This Italian wine has been a DOC since 1980. The area is to the south east of Pisa. Outstanding white wines have been made for centuries from the Trebbiano grape and today these contain 75-100% of this variety. The local Vin Santo also enjoys great fame in Italy. The fresh Bianco Pisano has a very subtle taste. Drinking temperature for this Italian wine is 46.4- 50.0°F (8-10°C). The Vin Santo is amber coloured, aromatic, fulsome, mellow, and sweet. Drinking temperature for this Italian wine is 42.8-46.4°F(6-8°C).
Binissalem is relatively small DO area of just 312 hectares on the island of Majorca (Mallorca) in the Balearics, making it the first of DO to gain recognition in the Balearic Islands and moreover the first Spanish DO outside the mainland. Wine-growers have made wine for local consumption in the Balearic Islands for many years. Once these islands became home to the package holidays and Club Med in the 1960s the local wine trade went into top gear. Most of the bodegas are happy with this situation with just a few far-sighted growers believing better results were possible. Their struggle for better quality was rewarded in 1991 with the award of the highly coveted DO status.
BLANQUETTE DE LlMOUX METHODE ANCESTRALE
This Blanquette is made according to an ancient method in which the wine from 100 per cent Mauzac grapes ferment until there is only 100 grams of sugar per litre remaining. The fermentation is stopped by tapping the must and filtering it. This French wine that is not fully fermented is then bottled and through warmth a second fermentation occurs in the bottle. When the right balance between alcohol (5- 7%), sugars (approx. 70 grams per litre) , and the pressure in the bottle is achieved, the fermentation is abruptly halted by chilling the bottle. The colour of this French wine is straw yellow and not always clear. Since this is an ancient traditional method with little modern technology the wine can contain sediments of unfermented sugars and dead yeast cells. The scent is similar to a ripe Goudreinet apple. The taste is fresh due to the 4.5 grams per litre of acidity and the presence of the carbonic acid gas combined with fruitiness and softness imparted by the sugar residues. This French wine is low in alcohol (7%). Drinking temperature for this French wine: 6°C (42.8 °F).
In addition to the better-known sparkling French wines, excellent white wines are also produced here. These must contain a minimum 15 per cent of Mauzac grapes but may be supplemented with Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. The local Cave des Sieurs d' Arques manages to achieve sublime heights with this still Limoux wine, of which four different types, each with its own terroir are made. The Terroir Mediterranee is a rounded, harmonious and lithe wine with much fruitiness. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 12°C (53 .6°F) .
The Terroir Oceanique is somewhat lighter coloured than the others. It has wonderful scents of citrus fruits that are fine and elegant. The taste is fruity with a hint of iodine. This French wine is very fresh and elegant. Drinking temperature for French wine:12- 14°C (53 .6- 57.2°F).
The Terroir d'Autan is yellow with golden tinges. It has intense aromas with a finish of preserved fruit, and is broad, rounded, and fruity in flavour. Drinking temperature for French wine: 12-14°C (53.6- 57.2°F) .
The Terroir Haute Vallee is yellow with golden tinges and has delicate scents of white flowers combined with a very harmonious taste that is rounded, fresh, and both subtle and complex. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 12- 14°C (53.6-57.2°F).
The Cave Cooperative des Sieurs d'Arques also produces pleasing Vins de Pays and vins de cepage.
Two Bordeaux French wine areas are situated south of Charentes Maritime (the area famous for distilling Cognac): the larger Cotes de Blaye (including the Premieres Cotes de Blaye) and the smaller Cotes de Bourg. Both lie on the right bank of the mouth of the Gironde. Red French wines are produced in the south of this area and dry white French wines in the north.
This 3,600 hectares wine region is often called the 'Switzerland' of Bordeaux, because of the many rolling green hills. Both red and white French wines are produced here. The white French wines are extremely rare and to be honest best ignored as they offer nothing special in terms of quality. This Sauvignon white French wine is extremely fresh tasting and pleasing but best drunk as an aperitif. Drinking temperature: 9-10°C (48.2-50°F).
