Archive for the ‘shiraz’ Category

34 red wine varietals

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Here is a list of vine varieties with a description of the red wines made from them.

Variety Origin Description
Aglianico Greek Tannic, tarry wines of great breed and lasting power from southern Italy.
Alicante French Hybrid.
Undistinguished grape with highly coloured juice, teinturier.
Baco
Noir
French Hybrid.
Full-bodied, deep colour, smoky blackberry flavour.
Barbera Italian Medium colour, high acid, dry quaffing wine.
Cabernet Franc French (Bouchet)
Usually blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. Medium-weight, herbaceous
wines suggestive of violets and raspberries.
Cabernet
Sauvignon
French Deep ruby colour, black currant and cedar nose, full-bodied, tannic when young.
Capable of long ageing. Softened with Merlot, Cabernet Franc in Bordeaux
and in California and Australia.
Carignan Spain Widely planted, high yielding. Astringent table wine with good colour, used for blending.
Cinsault French Hot weather grape, deep colour and meaty flavour, low tannins. Good for blending.
de
Chaunac
French Hybrid.
Acid, tough red, slightly smoky in flavour.
Dolcetto Italian Deep-coloured, soft, fruity wine, not for ageing.
Freisa Italian Garnet colour, light, dry wine tasting of raspberries.
Gamay French Grape of Beaujolais. Fresh, fruity, light-bodied wines tasting of cherry and plums with peppery finish. Fast maturing.
Gamay
Beaujolais
California Hybrid; a crossing between Valdiguié and Pinot Noir. Not very distinguished. Fruity flavour, high acid.
Grenache   (Garnacha/Cannonau)
Fruity, high alcohol, low tannins, soft. Good for rosé. Fast maturing.
Grignolino Italian Light
colour, fragrant strawberry aroma, very dry.
Kadarka Hungary (Gamza)
Powerful, deep, full-bodied wines.
Lambrusco Italy Light, grapey, fruity, off-dry wines.
Malbec French (Côt)
Early maturing, low acid, blackberry flavour. A lesser blending grape in Bordeaux.
Maréchal Foch French Hybrid.
Deep-coloured, peppery, plummy, acidic wine.
Merlot French Purple, full-bodied wines, blackberry flavour. Less tannic and earlier maturing than Cabernet Sauvignon. Ages very well.
Mourvèdre Spanish (Mataro)
Deep-coloured, powerful wines with a spicy blackberry taste.
Nebbiolo Italian (Spanna/Chiavennasca)
The noble grape of Piedmont producing long-lasting wines that take time to soften. Brick red, truffles and violets on the nose with an austere dry finish.
Petite Sirah French Californian name for the French Duriff. Full-bodied, deep-coloured wines with peppery flavour.
Pinot
Noir
French (Pinot Nero, Spätburgunder) One of the grapes of Champagne and the grape of red Burgundy. Difficult to cultivate. Garnet colour, barnyard bouquet,
raspberry flavour, medium weight. Ages very well.
Pinot
Meunier
French Secondary grape of Champagne. Fruity, acidic, low alcohol.
Pinotage S.Africa (Hermitage)
Pinot Noir Cinsault crossing. Robust, powerful red, inky nose. Fast maturing, ageing potential.
Primitivo Italy Massive black wines of high alcohol and intense fruit. Thought to be progenitor of the Californian Zinfandel.
Ruby Cabernet California A Carignan-Cabernet Sauvignon crossing. Deep-coloured, fruity wines but lacking the finesse and breeding of Cabernet Sauvignon.
Sangiovese Italian A Chianti grape usually blended with Canaiolo. Earthy, truffle-scented wines with fine acidity and ample tannins. Capable of long ageing.
Syrah Middle East (Shiraz)
Powerful black, aromatic wines tasting of blackberries and white pepper. Capable of long ageing.
Tempranillo Spanish (Ull de Llebre) Pinot Noir-like character. Pale ruby colour, coconut and sandalwood bouquet. Dry strawberry flavour. Ages elegantly.
Touriga Naçional Portugal The best port grape. Intense dark wine with high tannin and a lovely berry nose. Other port grapes include Mourisco, Tinta Francisca, Tinta Amarella,
Tinta Cao and Touriga Francesa.
Xynomavro Greek Black wines of high acidity and tannin that age well.
Zinfandel California Versatile grape that can produce powerhouse to medium-weight reds, rosés and blush wines. Characterized by a blackberry flavour and intense fruit. Also
late harvest with port-like sweetness.

On this website here is a list of white wine varietals.

Chapoutier, Rhône Valley

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

Location: France, Rhône Valley, Northern Rhône

With the arrival in 1987 of Michel and Marc Chapoutier at their family’s negociant house of M. Chapoutier, a total change of style emerged from the cellars in Tain l’Hermitage.

Michel Chapoutier on the hill of the HermitageGone were wines that were aged too long in old wood, and in their place came in hugely powerful examples of Hermitage and other reds from Crozes-Hermitage, Saint-Joseph and Côte-Rôtie. Elegance has now been added to the power of the wines, which are produced bio-dynamically from a 240-acre estate.

Recent purchases of vineyards in Australia (Mount Benson), in Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence (Domaine des Béates), in Côteaux de Tricastin (Domaine des Estubiers) and in Banyuls in the late 1990’s show the family’s expansion policies.

Winery address:
Chapoutier
18 avenue Docteur-Paul-Durand, 26600, Tain l’Hermitage
Phone: +33 4 75 08 28 65

I’ll profile more well-known Shiraz wineries in the future. Please subscribe to the Shiraz feed.

