Old World Wine

Wine Class Old World


 
Old World Wines $125.00
 
Discover wines from the Old World Vineyards.
 
Discover French, Spanish, and Italian Wines, an ideal way to introduce the world’s best wines to those who are just getting started on their wine journey or who are expanding out of their comfort zone into the sometimes daunting wines of Europe. It is specifically designed for people who have a basic knowledge of wines, and to those in the wine service or sales industry to jump-start their careers, but it’s also a great way for consumers and aficionados to get a quick initiation in Old World Wine Knowledge.
 

Topics Covered in this Class:
• Key Red Grape Varieties
• Key White Grape Varieties
• Wines Named After Grape Varieties
• Red Wines Named After Places
• White, Pink, Sparkling, and Dessert Wines
• The magnificant terriors and the unique soils
 
DETAILS
Greeting
Introductions of Instructor and staff
Wine Basics: Old World Wine Regions
History of WInes of the Old World
French Wine (two wines served)
Pairing French wines with food
Italian Wine (two wines served)
Pairing Italian wines with food
Spanish Wine (two wines served)
Pairing Spanish wines with food
 
Closing
Old World wine regulations and labeling
Meeting and socializing with your fellow attendees.
Wines
A Wines Quality is Determined in the Glass...
 
 

Chianti





Chianti, is an Italian wine produced in the Chianti region in central Tuscany.

 

Chianti wines are historically associated with a shorter bottle with a round base enclosed in a straw basket called a fiasco, however the fiasco has slowly gone away and is now used only by a few wine makers in the region.

 

Chianti is a small region within Tuscany, but a wine calling itself “Chianti” is allowed to be made almost anywhere in Tuscany

 

Baron Bettino Ricasoli* who later became the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Italy, created the Chianti recipe in the middle of the 19th century.

 

The recipe consisted of:

70% Sangiovese,

15% Canaiolo,

15% Malvasia Bianca 

 

Since 1996 the blend for Chianti and Chianti Classico has been

75–100% Sangiovese,

up to 10% Canaiolo,

up to 20% of any other approved red grape variety such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Syrah.

 

Since 2006, the use of white grape varieties such as Malvasia and Trebbiano have been prohibited in Chianti Classico.
Chianti Classico must have a minimum alcohol level of at least 12% with a minimum of 7 months aging in oak, while Chianti Classico’s labeled Riserva must be aged at least 24 months at the winery, with a minimum alcohol level of at least 12.5%. For basic Chianti, the minimum alcohol level is 11.5%.
 

Chianti is Sangiovese

Sangiovese is Italy's most commonly-planted red grape variety and is particularly common in central Italy. In 1990, almost 10% of all Italian vineyards were planted with some form of this grape.

 

The Sangiovese grape is a thin-skinned grape, so it makes very translucent wines. Sangiovese is slow and late to ripen, which gives a rich, alcoholic and long-lived wine  (which means it will age well). In your glass it displays a ruby red color with flashes of bright burnt orange.

 
 

Pairing Chianti with Food

Chianti has high acidity and coarse tannins which makes it an incredible wine with almost any food dish. Chianti is one of those wines that goes well with whatever you feel like eating. It’s as much a pizza and pasta wine as a grilled cheese and fries wine. Ideal with dishes that use olive oil or highlight rich pieces of meat such as Steak, and Roasted Pork.

 

From simple $10 to $15 Chianti to the more substantial Chianti Classico (generally between $15 and $25), Chianti remains one of the wine world’s great values. Chianti Classico Riservas are a bit more costly, ranging from $28 to $45 per bottle.
 
* Baron Bettino Ricasoli (1809 – 1880) politician, researcher and wine entrepreneur, was the promoter of the most famous wine in the world today: Chianti.
 
Read more about the Baron...
 

The Loire Valley



The Loire Valley is located in the middle stretch of the Loire River in central France.



The area of the Loire Valley comprises about 800 square kilometers (310 sq mi). It is referred to as the Cradle of the French and the Garden of France due to the abundance of vineyards, fruit orchards, and artichoke, and asparagus fields, which line the banks of the river. Notable for its historic towns, architecture, and wines, the valley has been inhabited since the Middle Paleolithic period.

 

The Loire Valley is the heart of France, famous for its natural beauty, magnificent châteaux and great wine. The region is rich in history and culture: Renaissance writer Rabelais was born here; Joan of Arc led French troops to victory in the Hundred Years’ War in the Loire; and, as the Cradle of the French Language, its residents speak the purest French.