The red French wine is deeply and attractively coloured and fairly aromatic. When young it is quite rough but after several years ageing in the bottle the harsh tannin mellows. The taste is then rounded, full, and sometimes even seductive. The better quality for this French wines possess class, refinement, and elegance. Drinking temperature for this French wine: 16°C (60.8 °F).
The Czech Republic is split into Bohemia and Moravia. Wine-growing in Bohemia covers a relatively small area. There are about 650 hectares of vines that are mainly planted alongside the Elbe river. These are the remnants of vineyards planted by Emperor Rudolf II (1552-1612).
There are six areas of wine-growing within Bohemia but the area around Prague (Praha) and Caslav are little more than symbolic with less than 10 hectares of vineyards. Bohemia hardly enjoys a good climate for wine-growing with an average annual temperature of a mere 8°C (46.4°F) and an average of only 14.5°C (58°F) during the growth period. There are only 1,600-1,800 hours of sunshine per annum, and precipitation is 500-550 mm per annum. The soil is mainly chalk-bearing but also incorporates weathered basalt.
The village of Francs, for which this Bordeaux AOC is named, is located near the border of the Dordogne region. Its origins go back to the sixth century. In 507, after the Battle of Vouillé, Clovis I, King of the Francs, fought Alaric II, King of the Visigoths, and conquered the region of Aquitaine. A detachment of the Frankish army set up camp on the site of the village, which was named "Ad Francos" and later Francs.
As in neighboring regions from Bordeaux, vines have been planted here since ancient times. Far from major highways, the region is calm and pleasant. Its hills, often capped with ruins of windmills and dovecots, are covered in vines; in the lower part of the valley are meadows and farmland.
The Bordeaux and Bordeaux Supérieur AOCs are the largest of the French AOCs in terms of both surface area and volume: more than 50,000 hectares (44 percent of the region’s vineyards) produce more than three million hectoliters annually. Their surface area is equal to the total surface area of all the other appellations in the region.
The only way to describe these wines is to speak of the diversity of the terroirs (soil and conditions) cov-ered by the title. The vast range of terroirs is united by the vision and passion of the men who grow the grapes and make the wine.
To describe a Bordeaux AOC wine fully, you would need to speak of each of the two thousand vineyards covered by the label. Red Bordeaux wines are easy to drink: they can be supple, fruity, or rich, depending on the vintage.
In terms of producing fine wines Bordeaux is the largest and most important region of France for the best French wine. Throughout its long history Bordeaux has had connections with England, and during a 300-year spell from 1152, was under English rule.
Bordeaux lies on the rivers Garonne and dordogne, which join to become the Gironde, before flowing into the Atlantic. The climate, influenced by the sea and rivers, is mild, slightly humid and summers tend to be long and warm.
The soil in Bordeaux is generally gravel, clay or sand and limestone. Gravel’s warm and well-draining properties suit Cabernet Sauvignon, and can be found in the Haut-Médoc, while the clay and limestone soil of St Émilion and Pomerol is preferable for Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The Petit Verdot grape adds ‘seasoning’ to the wines of theMédoc and Graves (Left Bank), while Malbec contributes colour and fruitiness in both Left Bank and Right Bank wines, such as those from the Côtes de Bourg. These grape varieties are blended together in varying percentages from château to château, to make Bordeaux red wines.
The white French wines of Bordeaux are made from three main varieties of grape: Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle, with some Colombard and Ugni Blanc being incorporated into the lesser wines. Sémillon’s lemon characteristics and relatively high alcohol content make it a popular choice for both dry ans sweet dessert wies. Lowish in acidity, it’s often blended with the early ripening Sauvignon, which is lively both in aromatics and acidity. Muscadelle adds a certain peachy, musky, and floral quality. Bordeaux also produces Rosé and Claret for the best French wine.
Bordeaux’s most famous red wines are the classified first growths, Cru Classé of the Médoc, such as Château Latour, and the Merlot-dominated wines of St Émilion and Pomerol, such as Château Cheval-Blanc and Château Petrus. Outstanding dry whites include Château Carbonnieux, but it is the sweet wines of Sauternes, which are proably better known, such as the first growth of Château d’Yquem.