California wine country

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

Alexander Valley - Sonoma

The Wine Country is a region of Northern California in the United States known worldwide as a premium wine-growing region. Viticulture and wine-making have been practiced in the region since the mid-19th century. There are over 400 wineries in the area north of San Francisco, mostly located in the area’s valleys, including Napa Valley in Napa County, and the Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Bennett Valley, Livermore Valley and Russian River Valley in Sonoma County. Wine grapes are also grown at higher elevations, such as Atlas Peak and Mount Veeder AVAs. The region is defined not only in terms of viticulture, but also its ecology, geology, architecture, cuisine, and culture. The majority of the grape harvest, in terms of both area and value, derives from Sonoma County.

Communities associated with the Wine Country include Kenwood, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Santa Rosa, Napa, Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga, Geyserville, Petaluma, Sebastopol, Guerneville, historic Fort Ross and Ukiah.
Contents

Appellations

Sonoma Mountain AVA with background of the Mayacamas Mountains

Wine Country proper is generally regarded as the combined counties of Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino. However, some reference works include part of Lake in the term Wine Country. These counties contain the following American Viticultural Areas (AVAs):

  • in Mendocino County: Anderson Valley, Covelo, Mendocino, and Potter Valley.
  • in Napa County: Atlas Peak, Los Carneros, Mount Veeder, Napa Valley, Oakville, Rutherford, Saint Helena, Stags Leap District, and Yountville.
  • in Sonoma County: Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Knight’s Valley, Los Carneros, Northern Sonoma, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain, and Sonoma Valley.
  • in Lake County: Clear Lake, Guenoc Valley, High Valley, and Red Hills Lake County.

The six-county North Coast AVA overlaps with the Wine Country as defined here. In addition, the names of the counties themselves are legal for use as appellation names.

History

Yountville historic rail station, Napa Valley

The earliest prehistory of the Wine Country involves habitation by several Native American tribes since approximately 8000 BC. The principal tribes living in this region were the Pomo, Coast Miwok, Wappo and Patwin, whose early peoples practiced certain forms of agriculture, but probably not involving the cultivation of grapes. During the Mexican Colonial period and after, European settlers brought in more intensive agriculture to the Wine Country, including growing grapes and wine production. Some of the historical events that led to the establishment of California as a state transpired in the Wine Country. In particular, the town of Sonoma, is known as the birthplace of American California. Agoston Haraszthy is credited with being one of the forefathers of the California wine industry in Sonoma by his planting of grapes in the lower Arroyo Seco Creek watershed of Sonoma County.

As home to both Buena Vista winery, California’s oldest commercial winery, and Gundlach Bundschu winery, California’s oldest family-run winery, the Sonoma Valley is known as the birthplace of the California wine industry.

Ecology

Pygmy forest along a popular Wine Country hiking trail of Hood Mountain. Note darker vegetation in upper right is a mixed oak woodland

A diversity of aquatic and terrestrial organisms populate the Wine Country and its riparian zones. Winter-run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tsawytscha), Delta smelt (Hypomesus transpacificus) and steelhead (Onchorhynchus mykiss) are the most prominent fishes. Anadromous fish movements in Sonoma Creek and the Napa River as well as the Laguna de Santa Rosa have been studied extensively not only in the mainstems, but in many of the tributaries. These investigations have demonstrated a historical decline in spawning and habitat value for these species, primarily due to sedimentation and secondarily to removal of riparian vegetation since the 19th century.

A variety of salamanders, snakes and frogs are also present in the Wine Country. The federally listed as threatened California red-legged frog is present in the northern reach draining the south slopes of Annadel State Park. Several endangered species (mostly associated with the Napa Sonoma Marsh) present include California clapper rail (Rallus longirostris), California Black Rail (Laterallus jamaicensis), California brown pelican (Pelicanus occudentalis), California freshwater shrimp (Syncaris pacifica), Salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris ), Suisun Shrew (Sorex ornatus sinuosus), Sacramento splittail (Pogonichtys macrolepidotus). The above are endangered species with the exception of the splittail, steelhead and black rail, which species are federally designated as Threatened.

Upland ecosystems drained include mixed California oak woodland, chaparral and savannah woodland. In these upland reaches one finds plentiful Black-tailed Deer, coyote, skunk, raccoon, opossum, wild turkey, turkey vulture, red-tailed hawk and occasionally bobcat and mountain lion. Prominent higher elevation trees include: Coast live oak, Garry Oak, Pacific madrone, California Buckeye, Douglas fir, whereas Valley oak is prevalent on the Wine Country valley floors.

Tourism

The Wine Country has undergone a boom in tourism. In 1975 there were only 25 Napa Valley wineries; today there are well over 400 wineries in Napa and Sonoma Counties. Tourists come to the region not only for wine-tasting, but also for hiking, bicycling, hot air ballooning, and historic sites, as well as the extensive culinary choices. Numerous notable chefs and restaurateurs are present in the Wine Country, including Thomas Keller, John Ash, and Sondra Bernstein. Besides the obvious winery attractions, the Wine Country is known for its hot springs baths, petrified forests and other natural areas.

The Wine Country tourism boom has its downside, exemplified by traffic congestion on State Route 29, particularly on summer weekends, when the number of tourists often exceeds the carrying capacity of the road. The Napa Valley is also experiencing pressures for increased urbanization and roadway upgrading.

This post has a copyright by Wikipedia contributors. It is licensed under the GFDL.

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

Chardonnay


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.

Colombard

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.

Cinsaut

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.

Merlot

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.

Pinotage

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.

Shiraz

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.

Zinfandel

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.