Wine History

Cabernet vs. Merlot


Cabernet Sauvignon vs. Merlot. 
Two wines that share many similarities, but are also extremely different.

 
For many wine drinkers, selecting the perfect bottle and making the distinction between similar types can be difficult, but if you understand the subtle differences, you will be able to make the right decision.

 
 
Where Each is From
Both originated in the Bordeaux region of France in the 15th century; however, the grapes that are used in these two wines thrive in very different conditions.
 
Cabernet Sauvignon thrives in the gravely soil as is found in the Médoc region along the Left Bank. Gravel-based soil that is well drained, creating conditions that this particular type of vine needs to flurish. It has the added benefit of absorbing the heat from the environment and delivering it to the vines, which helps the fruit ripen much more quickly.

 

Merlot grows great in the clay and limestone-based soils that are found along the Right Bank in the Gironde estuary region. This type of soil holds a much cooler temperature resulting in a delayed ripening.
 
Today both wine grapes are grown in a variety of locations. Merlot-based wines are often grown and produced in St. Émilion and Pomerol, and Cabernet-based wines can be found in Médoc and Pessac-Léognan. Both types of grapes are grown extensively in Napa Valley, Sonoma County, the Northeastern United States, South America and Southern Australia.

 


 

Cabernet Sauvignon comes from a small, thick grape. This is why there is so much tannin in Cabernet, as the tannin is found in the skin itself. Merlot grapes have a distinctive purplish skin, and reddish vines.

 
 
 
Differences how they are Produced 
Cabernet Sauvignon goes through an oak aging process during production. This process is perfect for producing a delicious wine. Instead of making the wine too soft, this aging process gets the wine to the perfect level of acidity and bitterness, as well as adding additional flavors.

 

Like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot is also often aged in oak barrels, or with oak chips added to stainless steel barrells. During this process Merlot grapes must be picked immediately after ripening or they will over-ripen and lose their acidity. Where Cabernet is often made as a stand-alone wine, Merlot grapes are often blended in with others to lessen the tannin, as they have a much fruitier, lighter flavor.

 

What Blends Are Each Used In?
Not surprisingly, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are often blended together. The fruitiness of the Merlot is used to combat the bitterness of the tannin that is often present in Cabernet wines.

In general Merlot is used to sweeten more bitter wines and Cabernet is used to add a drier flavor to wines that are too sweet.

 

Differences in Taste
Cabernet Sauvignon has a bolder taste, where Merlot is softer; however, there are many bold Merlot wines as well. It all depends on where the grapes are grown.
 

Climate plays a big part in how these two wines taste. For example, wine made from grapes grown in a cooler climate will have a drier, more earthy flavor with a higher presence of tannin, where a wine made from grapes grown in a warmer climate will have a much fruitier flavor with less tannin.
 
When Pairing, When Would You Choose One Over the Other?
With all their similarities, one big difference comes in pairing Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot with food. The two wines, although made similarly in the same regions, have distinctly different flavors that cater to very different meal types.
 
When to Choose Cabernet Sauvignon:
Never do so with a delicate meal. Its rich flavor will overpower everything else on the table.
 
Instead, pair it with heavier meals such as steak, duck, wild pheasant, buffalo, and other dishes high in protein. Avoid pairing it with certain fish, as the oil doesn’t tame the tannin adequately. If you are looking for a seafood dish, less oily fish such as tuna, swordfish, and shark do pair well, but a lighter red may be a better choice.
 
When to Choose Merlot:
Because it has a lighter tannin and is sweeter, Merlot can be used in a variety of settings. Merlot pairs well with many different Italian dishes, especially ones featuring a tomato-based sauce. It also does well to highlight the savory flavor found in roasted chicken, mushrooms, and Parmesan cheese.
 
While these two wines are produced in similar areas and utilize very similar techniques, they have significant differences that everyone should understand when trying to make the perfect selection.
 
 

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.