 

The Loire Valley contains several distinct wine regions, each with its own characteristic grapes, appellations and styles.
 

The largest, and one of the coolest, wine regions of France also happens to produce some of the most approachable wines in the world. The wines of the Loire Valley burst with character and complexity. Each of the white wines of the regions combines citrus, stone fruit, and tropical fruit, with earthiness, and smokiness, that demonstrate the importance that soil and terroir have on wine in Loire.

 

Most of the wineries in Loire are family owned and operated, some have been farming their vineyards since before the French Revolution in the late 1700s, growing their produce for either the nobility or the church. Pre-Revolution one of the most humble jobs in France was that of a winemaker. After the revolution, these became prized positions. Individual winemakers may not have held historical notoriety in the region, however the wines certainly have for centuries.

 

The first mention of Loire wines from Touraine came in 582. But, most notably, the wine earned recognition early on in 1154 when King Henry II, Duke of Anjou and King of England served Loire wines to his Royal English court.

 

Shortly after the Revolution, the vine disease phylloxera hit the region, wiping out most of the historic vines. The required replanting allowed for changes in vineyards, choosing varieties that were better suited for the soils and terroir of the region, while also utilizing cleaner, greener farming methods.

 

Local bistro menus are filled with seafood, pork and beef, salads, fruit like sweet cherries, locally grown grains and mounds of tangy cheese. If you prefer to sip your wine on its own, no problem. The present acidity in the wines keeps them light and fresh, and the ripeness of the fruit keeps them well balanced, making these perfect wines to enjoy on their own.
 

 
 

Top 10 Wines from Loire Valley

 

1. 2007 Haut Poitou Loire Valley Red
A light-bodied blend of gamay, pinot noir and cabernet franc, it's soft, smooth, and
juicy. Perfect with kitchen picnics of cold ham and salad or cheese and chutney sandwiches.

 

2. 2007 Domaine Bailly Quincy 
Dry yet fruity with a warm finish. Try with goat's cheese and red onion tartlets.

 

3. 2006 Domaine André Dezat Sancerre Rouge
Ripe and juicy with fine, silky tannins, it can be served chilled, a great match for langoustine with garlic mayonnaise and green salad.

 

4. 2007 Coteaux du Layon Carte d'Or, Baumard
With honeyed sweetness and hints of fig, this excellent example has fine fresh acidity and is perfect with  soft blue cheeses.

 

5 2007 Fief Guerin Muscadet Cotes de Grandlieu sur Lie
Surprisingly full-flavoured and with a satisfyingly long finish, it demands to be drunk well-chilled with fresh salads or fruits.

 

6. Langlois Crémant de Loire 
Simple wine, but it's delightfully fresh, flowery, creamy and refreshing.

 

7. 2007 Reserve des Vignerons Saumur Rouge
Fresh berry fruit and a smoky edge. Serve at room temperature with roast chicken or lightly chilled with pâté and French bread.

 

8. 2007 Domaine des Liards, Montlouis-sur-Loire
Clean, fresh, apple-crisp, yet lush, un-oaked chenin blanc. Enjoy with a plate of oysters, crab legs or grilled trout.

 

9. 2007 Waitrose Sancerre 'La Franchotte' Joseph Mellot
Citrusy with hints of nettles on the finish. Enjoyed it with cod, halibut and mushroom sauce.

 

10. 2006 Damien Delechenau, Touraine-Amboise, Bécarre
A pure, fresh wine with raspberry flavors. Try it alongside ham, turkey, vegetables and soups.

 
 

Loire Valley grape varieties

Red

 

Cabernet Franc

This is the long established signature grape for the red wines of Saumur and Touraine in the Loire Valley.The wines it produces  are lighter than that of Bordeaux wines. This is due in part to the Loire Valley's cooler climate. These wines have gained a reputation for refreshing, youthful wines that should be drunk early.

 

Gamay

The Gamay grape is the mainstay of rosé wines of the Loire Valley produced in Anjou and Saumur. It is sometimes used in the blending of red wines. There are some wines in the region made entirely from this grape such as ‘Tourraine Gamay’.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon

Although a popular choice throughout the world of vintners this grape variety is not widely used in the Loire Valley. It is added to a number of reds to give them some 'body', plus it is used to produce some rosés.

 

Pinot Noir

This grape which gives us the reds of Burgundy also does well here in the Loire Valley in the light reds of Cheverny and Sancerre.

