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  • Sauternes, Barsac en Cerons French Wines

    Premier Cru Classe SauternesLate harvesting of grapes is a practice that is carried on throughout Europe. The practice was already used by the Greeks and Romans, long before a single drop of Sauterne was made. Botrytis was probably already present in the area before the first French wines were made. The process is a natural one that can only occur where the climate is warm and humid.

    Botrytis is a stubborn, unreliable fungus though, that cannot be relied upon to appear in the same way in the same place each year. Sometimes it does not occur at all. Producing really fine sweet wines is very labour intensive and painstaking work that also requires a great deal of good luck. French wine-growers consider themselves blessed if the overripe grapes become infected by botrytis. The water in the grape is eviscerated by the fungus and evaporates in the warm air. The concentration of aromatic substances and sugars increases as the grape shrivels. This French wine derived from such grapes is very aromatic, full, comforting, powerful, and very alcoholic.

  • Savennieres French Wines


    This dry, sturdy wine is one of the best French white wines. The Chenin Blanc thrives at its best here in part due to the terroir of steep, rocky hills that are interspersed with slate and sand. The south to southeast siting is also ideal. Two exceptional French vineyards are permitted to carry their own name on the label: these are the Grand Crus of Savennieres-la-Couleede-Serrant and Savennieres-la-Roche-aux-Moines.

    Savennieres French winesThe first is special in being owned by just one person, Nicolas Joly, the guru of organic winegrowing in France. Savennieres wines are a perfect accompaniment to lobster, crab, crayfish, freshwater fish, or other shellfish. Drink temperature for this Savennieres French wine: 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

  • Savoie - French Wine


    The vineyards of Savoie only amount to about 2,000 hectares but these are spread across a large area. From Lake Geneva in the north, the wine country spreads itself out to the foot of the Alps in the east and the as far south as the valley of the Isere, south of Chambery, about 100 km (62 miles) south of Lake Geneva. It is a shame that wine from Savoie is not better known. The predominant white wine is fresh and full of flavour. The scattered vineyards and hilly terrain make both wine-growing and making difficult so that these wines are not cheap. Savoie French wines are subtle, elegant, and characteristic of their terroir like no other wine.


    The region Savoie

    The vineyards of Savoie resemble a long ribbon of small areas in a half moon facing south-east. The climate is continental in nature but is moderated by the large lakes and rivers. To the west the vineyards are protected from the rain-bearing westerly winds by the Jura mountains and other hills. The high level of annual sun hours (1,600 per annum) are an important factor. The vineyards are sited between 300 and 400 metres (984--1,312 feet) above sea level. The soil is a mixture of chalk, marl, and debris from Alpine glaciers.



    The most important appellation is Vin de Savoie (still, sparkling, and slightly sparkling). There are 18 Crus which are permitted to use their name on the label.

    The Roussette de Savoie appellation (which uses solely the local Altesse grape) has an additional 4 Crus. Savoie is a wine region well-worth making a detour to visit, if only to discover the four unique native grape varieties: the white Jacquere, Altesse or Roussette, Gringet and red Mondeuse. In addition to these native grapes, Aligote, Chasselas, Chardonnay and Molette are grown for white wines and Gamay, Persan, Joubertin and Pinot Noir for the red and rose French wines.










    These French white wines are all made from the Jacquere grape. These are fresh, very aromatic wines. The colour varies from barely yellow to pale yellow depending on the terroir and from light and comforting with floral undertones such as honey-suckle that lightly prick the tongue to fully-flavoured and fruity. Chill this wine to 8°C (46.4°F). and drink when still young.





    The Chasselas grape (known from the best Swiss wines) typifies the white French wine. The colour is pale yellow and the nose reminds of ripe fruit, sometimes even of dried fruit. There is a full and fresh taste.

    Certain French wines such as Crepy in particular prick the tongue. Locally they say of a good Crepy: 'Le Crepy crepite,' or in other words it crackles.

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  • Secco and Dolce Italian Wines


    Giro Cagliari WineThis robust red from Giro grapes is made in a variety of styles. The dry Secco contains at least 14% alcohol while the sweet Dolce Naturale is not less than 14.5%. Both are sultry and extremely aromatic with the nose of freshly-picked grapes, and are fulsome, velvet smooth, and warm in taste. Drink at 16°C (60.8°F) for a Secco Italian wine and 10-12°C (50-53.6°F) for a Dolce Naturale Italian wine.