 

 

 

Interesting Wine Quotes…

"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried,
with fewer tensions and more tolerance."

- Benjamin Franklin

"It sloweth age, it strengtheneth youth, it helpeth digestion, it abandoneth melancholie, it relisheth the heart, it lighteneth the mind, it quickenth the spirits, it keepeth and preserveth the head from whirling, the eyes from dazzling, the tongue from lisping, the mouth from snaffling, the teeth from chattering and the throat from rattling; it keepeth the stomach from wambling, the heart from swelling, the hands from shivering, the sinews from shrinking, the veins from crumbling, the bones from aching, and the marrow from soaking." --copied from a 16th Century manuscript

"Port is not for the very young, the vain and the active. It is the comfort of age and the companion of the scholar and the philosopher." - Evelyn Waugh

"Wine is the most civilized thing in the world." - Ernest Hemingway

"And water is on the Bishop's board and the Higher Thinker's shrine,
But I don't care where the water goes if it doesn't get into the wine." - G.K. Chesterton

"My only regret in life is that I did not drink more Champagne." - John Maynard Keynes

"Gentlemen, in the little moment that remains to us between the crisis and the catastrophe, we may as well drink a glass of Champagne." - Paul Claudel

"Champagne for our real friends and real pain for our sham friends!"

“Wine had such ill effects on Noah’s health that it was all he could do to live 950 years. Show me a total abstainer that ever lived that long.” - Will Rogers

"In victory, you deserve champagne, in defeat, you need it." - Napoleon

"There are two reasons for drinking wine...when you are thirsty, to cure it; the other, when you are not thirsty, to prevent it... prevention is better than cure." - Thomas Love Peacock

"Drink wine, and you will sleep well. Sleep, and you will not sin. Avoid sin, and you will be saved. Ergo, drink wine and be saved." - Medieval German saying

"The First Duty of wine is to be Red...the second is to be a Burgundy" -- Harry Waugh

"Never understood a single word he said but I helped him drink his wine…and he always had some mighty fine wine." -- 3 Dog Night
Thomas Jefferson on wine:

"I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury. On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens."

"Good wine is a necessity of life for me."

"I rejoice as a moralist at the prospect of a reduction of the duties on wine by our national legislature.... Its extended use will carry health and comfort to a much enlarged circle."

"Wine ... the true old man's milk and restorative cordial."

"I wonder what the vintners buy one half so precious as the stuff they sell." - Omar Khayyam

"Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, "Odyssey (9th c. B.C.)

"If penicillin can cure those that are ill, Spanish sherry can bring the dead back to life." - Sir Alexander Fleming

"Come quickly! I am tasting stars!" - Dom Perignon (1638-1714) at his first sip of champagne

"I have enjoyed great health at a great age because everyday since I can remember I have consumed a bottle of wine except when I have not felt well. Then I have consumed two bottles." -A Bishop of Seville Baron

"In Europe we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary." - Ernest Hemingway, "A Moveable Feast"

"Wine is a living liquid containing no preservatives. Its life cycle comprises youth, maturity, old age, and death. When not treated with reasonable respect it will sicken and die." - Julia Child

"Writing in my sixty-fourth year, I can truthfully say that since I reached the age of discretion I have consistently drunk more than most people would say is good for me. Nor did I regret it. Wine has been for me a firm friend and a wise counsellor. Often...wine has shown me matters in their true perspective, and has, as though by the touch of a magic wand, reduced great disasters to small inconveniences. Wine has lit up for me the pages of literature, and revealed in life romance lurking in the commonplace. Wine has made me bold but not foolish; has induced me to say silly things but not to do them." - Duff Cooper, "Old Men Forget"

"To take wine into your mouth is to savor a droplet of the river of human history." - Clifton Fadiman, N. Y. Times, 8 Mar '87

"There can be no bargain without wine." - Latin saying

"I made wine out of raisins so I wouldn't have to wait for it to age." - Steven Wright