Shopping for French wine can be quite a challenge, as there is often an immense range to choose from. Sometimes a little planning will be in your favour. Just knowing the type or style of a French wine you want will make your buying decision that much easier.
Bordeaux is the region in perfect viticultural situation almost and is located in France’s west coast. This wine region benefits from ultimate marketing tool that is achateau-dependent classification system, established nearly 150 years back.
This new era seems to be simply taxing for reputation of Bordeaux as the last 20th century decade was. Rain drenched harvesting towards the ending of 1990s challenged claim of Bordeaux to be an ultimate viticultural paradise but its depressingly poor quality generic wines brought in almost much bad publicity just like grossly inflated rates of modest vintages from top chateaux. In few initial years of 21st century, weather may have improved but the generic Bordeaux quality remained abysmal, rates continued rising that too in direct relation to sales drop and finally something unimaginable took place: Robert Parker, the renowned United States wine critic failed to come for primer tastings in 2003 March.
The origins of Bordeaux wines are unquestionably Roman. Archeological digs conducted in recent years have shown that vineyards existed in Bordeaux before 40 B.C. There is no doubt today that Bordeaux wine has entered its third millennium. Wine lovers, as they read on seven-wines.com, will soon realize that the history of Bordeaux wines is inseparable from those of its appellations and crus (growths). There is not one history, but many individual stories. The cultivation of vines in Bordeaux has spawned much more than the wine itself, and any brief summary is necessarily inadequate.
During its history Bordeaux has produced about fifty appellations and the region still boasts some seven thousand crus. Both a handicap and a blessing, this great diversity needs some selection and explanation before it can be understood by Bordeaux wine enthusiasts and buyers.
This Italian wine region lies on the Adriatic coast to the north of Ravenna. There are two types of white wine and two types of red made here.
The ordinary Bianco is made from at least 70% Trebbiano Romagnolo together with Sauvignon Blanc or Malvasia Bianca di Candia. This pale golden Italian wine has a light and mellow nose and pleasant mellow taste. It is available as dry or slightly sweet and as a still or lightly sparkling wine. It is certainly not a wine for laying down.
Brazil is still a relatively unknown wine-growing area and Brazilian wines are seldom encountered, yet despite this Brazil does produce good wines.
Brazilian wine-growing dates back to the sixteenth century when Don Martin Afonso de Souza, envoy of the Portuguese king, Don Juan III, planted the first vines at Santos El Baballero Bras Cubas. These vines had been brought from the island of Madeira.
The Portuguese also took vines to the north-east of Brazil and sold the wine to the Dutch who controlled that territory at the time. The arrival of Portuguese wine-growers from the Azores in the eighteenth century briefly created a new impetus in the Brazilian wine industry. Because the European varieties were too susceptible to disease, the Brazilians chose North American grapes such as Alexander, Isabella, Catawba, Concord, and Delaware which are all varieties of Vitis labrus. The results of these experiments were not uniformly successful and the arrival of German, Italian, and French immigrants in Brazil brought both better knowledge and vines.
Brazil has three large wine-growing regions: Rio Grande del Sur, Nordeste, and Vale de Sao Francisco. Many of the grapes are still grown as dessert grapes that can be harvested three times each year because of the favourable climate. Slightly less than half of the grapes are destined for wine production.
Only about 20 percent of Brazil's vines are of the better Vilis vinifera varieties, while the others are hybrids and North American varieties, which are used for industrial wine. Acceptable to very good wines are made from Vitis vinifera varieties such as Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, Pinot Noir, Barbera, Riesling Italico, Chardonnay, Moscato, Semillon, Trebbiano, and Sauvignon Blanc. Brazil's potential as a wineproducing country can be shown by the many foreign companies investing in the industry like Moét et Chandon, Mumm, Remy Martin, Martini & Rosso, Domecq, and Seagram. Increasing numbers of Japanese companies are also entering the fray. It is clear that Brazil will soon become one of the major South American wine producers.
