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Wine Guide

Filtering Wine (2) - The pros and cons

What do you expect when you pour yourself a glass of wine? Apart from finding a taste that you like, you no doubt expect the wine, whether red or white, to be clear and bright and be free from extraneous bits. Most of the commercially-driven end of wine-producers have decided that you, the consumer, wants wines that fits the above description, even if obtaining that is to the detriment of the wine. More>>

Fine French wines - Why they cost so much

In both this column and the restaurant column above you may have noticed a preponderance of reviewed wines that are not from France. This isn't some deep-seated case of Gallophobia of mine, it's a price thing. Much as I'd like to sing the praises of Italian wines, I have to admit that France probably produces the world's finest wines. More>>

Food and Beer - Matching food and beers

Much has been written about the marriage of food and wine. It's one that works well, it must do, it's stood the test of centuries and still we enjoy the combination. But there are other combinations, like Guinness and oysters, that work just as well. In countries where there is no indigenous wine culture, other drinks, most commonly beer, take on the role as accompaniment to food. More>>

German Wines (1) - An overview

Not so long ago German wines were commonplace. On every restaurant wine list you could find a Piesporter or a Liebfraumilch and on better lists there were Bernkastelers and Niersteiners. In the blink of an eye that's all changed - where once German wines figured heavily among the whites now it's the wines of Australia and New Zealand that predominate. I'm no market analyst, but a few reasons occur to me as to why this is so. More>>

German Wines (2) - Making sense of the labels

Traditional German wines are easy to spot on shelves; they're the ones have labels with distinctive print. There's nothing approachable about this kind of labelling; either you know what a trockenbeerenauslese is, or you're left floundering, wondering what a Qualitatswein mit Pradikat might be, or if 'kabinett' and 'spatlese' might mean something useful. More>>

German Wines (3) - A brief overview of the regions

Nowhere is the old adage that vineyards are symbiotic with rivers better evidenced than in Germany. All its major wine-producing areas are in close proximity to rivers. In a land so far north, as far as the vine is concerned, the mitigating effect of a river on frosty air can make the difference between success and failure for the crop. In cuspal areas, like the Saar and Ruwer, the rivers are of critical importance. More>>

Gewurztraminer - The great grape of Alsace

The Gewurztraminer grape is one of the most distinctive of grape varieties. The wine that it produces has a pronounced spiciness, from which it takes its name - 'gewurzt' being the German for spicy. The grape itself probably originated in Italy's Northeast in the Trentino area, but its best known home is in France, in the Alsace. More>>

Grape Sugars - Making stronger wines

If a hunter-gatherer of a couple of millennia past collected bunches of ripe wild grapes and left them in a container, a wonderful thing happened. As the liquid was pressed out of the grapes by their own weight, the natural yeasts present on the skins began to digest the sugars in the must. More>>

Grape Varieties - Wine regions and their grapes

As the world of wine marketing has shifted from a regional emphasis towards a varietal emphasis, there can't be many wine drinkers left who haven't tasted the big four varietals; Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. More>>

Grappa and Marc - Distillates of wine by-products

Just like with any other process, making wine results in by-products. Our story today concerns one of them. But to begin at the beginning. When you make wine, the first thing you do is crush the grapes - you break the skins and put them into a fermentation vat. More>>

Hangovers - Everything you always wanted to know...

Everything you always wanted to know about hangovers but were too insensible to ask. More>>

Hospices de Beaune - The great Beaune auction

On the third Sunday in November there's an auction in Beaune, deep in the heart of Burgundy, which is the centrepiece of three days devoted to the celebration of Burgundian wines. But first, a little history. More>>

Hot Winter Drinks - Recipes for hot drinks for cold days

The cold days of winter come with their own pleasures: afternoon walks in the crisp air under a low sun; gathering berries from hedgerows; listening to your footsteps on hoar-frosted grass and deep in winter, enjoying the snow. Coming in from the cold after outdoor pursuits like these calls for the welcome of a glass of something hot, and preferably alcoholic. More>>

How a wine ages - When is it at its best?

got an email this week from a reader who asked a seemingly simple question. She'd bought a New World Cabernet Sauvignon 1998 from a supermarket, which turned out to be corked. The supermarket made a refund, so in that respect all was well. More>>

Innovations - A different business model

There are certain business models that appeal to old hippies like me a great deal more than others. The Enron and Worldcom paradigm, quite apart from its greed, hypocrisy, hubris and disdain for the law, is based on eternal growth and acquisition. The word 'sustainable' doesn't seem to part of their vocabulary. More>>

Investing in Wine - Reading the runes

Every now and then I succumb to the fantasy that it might be possible to make money from shrewd investments in wine. There's no doubt that it can be done, there are people who do it. But a thought came to me recently that just might work, and I thought I'd share it with you. More>>

Irish Wine - The Irish Bordeaux Connection

The vine is a fussy plant: it has very clear ideas of what climate it likes - not too hot, not too cold. Over the centuries wine-growers have developed varieties that can ripen even in the cooler Northern European climates, varieties like the Muller-Thurgau. More>>

Italian Wines - The labyrinth of Italian appellations

When I was a student, wine was something we bought strictly on the basis of price. The cheaper it was, the more likely we were to buy it. There were choices out there all right; Hirondelle, litre bottles of Nicolas and lots of Valpolicella and Soave. (There was also my father's cellar, but he tended to keep that locked.) More>>

Labels - French wine labels and how to read them

An email from three different people asking much the same question leads me to suspect that the question might just be in need of an answer. What these readers wanted to know is how useful is the information you get on a French wine label. More>>

Labels - French wine labels and how to read them

An email from three different people asking much the same question leads me to suspect that the question might just be in need of an answer. What these readers wanted to know is how useful is the information you get on a French wine label. More>>

Languedoc - Its improving wines

Working in a vineyard is hard work and very time consuming. I have a cousin in Italy called Cesidio Tullio who devotes all the free time he has to working his vines and planting new ones. Currently he has some five hectares planted, mostly in Cabernet Sauvignon, two hectares are in full production, the other three are still maturing. More>>

Letting wines breathe - The gentle art of the chambre

There are times when some red wine can get left in a bottle and doesn't get drunk until many hours later or even the next day. Not often, I grant you, but when it does happen it nearly always improves the wine. There are two main reasons for this; the first is the wine gets a chance to breathe, the second is that it slowly comes to room temperature. More>>

Liquid Friendship - How wine lubricates society

Especially in the summer I enjoy a beer as much as the next man; I love the hoppy lagers like Kronenbourg, German speciality beers and of course, our own national Guinness. I enjoy after-dinner drinks too - the occasional liqueur or an elderly Armagnac - garden drinks like Pimms, cocktails from time to time and sometimes the restorative effects of a well-made Bloody Mary. More>>

Madfish Bay - A tasting menu with Madfish wines

An unusual wine-tasting this week; instead of just a table laid out with wines to taste, there was a carefully constructed meal designed to marry harmoniously with the wines. The wines were those from Madfish Bay in Western Australia, the food was created by Johnathan Pratt, executive chef at The Druid's Glen Hotel, the dining audience was composed of a few lucky food and wine journalists. More>>

Making a Wine Cellar - Suggestions as to how wine is best stored

Once you've decided on having a wine cellar and begun to buy your wines, you'll need a place to store them. The word 'cellar' always brings to mind a basement of sorts, but for wine that's not a necessity. What you need is a place where your wines can be kept safely and well. More>>
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