Wine Searcher

  • Umbria Wine Region

    Umbria Italy region

    Umbria wine region Umbria is bounded in the east by the Apennines and, in the north-west by Tuscany, and in the south-west by Lazio. Umbria is one of only five regions in Italy that does not have any coast, being a fairly small region in the interior. Umbria's history of wine-making goes back some time but the area has not always been associated with quality wines. The climate here is difficult to cope with (very cold winters and extremely hot summers).

  • Union des Grands Crus and Vieux Chateau Gaubert Bordeaux Wines

    Union des Grands Crus

    Union Grands Crus Bordeaux WineThis association brings together about a hundred crus of the Médoc, Graves, Saint-Emilion, Pomerol, Sauternes, and Barsac. These cru, whether classified or not, have joined up to promote their wines. The Union Charter, of which an extract is quoted here, states the philosophy of its members:

    “A Grand Cru of the Union is located on a particular terroir, limited and original, capable of producing a highly personalized wine with exceptional aging potential. Attached to this terroir are storage tanks and cellars equipped for traditional methods of vinification and maturation, supervised by the proprietor of the estate.

  • Uruguayan Wines

      While Chile and Argentina have been known as wine producers for some time, Uruguay has been busy in recent years in a spectacular effort to overtake them.

    Uruguay is relatively small as a country in comparison with its two giant neighbours Brazil and Argentina. Despite this the country has a rich history of wine production. Vines were introduced by the Conquistadors in the sixteenth century and wine-making was in the hands of the Monks for a considerable period of time.

    Uruguay wine production got a major boost when thousands of immigrants settled from France, Algeria, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. These brought the noble grapevine Vitis vinifera with them. A leading role was played by the French Basque Pascal Harriague who introduced Tannat and Folie Noire to Uruguay in 1870. Tannat is wellknown from South-West France, especially in Madiran where it makes superb wines for laying down from people like Alain Brumon. Meanwhile Tannat has become the flagship of the Uruguayan wine industry.

    Other Vitis vinifera varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, and Gamay, Spanish varieties such as Bobal, and Garnacha and Italian vines like Barbera and Nebbiolo were planted in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. None of these grapes though managed to achieve the popularity or quality of Tannat.

    There are nine producing zones in Uruguay: Norte, Litoral Norte, Noreste, Literal Sur, Centro, Centro Oriental, Suroeste, Sur, and Sureste but most wine is produced in the south of the country around the capital Montevideo.

    The climate is moderate with sufficient rain to make irrigation unnecessary. The difference between day and night time temperatures is considerable in the north of the country. The soil varies between loose clay in the south through loose and fertile sediments in the south-east, sand and gravel in the centre, firm clay in the north-east, and gravel in the north.

    White wines are overwhelmingly in the majority in Uruguay and they are not of the best quality. The best of them come from Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Gewilrtztraminer, and Viognier and are fresh, powerful, and very aromatic.

    The red wine from Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Nebbiolo, and Barbara are carefully made and concentrated with bouquets of ripe fruit. Despite this Tannat is the more convincing wine. It is full-bodied and deep, very concentrated with firm but not harsh tannin and possesses heady aromas of ripe fruit and spices with a rich, powerful, and rounded masculine taste. It is certainly a wine that can be kept and is ideal with roasted and grilled meat. Drinking temperature is 60-64°F (16-18°C).

    Bear in mind that good Uruguayan wine is not cheap and avoid doubtful cheap examples in supermarkets, seeking out instead better wines such as Tannat RPF of Bodega Pisano, Castel Pujol Tannat of Juan Carrau, Tannat Viejo of Bodega Stagnari, or Don Pascual Tannat Barrels.

    {jcomments on}

  • Utiel-Requena Spanish Wine

    Utiel-Requena wine and region

    utiel requena spanish wineThis is a DO of the autonomia of Valencia which is situated furthest from the coast. In common with the other two DO areas of Valencia, Utiel-Requena also specialised for centuries in producing bulk wine for the trade. Vast quantities of wine disappeared anonymously into Switzerland, Russia, or central Africa. The Spanish wine of Utiel-Requena (especially the famous Doble Pasta) was sturdy and alcoholic. It was of great service in giving other rather thin European wines some strength and body.