Wine quality is getting better year by year. The control of hygiene and grape quality has been increased and the present wines are remarkably pleasing.
Brescia is not a DOC wine but a wine area around the town of the same name and the famous Lake Garda.
The region of Brescia encompasses the following denominated (DOC) wines: Botticino, Capriano del Colle, Cellatica, Garda, Garda Bresciano, Garda Classico, Franciacorta, Lugana, and San Martino della Battaglia. From this it is apparent that this region produces a large number of different types of wine so that it is impossible to describe them all. Below are some pointers for each denomination to make choosing a little easier.
This is a geographical area that has the village of this name at its epicentre. The vines grow on the rocky hills around Brescia on soil that is clay, marble, and chalk. The wines are made using Barbera, Marzemino, Sangiovese, and the many varieties of Schiava grapes. The Botticino wines are generally ruby red with hints of granite red, and are warm in bouquet and taste and extremely pleasing. Drinking temperature is 55.4-59°F (13- 15°C).
Because most Garda DOC wines are made in the province of Veneto, I described them there.
This wine is only made on the Brescian side of Lake Garda and this DOC has existed for thirty years. The vineyards receive ample sun and moisture and the surroundings here are always green. The geology though is complex, without one definite soil type.
White, red, pale red, rose, and spumante wines are produced here under this DOC label. Garda Bresciano Bianco is made with Riesling Halico and/or Riesling Renano supplemented with up to 20% of other grapes. The wine is pale golden yellow tinged with green. The nose is aromatic and slightly herbal while the taste is soft on the palate and almost velvet, with a clear bitter note and hint of salt. Drinking temperature is 50-53.6°F (10- 12°C) .
Garda Bresciano Rosso is made with Gentile, Santo Stefano, Mocasina, Sangiovese, Marzemino, and Barbera. Single varietal wines can also be found but others contain two or more types of grape.
Consequently the range of possible taste for these wines run into thousands. A ruby red colouring and bitter note in the finish are characteristic of the area though. Drinking temperature is 53.6-60.8°F (12-16°C), depending on the individual type of wine.
Garda Bresciano Chiaretto is a pale red wine (claret, clarete, clairet), made using the same grapes as the Garda Bresciano Rosso. The colour is usually cherry red and the taste is normally very smooth and rounded with a bitter almond finish. Drink at 50-57.2°F (10- 14°C) .
Garda Bresciano Groppello is a ruby red wine made with Gentile, Groppellone, and varieties of roppello grapes. This too is fully flavoured, smooth and rounded, and has a pleasing bitter aftertaste.
This area between Eger and Miskolc has been somewhat neglected. This is a great shame for in the past fine Hungarian wines were made that were intended to be used in production of sparkling wines. This area has great potential but has been poorly managed. The soil consists of loess and chalk yet unfortunately only produces very simple white wines that are very acidic. Drinking temperature for this Hungarian is 8-10°C (46.4-50°F).
Statistics show that Bulgaria has achieved great success through the modernisation and adaptation of its wine industry. New grape varieties that are successful have been planted with great haste, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay and inexpensive wines that are easily drunk when young are made in great volume which have conquered the European market through intelligent marketing. Yet Bulgaria has had a rich history of wine-making, producing good wines from native grapes such as the red wine varieties Pamid, Mavrud, Melnik, Gamza, and Rkatziteli, Misket, and Dimiat for white wines.
Bullas stood waiting at the door for nomination to the elite of Spanish wine-growing as long ago as 1982. Final recognition as a DO territory was not granted though until 1994. The story in Bullas is the same as the rest of the Levante: the demand for good but cheap wine within Spain and abroad was so great that no-one felt much need to try harder. Surpluses were not a problem until the consumer turn increasingly towards quality and away from quantity. Bullas too found times very hard but the crisis now seems to be slowly receding and at least one large bodega is now engaged in the production of wine of acceptable quality.
Buy wine can be quite a challenge, as there is often an immense range to choose from. Sometimes a little planning will be in your favour. Just knowing the type or style of a wine you want will make your buying decision that much easier.