White


Chenin Blanc

Wines with this grape are the most synonymous with the Loire Valley. With properties  found in anything from the very dry to the sweetest of wines plus it is great for making sparkling wines.
Found in Vouvray, Anjou, Chinon, Montlouis-sur-Loire, Saumur and Savennieres.

 

Sauvignon Blanc

These grapes are responsible for the popular and world famous Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume wines.

 

Muscadet

Grown around the extreme western part of the Loire Valley, as it proved to be the best variety to cope with winter frosts the area is susceptible to.

 

Chardonnay

Used mainly as a blending grape adding richness to sparkling wines and they are sometimes used in Saumur and Anjou whites in a small percentage of the finished blend.

 

 

 

The Rhone Region



Wines of the Rhone Regions are predominantly red, and all of them are generous, fine, pleasant, and spiced.

 
The Rhone Valley, has always been the natural route between the Mediterranean and northern Europe. This wine region in Southern France produces numerous wines know for their ability to age.

 

The Rhone is one of France’s most important wine regions. The Rhone Wine Region is divided into two separate zones. The north, the most prestigious is home to the appellations of Condrieu, Côte Rôtie, St. Joseph, Hermitage, and Crozes-Hermitage. Syrah is king with the exception of the Condrieu and Hermitage, which make big whites from Marsanne and Roussanne. 

Marsanne is a white wine grape, most commonly found in the Northern Rhône region. It is often blended with Roussanne. In Savoie the grape is known as grosse roussette.

 

The South is a much larger region. In the villages of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas, Vacqueyras, and Rasteau, Syrah is blended with Grenache, Mourvedre, Cinsaut, and a host of obscure varieties such as Muscardin, Vaccarese, Terret and Counoise, to produce full-bodied reds overflowing with energy.
 

History: In the beginning

Forty million years ago, the Alps were pushed upwards, causing the valley separating the two massive rock mountains to collapse. The Alpine Gulf created in this way was filled by the Mediterranean, which gradually deposited a base layer of hard limestone and calcareous clay. Later as the sea receded lowering the level of the Mediterranean, the Rhone began digging itself a deeper bed, creating fluvial terraces on either side of the valley and mixing the different elements in the hillside soils: sands, clay containing flinty pebbles.

 

Today, the valley’s soils consists of four different types of rock: granite, sandy silica, limestone and clay. The bedrock plays an essential role in the way in which the growing vines are supplied with water, determining the varied aromas and flavours of Rhone wines.

 

The Rhône is generally divided into two sub-regions with distinct vinicultural traditions, the Northern Rhône and the Southern Rhône. The northern sub-region produces red wines from the Syrah grape, sometimes blended with white wine grapes, and white wines from Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier grapes. The southern sub-region produces an array of red, white and rosé wines, often blends of several grapes such as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape.


 

The History of the Rhone Wine Region

The first cultivated vines in the region were probably planted around 600 BC. The origins of the two most important grape varieties in the northern Rhone (Syrah and Viognier) are subject to speculation. Some say the Greeks were responsible for bringing the Syrah grape from the Persian city of Shiraz. Others say the grape came 50 years later when Greeks fled from the Persian king Cyrus I. Yet others say the grape came from the Sicilian city of Syracuse, whence circa 280 AD the Romans brought it and the Viognier grape.

 

Fact: Extensive DNA typing and viticultural research has led scientists to conclude that Syrah originated in the Rhône region itself.

 

Regardless of origin, when the Romans disappeared so too did interest in the wine of the region. Rhône reappeared in the 13th century when the Popes and their considerable purchasing power moved to Avignon, at which time the production of wine expanded greatly. The wines were traded to such a degree that the Duke of Burgundy banned import and export of non-Burgundian wines. In 1446 the city of Dijon forbade all wines from Lyon, Tournon and Vienne, arguing that they were "très petit et pauvres vins" - very small and miserable wines.

 

The name Côtes du Rhône comes from public administration in the 16th century and was a name of a district in the Gard depardement. In 1737 the King decreed that all casks destined for resale should be branded C.D.R. Those were the wines from the area around Tavel, Roquemure, Lirac and Chusclan.
 

Rhone wines derive their style, richness and originality from the diversity of the region's grape varieties.

 

Northern Rhone

The northern Rhône is characterised by a continental climate with harsh winters but warm summers. Its climate is influenced by the mistral wind, which brings colder air from the Massif Central. Northern Rhône is therefore cooler than southern Rhône, which means that the mix of planted grape varieties and wine styles are slightly different.