  • Valais Wine Region

    Valais Swiss Wine Region

    Valais Vineyards The vineyards of Valais produce about 40% of all Swiss wine. Although Valais is world-renowned for its Pendant and Dole, the true wine connoisseur is attracted by the native grape varieties. Anyone who takes the time to discover the unique wines of Valais will fall in love for the rest of their life with this rugged but superbly beautiful area. Valais is at the foot of the Alps, spread along the high Rhone valley to either side of the town of Sion. The area is protected against excessive precipitation by the Alps to the north and south. Most vineyards are sited on terraces that jut out from the steep hills above the Rhone valley. Ingenious irrigation systems were established long ago to bring the necessary water to the terraces.

  • Valcalepio DOC - Italian Wines

      This area is situated on both sides of Lago d'Iseo, near Bergamo. To the east of Bergamo the soil is a mixture of clay and chalk, while in the north it consists of shingle, shale, and slate.

     The wines are made from ancient native grapes (Moscato di Scanzo, Merera, and Incrocio Terzi) and more modern varieties (Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Cabernet Pranc). These wines are sold under the name of either Valcalepio Rosso (red) or Valcalepio Bianco (white) . Both types of wine are the realisation of a successful combination of tradition and modern methods. Valcalepio Rosso is chiefly made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to which the wine-maker adds various supplementary grapes.

    The colour is usually ruby red with tinges of granite red. The bouquet is pleasing, vinous, and aromatic. The taste is dry and typical of the grapes used (black currant, pepper, and cherry). Riserva wines must be aged for at least three years and contain at least 12.5% alcohol. Drink at 57.2-60.8°F (14-16°C).

    Valcalepio Bianco is usually made with Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, and Pinot Grigio, in a variety of blends within these grapes. Each wine is unique but the best are intensely straw yellow and have a refined bouquet and a well-balanced and characteristic taste. Drink at 10-12°C (SO-S3.6°F).

    Finally there is also the old-fashioned style Oscato Passito, which is of outstanding quality. Remember though that this is a sweet red wine that is ruby to cherry red, with hints of granite red. The nose is typical of red Moscato in its intensity and characteristic sensuality.

      The taste is sweet, but wellbalanced thanks to its fine acidity. Bitter notes of almond can be detected in the finish. This wine must be aged for at least eighteen months and contain at least 17% alcohol. Drinking temperature is 8- 12°C (46.4-S3.6°F ) depending on season and personal preference.

    {jcomments on}

  • Valdadige DOC

       These are generic whites, roses, and reds and varietal wines made from one or more types of grape. The variety indicated on the label must account for no less than 85% of the wine. The ordinary Valdadige Bianco is permitted a wide variety of grapes including Pinot Bianco, Pinot Grigio, Riesling Italico, Millier-Thurgau,

     Chardonnay, Bianchetta Trevigiana, Trebbiano Toscano, Nosiola, Vernaccia, and Garganega. No one example of Valdadige Bianco is representative. In general these are pale golden yellow, pleasingly fresh, fragrant, but not all dry for some examples may contain sugar residues. Drink at 46.4-53.6°F (8- 12°C) depending on the style.

    *** the best italian WINE ***

    There are also countless variations with the ordinary Valdadige Rosso. The choice of grape is from three varieties of Schiava, Lambrusco, Merlot, Pinot Nero, Lagrein, Teroldego, or Negrara. Depending on the style and type of wine Valdadige Rosso can vary from light red to the deepest dark red. The bouquet is reminiscent of fresh grapes and herbs and is always a delight. The wines are not all dry and you may find some slightly sweeter examples among them. Drink at 53.6- 60.8°F (12- 16°C) depending type.

    The Rosatos are made with the same choice of grapes as the Rosso and the colour varies widely. The nose and taste are fresh and fruity with a hint of old-fashioned pear drops that can be accompanied with a slight sweetness. This is a surprisingly delicious wine without pretensions. Drink at 50-53.6°F (10-12°C).

    *** the best italian WINE ***

    The other varietal wines, usually made from a single grape, are characteristic of the grape and terroir from which they originate. Generally these whites are a light golden yellow colour and fresh, juicy, and can be slightly sweet with Pinot Grigio examples. Drink at 46.4-50°F (8-10°C) for Pinot Bianco 50-53.6°F (10-12°C) in the case of Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay.

     The reds are made with one of three varieties of Schiava grapes (Gentile, Rossa, and Grigia), which may be supplemented with other non-aromatic grapes. This wine is ruby to granite red, slightly aromatic, freshly tart yet mellow and may also be slightly sweet. Drink at 57.2-60.8°F (14-16°C).

    {jcomments on}

  • 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.