"Compromises are for relationships, not wine." - Sir Robert Scott Caywood

"What contemptible scoundrel stole the cork from my lunch" W. C. Fields

Johann Wolfgang Goethe, a famous German poet, once was asked which three things he would take to an island. He stated: "Poetry, a beautiful woman and enough bottles of the world's finest wines to survive this dry period!" Then he was asked what he would leave back first, if it was allowed to take only two things to the island. And he briefly replied: "The poetry!" Slightly surprised, the man asked the next question: "And Sir, what would you leave back if only one was allowed?" And Goethe thought for a couple of minutes and answered: "It depends on the vintage!"

“One should always be drunk. That’s all that matters…But with what? With wine, with poetry, or with virtue, as you chose. But get drunk.” Charles Baudelaire, circa 1850s

Wine in Songs


Songs with Wine in their Lyrics

 
Music is just like wine. Each of us has very different tastes in what we like and dislike. The music that is great for one person can easily be bad for another people. So it’s always fun to see when wine is mentioned in song.

 

Here are some of the wine songs or song with wine lyrics.

 

A Taste of Honey by Tom Jones
“…honey, much sweeter than wine”

 

Babylon Sisters by Steely Dan
“Well jog with show folk on the sand
Drink kirschwasser from a shell”
Kirshwasser is a German cherry wine liqueur

 

Best of My Love by the Eagles
“wasting our time on cheap talk and wine, left us so little to give”

 

Big Shot by Billy Joel
“You had the Dom Perignon in your hand and the spoon up your nose”

 

Children’s Crusade by Sting
“History’s lessons drowned in red wine”

 

Daydream by Wave
“Sunshine, strawberry wine
a little taste of leather and lace ”

 

Don’t Know Why by Nora Jones
My heart is drenched in wine
But you’ll be on my mind
Forever

 

Drink to me only with Thine Eyes (traditional)
“Drink to me only with thine eyes,
And I’ll not ask for wine”

 

Dust on the Bottle by David Lee Murphy
“Some say good love, well it’s like a fine wine
It keeps getting better as the days go by”

 

Elvira by The Oak Ridge Boys
“Eyes that look like heaven, lips like sherry wine”

 

Get Down by Gilbert O’Sullivan
“…Once upon a time, I drank a little wine,
was as happy as could be…”

 

Half a Mile Away by Billy Joel
“Little Geo is a friend of mine
We get some money and we buy a cheap wine
Sit on the corner and have a holiday
Hide the bottle when the cop goes by”

 

Honky Cat by Elton John
“Living in the city ain’t where it’s at
It’s like trying to find gold in a silver mine
It’s like trying to drink whisky from a bottle of wine

 

Hotel California by the Eagles
“Please bring me my wine, he said ‘We haven’t had that spirit here since 1969′” … and “Pink Champagne on Ice ..”

 

Incense & Peppermints by Strawberry Alarm Clock
“Incense and peppermints and strawberry wine…”

 

Ironic by Alanis Morrisette
“it’s a black fly in your chardonnay”

 

Joy to the World by Three Dog Night
“Jeremiah was a bull frog.
Was a good friend of mine.
Never understood a single word he said,
but he always had some mighty fine wine.”

 

Killer Queen by Queen
“She keeps Moet et Chandon in a pretty cabinet”
(Moet et Chandon is a brand of Champagne)

 

Lady Marmalade by Christina Aguilera etc.
“boy drank all that magnolia wine”
“we drink wine with diamonds in the glass”

 

Livin’ La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin
“She never drinks the water, makes you order French Champagne”

 

Never Tear Us Apart by INXS
“If I hurt you, I’d make wine from your tears”

 

Scenes from an Italian Restaurant by Billy Joel
“Bottle of Red, Bottle of White”

 

A Little More Wine by Savory Brown

 

Alligator Wine by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

 

A Steel Guitar and a Glass of Wine by Paul Anka

 

Bitter Wine by Bon Jovi
“Once you were my inspiration, but, that river’s run dry
What was once holy water, tastes like bitter wine”

 

Blood Red Wine by the Rolling Stones
“I got red blood, and I got blood red wine
Which I bring you, when the snow is heavy on the ground “

 

Bottle of Red Wine by Eric Clapton / Derek and the Dominos “Get up; get your man a bottle of red wine.
Get up; get your man a bottle of red wine.”