 

Syrah is the only red grape variety permitted in red AOC wines from this sub-region. The grape, which is believed to have originated in or close to the Rhône region, is also widely known as Shiraz, its name in Australia and much of the English-speaking world, and has recently become very popular with consumers around the world. For wines bearing the Cornas AOC designation, Syrah must be used exclusively, whereas other reds from the northern Rhône sub-region may be blended with white wine grapes, either Viognier or Marsanne and Roussanne, depending on the appellation. However, while this is allowed by the AOC rules, blending with white grapes is widely practiced only for Côte-Rôtie.

 

Viognier by itself is used for white wines from Condrieu and Château-Grillet. Marsanne and Roussanne are in turn used for the whites from Crozes-Hermitage, Hermitage, Saint Joseph, and Saint Péray.

 

From north to south the appellations in the northern Rhône are:

 

Côte-Rôtie AOC - reds of Syrah and up to 20% Viognier.
Condrieu AOC - whites of Viognier only.
Château-Grillet AOC - whites of Viognier.
Saint-Joseph AOC - reds of Syrah and up to 10% Marsanne and Roussanne; whites of only Marsanne and Roussanne.
Crozes-Hermitage AOC - reds of Syrah and up to 15% Marsanne and Roussanne; whites of only Marsanne and Roussanne.
Hermitage AOC - reds of Syrah and up to 15% Marsanne and Roussanne; whites of only Marsanne and Roussanne.
Cornas AOC - reds of Syrah only.
Saint-Péray AOC - sparkling and still whites of only Marsanne and Roussanne.

 

Northern Rhône reds are often identified by their signature aromas of green olive and smoky bacon.

 

The southern Rhône sub-region has a more Mediterranean climate with milder winters and hot summers. Drought can be a problem in the area, but limited irrigation is permitted. The differing terroirs, together with the rugged landscape which partly protects the valleys from the Mistral, produce microclimates which give rise to a wide diversity of wines.

 

A feature of the cultivation of the region is the use of large pebbles around the bases of the vines to absorb the heat of the sun during the day to keep the vines warm at night when, due to the cloudless skies, there is often a significant drop in temperature.

 

The southern Rhône's most famous red wine is Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a blend containing up to 19 varieties of wine grapes. Gigondas AOC, on the other hand, is predominantly made from Grenache noir has a more restricted set of permitted grapes. Depending on the specific AOC rules, grapes blended into southern Rhône reds may include Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan and Cinsault. The reds from the left bank are full bodied, rich in tannins while young, and are characterized by their aromas of prune, undergrowth, chocolate and ripe black fruit. The right bank reds are slightly lighter and fruitier.

 

Southern Rhone

In Southern Rhone, the climate ranges between continental and Mediterranean, mild winters and hot summers. Unlike in Northern Rhone, they’re not very well protected from the mistral winds, although after the vines suffer they’re often cooled down which allows for a higher acidity, as well as an intensity in flavor due to the ice the wind produces. The growers place stones throughout the vineyards at the base of the vines to capture the heat of the sun during the day to keep the plants warm through the cooler nights.
 
Southern Rhône appellations:
 

Côtes du Vivarais AOC
Côtes du Rhône AOC
Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC
Côtes du Rhône Villages
Coteaux du Tricastin AOC
Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC
Vacqueyras AOC
Rasteau AOC
Cairanne
Gigondas AOC
Vinsobres AOC
Lirac AOC
Beaumes de Venise AOC
Muscat de Beaumes de Venise AOC
Tavel AOC

 

White wines from the southern Rhône sub-region, such as in Châteauneuf-du-Pape whites, are also typically blends of several wine grapes. Since about 1998 Viognier is increasingly being used and is also appearing as a single varietal.

 

Cotes du Rhone

Côtes du Rhône covers both the northern and southern sub-regions of Rhône.
 
Typically it is only used if the wine does not qualify for an appellation that can command a higher price. Therefore, almost all Côtes du Rhône AOC is produced in southern Rhône, since the northern sub-region is covered by well-known appellations and also is much smaller in terms of total vineyard surface. This is the most commonly known, produced, and distributed appellation of the region. Produce from vineyards surrounding certain villages including Cairanne and others may be labeled Côtes du Rhône-Villages AOC.

 

Red Côtes du Rhône is usually dominated by Grenache.