    There is also a much fuller Liquoroso version of both in Secco or Dolce Naturale (with not less than 17.5% alcohol). Drink at 16-18°C (60.8-64.4°F) for a Secco Italian wine and 10-12°C (50-53.6°F) for the Dolce Italian wine.

  • Sherry Fortified Wine

    Sherry Fortified WineSherry is the unique fortified wine made in southwest Spain. Like Champagne, its name is protected by law and may only be applied to the wines made in the ‘Sherry Triangle’ around the town of Jerez.  ‘White, chalki’ Albariza soil, ample sunshine and the cool influence of the Atlantic Ocean help to ripen the Palomino grapes whitch produce the base wine for sherry fortified wine. The best sweetening fortified wine will be made from the Pedro Ximénez grape.

     After fortification, the sherry will be stored in casks (butts), until the following year, when classification will take place. All sherry butts are filled just five-sixth full. The delicate fortified wine, fortified to a maimum of 15.5 per cent alcohol, will be classified as finos. 

    There are three major styles of fino: fino fortified wine, manzanilla fortified wine and amontillado fortified wine. The type of fino fortified wine depends on the influence of flor, a yeast unique to Jerez. It’s in the atmosphere and grows on the surface of the wine, affecting its composition and flavour. The very presence of flor produces the characteristic tanghy and ‘yeasty’ nose and flavour of the dry sherries.

     Butts not classified as finos will develop into the richer fortified wine known as olorosos, which are fortified to 18 per cent alcohol, a level too high to be affected by flor. Olorosos mature in direct contact with air and are sometimes sweetened during this process.

     To maintain style and consistency, a system of fractional blending and maturation takes place. Known as the solera system, this allows a younger fortified wine to be added to an older wine after one-third of the older wine has been drawn off for bottling.


    Styles of Sherry fortified wine

    Sherry fortified wine is diverse and therefore not only makes an excellent aperitif wine, but is also extremely versatile with food:

    FINO FORTIFIED WINE: light and dry.

    MANZANILLA FORTIFIED WINE: delicate, dry with a salty tang.

    OLOROSO FORTIFIED WINE: full, smooth with a walnut flavour.

    AMONTILLADO FORTIFIED WINE: dry, smooth, nutty.

    PALO CORTADO FORTIFIED WINE: amontillado, nose, oloroso-like palate.

    PALE CREAM FORTIFIED WINE:crisp, subtle sweetness.

    CREAM FORTIFIED WINE: sweet, dried fruit flavour.

    PEDRO XIMÉNEZ FORTIFIED WINE: rich, sweet, raisin-like flavour.

    ► Fortified Wine  ► Sherry Fortified Wine ► Port Fortified Wine   ► Madeira Fortified Wine {jcomments on}

  • Sicily Region

    Sicily Wine Region

    Indicazione Geografica Tipica White and RedThe triangular island of Sicily is not just the largest island of Italy but also of the entire Mediterranean. Virtually ever race of people that was linked in the past to the Mediterranean has left its traces behind on Sicily. The landscape and the lives of the Sicilians and of the surrounding islands is influenced by the volcanoes and the sea. More than 80% of the area consists of mountains, mostly of volcanic origins.

  • Sicily Wines


    This is a small Italian wine area near Messina, in the north east of the island, that makes good red wine from Nerello, Nocera, and where necessary also Calabrese, Gaglioppo, and Sangiovese grapes. Drinking temperature for this Italian wine is 14-16°C (57.2-60.8°F).


    Moscato di Trani Dolce Italian wineThis is one of many Malvasia wines to be found that are made on the main island and smaller Aeolian islands. This Malvasia originates from the island of Le Lipari that lies off the coast near Messina. This golden yellow Italian wine is very aromatic. It can be made in a number of ways but only using fresh Malvasia grapes with some partially dried Passito grapes for Liquoroso types or even pressed with a small quantity of currants.

  • Slovakian Wine

    Slovakia Wine and Region

    Slovakia wine TokajSlovakia is much smaller than the Czech Republic and this is made more telling by the fact that about one third of the country consists of the Tatra mountains (Nizke Tatiy). Slovakia borders Poland, Hungary, Austria, and the Czech Republic. The climate is continental with mountain influences, with hot dry summers and very cold winters.

    The vineyards are concentrated in two areas, in the south west near Bratislava, close to the Czech, Austrian, and Hungarian borders, and to the east of Kosice against the border with Hungary and the Ukraine. Both areas are characterised by many rivers, the Danube (Donau) and its tributaries the Váh, Nitra, and Hron in the west and Hronád, Topla, and Ondava in the east.

