Archive for the ‘chardonnay’ Category

Major grape varieties of South Africa

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

South Africa has a wide range of red and white grape varieties. Most are traditional vinifera grapes such as cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, chenin blanc and riesling. They also have two varieties that originated in South Africa — Cape riesling and pinotage. The newer plantings in South Africa have been of sauvignon blanc and chardonnay — most of these having been established in the late 1980’s.

White wine grapes


It is currently one of the most popular if not the most popular dry white wine variety in the world. It is planted in almost every wine producing country and is one of the easiest varieties to grow. Chardonnay has only begun to gain in popularity and importance in South Africa in the last ten years.
Chardonnay generally benefits from oak and is especially complex when it is barrel fermented as well as barrel aged. However, over-oaking has been a common fault of some the first Chardonnnays that were produced in the Western Cape. Winemakers in the Western Cape are now careful to not let oak overpower the elegant and zesty citrus characteristics of the wine.

Boschendal Wine Estate, Franschhoek South Africa, by moby_life

Chenin blanc

This grape is the Cape’s most popular white variety with about thirty percent of her vineyards producing Chenin Blanc. Chenin Blanc in South Africa is also referred to as “Steen”. In South Africa it produces a wide range of wines from sweet to dry, including sparkling and still wines. Its dry wines are fresh and fruity and Chenin Blanc’s sweet wines and botrytis dessert wines are becoming more fashionable.


This variety in South Africa makes fresh wines with crisp acidity. They often possess tropical fruit aromas and are a good companion to seafood. Colombard isalso used in South Africa for brandy production.

Rhine riesling

This variety, from German clones, is also referred to as “weisser Riesling” in South Africa. With a little age this wine can develop a resinous or oily character that is accepted as desirable in Europe. It is more complex and scented than Cape Riesling.

Cape riesling

This variety is thought to be related to crouchen blanc a French variety used for table wine production. It tends to be steely and can develop a pleasant honeyed flavour with some maturation.

Sauvignon blanc

South Africa has recently received great attention as a world class producer of Sauvignon Blanc. There are many microclimates in South Africa ideally suited to thegrowing of this variety. The South African Sauvignon Blancs tend to be dry and grassy. Its plantings have increased since the mid 1980’s and continue to do so.

Red wine grapes

Cabernet sauvignon

Most of the great red wines of Bordeaux and some of the finest wines of the New World are based on cabernet sauvignon. It is often blended with Cabernet Franc and Merlot and its flavour is reminiscent of blackcurrants or cedarwood. It demands aging in small oak barrels, and the best wines require several years of bottle age to reach their peak.

Pens Party Tokara wine estate, South Africa, by Moron Noodle

Cabernet franc

This variety possesses qualities similar to those of Cabernet Sauvignon, although they are a little less pronounced in cabernet franc. It is an important part of Cape blends and is often blended with cabernet sauvignon.


Formerly known as Hermitage in the Western Cape of South Africa, it produces light wines and is most often used as a blending wine to increase accessibility at an early age. Cinsaut is one of the parents of Pinotage.


This variety takes second place to Cabernet Sauvignon in most premium red wine blends. Merlot is fragrant and usually softer than Cabernet Sauvignon. It also shows best with oak maturation, but usually requires less bottle maturation before it is ready to drink. Some believe that the growing conditions in South Africa do not require Merlot to be blended in with Cabernet. Merlot bottled as a varietal is becoming more and more commonplace in South Africa.


It is a unique South African grape made from a cross of pinot noir and cinsaut. It was developed locally in 1926. It is hardy in the vineyard and generally produces a wine that is full bodied with good fruit flavours and a distinctive spiciness, but often referred to as possessing a “sweetish acetone” flavour. Previously thought to be early maturing, it is now believed that pinotage benefits from extended maturation.

Pinot noir

The grape from which complex and elegant wines are made in Burgundy There are several new vineyards in South Africa making pinot noir that show great promise. The Pinot Noir wines in South Africa are clean and lively with the flavour of ripe cherries.


This grape is also known as Syrah. It makes a soft and rich wine often characterized by smoky and chocolaty aromas. It matures faster than cabernet and is sometimes blended with it to speed accessibility.