 

 

Bordeaux Wines


Bordeaux Wines, the best wines in the world.

 
Bordeaux remains the world’s most popular wine for many reasons, starting with the unique taste, character and style found in the wines. There is no denying the fact that the vineyards of Bordeaux produce wines of the highest quality and in greater quantities and also greater variety than any other vineyards in France. Quality is a result of a happy partnership of soil, vines and climate, quantity is a matter of acres and variety is the result of different soils and sub soils of the vineyards as well as differences in the species of the vines.

 

Red Bordeaux is generally made from a blend of grapes.

 

Red Bordeaux wine from the Medoc is probably what most people think of, when talking about the taste of Bordeaux wine. All Bordeaux wine from the Medoc and Pessac Leognan are blends. Most of those blends utilize Cabernet Sauvignon for the majority of the blend, followed by Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.

 

Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the blend in red wines produced in the Médoc and the rest of the left bank. Typical top-quality Châteaux blends are 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 15% Merlot. This is typically referred to as the "Bordeaux Blend." Merlot tends to predominate in Saint-Émilion, Pomerol and the other right bank appellations. These Right Bank blends from top-quality Châteaux are typically 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

White Bordeaux wines are almost always blends, the most common are made of Sémillon and a smaller proportion of Sauvignon blanc. Some other permitted grape varieties are Sauvignon gris, Merlot blanc, Ugni blanc, Colombard, and Mauzac.

 

Wineries from all over the world aspire to make wines in the Bordeaux style. A group of American vintners formed The Meritage Association In 1988, to identify wines made in this way. Most Meritage wines come from California, but there are members of the Meritage Association in 18 different states and five countries, including Argentina, Australia, Israel, Canada, and Mexico.

 

 

Key appellations:

 

Bordeaux is made up of 57 appellations, which makes it the biggest producer of appellation wines in France. Some key Left Bank appellations include Margaux, Pauillac, St Estephe and St Julien in the Medoc, as well as Graves and Pessac Leognan in the south, plus sweet wine appellations of Sauternes and Barsac.

 

The two best known Right Bank appellations are St Emilion, and Pomerol.

 

Key grape varieties:

 

The designated red grape varieties in Bordeaux are Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Carmenere. The Left Bank is known for its Cabernet Sauvignon dominated wines and the Right Bank for its Merlot, although with some producers, such as Chateau Angelus in St Emilion, have increased the proportion of Cabernet Franc in the blend in the past few years.

 

The main white grape varieties are Sémillon and Sauvignon Blanc, the former being the foundation of Bordeaux’s sweet wine areas of Sauternes and Barsac. Bordeaux is known for producing excellent dry white wines, for example under the AOC Graves or AOC Bordeaux labels, although they are still in the shadow of some of the top red wine appellations. 

 

Reds:

Cabernet:
Filet Mignon. Roasted Beef. Spicy Lamb Stews.

Merlot:
Pork and Winter Vegetable Stew. Roasted Chicken. Shepards Pie.

Cabernet Franc:
Turkey with Cranberry. Blue Cheese Burgers.
 
 

Whites:

Semillon.
Roasted Duck. Baked Ham. Roasted Salmon.

Sauvignon Blanc.
Salads with mixed vegetables. Sea Bass.

Sauvignon Gris.
White Fish. King Crab Legs. Roasted Pork.

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Noble Wine Grapes

Dionysos
 

What is a Noble Grape

 

Why is it important to know about them and what kind of wine do they produce?

 

"Noble grapes", a term used to describe the international variety of grapes that are recognized for producing top quality wines. These varieties have principle growing regions, where they express the local "terrior", in some cases they can be grown in other areas with success.
 
Knowledge of the characteristics of each noble grape variety helps a wine enthusiast establish a personal relationship with the individual grape and wine.
 
It is generally accepted (with some argument) that there are only 7 noble grape varieties.
 

White wines: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling.
 
Red wines: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Syrah

 
Funny how they are all French! In France, they are referred to as "cépage noble".

 

As the new world expands vineyard plantings, we are seeing a growth in experimentation, and the list of grapes is growing. Consumer recognition has grown beyond those original 7 noble varieties. So, I would suggest that the following grapes should be added to that list: Whites: Chenin Blanc, Gewurztraminer, Muscat, Pinot Gris (or Grigio), and Semillon. Reds: Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Gamay, Grenache, Mourvedre Tempranillo, Sangiovese, and Nebbiolo. That would bring our total to 20 noble grape varieties that consumers recognize around the world, as making top quality wines.