  • Slovenia Regions

    Kraški slovenian wine

    Slovenian WineyardsAncient and famous Kraški Teran wine originates from Karšt. This is made from Refošc grapes which are related to the Italian variety of Refosco and the wine is said according to popular belief to work as a tonic for health because of its high concentration of lactic and amino acids in the wine and the presence of iron. The colour is ruby red with glints of purple and this Slovenian wine is very fruity with hints of redcurrant in both the bouquet and taste. This is a Slovenian wine with a velvet smooth texture that is not excessively alcoholic. Drinking this Slovenian wine at 16°C (60.8°F).

  • Slovenia Wine Regions

    Ljutomer Ormoske Gorice Slovenian Wine

    Slovenian wine bottlesThe white Slovenian wines from this area are certainly among the best in Europe. Unfortunately the means are not to hand to make their wines better known. The Slovenian wines from the local cooperative Jeruzalem Ormoz should have a large market potential in Europe. You are unlikely to encounter such fine Pinot Blanc (Beli Pinot) anywhere else than from Ljutomer Ormoske Gorice. The bouquet is redolent of may blossom and other white flowers, perhaps with a hint of broom, and even fruit stone liquor (Slibowitz). The taste is very fresh with elegant and refined acidity, the relationship between alcohol, body, and fruit is perfect, and the price is a gift. Drinking temperature for this Slovenian wine is 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

  • Slovenia Wines and Region

    SloveniaN Wine

    Slovenian wine toursThe north of the country is mountainous while inland is either flat or gently undulating. The farthest south-east has a beautiful stretch of coastline. The climate is central European and continental with mountain influences in the north and Mediterranean one in the south. The summers are generally quite hot and the winters cold, though not normally extremely so.

    Slovenian Wine areas

    The small country of Slovenia has no fewer than fourteen different wine areas. These are grouped together in our website into three main areas.

  • Soave DOC

     The vineyards of Soave, like those of Bardolino and Valpolicella, are situated between the eastern shore of Lake Garda and the city of Verona.

    The vines of the Gargane grape, which form the lion's share of this famous white wine (minimum 85%), can be seen growing around the medieval town of Soave.The Gargane is permitted to be supplemented with grapes such as Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, Trebbiano di Soave, or Trebbiano di Toscana.

    Although the European market is often flooded with many lesser Soave-type wines, a true Soave is truly delicious. The colour is usually fairly pale, ranging from green to pale yellow, the nose is not unduly striking, but the taste is dry, mellow, and pleasing, with a touch of bitter almond. The ordinary Soave is generally light in body. Soave Classico originates from the historical centre of the area, while the Superiore is somewhat higher in alcohol and must be rested for at least five months before sale. The best Soave is undoubtedly the superb Soave Classico Superiore. Drinking temperature 46.4-50°F (8-10°C) for the ordinary Soave and 50- 53.6°F (10-12°C) for the better Soave Classico Superiore.


    Just as with other Recioto wines such as the Reciota della Valpolicella (see Valpolicella), the grapes are selected and partially dried. The result is a fullbodied and very aromatic white wine that has a golden colour. The taste is fulsome and fruity, ranging from slightly to very sweet. Do not forget if attracted by the seductive excellence of this wine that it contains 14% alcohol. Drinkat 50- 53.6°F (10-12°C).


    Pale and fragrant sparkling versions are made of both wines that are not so full-bodied but fresh and pleasing. These wines generally have a characteristic bitter almond note in their taste.

     Both dry (extra brut) and medium dry (brut) versions are available of Soave Spumante but only a sweet and highly alcoholic (at least 14%) version of the Recioto di Soave Spumante is available. Drink at 46.4-50°F (8-10°C).

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  • Soil and climate Rioja Wine

    Rioja soil and climate

    The underlying ground of La Rioja consists largely of a mixture of calciferous and ferruginous clay. There are also alluvial deposits along the banks of the Ebro, while in Rioja Baja there is also sand. The best vineyards are situated at a height of 984- 1,968 feet (300- 600 metres), particularly in the northwestern part of Rioja Alavesa (País Vasco) and Rioja Alta (La Rioja and a small enclave of the province of Burgos). With its heavier soil and lower altitude (a maximum of 2000 feet), which does not provide as much cooling for the grapes, the wine from Rioja Baja is less refined than from the other two Rioja areas. Consequently this Spanish wines from this latter area are ready to drink earlier, therefore more quickly consumed, helped by a relatively cheaper price.

  • Solera system


    Solera Sherry SpainSolera system from Spain

    The system is simplicity itself: three rows of casks are piled up on top of each other in each criadera. The name solera is derived from suelo for the wine in the bottom row, which is the oldest of the three. The top row houses the youngest Spanish wine.