  • Valdepeñas Spanish Wine

    Valdepeñas wine and region

    Valdepenas Spanish wineA quick glance at a wine map of Spain will reveal that Valdepeñas is actually an enclave in the southern part of La Mancha. The traditional trading centre of Valdepeñas lies at the heart of the wine-growing area that bears its name. Valdepeñas is situated somewhat lower than the rest of the Meseta in a broad valley encircled by small hills on the boundary between the Meseta en Andalucía.

    The Spanish wine from Valdepeñas, in common with much of the Meseta, was thick, sticky, and very alcoholic. It was as if time had stood still with the same type of wine being produced at the start of the nineteenth century that had been made in Roman times. The wine was stored in huge earthenware jugs or tinajas, often covered by nothing more than a couple of straw mats. When the railway reached Valdepeñas in 1861 it was decided to improve the quality of the Spanish wines. Less wine was made but of better quality and it was sold to wealthy consumers in Madrid, on the coast, and even as far afield as the Americas and the Philippines.

  • Valencia town


    Valencia is one of Spain’s major cities and its largest wine-shipping port. The province surrounding the city is also called Valencia, together with the autonomía region of Valencia as provincial capital. As if that is not complicated enough, Valencia is also the name given to a DO wine area. There are two other DO territories: Utiel-Requena in Valencia province and Alicante, the province bearing its name.

    Valencia SpainThe growers of Valencia would prefer that there should be one large DO area of Valencia with three sub-regions which would be permitted to bear their own name on the label. This would enable them to use grapes harvested throughout the region so that reasonable quality could be ensured in poor years. In the best years the sub-regions would make their own wines in their own ways. The fact that this would cause monumental confusion among their consumers does not appear to have dawned on these creative Valencianos, but they continue to try to bring their plans to fruition. The growers of Utiel- Requena and Alicante of course have no time for these plans which only serve the interests of the Valencianos.

    Valencia still produces an enormous lake of vino common or vin ordinaire or plonk in the English vernacular, to the great concern of the agriculture commissioner of the European Community who is trying to reduce the enormous wine lake.


  • Valencia wine - first part

    Valencia Spanish wine

    Valencia Spanish Wine    Valencia DO is mainly dependent on export of its wines, chiefly in bulk. The trade is dominated by huge concerns which have specialised in this trade. Medium-sized and small businesses are not important in either their numbers or their volume. Yet a change in affairs seems on the hand now that increasing numbers of bottles of Valencia wine are to be found on the shelves of Spanish supermarkets. This will probably never change the export-led attitude of the big Valencian wine producers, to the sorrow of both the Spanish government and European authorities. There is still far too much mediocre wine produced in Valencia.

    The region is subdivided into four sub-areas: Alto Turia (in the north-west of Valencia province), Clariano (in the south of Valencia province), Moscatel de Valencia (in the centre), and Valentino (also in the centre). So far as the geology of the four sub-areas, this is dependent on the contours on which they stand. Alto Turia is the highest and most hilly of the four and its vineyards are situated between 1,312 and 2,296 feet (400 and 700 metres).

  • 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).

  • 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).


  • Valpolicella DOC - Italian Wine


    The wines of Valpolicella enjoyed great fame in the time of the Roman empire. The poet Virgil had great enthusiasm for it. Valpolicella's fame has grown rather than lessened since then.

     The wine is made from Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, and Molinara grapes (not less than 85% of the total), supplemented with not more than 15% Rossignola, Negrara, Trentina, Barbera, or Sangiovese. Like its neighbour in Bardolino, Valpolicella is light ruby in colour, tending towards an intense granite red as it ages.

    The bouquet is fresh and fruity, sometimes with herbal notes. The taste is smooth, fruity, with a touch of spice, and dry, with a touch of roasted bitter almond in the finish. There are also Classico and Superiore versions (the latter has 1 % more alcohol and has been aged for an additional year). Drinking temperature is 53.6-57.2°F (12-14°C).



    The Italian for 'ears' is 'orecchi' and its diminutive is 'recie' which is the name also given to the top of a bunch of grapes, or in other words the part ofthe bunch that receives most sun. Recioto wine is made from selected grapes.

    The bunch is cut in two with the lower part of the bunch being used to make ordinary Valpolicella and the upper part – the recie or 'little ears'- are kept separate for further ripening in the sun. The liquid in the grapes partially evaporates so that the concentration of sugars, aromatic, and flavour substances is increased. The result is a deeply-coloured dark red wine with seductive and powerful fruity bouquet that suggest conserved fruit, prunes, figs, and raisins etc.), that is filled with extract. The taste is full of flavour, sensual, very warm (minimum alcohol 14%), and overwhelmingly sweet. Drink at between 50 and 60.8°F (10 and 16°C), according to preference.