This variety probably originated in Southern Italy as the Primitivo grape. It is planted by only a few Cape wineries, and the first examples have been very good, especially when they receive enough oak maturation.

Louis Latour, Burgundy

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

With all the ownership changes in Burgundy, Maison Louis Latour remains firmly in the hands of the Latour family.

Louis Latour logoThe domaines, which give it 10 percent of production, also give it some superlative wines, in particular the great Corton-Charlemagne, of which the firm owns 22 acres. Whites are generally regarded as better than the reds here, with new oak barrel fermentation giving considerable richness and complexity.

The reds, traditionally pasteurized before bottling, are more controversial. Some believe the technique ages the wines too fast, while others enjoy the immediate richness and softness. Good reds to follow are the Beaune premier cru Domaine Latour and Chambertin.

Louis Latour
18 rue des Tonneliers – Beaune 21200
Phone: 03 80 24 81 00

Directory of Colorado wineries

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Herebelow are directions, information and tasting room schedules for wineries in Colorado. If you know of other wineries in Colorado, please present them in the comments.

Colorado vineyard

Aspen Valley Winery


2370 ROAD 112, cARBONDALE, CO 81623 – (970) 963-9659


Wines: Reds, Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Fruit Wines, Blends

461 24 Road, Palisade, CO 81526 – (970) 464-5554

(East Orchard Mesa: Hwy 6 east from Palisade, turn south on 38 Road, follow yellow centerline 5.5 miles)

Tasting Room Hours: 11-6 daily

Corley Vineyards


Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Rielsing, Gewurztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot…

5482 Highway 348, Box 940, Olathe, CO 81425 – (970) 323-6224

(Hwy 50 to Olathe, west 3.4 miles on Hwy 348)

Tasting Room Hours: May-Sept: 11-6 Wed-Sat, Oct-April: 11-5 Fri-Sat or by appt.; Closed Jan-Mar. except by appt.

Tasting Room (Pagosa Springs) – 970-264-5105

Wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay

3907 North river Rd., Palisade, CO 81526 – (970) 464-0888

(Old Hwy 6, north side of river, 1 mi. east of Palisade)

Tasting Room Hours: May 1-Oct. 15, 10-4 daily except Sun; Winter by appt.

COLORADO CELLARS WINERYWines: 20 wines, sparkling, port and mead.

3553 E Road, Palisade, CO 81526 – (800) 848-2812

(I-70 Exit 37, Hwy 141 south to C1/2 Rd, east 5.6 miles)

Tasting Room Hours: 9-4, Mon-Fri; Noon-4 Sat

Also produces the Colorado Mountain Vineyards, Rocky Mountain Vineyards & Orchard Mesa Wine Company brands.


Wines: Honey Wine (Mead), Fruit-blended Honey Wines

3701 G Road, Palisade, CO 81526 – (970) 464-7899

(I-70 exit 42, south to Hwy 6, west 1/2 mile)

Tasting Room Hours: 10-5, daily



Wines: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, cabernet Franc, Chardonnay

107 Williams Street, Minturn, CO 81645 – (970) 827-4065

(I-70 exit 171, between Vail and Beaver Kreek, Hwy 24 south 2 miles.

Next to Chilli-Willy’s and the Minturn Country Club)

Tasting room Hours: June-Aug Noon-6 daily – light lunches served;

Sept-Oct Noon-6 Thurs-Sat; Dec-April Noon-6 Wed-Sat;

Closed Nov & May


Wines: Merlot, Chardonnay, Fruit Wines, Blends

15750 County Road 220 Salida, CO 81201 – (719) 539-1175

Winery tours by appt

Tasting room: 134 F Street, Historic Downtown Salida

Tasting Room Hours: 10-5, Mon-Sat, art gallery & gifts


Wines: Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay

3901 Janitell Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80906

(719) 576-0075

(I-25 exit 138, east on Circle Drive to Janitell, turn right, 1 mile south)

Tasting Room Hours: Noon-5 daily, gourmet dining by reservation


Wines: Merlot, Chardonnay, Cabernet Souvignon, Riesling, Cabernet Franc, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Riesling Ice wine

3708 G Road, Palisade, CO 81526 – (970) 464-7586

(I-70 exit 42, south to Hwy 6, west 1/2 mile)

Tasting Room Hours: May-Oct, 9:30-6, daily; Nov-Apr, 10-5


Wines: Honey Wine (Mead), Fruit-blended Honey wines, Fortified Wines.