    As wine is drawn of for bottling this is done from the lowest casks and the space created is then filled by wine from a cask that is one row higher. The space created in this cask is then filled by wine from the next row above.

  • Somontano Spanish Wine

    Somontano wine and region

    Somontano Spanish wineSomontano is the most surprising part of Aragon for connoisseurs. The Spanish vineyards of Somontano are barely 31 miles (50 km) from the Pyrenees in the province of Huesca. These Spanish wines have been made here for many years for creative French wine traders. No- one had heard of Somontano thirty years ago but today the wines are to be found everywhere with quality ranging from honest and pleasing to superb. The wine-growers of Somontano are not held back by old-fashioned and stifling traditions in wine-making so that they try all manner of experiments. The terroir and climate of Somontano offer excellent prospects for the persistent among the Spanish wine-growers. The best results are achieved with a combination of traditional grape varieties and methods with newer varieties and modern vinification techniques.

  • South African Wines

    South African WinesToday, South Africa has a forward-looking and vibrant wine industry that’s making up for lost tine, fast! Despite the fact that wine has been made in South Africa since 1659, it’s only over the past decade or so that its strengths and potential have been discovered. South Africa’s best-known vine and wine is Pinotage, bred by crossing Pinot Noir and Cinsault. On paper, South Africa has everything to create great wines: a favourable climate, soil and an energetic band of talented winemakers. It’s easy to find youg winemakers who have travelled and worked in other wine-producing countries throughout the world, gaining valuable experience along the way. The Cape and surrounding areas are cooled by the Atlantic Ocean, Indian Ocean and the Benguela current from Antartica.

  • South American

    Argentinian Wine

    The Conquistadors also introduced vines into Argentina in the sixteenth century. The resulting wines were used by Spanish Jesuits for both religious and medicinal purposes.

    The industry only acquired its present form in the nineteenth century as a result of a flood of European immigrants who brought better vines with them such as Cabemet, Pinot Noir, Malbec, Syrah, Barbera, and Sangiovese for red wines and Chenin, Riesling, and Torrontés for whites.

    The first independent wine houses were established by German, Italian, Spanish, and French immigrants. Argentina's vineyards lie at the foot of the Andes, far removed from the pollution of industrial cities. The climate is continental, being very dry and very hot, verging on desert.

    Irrigation with water from pure mountain streams has created the ideal conditions for wine-growing.

    Argentinian Wine

  • South and Middle-East for American Wine

      The south west of the United States is not really suited to wine-growing with the exception of certain parts of Texas. But American derermination can overcome much and the odd place has been found here and there to grown vines after a long search.KN85T8SFFEJC

     The South and Middle-East region is enormous and the vineyards are spread widely. They lie between Denver in the centr of the United States, Columbia on the eastern seaboard, south to a line formed by Austin, New Orleans, and Orlando, and finally Florida.


    The first pioneers, but more particularly the first monks, planted the first vineyards in New Mexico. The territory now known as New Mexico and Texas was then part of the Spanish Empire. German immigrants introduced wine-growing to Missouri, Georgia, and Carolina in the nineteenth century. Other immigrants did the same in Arkansas. These vineyards, which combined European Vitis vinferawith many native and hybrid varieties, have never become well-known and their wines were all intended for local consumption.


    When wine-growing and making started to catch on in America in the 1960s and 1970s, the growers of South Carolina saw their opportunity. The area of vines in cultivation in Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, Arizona, Colorado, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida has also been substantially extended and the cultivation and varieties improved during the past twenty years.

    The climate is not really favourable, for the summers are extremly hot and the winters severe. It is too dry in the north of the region but irrigation can work wonders. In the south on th other hand it is too wet but here growers seek out places that are sighted at higher levels, where it is more windy and drier. The extensive area has a number of official palces of origin or AVAs. These include Texas Hill Contry, Bell Mountain, Frederichsburg, and Escondido in Texas; New Mexico, Missouri, and Virginia. Although there are still many native and hybrid varieties grown in these area the houses that are really serios about wine are increasingly switching to Vitis vineferavarieties.


    There is on native grape thougt that springs a surprise: the Scuppernong, which makes a pleasing and very aromatic Muscat-like sweet wine in some of the southern states. All the other native and hybrid varieties are really only intended for local cosumption.

     The most widly used varieties of grape now are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Trebbiano, Chenin Blanc, and Colombard for white wines and Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Zinfandel for wine reds. Although you will rarelly encounter these wines in Europe, the wines from Texas are worht discovering.