    This is a dark red sparkling wine with an intense bouquet (see above), filled with extract. This wine has minimum alcohol of 14% and is for those who enjoy sensation, or for a strong and sweet sparkler to accompany a dessert that is far less sweet. Drinking temperature is 42.8-46.4 °F (6-8°C).



    This wine is made in the same way as the sweet Recioto della Valpolicella, but this is a dry version with minimum alcohol of 14% alcohol and an additional two years maturing before sale. Not everyone will enjoy this strong macho wine but for those who have the opportunity to eat wild boar that has been slowly roasted (in the oven or on the spit) this wine will contribute to an unforgettable evening. Drink at 60.8- 64.4°F (16- 18°C).



    This wine from the area around Lake Garda is relatively unknown. The many tourists who have drunk this wine and found it enjoyable have somewhat flattered its status. Whether all Bianco di Custoza is of the same quality is another question entirely. The wine can be made from a very broad range of grapes, resulting in many different types of wine that vary in taste different. The wine-makers can choose from Trebbiano Toscano, Garganega, Tocai Priulano (Welsch Riesling), Cortese, Malvasia, Pinot Bianco, Chardonnay, and Riesling Italico, either as single grape or all blended together. At its best this produces a fulsome and aromatic wine with plenty of juice, body, and freshness that has a slight bitter note in its finish.

     At its worst it creates an extraordinarily poor and tasteless wine. Hopefully you will be lucky. Drinking temperature is 46.4- 53.6°F (8-12°C) depending on the type and taste. There is also a Bianco di Custozza Spumante, made with the same grapes and hence with the same caution about quality.

    {jcomments on}

  • Valtellina DOC


       The Valtellina valley is a real wine-lover's paradise and an unforgettable experience for those who enjoy activity and nature. The vines here grow on steep rocky hills that hang over the Adda river.

     The local wine has to adhere to very stringent rules regarding the origin of the grapes, their cultivation, and vinification. The wines must be wholly vinified and aged within the denominated zone.



    This red wine is made from Chiavennasca, which is the local name for Nebbiolo, which may if required be supplemented with some Pinot Nero, Merlot, Rossola, Pignola Valtellinese, or Brugnola. There are numerous types of Valtellina depending on the combinations of grapes used yet despite this Valtellina wines can usually be characterised by their typical bright red colour, the subtle bouquet that is characteristic of the area, and a dry taste that may be strongly tannic.Drinking temperature is 57.2- 60.8°F (14- 16°C).



    This is a special wine from grapes that have been partially dried. This almost orange coloured, powerful sweet wine (minimum alcohol 14.5%), is best with an appropriate dessert. Drink at 42.8-46.4°F (6-8°C) or 50-53.6°F (10-12°C) according to taste.



    Only 5% of other grapes may be added to the Chiavennasca (see Valtellina DOC). The colour is ruby to granite red, the nose is strong when young but more subtle with age. The taste is very strong in tannin and acidity in the early years but this mellows and become broader and rounder with maturity. The ordinary wine may not be sold before two years old and the rare Riserva only after four years. Drink at 53 .6-57.2°F (12-14°C) when young up to 57.2- 60.8°F (14- 16°C) when mature.

     These four wines are all 'crus' of the Valtellina Superiore, meaning they come from rigidly defined areas (Sassella, Inferno, Grumello, and Valgella).These are slightly better than the straightforward Valtellina Superiore, especially the Sassella which is excellent. Drink at 57.2- 60.8°F (14- 16°C).

    {jcomments on}

  • Vaud Wine Region

    Vaud Swiss Wine Region

    Vaud Wine SwissVaud is one of the most attractive vineyard landscapes in Switzerland. It combines the ruggedness of Valais with the more gentle landscape of Geneva and Neuchâtel. There are superb views of the mountains, lakes, marvellous wine domains, and castles. Vaud is also a paradise for both lovers of nature and gastronomy.

    There are two parts to the area: to the south it extends along the northern shore of Lake Geneva or Lac Léman and to the north along the southern part of Lac de Neuchâtel. These two areas are subdivided into six districts of Chablais (Aigle), Lavaux (between Montreux and Lausanne), and La Côte (between Lausanne and Nyon) by Lake Geneva and Côtes de l’Orbe, Bonvillars, and Vully around Lac de Neuchâtel. Most of the Swiss vineyards enjoy a microclimate influenced by the lakes.