 

Bottle of Wine by Tom Paxton
“Times getting rough I ain’t got enough
To buy me a bottle of wine”

 

Champagne Supernova by Oasis
“Some day you will find me caught beneath the landslide
In a champagne supernova - A champagne supernova in the sky”

 

Cherry Red Wine by Jonny Lang

 

Days of Wine & Roses by Henry Mancini

 

Drinking Champagne by George Strait and Cal Smith

 

Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee by Jerry Lee Lewis and by Sticks McGhee

 

Elderberry Wine by Elton John

 

From The Vine Came the Grape The Gaylords

 

God of Wine by Third Eye Blind

 

Harvest Wine by Electric Flag

 

Heaven Was A Drink Of Wine by Merle Haggard

 

Honey and Wine by the Hollies

 

Honk Tonk Wine by Jerry Lee Lewis

 

I Buy the Wine by Merle Haggard

 

Kisses Sweeter than Wine by the Weavers

 

Lilac Wine by Nina Simon, also Jeff Buckley

 

Lips of Wine by Andy Williams

 

Little Ole Wine Drinking Me by Dean Martin

 

Me and My Wine by Def Leppard

 

Mexican Wine by Fountains of Wayne

 

Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine by Tom T. Hall

 

Old Red Wine by The Who
“Old red wine, not worth a dime; we’ll have to finish it after crossing the line.”

 

Red Wine by Woody Guthrie

 

Red Wine & Whisky by Katrina & the Waves

 

Red, Red Wine by UB40, lyrics and melody by Neil Diamond
“Red, red wine it make me feel so fine ...”

 

Sangria Wine by Jerry Jeff Walker

 

Slow Wine by Tony Toni Toné

 

Sip of Wine by Barclay James

 

Sip the Wine by Rick Danko

 

Spill the Wine by War
“Spill the wine, and take that pearl ...” - Learn More about Spill the Wine

 

Strawberry Wine by Deana Carter or The Band

 

Strawberry Wine by the Dixie Chicks

 

Summer Wine by Nancy Sinatra or Deana Carter

 

Sweet Cherry Wine by Tommy James and the Shondells

 

Sweet Was the Wine by The Marcels

 

Sweet Wine by Cream

 

Two More Bottles of Wine by Delbert McClinton also Emmylou Harris
“my baby moved out and left me behind
But it’s all right ‘cause it’s midnight
and I got two more bottles of wine”

 

Unhand That Wine! by Lambert, Hendricks, and Ross

 

Warm Red Wine by Bob Wills

 

Wine by Electric Flag

 

Wine and Roses by John Fahey

 

Wine and Women by the Bee Gees

 

Wine Colored Roses by George Jones

 

Wine Do Yer Stuff by Commander Cody

 

Wine into Water by T. Graham Brown

 

Wine Me Up by Faron Young

 

Wine O’ Wine by West Side Wayne

 

Wine Song by Youngbloods

 

Wine Stained Lips by Catch 22

 

Wine, Wine, Wine by Champion Jack Dupree or Rick Shelton

 

Wine, Women an’ Song by Whitesnake
“I love wine, women an’ song”

 

Wine, Women and Song by Loretta Lynn

 

Wine Woogie by Marvin Phillips

 

The Wino and I Know by Jimmy Buffett

 

Yesterday’s Wine by Merle HaggardMusic with wine lyrics

 

 

A Little More Wine by Savory Brown

 

Alligator Wine by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Beaujolais



The Beaujolais region


 
Located at the southern end of Burgundy in Southeastern France. The majority of the wines made in Beaujolais are from the Gamay grape variety. These wines are generally very fruity and have light tannins. Nearly all of them are ready for consumption on release and will not benefit from additional aging.
 
