The Petit Sirah grape is a hybrid that was produced in the mid-nineteenth century by the French botanist, Francois Durif. Many believe the cross-pollination was accidental, while a few others believed he purposefully performed the act by dusting the pollen of the Peloursin flower on that of the Syrah blossoms. The story continues that Mr. Durif was not completely satisfied with the Syrah grape and the wine it made. The result was the Petit Sirah grape, referred to that time as the Durif. The result of Petit Syrah wine had the characteristics him. and perhaps others were looking for with a more balanced structure. Continue reading
There are many types of fortified wines. Many of them such as Port wine, Vermouth and Sherry have been duplicated but never replicated. Their origins make them the prized treasures they are. Such factors such as traditional methods which have been passed down through tens of generations, local climate and soil are the reasons for which they are the originals. We are going to explore these different types of fortified wines, what makes them so unique and even better what foods to pair them with. Continue reading
Fortified wine by definition is simply a wine in which a distilled beverage has been added. The most well-known of fortified wines are; Marsala, Madeira, Sherry, Jerez (traditional Sherry of Andalucia, Spain), Port and Vermouth.
Historically, fortifying wine was not always in practice. By fortifying a wine, it is able to be preserved for a longer period of time. When wines first started being transported via boat, most likely towards England, alcohol or a distilled spirit was added so the wine would be able to withstand the journey. Brandy from grapes is typically the ingredient in fortified wine, but distillations from sugar beets, grain or sugarcane is also used. Local alcohol and wine laws will oftentimes dictate which type of alcohol will be added. Most producers, however, take into account which alcohol addition will make for a better tasting fortified wine. Continue reading
Madeira is a fortified wine from the island of Madeira, a territory of Portugal. The island of Madeira was a main port during the Age of Exploration. So the wine would not spoil on its way from the East Indies to the New World, grape spirits were added, to “fortify” the wine. One batch of wine was not sold after making its journey to the world and it was send back to the islands. This wine on its return had sat on the beach for a few days and when it was finally opened, they discovered the wine had been “cooked” from its long round-trip journey and then more so on the beaches. The movement and excessive heat had altered the taste and structure of the wine, resulting in a sweet, nutty and surprisingly appealing fortified wine. Continue reading
Jerez or Sherry is a fortified wine made in the southern region of Andalucia in Spain. They were originally made for consumption, mostly for the English, outside of Jerez (Xerez). Thus, the wine was fortified so it could survive the long transport. By 1933, Jerez became the first DO or Denomination of Origen in Spain. The region, known as the “Triangula de Jerez” is formed by three major points; the frontier of Jerez (Jerez de la Frontera), the port of Santa Maria, and Sanlucar de Barrameda. These are the three municipalities in which the production of Sherry is permitted. By European Union law, there are also other municipalities permitted for production including; Chipiona, Trebujena, Rota, Puerto Real, Chiclana and Lebrija. Today the area of production includes 10,500 hectares. Continue reading
The term “wine” does not specifically refer to the fermented drink made from wine grapes. Wine refers to any fermented drink made from the juice of products which contain sugar, essential to the fermentation process. Examples such as; pears, berries, apples, honey, even flowers and herbs. Technically, the terminology can even be elaborated to include another fermented beverage, beer. Historically, cider, mead (honey wine) and perry (from fermented pears) are excluded from the definition of “fruit wine”.
For thousands of years, making fruit wine has been popular with many cultures in cooler climates, such as North America and Scandinavia. In India, Africa and the Philippines, wine is often made from bananas.
According to European Union laws, wine is legally defined as fermented juice of grapes. In Great Britain, fruit wine is referred to as country wine, however, the term should not be confused with the French term for country wine, Vin de Pays. Continue reading
There is no singular or technical definition for a dessert wine. Dessert wines are traditionally sweet, however the level of sweetness varies as much as the geographical regions from which dessert wine originates from. The world’s most well-known dessert wines are produced in Germany, Austria, France, Italy, Hungary and more recently in Canada.
In Germany and Austria, the dessert wine is made from grapes which are harvested at later times. Regulated by European Union (EU) law, these late and later harvested are dictated to the very date of when grapes can be taken from the vineyards. The first technically “termed” late harvest is called Spatlese. Continue reading
What does it take to be awarded the title “best red wine”? Without even a second thought to the question, many of you wine enthusiasts might just shout out, Petrus! While I am not going to argue that one, I have to be honest, I have never tasted it. However, I will not stop hoping perhaps during my lifetime I will be able to grace my lips to the glass containing a couple ounces of the stuff. For now, I will leave the judging to the lucky critics. Continue reading
I would take a guess that in the world of wine enthusiasts, there are probably more red wine drinkers than white wine drinkers. However, those white wine lovers know white wine, the best white wine, and what characteristics make it some of the best. Continue reading
If you are reading this, you have probably already been to a wine tasting, have had a number of wines, whether at a restaurant, at a friend’s house or in your own home. You have seen the person across the room, swirling the wine effortlessly in their glass, fingers around the stem, pinky finger out. They take a sip, make that sort of obnoxious burbling sound, and finish with a click-click-click sound. You might have rolled your eyes witnessing such an act, but at the same time, you were a little intrigued. Is this how you drink wine? Well, the last clicking might have been a bit much, but it is a start. Though it may sound pretentious at first, there is a how to drink wine. If you do not have one already, get yourself a glass of wine. Continue reading