  • Vaud Wines

    Chablais Swiss Wine

    Chablais wine RegionThis Swiss wine area comprises five places of origin: Bex, Ollon, Aigle, Yvome, and Villeneuve. The Chasselas white Swiss wine are fresh and lively while remaining elegant and rich. They can be recognised by the relatively high mineral content (magnesium in Aigle and Villeneuve, other minerals in Ollon, lots of flint in Bex, and gypsum in Ollon and Bex). This Swiss wine also reflects their terroir in the bouquet. If you take the wine route you will be confronted with a tremendous assortment of different aromatic nuances.

  • Veneto - Italian wine area

      The region of Veneto is a veritable paradise for lovers of nature, history and gastronomy. The area has been successful in agriculture for centuries.

    Stretching from the Dolomites in the north to the fertile Po valley and from Lake Garda to the Venetian coast, everything seems filled with the joy of living. The landscape is gently undulating, green and inviting. The climate is ideal, moderated and mildly continental in the north and Mediterranean in the south.



    The vineyards of this famous denomination are situated on alluvial soil deposited in the distant ice age between the right shore of Lake Garda and the city of Verona. Wine has been made here since before the time of the Roman empire. Bardolino is permitted to use the Corvina Veronese, Rondinella, Molinara, and Negrara (not less than 85%),supplemented if required to a maximum of 15 % with Bardolino,Rossignola, Barbera, Sangiovese, and Garganega.

    Bardolino is a ruby red wine that sometimes has a touch of cherry red in its colour. As it ages the colour darkens towards granite red. The wine smells fresh and fruity (cherry), sometimes with a touch of herbs, and it has a pleasant taste that is mellow and fruity with a discernible slightly bitter finish. The young wine can be a little sharp but this mellows quickly with age. Drink at 50-53.6°F (10-12°C) when young to 53.6-57.2°F (12-14°C) when mature.

    The Bardolino which originates from the historical heart of this region carries Classico on its label. Wines with a slightly higher level of alcohol (at least 11.5%) may be called Superiore. You may well encounter lighter coloured Bardolino wines (mainly in Italy). These are made with the short steeping method and are called Chiaretto. This type of wine is lighter in body than the normal Bardolino, but it is more full-bodied than most rose wines.

    Pinally there are also red Bardolino Spumante wines, with and without the addition of Classico and/or Superiore. This dark pink to pale red wine has a fine sparkle, a fairly muted bouquet, and a pleasant taste that is filled with juicy flavour. These wines have a slight bitter note in their finish. Drink at 50-53.6°F (10-12°C).{jcomments on}

  • Verdicchio and Vernaccia DOC Wines


    Casal di Serra VecchieFor centuries this was the only known wine from The Marche. It is produced between Pesaro and Ancona in the area surrounding Jesi. The name indicates this classic white is made from not less than 85% Verdicchio grapes. The result is light and pale gold Italian wine. The nose of apple, hazelnut, other nuts, and peach is subtle, the taste is fresh, dry and well- balanced with slight bitter undertone. Those seeking the best choose Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Riserva for a higher price. This Italian wine is aged for an extra two years and it contains not less than 12.5% alcohol. Drink this Italian wine at 10-12°C (50-53.6°F).

  • Victoria Region

    Great Western

    This area is likely to become better known for its sparkling wines, which are Australia's first. Great Western resembles an Australian

    desert-like version of Tuscany, with many gently undulating hills. The climate is dry but fairly cool by Australian standards.The difference between day and night temperatures can be quite high in summer. There is low rainfall and irrigation is therefore usually necessary. The soil consists principally of layers of poor, highly acidic soil with salty undertones which does not simplify the making of the wines from here.  


    This is a fairly unknown area within the hinterland of Portland. The three well-known grapes of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier provide the basis for sparkling wines. The area is ideally suited for making sparkling wines because it gets relatively less hours of sun than the rest of southern Australia.

    Yarra Valley

    The Yarra Valley, which is better known than the other two areas of Victoria, is situated on the outskirts of Melbourne. The soil is a mixture of loam, clay, and sand that is extremely acidic.

     Some of the better land also has gravel and broken rock. Here too there is insufficient rainfall, making irrigation essential. The climate though is fairly cool, so that the Yarra Valley is able to produce some truly elegant wines.

    {jcomments on}