Beaujolais wines are made by a process called carbonic maceration. This lets winemakers extract the juice with a minimum of tannin; it is this lack of tannin that makes Beaujolais wines so easy to drink.
 
French laws require all Beaujolais grapes to be picked by hand. Beaujolais and Champagne are the only two regions subject to this unique requirement.
 

Beaujolais Nouveau

 
Beaujolais Nouveau is a young red wine made from Gamay grapes from the Beaujolais region, where this wine accounts for about half of the region's production. While most red wines improve with age, Beaujolais Nouveau is all about freshness and is ready to drink right away.

 

Every year, about a week before Thanksgiving, a strange thing happens in the wine world. The winemakers of Beaujolais are ready to release the newest vintage, and at the stroke of midnight, the race is off to see who can get the wine to Paris and the rest of the world first. Restaurants celebrate the arrival of the new wine, festivals are held, and terrible hangovers are had. By law, the Beaujolais producers cannot start selling until midnight on the third Thursday of November, to ensure a more level playing field for this madness.

 

What is the reason for this absurd silliness? It’s an odd tradition that started the way traditions do - that is, nobody remembers. But it’s a good excuse to throw parties to celebrate the arrival of the new Beaujolais - Beaujolais Nouveau.

 

10 Fascinating Facts About Beaujolais Nouveau Every Wine Lover Should Know.

 
1. Beaujolais [BOE-zjoh-lay] Nouveau is always released the third Thursday of November, regardless of the start of the harvest.
 
2. The region of Beaujolais is 34 miles long from north to south and 7 to 9 miles wide. There are nearly 4,000 grape growers who make their living in this picturesque region just north of France's third largest city, Lyon.
 
3. All the grapes in the Beaujolais region must be picked by hand. These are the only vineyards, along with Champagne, where hand harvesting is mandatory.
 
4. Gamay (Gamay noir Jus Blanc) is the only grape permitted for Beaujolais. While certain California wineries may label their wine "Gamay Beaujolais" this is not the same grape variety as what is grown in France, and is quite different in taste and growing habits.
 
5. Beaujolais Nouveau cannot be made from grapes grown in the 10 crus (great growths) of Beaujolais-only from grapes coming from the appellations of Beaujolais and Beaujolais-Villages.
 
6. Beaujolais Nouveau owes its easy drinkability to a winemaking process called carbonic maceration, also called whole berry fermentation. This technique preserves the fresh, fruity quality of the wine, without extracting bitter tannins from the grape skins.
 
7. Beaujolais Nouveau is meant to be drunk young-in average vintages it should be consumed by the following May after its release. However, in excellent vintages (such as 2000) the wine can live much longer and can be enjoyed until the next harvest rolls around.
 
8. Serve Beaujolais Nouveau slightly cool, at about 55 degrees Fahrenheit-the wine is more refreshing and its forward fruit more apparent than if you serve it at room temperature.
 
9. Approximately 1/3 of the entire crop of the Beaujolais region is sold as Beaujolais Nouveau.
 
10. The region of Beaujolais is known for its fabulous food. The famed Paul Bocuse Restaurant is just minutes from the heart of Beaujolais, as is Georges Blanc's eponymous culinary temple. These great restaurants have plenty of Beaujolais on their wine lists. This quintessential food wine goes well with either haute cuisine or Tuesday night's meat loaf.
 
from: intowine.com
 

Fun Facts About Wine

Cheers!

Now that the nation’s millennials are all officially 21, they drink almost 1/2 the wine purchased in the U.S. this crowd of 79 million strong is starting to shape the nation’s appetite for wine.