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  • South Australia

    Clare Valley

    This is one of Australia's oldest wine-producing areas which has existed since the second half of the nineteenth century.

    High quality wines, and in particular very aromatic reds and superb floral Rieslings come from the Clare Valley. The climate is predominantly a moderate continental one with big differences between day and night temperatures, especially in summer. There is enough rainfall, mainly in the spring, to make irrigation unnecessary. The soil is mainly open calciferous red or brown clay.


    Adelaide Hills

    The vineyards in this area are sited at heights of 1,312- 1,640 feet (400-500 metres) and are becoming better known thanks to the production of very acceptable sparkling and quality wines. The altitude of the vineyards somewhat mitigates the heat and leads to increased rainfall. Since most of the rain falls in winter though irrigation is still necessary. The soil around Adelaide consists of a fairly infertile mixture of loam and sand.


    McLaren Vale

    McLaren Vale is one of Australia's best wineproducing areas and certainly the best in terms of the varied grapes and types of wine. The area is best known for the powerful dark and very aromatic reds and mighty whites. Despite the cooling effect of the ocean too little rain falls here and irrigation is necessary. McLaren Vale has many different soil types which explains the diversity of the wine. It is mainly sand and loam on underlying clay and chalk, or sand, or red or black weathered loam.


    Barossa Valley

    The Barossa Valley is probably the best-known wine area of Australia, both because of its wines and its rich history. The valley was the first territory of the early German settlers who started the wine industry here. German is still spoken here. The climate is hot, sunny, and with little moisture. Despite this there is little irrigation. The vines are trained low, almost like creepers, and the yield is intentionally kept low. This produces excellent wine which is very concentrated, full of colour and structure. The soil chiefly consists of brown sandy soil or clay to dark sand.



    This is a lesser known wine region on fairly level terrain that largely consists of loam or terra rossa with good underlying drainage. The shortage of rainfall here makes irrigation during summer necessary. The area mainly produces commercial wine but is switching over to quality wines such as those of Hardy.



    This is an extremely well-known area within South Australia where wine-growing started way back in the late nineteenth century. The finest Australian Cabernet Sauvignons originate from here these days. The area is situated immediately behind the coastal strip and is favourably influenced by the ocean. The climate here is a moderate maritime one with fairly cool summers (by Australian standards) .

     The loose red terra rossa soil has become a by-word throughout the world. If there is anywhere in Australia where it is possible to speak of the character of the terroir then it is Coonawarra.

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  • Spain and Portugal

        In recent years there has been major investment in Spanish vineyards and wineries, and the country’s best wines are now world class. Its reputation has been carved by red wines, perticularly those from Rioja.

     Several growers have identified and recognised the importance of old vines, and today these are partly responsible for the super-concentrated and very expresive premium reds.

     Spain has more land under vine than any other country. The most important Spanish variety is Tempranillo, closely followed by Garnacha. For white wines, Viura and the ‘workhorse’ Airén are grown widely, whith the fashionable Albariño taking centre stage in Rias Baixas. Not surprisingly, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are planted in the majority of Spanish wine regions, except Rioja. The best Spanish wines are quality graded at Denominacionde Origen, the equivalent of the French ACm and DOCa, a higher-quality grade introduced in 1991, initialy for the wines of Rioja. Although DOCa applies onli to Rioja, regions such as Ribera del Duero, Navarra, Penedes and Priorato are also producing some excellent wines.


     In Rioja the wines are made in three districts sub-regions: Rioja Alavesa, Rioja Alta in the highlands and the hot and dry Rijoa Baja. Rioja styles include Joven, Crianza, Reseva and Gran Reserva which is produced in the very best years. Ribera fel Duero, situated at high altitude, is purely a red wine area. It is home to some of Spain’s most sought-after and expresive wines made from the Tempranillo grape, locally known as Tinta Fino.

     Navarra, a neighbouring region to Rioja, is home to experimentation with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot often blended with indigenous grapes such as Garnacha and Tempranillo. Spanish and international grapes are planted in the Mediterranean climate of Penedes, Many of the best Cava vineyards are found in this region.

     Mostly red wines from Garnacha and Cariñena are grown in the mountainous setting of Priorato. These high-quality, structured wines can be truly exciting.



     Portugal is a country concentrating on its amazing range of indigenous grape varieties, especially Toutiga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Trincadeira and Periquta, The regions of the Douro, Ribatejo, Alentjo, and Bairrada set the pace. For the wine consumer willing to try something different, Portugal can hold many a pleasant discovery.

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