG This Italian wine originates in the sun drenched hills surrounding the little village of Montefalco, just to the south of Perugia. This noble Montefalco Sagrantino has only recently gained the distinction of DOCG status. There are two versions of this wine: the dry secco is made wholly from Sagrantino grapes and then undergoes a compulsory ageing period of twelve months in wooden casks and eighteen months following bottling before it may be sold. This Italian wine is dark ruby with purple glints when young.

  • Italy Umbria Orvieto Label wineORVIETO DOC WINE

    The fame of this Italian wine goes back to Etruscan times. Orvieto was originally famous solely as a sweet white wine and the dry version is of quite recent origins. If you look hard you may still find a superb old-fashioned sweet (abbocato/amabile/dolce) Orvieto. The dry wines dominate though, especially for export. To make Orvieto wine the grapes used are Trebbiano (known locally as Procanico), Verdello, Canaiolo Bianco (Drupeggio), and Malvasia.


    Vernaccia San Ginignano Palagetto WineThis is another top Italian wine. Superb wines have been made with the Vemaccia grape for centuries in Tuscany and the makers of this Vemaccia wine have not rested on their laurels since being granted DOCG recognition. Constant efforts are made to develop and improve the quality both in the vineyard and with the wine making equipment. San Gimignano is outside the Classico zone for Chianti.


    JASNIÈRES French wineThis French wine-growing area is only 4 km (2  miles) long and several hundred metres/yards wide, along the hills of the Loir, north of the vineyards of Vouvray and Montlouis. Small volumes are produced here on a bed of tufa of a consequently rare white wine that is considered to be among France's best. This French wine is made from the Pineau de la Loire (Chenin Blanc) and it is distinguished by its finesse. The characteristic aromas are citrus fruit, almond, quince, apricot, peach, and sometimes also floral notes like rose or herbs such as thyme and mint. Depending on the season and the maker's preferences, the wine can be either dry or semisweet. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 50-53.6°F (10-12°C).

  •    Finally the largest wine region of South Africa is Klein Karoo, which is also the most easterly area. It is very hot in summer here and irrigation is essential. Klein Karoo is famous for its sweet fortified wine but also for the surprisingly fresh and fruity Steen (Chenin Blanc).


    In spite of the name this is not Riesling as we know it in Europe but a different grape, the Crouchen Blanc, of which the origins are unclear. It is often used to make very acceptable table wines but also produces some good firm wines with interesting vegetal aromas such as straw and grass. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).

    COLOMBARDAfrican Chardonnay

    This grape variety hails originally from the French south-west, origins of most of the Huguenots. Its yields fresh and fruity wines that are excellent as an aperitif or to served with grilled fish. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).


    These grapes originate from the Loire. The grape is particularly used for its fine acidity. In South Africa though it delivers surprisingly mellow wines that are almost sweet as well as dry as chalk examples that are fresh and fruity. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).


    Also known on occasion as Pume Blanc as in the United States. South African Sauvignon Blanc wines are very herbal with definite notes of grass, with peppery undertones. The taste is fresh, dry, aromatic, and beautifully rounded. Drinking temperature is 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).


    This Burgundian grape also thrives in South Africa. The special cuvees in particular, that are aged in oak barrels, are extremely exciting. Chardonnay is fruity, rich, and rounded with a robust taste. Drinking temperature is 50-53.6°F (10- 12°C).


    This grape is the true South African speciality. It was formed from a cross based on old root stock with Pinot Noir, and Cinsault (known locally as Hermitage) about which little is known. The variety was created by Prof. Abraham Perold in 1925 and it combines the reliability of Cinsault in terms of volume and quality, even in poor years, with the finesse of Pinot Noir.

    Most of the wines are drunk still too young but there are certain top quality Pinotage wines such as Kanonskop which aged well (five to ten years).

     Pinotage smells and tastes of dark ripe fruit with hints of spices. Some of the best Pinotage wines contain quite substantial tannin when they are young. A local speciality is 'Beesvleis Pinotage', which is a beef stew cooked in Pinotage. Drinking temperature is 60.8°F (16°C).