 

I have discussed some of these grapes in previous articles, and have included links to those blogs. At this point, I will concentrate on the original 7 noble grape varieties, and some of their main characteristics:
 
Source: arrowheadwine.blogspot

Chardonnay:

In the vineyard: Early bloom, early ripening, thin skinned.
In the winery: Takes well to oak aging, easily manipulated. Juice is neutral to apple scented. MLF* common.
Notable regions: Burgundy, Champagne, So America, Australia, California
Wine aromatics: Apple, pear, vanilla fig, pineapple, melon, citrus, lemon, honey, butter
On the palate: Cool climate - zesty with med to high acid, medium body & alcohol. warm climate - low to medium acidity, medium to high alcohol with a "round" or "fat" body.

Sauvignon Blanc:

In the vineyard: Late budding and early ripening.Challenging to grow, due to tight bunches and tender skins.
In the winery: Usually avoid oak and MLF to emphasize acidity and natural flavors, but California versions (known as Fume Blanc) have oak aging and some MLF.
Notable regions: Loire, Bordeaux, New Zealand, California, Italy, Chile, So. Africa and Canada
Wine aromatics: Distinct vegetal aromas of cut grass, asparagus,or green pepper, plus fruit notes of honeydew, grapefruit, gooseberry, green fig, and lemon or lime. Some also contain a "cat's pee" and mineral scents
On the palate: High acidity, light to medium body, and medium alcohol.

Riesling:

In the vineyard: Early budding and late ripening. Exceptionally hard wood, small compact clusters
In the winery: Stainless steel fermentation to preserve floral and fruit notes. No MLF. Can stop fermentation for sweeter versions, or ferment dry. Tremendous aging potential
Notable regions: Germany, Alsace, Italy, Austria, Australia, United States and Canada.
Wine aromatics: Young-lemon, lime, peach, minerals, beeswax and flowers. Older - gasoline, petrol. Dessert - apricot, honey, raisins, baked apple and peaches.
On the palate: High acid. Can be dry to fully sweet. Low to medium alcohol.

Cabernet Sauvignon:

In the vineyard: Late budding and late ripening.small, thick skinned berries in loose bunches
In the winery: Long maceration period due to high phenolics. Takes well to new oak, works well in blends.
Notable regions: Bordeaux (left bank), Napa CA, Washington, Coonawarra Australia, Italy, Spain, So .Africa, and Chile
Wine aromatics: Cassis (black current) blackberry, black cherry, mint/eucalyptus, green bell pepper. Oak aging can add smoke, toast, tobacco, and vanilla.
On the palate: Dry. Medium to full tannins, acidity, body and alcohol.

Pinot Noir:

In the vineyard: Buds early and ripens early. Thin skinned, and easily mutates. Delicate and demanding
In the winery: Cold soaking is required to extract color and tannins. Very delicate. Used oak barrels.
Notable regions: Burgundy, Champagne, Oregon, California, New Zealand, Chile
Wine aromatics:Cherry, strawberry, plum, raspberry, gamey, leather, mushrooms, "barnyard funk"
On the palate: High acid and juicy. Moderate tannins, bright red fruit character, silky texture.

Merlot:

In the vineyard: Easy to grow. Early budding and early ripening. Large deep colored berries in loose clusters
In the winery: High pigment, but fragile acids. Takes to new oak. In blends, adds suppleness, color, and richness
Notable regions: Bordeaux (left and right bank) Italy, California, Washington, Australia, So Africa, Chile
Wine aromatics: Black fruit, plums, cherries, fig, brown spices (nutmeg & clove), chocolate, coffee, vegetal (if under ripe).
On the palate: Medium acidity and tannins, rich & supple mouth feel

Syrah:

In the vineyard: Late budding and mid ripening (can be fussy). Fairly easy to grow, cold hardy, but prefers warmth.
In the winery: Very versatile. Works with oak or stainless steel. Often blended. Can be made sparkling, still, fortified or rose.
Notable regions: Rhone, Australia (known as Shiraz), Paso Robles CA, Washington.
Wine aromatics: Raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, plum, black currant, violets,carnations, rosemary, tobacco, black pepper, smoke, leather, bacon, chocolate, eucalyptus (particularly in Australia)
On the palate: Brawny to soft. Moderate acidity with medium to high tannins. Full body.
 
 

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