Millennials who we unofficially identify as between the ages of 21-38 consumed 42 percent of all wine drunk in the U.S. in 2016. And the Millennials who drank wine spent over $20 per bottle, a much higher price than the older baby boomers. Interestingly over half of female wine drinkers in the U.S. aged 21-24 choose organic or sustainably produced wines as a very important factor in their purchasing decision.

Fun Facts About Wine

• Wine is made in virtually every country in the world.

• Due to a natural chemical balance, grapes ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water, or other nutrients.

• In Vietnam, if you are in the know and ask your waiter for a glass of cobra wine. They will serve you rice-wine covered with snake blood that is killed on the spot.

• Intense fear or hatred of wine is called “oenophobia.”

• The dark green wine bottle was an English invention, the work of Sir Kenelm Digby (1603-1665). Previously wine had been kept in goat skin bags.

• Wine ‘tastings’ are somewhat inaccurately named – top sommeliers agree that smell is by far the most important sense when it comes to drinking wine.

• The custom of bumping glasses with a “cheers” greeting came from old Rome.

• In ancient Egypt, the ability to store wine until maturity was considered alchemy and was the privilege of only the pharaohs.

• Bubbles in wine have been observed since ancient Greece and were attributed to the phases of the moon or to evil spirits.

• Winemaking is a significant theme in one of the oldest literary works known, the Epic of Gilgamesh. The divinity in charge of the wine was the goddess Siduri.

• The average age of a French oak tree harvested for use in creating wine barrels is 170 years.

• A survey from Australia once stated that women that drink 2 cups of wine a day tend to enjoy sex more than women who don’t drink at all.

• The primary fruit crop in Napa Valley during the 1940’s was Prunes – Not grapes.

• 10,000 varieties of wine grapes exist worldwide.

• Roman Historian Pliny the Elder rated 121 B.C. as a vintage “of the highest excellence.” This was the first known reference to a specific wine vintage.

• 400 different oak species are available to source wood for wine barrels.

• The signing of the Declaration Of Independence was toasted with glasses of Madeira.

• President Lincoln held an actual liquor license back in his days in Salem, Illinois. For a modest $7 dollars, in 1833, he and his partner William F. Berry got a tavern license that permitted them to sell a “1/2 pint of wine or French brandy for $.25

• Wine tasting is the sensory examination and evaluation of wines.

• A few vine cuttings from the New World brought to Europe spread a tiny insect called Phylloxera vastatrix, which feeds on the roots of vines. The only way to save all of the European grape vines was to take European vines that were grafted onto American rootstocks to combat Phylloxera.

• A “cork-tease” is someone who constantly talks about the wine he or she will open but never does.

• While wine offers certain medical benefits, it may slightly increase the risk of contracting certain kinds of cancer of the digestive tract, particularly the esophagus.

• European wines are named after their geographic locations while non-European wines are named after different grape varieties.

• Besides churches and monasteries, two other great medieval institutions derived much of their income from wine: hospitals and universities. The most famous medieval wine-endowed hospital is the beautiful Hôtel-Dieu in Beaune, France, it is now a museum.

• In the Middle Ages, the greatest and most innovative winemakers of the day were monastic orders. The Cistercians and Benedictines were particularly apt winemakers, and they are said to have actually tasted the earth to discover how the soil changed from place to place.

• The Germans invented Eiswein, or wine that is made from frozen grapes.

• Because grapes in the Southern Hemisphere are picked during what is Spring in the Northern Hemisphere, a 2010 Australian wine could be six months older than a 2010.

• As wine comes into contact with air, it quickly spoils.

• Chilling tones down the sweetness of wine. If a red wine becomes too warm, it may lose some of its fruity flavor.

• Wine is made with grapes, but it is NOT made with the typical table grapes you would find at the grocery store.

• Ancient Romans believed that seasoning was more important than the main flavor of wine. They often added fermented fish sauce, garlic, lead and absinthe.

• The Romans discovered that burning sulfur candles inside empty wine vessels kept them fresh and free from a vinegar smell.