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  • KunsÁg Hungarian Wine

    Casks Aszu and Eszencia HunaryThe area of Kunság (known as Kiskunsag up to 1998) is on the Great Plain (Alfold) of Hungary to the south of the town of Kecskemet and extends to the small town of Hajos. This region does not have a real history of wine making, dating back to the end of the nineteenth century when it was found that phylloxera less readily affected vines grown on sandy soils such as those in the south of Hungary. The climate is also not ideal for Hungarian wine-growing with very hot and totally dry summers and extremely cold winters. This Hungarian wines from this area are mainly intended for sale as bulk wine and they have little to offer except the high alcohol of both reds and whites, and the syrupy nature of the white Hungarian wine. Drinking temperature is 8-10°C (46.4-50°F ) for white Hungarian wines and 12-16°C (53.6-60.8°F) for red Hungarian wines.


    La Grande Rue Grand CruThis French wine is Jess well-known and less complex than its companjons from Vosne-Romanee. The appellation jg relatively recent (1992) and it has yet to prove itself as a gain for the area.

    This French wine is perhaps more representative than Cotes de Nuits and the climat is somewhat larger. The colour is a clear bright ruby red and the wine has seductive aromas of cherry, other small red and black woodland fruits, with the suggestion of herbs and spices in both the nose and taste. After a number of years maturing in the bottle, a bouquet develops of toadstools and other fungus. This French wine is a little rough and boisterous when young but becomes soft and pliant after a few years.

    Drink this fine and fairly inexpensive French wine between 60.8-64.4°F(16-18°C).



    This French wine is granite red and has an jntense yet refined nose of cherry, wood, and spices which, when older, typically changes to suggestions of wild game. The taste is heady, fleshy, jwcy and velvety at the same lime. The aftertaste is often tilled with a great concentration of ripe fruit, with the suggestion of spices. Do not drink this French wine too young, certainly not before 10 years old, but also not too warm (60.8-62.6°F/16-17°C).

    The taste is heady, fleshy, jwcy and velvety at the same lime. The aftertaste is often tilled with a great concentration of ripe fruit, with the suggestion of spices. Do not drink this French wine too young, certainly not before 10 years old, but also not too warm (60.8-62.6°F/16-17°C).

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  • La Mancha wine and region

    La Mancha white Spanish wineIn terms of area this is by far the largest DO of Spain at 194,864 hectares. In this immense area of La Mancha, where once the legendary Don Quixote tilted at windmills, the wine-growers fought against what they regarded as arbitrary rules laid down by the European Community. Even today not every-body in La Mancha accepts that there is a vast lake of surplus wine in Europe. Fortunately more and more bodegas are addressing themselves to the demands of the market and improving the bad name associated with La Mancha wine. These bodegas have substantially replaced their equipment and directed themselves towards making quality Spanish wines. Thanks to the effort of these innovative houses the name of La Mancha has increasingly been linked to quality wines, that can be


    La Palma WinesLa Palma wine and region

    Granted DO status since 1994, there are three sub- areas of Hoyo de Mazo (south-eastern hills of Santa Cruz de La Palma through to Mazo), Fuencaliente- Las Manchas (south-western hills of Tazacorte to Fuencaliente), and the northern area of Tijarafe to Puntallana.

    The vineyards are sited on black volcanic soil at heights of between 328 and 3,280 feet(200 and almost 1,000 metres). Because of the strong winds, the vines are each planted individually inside a shelter of a stone wall in a slight depression in the ground. The climate is sub-tropical but with strong maritime influences (La Palma is the most westerly island of the Canaries).

    The Malvasia from the grape of the same name is available as seco, semi-dulce, or dulce.

  • Lalande-de-Pomerol Bordeaux Wine

    Lalande de Pomerol Bordeaux WineThe Lalande-de-Pomerol AOC is reserved only for wines produced in the communes of Lalande-de-Pomerol and Neac. This region from Bordeaux is located on one of the pilgrim paths that led to Saint James of Compostela. The Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem and the Knights of the Order of Malta built refuges, hospices, and residences here. Dating from the twelfth century, the church of Lalande-de-Pomerol, the only one of its kind in Libourne, is the only remaining monument of the Hospitallers.

    This Bordeaux region, in which vines have been cultivated since the tenth or eleventh century, extends west from Saint-Émilion. The landscape grows less rugged towards the valley of the Isle river.

