The essence of Champagne and sparkling wines

champagneChampagne, is the sparkling wine produced in the Northern region of Champagne in France and is  made either from the Chardonnay grape (white), the Pinot Noir grape (red) or the Pinot Meunier (red) or some blend of these grape varieties.  Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are regarded the most important grapes. The Chardonnay grape is known for its’ elegance, Pinot Noir for its’ power and Pinot Meunier for its’ fruit character. All other sparkling wines not from this region should be referred to as “Sparkling Wines”.
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The ‘Must-Have’ Wine Books for Wine Enthusiasts

One of the questions I am often asked when I am out and about. Can you recommend a good wine book?

This question is almost as challenging as the question can you recommend a good wine? The answer is so dependent on where the person’s interests’ lie and the stage that they are at on their wine odyssey. Over the years I have discovered some great wine writers whose works continue to impress and whose current releases seem to get better and better. In many ways mirroring my observations of following the careers of talented winemakers’ whose passion drives them on to be ever greater. So rather than specifying specific books, I rather list authors whose works will be readily available locally in book shops or online. These authors will provide the core to any great wine enthusiasts’ library.  Continue reading The ‘Must-Have’ Wine Books for Wine Enthusiasts

Grape varieties: Introducing the Great Whites

Bunches - Shoes on Wire (Justus Hayes)
Bunches – Shoes on Wire (Justus Hayes)

The wine world has an immense palate of wine grapes to draw on to making incredibly interesting and exciting wines. Italy alone has over 1,000 different grape varieties that are peculiar to its’ wine industry. However not dissimilar to our typical weekly diet, there are a few key grapes that fly under the banner of  ‘noble grape varieties’ that are very highly regarded and are planted all over the world. Today I’m introducing the key white varieties; namely Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling.

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How does soil influence wine quality – some thoughts

How does soil influence wine quality?

Soil indirectly influences the quality of wine by influencing the vines growth processes and thus the degree of maturity of the fruit. The significance of soil can sometimes be under-rated due to the hypotheses of ill informed ‘terroirists’ who erroneously argue that specific characteristics in wine can be directly attributed to a particular soil type. Continue reading How does soil influence wine quality – some thoughts

Wines to enjoy over Easter

Lamb seems to get top billing for the traditional Easter lunch and the great news is that as it is high in fat youthful red wines and wines with firmish tannins will really shine. There really are an immense number of options. The tradition has been Bordeaux, historically predominantly high in Cabernet Sauvignon, hence firm tannins or Rioja which can often have some firm oak tannins. The safest rule of thumb if you are going the succulent lamb route is to focus more on the old world wines. Continue reading Wines to enjoy over Easter