Building up some knowledge of the various wine merchants, in your area and on the internet, can be very advantageous. Each mechant tends to have a particular strong point. One may be extremly good on Bordeaux for example, or specialise in Italian wines, and they will be happy to pass on their experience to you – the customer.
Remember too, that some knowledge of which producers are making particularly good wine, or which regions offer good value, puts you in a much more secure position.
There was a time when you could almost tell at an instant where a wine came from, just by looking at the shape of the bottle. This still holds true for some of the more traditional regions, such as Alsace or Bordeaux, but a glance or two around the shekves of your local supplier will aslso reveal rha influence of design teams keen to catch the eye with bottle shapes that stand out from the crowd.
A wine label provides an excellent opportunity to send a message and pass on information to a potential customer.
In Europe, a place name may suffice. Chablis, Sancerre and Chateauneuf-du-Pape are all examples of French wines that the name is recongnised. In the ‘New World’ however, varietal labelling is the norm, as an increasing amount of wine is sold on the back of the name of the grape variety. The world’s most popular grape, Chardonnay, could be perceived as s wine style, such is the influence carried by its name alone. The fact that most white Burgundy is made from Chardonnay is left for those of us who care to find out.
Sea, The Straits of Messina, and the Gulf of Squillace. The Greeks once regarded Calabria as the Garden of Eden. The cultural inheritance can be found in towns such as Cosenza and above all Reggio di Calabria. The ancient Greeks founded the wine-growing in Calabria but all the old and famous wines have more or less disappeared and are forgotten, but something of the Greek civilisation can still be touched on with an old and matured Ciro. Superb white and rosé Italian wines are made here but the area is most famous for its red wines.
This DO is certainly the least well-known of the four Aragonese wine-growing regions. This is unjust for although the Spanish wines of Campo de Borja and Cariñena are full and powerful, those of Calatayud exhibit greater finesse and elegance. Because the area is protected in the east by the Cordillera Ibérica and in the north by the Sierra de la Virgen, the climate is more moderate than the previous two areas. This Spanish wines therefore have a better balance between acidity and alcohol.
California is the best-known wine region of America. The region is subdivided into six main areas. From north to south these are the North Coast (north of San Francisco, home of Napa Valley, Sonama, Carneros wines),Humboldt (on the banks of the Sacrmamento River), Sierra Foothills (at the foot of the Sierra Mountains east of Sacramento), Central Coast (south of San Francisco to slighty north of Los Angeles), Central Valley (a huge area on the banks of the San Joaquin River), and South Coast (between Los Angeles and San Diego).
Franciscan monks from Bordeaux with the rather appropriate name of Jean Louis saw th possibilities here in 1830 and he improted countless European varieties of grapes.
Things really took off though after the Gold Rush. The growers left the south alone and concentrated their efforts in the central and northern area where there was a ready market with the lager city of San Francisco. The quality of those wines was from modest to poor. In those days California made ponderous syrupy wines of little character and freshness. This was the start of the huge American bulk wine industry. Prohibition from 1919 to 1933, which banned the production of alcoholic drink on a commercial scale, was a major blow for the Californian wine trade.
It seemed for a long time as though the growers would not survive this crisis. It was not until the 1970s that changes started to take place. Wine-making became a recongnised profession and people form California went to study at first hand in Europe with the best wine-makers. The result is nothing les than spectacular.
There are still many ‘wimpy wines’ (plonk) in California, but quality is becoming more important than quantity with both the big business and small wineries.
Yet many still regard California as a massive industrialised wine region with its enornous vineyards, wineries like palaces, batteries of high towering stainless steel storage tanks etc. Despite this the numbers of smaller producers is growing in places like the Sonoma Valley, and Carneros. These growers and makers not only know what they are talking about, they also bring much verve and passion to their wine-making.
Hence the massive rows of readily saleable Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are becoming smaller in scale and some even dare to replace them with specialist varieties such as Viognier for white wines and Barbera, Sangiovese, Syrah, and Granche for reds.
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