  •    Languedoc-Roussillon is a large area that sweeps across southern France from the Spanish border to the Rhône estyary. Commonly known as the Midi, it produces almost one third of all French wines and is currently a hot bed of innovation and exciting winemaking.

      Hillside locations are replacing the flatland vineyards which once produced an enormous amount of Vin Ordinaire. Emphasis is now being placed in lower yields, barrique ageing and more complex blending. Many Rhône varieties, such as Syrah and Grenache, are planted here to grow alongisde Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot ans Chardonnay. Other well-known grape varieties can be seen on wine labels, perticularly from the Vin de Pay d’Oc, an area covering the whole of the Languedoc-Roussillon. Important appellations include Minervois, Corbiéres, Fitou and Côtes de Roussillon.


    Up and coming

     Provence lies to the southeast of Avignon abd extends to the Italian border. A popular holiday destination, mostly dry rosé and red wines are made here. With a Mediterrean climate and some favourable soil conditions, both Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence can provide consistency in terms of quality against price, without too much variation from one year to the next. Several Australian winemakers have now brought their own ideas and experience to this part of France, which is sometimes deschbed as ‘where the new world meets the old’. Dynamic and foeard thinking, they are shaping the future of these two historic regions. It is interesting to note that well-known French companies looking to expand their interests have also established wineries and contracts with local growers.

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    The wines of Maury, with flavours of sweet blackberry and a nutty, raisin-like richness, make an excellent partener to chocolate.


      Some producers, such as Mas de Daumas Gassac, have successfully made and sold wines under a humble Vin de Pays, while reaching a level of quality and price that one would normally associate with more famous place names. Gradually, the south of France is no longer being seen as the bargain basement of bulk wine.

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    Lanzarote wine region

    Lanzarote Spanish WineThe territory of the Lanzarote DO includes the majority of that island. Lanzarote was promoted to DO status in 1994. The soil here in the vineyards too is black and volcanic in origin, known locally as picón. Each vine is planted separately in a small depression which is protected by a low circular stone wall. This is necessary to prevent damage by the strong winds, especially the Sirocco from the Sahara, that can be devastating. The depressions surrounded by their little walls give the landscape a somewhat surrealistic appearance from a distance. The vines are planted at 400-500 per hectare. For a decade now there have been good white, rosé, and red Spanish wines made for the tourists. Although these wines are well worth tasting, the true strength of the island lies in the superb Muscatel and Malvasia wines. The Muscatel is available as dulce and licoroso.

  • Lazio Italian wine region

    Lazio wine ItalianThe region of Lazio extends from the Apennines, where it borders Umbria, Abruzzi, and Molise, to the Mediterranean. It is bounded to the north by Tuscany and to the south by Campania. The river Tiber plays an important role in the local wine-growing and the capital city of Rome is the region’s largest market. The majority of the vineyards of Lazio are close to Rome. The other Italian wine areas are found near Montefiascone in the north of Lazio, between Rieti and the border with Abruzzi, and north of Frosinone in the south of the region.

  • This area is actually part of the Côteaux d'Aix-enProvence, but gained its own AC in 1995. The landscape here is dominated by the rugged and picturesque Alpilles hills that are interspersed with vineyards and olive groves. The area gained its own AC because of its local microclimate and enforcement of stricter production criteria. Only the red and rose wines from a designated 300 hectares surrounding the town of Les Baux-de-Provence are permitted to bear this appellation.



    The colour is the first thing that strikes one. It is a superb salmon-pink, while the nose is reminiscent of redcurrant, strawberry, and other red fruit for thise French wine. The taste is fresh, fruity (grapefruit and cherry), and very pleasant. This is a rose that can charm most people. Drink it chilled at 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).



    The colour of this French wine is a fairly dark ruby red. The nose is complex and strong with hints of wood, vanilla, liquorice, plum jam, caramel, coffee, humus, and occasionally of cherry brandy. The taste is fairly coarse in the first five years because of the strong youthful tannin but after some years in the bottle the taste becomes more rounded, fuller, and more powerful. Drink this French wine at 16- 18°C (60.8-64.4°F) .

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