• The word “sommelier” is an old French word meaning butler or an officer in charge of provisions, derived from the Old Provençal saumalier, or pack-animal driver.

• The “Cheers” ritual started back in the Middle Ages, when poisoning was a favorite way to get rid of an enemy. To be sure their glass was poison-free, drinkers would first pour a bit of wine into each other’s glass, so if there was poison in one, it was now in both.

• A crop of newly-planted wines takes about four to five years to grow before it can be harvested.

• A “butt” is a medieval measurement for the liquid volume of wine.

• Prohibition had a devastating impact on the US wine industry, and it took years to recover. Some wineries survived by making sacramental wine for religious purposes, which was allowed under the law.

• China has become the leading market for red wine—not just for its flavor. It’s a color favored by the government, and also is considered lucky.

• Single-celled organisms called yeast convert the sugar in grapes into alcohol and carbon dioxide, and also release heat in the process.

• Most wine glasses are specifically shaped to accentuate those defining characteristics, directing wine to key areas of the tongue and nose, where they can be fully enjoyed.

• All wine is stored at the same temperature, regardless of its color. But reds and whites are consumed at completely different temperatures.

• One glass of wine consists of juice from one cluster of grapes.

• Seventy-five grapes comprise one cluster.

• One grape vine produces 10 bottles.

• One acre can contain 400 vines, resulting in five tons of grapes.



More Facts:

One Bottle of Wine:
750 ml of liquid
2.4 pounds of grapes (39 oz.)
4 glasses of wine

One Barrel of Wine:
740 Pounds of grapes and 59 gallons
295 bottles of wine
1,180 glasses of wine
Capacity

War & Wineries: Syria

Syrian_vineyard_620_400
 

Wine makers in Syria and Lebanon, face concerns created by a war that has been raging at their doorsteps for years.

 

Syria, a country wracked for the past five years by horrific and bloody battles, and where for most people living there the main goal is staying alive, not sipping syrah.
 
Source: vinepair.com
 
The cultivation of Syrian wine becomes a courageous attempt to hold onto the country’s humanity and its soul, and to export it to the rest of the world in a form more immediately relatable (and definitely user-friendly) than an image or headline.
 
Making wine during wartime is elitist. But that’s kind of the point.

 

As for Syrian wines, the reds are mainly of syrah, cabernet sauvignon and merlot – they tend to be spicy with a hint of black olives, and of black truffles in the mouth. The whites, a mixture of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc, are crisp and citrous with good acidity and complexity and a lot of minerality and saltiness from the coastal winds.
syrian_vineyard
 

The Soil:

 
Limestone is a dominant geological component of the area where the vineyard is situated.
 
Syrian wineries were largely small-scale operations, often located at churches and monasteries and meant for local consumption. Syrian Christians made up 10 percent of the pre-war population of 22 million people, but that figure has fallen sharply amid the violence, and wine production has dwindled too.
 
Around 45,000 bottles are boxed in Syria yearly.
 
Syria's rebel forces - a mixture of hardline Islamists and other groups seeking to end the dynastic rule of President Bashar al-Assad - are in Latakia and started taking ground last year. Some of these groups have forbidden alcohol in areas they control but Bargylus vineyard has stayed in government-held territory throughout the conflict.
 
Islam’s holistic approach to health and well-being...
 
Means anything that is harmful or mostly harmful, is forbidden. Therefore, Islam takes an uncompromising stand towards alcohol and forbids its consumption in either small or large quantities.

 

Alcohol is one of the tools Satan uses to distract humankind from the worship of God. God states clearly in the Quran that Satan is an open enemy towards humankind yet by drinking alcohol, we invite Satan into our lives and make it easy for him to distract us from our real purpose in life, to worship God.

 

God links alcohol and gambling to idolatry and declares it filthy and evil; however, He is merciful and generous towards the believers and acknowledges the power of addiction.
 

What the Bible says about wine...

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.

Continue Reading

Scroll to top