3701 G Road, Palisade, CO 81526 – (970) 464-7899

(I-70 exit 42, south to Hwy 6, west 1/2 mile, on left)

Tasting Room Hours: 10-5, daily


Wines: Red Mountain Merlot, Chardonnay, Black Canyon Cabernet, Cabernet Franc, Gewurztraminer, Cherry, San Juan Gold, Merlot, Ski Bunny Blush, Muscat Canelli

18380 Hwy 550, Montrose, CO 81401 – (970) 249-3765

(2 miles south of Montrose on Hwy 550, on east side of Hwy 550)

Tasting Room Hours: Summer, 10-6, daily; Winter, noon-6, Noon-Sat; noon-4, Sun


Wines: Merlot, Chardonnay, Blends, Fruit wines

888 Elberta Ave, Palisade, CO 81526 – (970)-464-9288 (I-70 at exit 42)

Tasting room Hours: Summer, 9-7, daily; Spring/Fall, 10-6; Winter, 10-5


Wines: Merlot, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Cabernet Sauvignon, Mead

1619 2125 Dr, Cedaredge, CO 81413 – (970) 856-7572

(North on Hwy 65 to 11th Ave, west 1 mile to 2125 Dr, south one block)

Tasting room Hours: Mar-Oct, 11-5, daily; Nov-Feb, 12-4, Fri-Sun; or by appt.


Wines: Sauvignon blanc, Chardonnay, Reserve Chardonnay, Merlot

1708 East Lincoln Avenue, #1, Fort Collins, CO 80524 – (970) 493-7345

(From I-25: west Hwy 14 to Link Lane, north to East Lincoln Ave, right on East
Lincoln Avenue)

Tasting Room Hours: by appt

Surface Creek, Colorado

Wines: Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Merlot, Blends, Fruit Wines
4113 West Eisenhower Blvd (US Hwy 34), Loveland, CO 80537 - (970) 635-0949

(7 miles west of I-25, 3 miles west of Loveland)
Tasting Room Hours: Summer, 10-5 daily (closed Tuesday);
Spring/Fall, noon-5 Fri-Sat


Wines: Gewurztraiminer, Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir

1750 4175 Dr, Paonia, CO 81428 – (970) 527-3484

(From Paonia: 1 mile east of Hwy 133, north on 4175 Dr. to end)

Tasting Room Hours: 11-5 Fri-Sat or by appt

Another site shows information about the Colorado appellation.

2007 vintage would be bad in Europe

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

In a nutshell: buy 2007 wines only from reliable producers.

Obviously a vintage is a concept: it cannot taste bad. The point here is to indicate that vine growers have had more problems this year than previous years. The quality of the wines very much depends on the vine growing — every year but this year even more so. This is the year when the serious, talented winemaker makes a big difference.

Vineyards near Gamlitz, Austria, by HalehRThe Austrian wine marketing board have published their official summary of the vintage so far, calling it ‘the winemaker’s year’. In the words of Jancis Robinson this means that ‘there have been quite a few hurdles for them to overcome – in the vineyard perhaps even more than in the winery’.

In France, the cool summer of 2007 affected everyone and the September weather saved some grapes. Micro-climates came into play and the savvy vigneron had to carefully determine the date of harvest. Rot and mildew was widespread. Keeping the grapes on the vines was a gamble many winemakers did not make.

Côte d’Or, Burgundy

Reports Bill Nanson: ‘The vintage will be as heterogeneous as the approaches and the quality of grapes and sorting’. ‘Grapes from Latricières-Chambertin needed quite some work (just like in 2004)’.
Said Louis-Michel Liger-Belair: ‘we made a hard triage’.
Reports Martine Saunier, California importer of some growers in Burgundy and the Rhône Valley: ‘beginning 25 August, the weather warmed up and the sun finally came out. Temperatures rose to 25°-30° C. The grapes started turning red immediately’.

More reports

I have made complementary overviews: