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Archive for the ‘White grapes’ category

By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 26th

It is unquestionable the great potencial of both Argentina and Chile to produce, besides the known and recognized red wines (Cabernet Sauvignon in Chile’s case and Malbec in Argentina’s one), good white wines, mostly with the french world famous Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. These two white grapes are being produced in almost every wine producers countries, and they are always capable of producing great fruity wines. And so it is in the South American countries.

Casa Lapostolle Sauvignon Blanc 2004 | White Wines

Argentina and Chile have been producing very nice white wines with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. However, I really preffer the Sauvignons from Chile and the Chardonays from Argentina. To be more specific, the Sauvignon Blanc from the Casablanca Valley, in Chile, and the Chardonnay from Mendoza, in Argentina.

The Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca Valley absolutelly assimilates the mineral charateristic, at the same time that it conserves a good acidity, which transforms the drink into a very very fresh drink, perfect to pair it with some salads or white fishes with lemon spice. In its youthness, the Sauvignon Blanc from Casablanca express a yelow to green color, that comproves the nice acidity that is conserved in the wine.

About the Chardonnays from Mendoza, we could say that unctuousness is a good word to describe them. The majority of the Chardonays from this region are very concentrated, has a very special of tropical fruits aroma (pine apples, peaches, star-fruits), and tend to be very creamy and silken, due to the contact with the oak. Yes, it never is very good to pair a long-time-oak-stay with the Chardonnay, because, usually, the result is a poor fruity wine, with too much oak characteristics, like dry fruits and butter. Nevertheless there are some very goog examples of Chardonnays wines in Mendoza, with some great acidity and very bright color.

Here I will tell some very nice examples of the best os the chilean Sauvignon Blancs and the argentinean Chardonnays.

Chile: Errazuriz - Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2007; Domaines Barons Rothschild - Los Vascos Sauvignon Blanc 2007; Casa Lapostolle - Sauvignon Blanc 2007.

Argentina: Rutini - Rutini Chardonnay 2006; Catena Zapata – Catena Alta Chardonnay 2005; Terrazas de los Andes Chardonnay Reserva 2008

Terrazas de los Andes Reserva Chardonnay | White Wines

The Real Riesling | White Wines

January 22nd, 2009

That’s a very good tutorial video to those who still think that the Riesling wines are just some sweet wines, with poor quality. Actually, Riesling is one of the most important white grapes in the world. And in the regions of Alsace (France), Pfalz, Baden and other german areas, Austria, Switzerland, and now even from the Washington and Oregon states in USA, you will be able to find a very fresh, with a very nice acidity. That’s what makes the Riesling wines one of the best in the world in terms of pairing with food. Listen to what she says in the video and have a nice Riesling wine by yourself.

This a very short video. However, it is a very good tutorial to those who want to know what the Chardonay grape does represent in the wine world. It is the most planted white grape, and centainly is the most versatile white grape. It is very adaptive an is able to produce very good wines in any wine producer region. The video is nice because it says somethigs about the different types of Chardonays that are produced in the world, and also the correct food to pair with it. Watch it.

By Giuliano Bortolleto, january 20th, 2009

The Argentina is well-known into the wine world by its great Malbec wines. The Malbec is the national grape of the country and wherever you find a Malbec wine you remember the examples of Argentina. This grape has taken Argentinean wines to all over the globe, an its fame has transformed the country in one of the most important wine producers of the world, competing with France, Italy and other famous wine producers countries. However, another grape in Argentina has called the atention of the wine consumers. It is the Torrontés.

Torrontés grape

This autochthon grape have been producing some very special wines with a very characteristical flavor and aroma that reminds the french Viognier, from Condrieu. The Torrontés wines are so much complex and rich. They are a very nice alternative to the Oak Chardonays. They can express some aromas which remind something mineral and white roses, but also some fuity smell, like pears, green apple, melon, and also a very elegant peach aroma. The Torrontés is a wine with a mid-level body, and can pair with salads, sea food, and I, particulary, like it with japanese food.

Almost all the argentinean regions that produce wines make some examples of Torrontés. Nevertheless, there is nothing superior than the Torrontés from the region of Salta, in the north of the country, in which the grape can be cultivated on 1700 to 2400 meters above the sea level.

Terrazas Torrontés

I would like to put in relief two examples. The first one is the Terrazas de los Andes Torrontés 2008. That’s a wine to be drinked as soon as possible in order to make good use of its youth, and exploit the mineral aroma and its freshness in the mouth. It also brings some very special aroma of peaches.

Alta Vista Premium Torrontés

The second one is the Alta Vista Premium 2006. It is different from the Terrazas because it has a most robust body, it has more personality and a very persistent aroma. The smell of white roses is very intense and it can be well paired with some sea food or roast fishes.

by Wink Lorch

Sometimes my self-imposed brief seems to be to collect obscure wine regions, preferably in or close to mountainous areas. Hence, my acceptance of an invitation to a Clairette de Die (pronounced ‘Dee’) harvest festival.

This was the ideal focus for an exploration of the Diois (pronounced ‘Deewah’) area of the Drôme department, which lies just south of the stunning Col de Rousset pass, generally considered to be the north-south dividing point of the French Alps. To the north, the vegetation is typically continental with mountain spruce, larches and alpine cows; to the south it changes towards Mediterranean, with umbrella pines, ‘garrigue’ scrubland and hundreds of sheep.

In wine terms, the Die area is included in the Rhône Valley region (though it doesn’t fit into either north or south categories); the town of Die is 50km (30 miles) southeast of Valence and the vineyards follow the Drôme River, a tributary of the Rhône. The vineyards are some of the highest in France (higher than most in Savoie for example), lying between 400 and 700 metres with a climate that is a cross between semi-continental and semi-Mediterranean.
Clairette de Die
There are different versions of how the semi-sweet, delicate sparkling Clairette de Die got its name. Strangely it is not named after the Clairette grape even though it’s grown there. Sparkling wine had been made in this area for centuries, even in the days of Pliny, when Muscat was mentioned as grown here; however, it was most widely enjoyed in the late 19th century. At the turn of the 20th century, in the closest large towns of Lyon and Grenoble, the fizzy wine from Die was still sold in bars directly from a barrel - a little like Vin Bourru, the part fermented wine which is sold just after harvest all over France. Needless to say, it was cloudy with the yeast in suspension, but gradually it would clear leaving the deposit behind - so the name derived from this phenomenon of ‘clearing’ or ‘clairette’.

The main grape grown is Muscat à Petit Grains (shown left) which for AOC Clairette de Die must be at least 75% of the blend, with the balance being Clairette, better known further south in the Rhône. Some of the best Clairette de Die is made with 100% Muscat. Clairette is an acidic grape used in particular here for the dry sparkling wines, previously Clairette de Die Brut but now, with stricter production controls, Crémant de Die, in which recent changes to the law state that small quantities of both Muscat and Aligoté must also be included.The area also makes a little still wine, the best from the appellation Châtillon-en-Diois, named after a village at higher altitude than Die - these are dry, fresh whites from Chardonnay and Aligoté, and light reds/rosés from Gamay and Pinot Noir grapes.

Search: http://www.wine-pages.com/guests/wink/die.htm

Picpoul Blanc | White Wines

June 25th, 2008

Picpoul Blanc White Grape Picpoul Blanc (also spelled Piquepoul Blanc) is one of the lesser-known Rhône varietals, but one that we think has a tremendous future in California. It is one of the thirteen permitted varietals in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, where it is used primarily as a blending component to take advantage of its acidity. Like the better known Grenache and Pinot, Picpoul has red, white and pink variants, though Picpoul Noir and Picpoul Gris are very rare. Literally translating to “lip stinger”, Picpoul Blanc produces wines known in France for their bright acidity, minerality, and clean lemony flavor.

Picpoul in France

Most scholars believe Picpoul is native to the Languedoc region of Southern France, where it is still found today. Records from the early 17th century indicate that it was blended with Clairette (another white Rhône varietal) to form the popular sweet Picardan wine (not to be confused with the Chateauneuf du Pape varietal of the same name) which was exported by Dutch wine traders from Languedoc throughout Northern Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. After the phylloxera invasion at the end of the 19th century, Picpoul was not widely replanted. Today it is best known from Picpoul de Pinet, the crisp light green wine of the Pinet Region in the Côteaux de Languedoc.

Picpoul at Tablas Creek

We did not import Picpoul with our initial eight varieties. After the original eight were established in the vineyard, we decided that the consistent sun and long growing season at Tablas Creek might allow varietals that in France are lean and high in acidity to show character impossible elsewhere. Picpoul, with its reputation for sharp acidity, was the first of these high-acid whites that we brought into quarantine, and was in fact the first supplemental varietal we brought in of any sort. It was released from quarantine in 1998, and we spent the next two years propagating and grafting it. We planted approximately one acre of Picpoul in 2000, and received our first significant harvest in 2003. It has been such a success that we plan to triple our acreage in the next few years.

In the vineyard, Picpoul is not a difficult varietal to grow. It pushes early, making it somewhat susceptible to frost, but ripens relatively late. In the past two years, Picpoul was the last white varietal to be brought in, just before Mourvèdre (the last red of the season) at the end of October. In the winery, we ferment it in neutral barrels to complement the grape’s brightness with a bit of roundness.

When we first bottled Picpoul, it was necessary to petition the Tax and Trade Bureau to recognize the varietal, a process we had undergone with several other varietals, including Grenache Blanc, Counoise and Tannat. We amassed literature on Picpoul to demonstrate that it was a recognized varietal in other countries, and compiled descriptions of its characteristics to satisfy the TTB’s requirement that it have distinct value as a wine grape in the United States. In February of 2004, our petition was formally approved.

Aromas and Flavors

We have found that, in California, Picpoul maintains its bright acidity, but also develops an appealing tropical lushness. It is quite rich in the mouth, with an exceptionally long finish. When we have enough fruit, we bottle Picpoul Blanc as a single varietal, and the wine shows a rich nose of pear, pineapple and spice. In the mouth, buttery flavors of pineapple and orange are balanced by crisp acids, and the long, rich finish shows flavors of piña colada.

Beginning in 2004, we have included Picpoul Blanc in our Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, where it lifts the aromatics of the wine in much the same way Viognier might, and its bright acids and pronounced minerality highlight the richness of the Roussanne and Grenache Blanc.

Whereas in previous vintages Viognier had played the role of lifting the aromatic profile, including Picpoul instead in the Esprit Blanc means that the wine includes only grapes approved for Châteauneuf-du-Pape. (Viognier, while a Rhône varietal, is not permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape). The 2004 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc was included in the Fall 2005 VINsider shipment, and will be released nationwide in early 2006.

Source: http://www.tablascreek.com/picpoul.html

Roussanne | White Wines

June 24th, 2008

Roussane White Grape
Roussanne, with its honeyed richness and excellent longevity, forms the backbone of our Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc. In addition, it makes a tremendous single varietal wine, as in our varietal Roussanne that debuted in 2002. The varietal takes its name from “roux”, the French word for “russet” – an apt description of the grapes’ reddish gold skins at harvest.

Roussanne in France

Although no one is precisely sure where Roussanne originated, it seems likely the varietal is native to the Rhône Valley and to the Isere Valley in eastern France. The varietal has not ventured far from its origin; most of the world’s Roussanne is grown throughout the Rhône, where it is traditionally used as a blending grape. In the Southern Rhône, Roussanne is one of four white grape varietals permitted in Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and it is often blended with Grenache Blanc, whose richness and crisp acids highlight Roussanne’s pear and honey flavors. In the Northern Rhône, Roussanne is frequently blended with Marsanne in the appellations of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, and Saint Joseph to provide acidity, minerality and richness. As a single varietal wine, it reaches its pinnacle as the sole component of Château de Beaucastel’s Roussanne Vieille Vignes.

Roussanne is also found the Savoie region of France (where it is known as Bergeron), and in limited quantities in Australia and Italy. In the United States, Roussanne is planted in the Central Coast and Sonoma regions of California, as well as in the Yakima Valley of Washington State.

Roussanne in California

In the 1980s, pioneering American growers attempted to import Roussanne into the United States by taking cuttings from the Rhône Valley. Those cuttings were propagated and planted in vineyards all over California, and many wines from those cuttings garnered critical acclaim. Years later, in 1998, DNA tests identified those vines as Viognier – a discovery which led to significant confusion, relabeling, and several lawsuits. We avoided this confusion by importing all of our vine cuttings directly from Château de Beaucastel; the Roussanne and Viognier propagated in the Tablas Creek Nursery are certified clones, tested by the USDA and declared virus-free. We have have more information on the Roussanne-Viognier Controversy.

Around the same time we brought in the Beaucastel clones, John Alban imported Roussanne to plant in his Central Coast vineyards. Those clones were also true Roussanne, and virtually all of the 177 acres of Roussanne currently planted in California are descendants of the clones brought in by Alban and by Tablas Creek.

Roussanne at Tablas Creek

Roussanne has a reputation as a difficult varietal to grow, and as such is often passed over in favor of the more cooperative Marsanne. In its native France, plantings had almost disappeared until superior clones were developed towards the end of the twentieth century. Roussanne grapes are susceptible to powdery mildew and rot, and the vine is a shy producer even under ideal conditions. Of the four primary white Rhône varietals that we grow at Tablas Creek, Roussanne is generally the latest-ripening.

The vines are particularly responsive to sunlight, and grape bunches on the western side of the vine tend to ripen more quickly than bunches on the eastern side. To combat this tendency, we aggressively thin the leaves to expose more bunches to sunlight and harvest the grapes in multiple passes. Bunches on the western side are picked first, leaving the eastern ones more time to ripen. Sixteen acres of our vineyard are devoted to Roussanne, representing over half of our white Châteauneuf-du-Pape varieties and almost ten percent of the Roussanne planted in California.

Flavors and Aromas

Wines made from Roussanne are rich and complex, with distinct honey, floral and apricot flavors. At Tablas Creek, we ferment and age about half of our Roussanne in one- to five-year-old French oak, which provides a structured richness and enhances the flavors of honeyed peach and apricot fruit. Unlike most white wines, Roussanne ages very well due to its unusual combination of richness and crisp acids; Château de Beaucastel’s Roussanne Vieille Vignes wines can be enjoyed up to 15 years or more after bottling.

Roussanne is gaining popularity as a single varietal, especially among producers on the Central Coast. After a wine-club-only bottling of two barrels in 2001, we have begun producing a single-varietal Roussanne made from grapes that we feel are particularly characteristic of the varietal. The single-varietal bottling provides a nice counterpoint to the terroir-characteristic grapes we use in our Roussanne-based Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc.

Source:http://www.tablascreek.com/roussanne.html

Grenache Blanc GrapeGrenache Blanc is a relatively new arrival into the Tablas Creek Vineyard pantheon of grapes. It produces rich, full wines with bright flavors and crisp acidity and is a key element in both our Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc and Cotes de Tablas Blanc. As the name suggests, Grenache Blanc is related to the more widely known Grenache Noir. Many grape varietals have both red and white variants; the best known is Pinot, which has Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris variations. Grenache Blanc, like Grenache Noir, is drought-resistant, vigorous, easy to graft and ripens fairly early in the cycle. Since we brought Grenache Blanc into our nursery, we have sold budwood and grafted vines to a number of other Rhône-producing vineyards in California. The California climate of hot days and cool nights seems to be perfect for the varietal and encourages its two prime qualities: richness with crisp acids.

Early History

Grenache Blanc originated in Spain, and still plays a role in the wines of Rioja and Navarre. From Spain, it spread to France, and has thrived in the vineyards of the Rhône valley and Châteauneuf-du-Pape. It is the fourth most commonly planted white grape varietal in France, comprising over 37,000 acres in Roussillon alone. In Châteauneuf-du-Pape, the crisp acidity of Grenache Blanc is used to balance the honeyed richness of Roussanne, and white Château de Beaucastel is roughly 80% Roussanne and 20% Grenache Blanc.

Grenache Blanc at Tablas Creek

We imported cuttings of Grenache Blanc from Beaucastel in 1992, and the vines spent three years in quarantine at the USDA station in Geneva, New York. In 1995, the cuttings were declared virus free and released to Tablas Creek Vineyard. These vines were received into our nursery and the first grafted vines went into the ground in 1996. The first significant harvest of the varietal was 1999. For the next three years (up to and including the 2001 Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc), we could only refer to the varietal as Grenache on our label because Grenache Blanc was not yet recognized by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. Not surprisingly, many people found this nomenclature confusing and we were regularly asked why we added a red varietal into our white blend; in 2002 we petitioned the BATF to recognize Grenache Blanc as a separate varietal.

Grenache Blanc at the BATF

We went through the varietal approval process with Counoise in 2000, so we knew what we had to do. We compiled literature on Grenache Blanc to show that it was a recognized varietal in other countries, and we compiled descriptions of its characteristics to show that it had positive value as a wine grape in the United States. In February 2003, our petition was provisionally approved (pending an open review process that could take 18 months). You can see Grenache Blanc on the front labels of ourEsprit de Beaucastel Blanc and the Côtes de Tablas Blanc, as well our single-varietal Grenache Blanc, which debuted to national release with the 2004 vintage.

Aromas and Flavors

Grenache Blanc is straw-colored and produces wines that are high in alcohol, with crisp acids. The nose has bright green apple and mandarin orange aromas, with clean flavors of more green apples, mineral and a touch of peach. It has a long, lingering finish. Although it can stand confidently on its own, its crispness and long finish make it a tremendous blending component. The crispness of Grenache Blanc shows well at low temperatures, whereas many white Rhône varietals (particularly Roussanne and Marsanne) shut down when served too cold. In our Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc, the Grenache Blanc allows the wine to show well, even highly chilled (as many restaurants often serve all white wines). As the wine warms up in the glass, the other varietals unfold, and the full richness of the wine is displayed. If you’re interested in Grenache Blanc, we bottled small lots of 100% Grenache Blanc in both the 2002 and 2003 vintages for our Wine Club members. These wines were distributed as parts of the annual spring shipment. We planned a limited national release of our 2004 Grenache Blanc which has been very successful, debuting it in about a dozen states starting in late 2005.

Source: http://www.tablascreek.com/grenachebl.html

Gewürztraminer | White Wines

February 27th, 2008


Brazilian Gewürztraminer | White WinesGewürztraminer (pronounced /ɡəˈvɝtstrəmiːnɚ/, sounds like guh-VOORTS-truh-MEE-ner; pronounced [ɡɛˈvyːɐtstʀamiːnɐ] in German), sometimes referred to as Gewürz, is an aromatic white wine grape variety that performs best in cooler climates. The variety has high natural sugar and the wines are usually off-dry, with a flamboyant bouquet of lychees. Dry Gewürztraminers may also have aromas of roses, passion fruit and floral notes. It is not uncommon to notice some spritz (fine bubbles on the inside of the glass).

Its aromatic flavours make Gewürztraminer one of the few wines that is suitable for drinking with Asian cuisine. It goes well with Munster cheese, and fleshy, fatty (oily) wild game. Smoked salmon is a particularly good match.

Species: Vitis vinifera
Also called: Gewürz, Gentil Rose Aromatique, Traminer Musque (more)
Origin: Along the Rhine in Alsace between the Vosges and the Blackforest
Notable regions: Alsace, Germany, NE Italy
Notable wines: From Alsace, especially the Vendange Tardives

History

The name literally means “Spice Traminer”, or “Perfumed Traminer”.

Gewürztraminer Grapes | White Wines
The history of the Traminer family is complicated, and not helped by its rather unstable genome. The story starts with the ancient Traminer variety, a green-skinned grape that takes its name from the South Tyrolean village of Tramin. The famous ampelographer Pierre Galet thought that Traminer was identical to the green-skinned Savagnin Blanc that makes vin jaune in the Jura. More recently it has been suggested that Savagnin Blanc acquired slight differences in its leaf shape and geraniol content as it travelled to the other end of the Alps.

Frankisch in Austria, Gringet in Savoie, Heida in Switzerland, Formentin in Hungary and Grumin from Bohemia are all very similar to Savagnin Blanc and probably represent clones of the Traminer family, if not Traminer itself. The Viognier of the Rhone Valley may be a more distant relative of Savagnin Blanc.

At some point, either Traminer or Savagnin Blanc mutated into a form with pink-skinned berries, called Red Traminer or Savagnin Rose. Galet believed that a musqué (’muscat’) mutation in the Red Traminer/Savagnin Rose then led to the extra-aromatic Gewürztraminer, although in Germany these names are all regarded as synonymous.

With these convoluted genetics happening in the area that has been the front line for a millennium of wars in Europe, it’s maybe not surprising that vines have been misnamed. Given that the wine made from ‘Gewürztraminer’ in Germany can be much less aromatic than that in Alsace, some of the German vines may well be misidentified Savagnin Rose. The Baden vineyard of Durbach claims its own type of Red Traminer called Durbacher Clevner (not to be confused with “Klevner”, an Austrian synonym for Pinot Blanc). The story goes that in 1780 Karl Friedrich, Grand Duke of Baden brought vines from Chiavenna in Italy, halfway between Tramin and the Jura, which was known to the Germans as Cleven.

The Klevener de Heiligenstein or Heiligensteiner Klevener found around Heiligenstein in Alsace may represent an outpost of the Durbach vines. They are often described as a less aromatic form of Gewürztraminer, which sounds just like the Red Traminer!

Traminer is recorded in Tramin from ca. 1000 until the 16th century. It was spread down the Rhine to Alsace, by way of the Palatinate where Gewürz (spice) was added to its name - presumably this was when one of the mutations happened. The longer name was first used in Alsace in 1870 - without the umlaut. It’s not clear what this name change represents, as it seems too great a coincidence that the musqué mutation happened just after the arrival of the great phylloxera epidemic. More likely an existing mutant was selected for grafting onto phylloxera-resistant rootstocks when the vineyards were replanted. In 1973 the name Traminer was discontinued in Alsace except for in the Heiligenstein area.

Crosses

The Germans have tried hard to breed the flavours of Gewürztraminer into vines that are easier to grow. In 1932 Georg Scheu crossed Gewürztraminer with Müller-Thurgau to produce Würzer, a little of which is grown in Rheinhessen and in England. Similar crosses at Alzey and Würzburg respectively have produced Septimer and the reasonably successful Perle. The early-ripening Siegerrebe is the result of a cross with Madeleine Angevine at Alzey and is notable for producing the highest ever must weight recorded in Germany, 326 °Oechsle. A cross between Müller-Thurgau and Siegerrebe produced Ortega

Cserszegi Fűszeres is the result of a Hungarian cross with Irsai Oliver.

In 1938 Harold Olmo crossed Sémillon and Gewürztraminer at U.C. Davis to make Flora, which is grown a little in California and New Zealand - in the latter it was mistaken for a late-ripening clone of Pinot Gris. Brown Bros blend it with Orange Muscat in Australia.

In 1965 Gewürztraminer was crossed with Joannes Seyve 23.416 at the University of Illinois to produce a hybrid variety called Traminette. Traminette is more cold-tolerant than the original, while maintaining most of the desirable taste and aroma characteristics.

Regions

In Europe the grape is grown in Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Luxembourg, Moravia in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. In the New World, the grape is perhaps most successful in New Zealand and in the far south of Chile.

Australia

Australian Gewürztraminer is more notable for its occasional use of old names like Traminer Musqué and Gentil Rose Aromatique than the quality of the wines. Its naturally high sugar is exacerbated by the sunny climate, so that it is more suited for sweetening other wines.

Canada

Canadian regions where it is grown include the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, the Niagara Peninsula, and the north shore of Lake Erie and Prince Edward County wine regions of Ontario.

France

Gewürztraminer reaches its finest expression in Alsace, where it is the second most planted grape variety and the one most characteristic of the region. It grows better in the south of the region. Styles range from the very dry Trimbach house style to the very sweet. The variety’s high natural sugar means that it is popular for making dessert wine, both vendange tardive and the noble rot-affected sélection de grains nobles.

As mentioned above, around Heiligenstein there’s a grape known as Klevener de Heiligenstein, which is probably Red Traminer (Savagnin Rose) rather than a true Gewürz; the Heiligenstein wines are certainly more restrained than other Alsace Gewürztraminers.

Germany

Germany has about 10 square kilometres of the variety, but it is very different to that of their neighbours across the Rhine, as suggested above a lot of their “Gewürztraminer” is probably Red Traminer. The Germans go for a relatively dry style, that tries to subdue the natural flamboyance of the grape.

Italy

The Traminer is native to the cool Alpine slopes of the Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol in northeastern Italy. Whether the Gewürz- mutant originated there or not is an open question, but it is certainly grown there today. Confusingly both pink and green grapes may be called simply Traminer. This wine is aged in Austrian oak rather than the Slovenian oak used for most Italian wine.
Gewürztraminer | White Wines
USA

In the United States, it is concentrated in Monterey, Mendocino and Sonoma in California, the Columbia Valley of Washington and Oregon. It is also grown in Michigan, Rhode Island, Caddo County, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Texas, and the Finger Lakes Region of New York.

Traminette wines are produced in the Finger Lakes region.

Israel

Although not native to the Israeli climate, growing Gewürztraminer grapes became somewhat of a trend in the late 90’s and the beginning of 2000’s. It is grown in different growing areas all over Israel. Most notable examples come from the Golan Heights and the Gallilee. All kinds of wines, from dry aromatic ones to very concentrated sweet ones are produced.

Vine and viticulture

Gewürztraminer is particularly fussy about soil and climate. The vine is vigorous, even unruly, but it hates chalky soils and is very susceptible to disease. It buds early, so is very susceptible to frost, needs dry and warm summers, and ripens erratically and late. Its natural sweetness means that in hot climates it becomes blowsy, with not enough acidity to balance the huge amounts of sugar. On the other hand, picking early to retain the acidity, means that the varietal aromas don’t develop, and these aromas may be further diluted by overcropping in an attempt to overcome the low yields.

Synonyms

As explained above, genetic instability means that the Traminers should be regarded as a family of related clones rather than distinct varieties. Thus DNA analysis will probably reveal that the following names are not synonymous. It gets even worse when it comes to Gewürztraminer, as Geilweilerhof being Germans see no difference between it and Red Traminer - and some of the names look like they belong to the original green-skinned Traminer/Savagnin Blanc. Still, with those caveats, here they are:

Auvernas Rouge, Blanc Brun, Blanc Court, Bon Blanc, Christkindeltraube, Christkindlestraube, Clevener, Clevner, Crevena Ruziva, Crovena Ruzica, Diseci Traminer, Dreimaenner, Dreimannen, Dreipfennigholz, Drumin, Drumin Ljbora, Duret Rouge, Edeltraube, Fermentin Rouge, Fleischroth, Fleischweiner, Formentin Rouge, Fourmenteau Rouge, Frencher, Fromente, Fromenteau, Fűszeres, Fűszeres Tramini, Gentil Rose Aromatique, Gentil-duret Rouge, Gentile Blanc, Gewuerztraminer, Gringet, Gris Rouge, Haiden, Kirmizi Traminer, Klaebinger, Klaevner, Kleinbraun, Kleinwiener, Livora, Livora Cervena, Mala Dinka, Marzimmer, Mirisavi Traminac, Nature, Nature Rose, Noble Rose, Nuernberger Rot, Pinat Cervena, Piros Tramini, Plant Paien, Princ Cerveny, Princt Cervena, Princt Cerveny, Ranfoliza, Rosentraminer, Rotclevner, Rotedel, Roter Nuerberger, Roter Nuernberger, Roter Traminer, Rotfranken, Rothklauser, Rothweiner, Rothwiener, Rotklaevler, Rotklaevner, Rotklevner, Rousselet, Runziva, Rusa, Ruska, Ryvola, Salvagnin, Sauvagnin, Savagnin, Savagnin Jaune, Savagnin Rosa Aromatique, Savagnin Rose, Savagnin Rose Aromatique, Savagnin Rose Musque, St. Klauser, Termeno Aromatico, Tramin Cerveny, Tramin Korenny, Traminac Crveni, Traminac Diseci, Traminac mirisavi (Croatian), Traminac Mirisavi Crveni, Traminac Sivi, Traminec, Traminer, Traminer Aromatico, Traminer Epice, Traminer Musque, Traminer Parfume, Traminer Rosa, Traminer Rose Aromatique, Traminer Rot, Traminer Rozovyi, Tramini Piros, Trammener,Fűszeres tramini (Hungarian).

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gew%C3%BCrztraminer


If you are quick you may get onto the band waggon of this wonderful Rhone variety. There are lots of bargain wines still around.

First a little history. The Viognier white grape variety was rescued from near extinction just a few decades ago and is now one of the hottest varietals going around. If you are becoming a little jaded by Chardonnay and can’t quite cop the aggressive characters in Sauvignon blanc then this variety may be the drink for you. Legend has it that the variety was introduced, along with Syrah, to the Rhone Valley during the Roman occupation.

After two millennia of barbarian invasions, dark ages, wars and the ravages of time just a few hectares of Viognier were left by the 1960s. It occupied a small corner of the Rhone around Condrieu where it made cult wines known only to a small group of enthusiasts. But the word got out and thanks to modern viticultural techniques Viognier is now widely planted Languedoc and Ardeche in France as well as in Italy, California and Australia.

Viognier’s future in the Rhone is now assured. The wines made from the variety are at their best rich and sensual, in a word voluptuous. Many plantings are still really only in their experimental phase. It may take a couple of decades to see the best. In the meantime there may be some disappointments and variation from year to year. There just isn’t enough knowledge and experience around yet for there to be consistent results from vineyard practices and winemaking technique.

The ripening of the process of the grapes is regarded as idiosyncratic in this variety. The fruit flavours seem to arrive in a rush at the end of ripening, so patience and a strong nerve is required to avoid picking too early. It is therefore quite likely that there will be strong variation from vintage to vintage.

Viognier is increasingly popular as the white partner in copigmentation with Shiraz. Only a small proportion of the white grapes is used. One Shiraz winemaker from Heathcote district in Central Victoria reckons that just two percent of Viognier is the optimum amount for his Shiraz. Other makers are using between five and fifteen percent.

The flavour of varietal white wines made from Viognier are often described using comparisons with the aromas of flowers, peaches and stone fruits and spices.

Viognier wine is best enjoyed with food, and these dry white wines are robust enough to be paired with quite aromatic or mildly spiced dishes. There are some other food pairing ideas in the Albarino to Zinfandel Food Pairing recipe collection.

Viognier wines will probably age well, but they are very good young so why wait?

Australian wineries using Viognier include:

Alan and Veitch Adelaide Hills
Albert River Queensland Coastal
Aldinga Bay McLaren Vale
Alkoomi Frankland River
Allusion Wines Southern Fleurieu
Amulet Vineyard
Beechworth
Anderson Winery Rutherglen
Andrew Peace Wines Swan Hill
Angas Vineyards Langhorne Creek
Angullong Wines Orange
Arakoon McLaren Vale
Arundel Sunbury
Badgers Brook Yarra Valley Yarra Valley
Bago Vineyards Hastings River
Ballandeen Estate Granite Belt
Bartagunyah Estate Southern Flinders Region
Barton Estate Canberra
Barwick Wines Margaret River
Battely Wines Beechworth
Battunga Vineyards Adelaide Hills
Beelgara Estate Riverina
Belgravia Vineyards Orange
Bellarine Estate Geelong
Berton Vineyards Riverina
Bimbadgen Estate Hunter Valley
Biscay Wines Barossa Valley
Blamires Butterfly Crossing Bendigo
Blue Poles Vineyard Margaret River
Boireann Granite Belt
Boyntons Feathertop Alpine Valleys
Brindabella Hills Canberra
Brokenwood Wines Hunter Valley
Brown Brothers King Valley
By Farr Geelong
Calais Estate
Hunter Valley
Campbells Wines Rutherglen
Cape Mentelle Margaret River
Capel Vale Geographe
Carilley Estate Swan Valley
Carlaminda Estate Geographe
Casella Riverina
Castagna Vineyard Beechworth
Ceres Bridge Estate Geelong
Chain of Ponds Adelaide Hills
Chalice Bridge Estate Margaret River
Charlies Estate Wines Swan Valley
Chateau Mildura Murray Darling
Ciavarella King Valley
Circo V King Valley
Claymore Wines Clare Valley
Clonakilla Canberra
Cobaw Ridge Macedon Ranges
Cow Hill Beechworth
Craneford Barossa Valley
Creed of Barossa Barossa Valley
Currans Family Wines Murray Darling
Cypress Post Granite Belt
D’Arenberg McLaren Vale
Darling Park Mornington Peninsula
David Hook Wines Hunter Valley
De Beaurepaire Wines Mudgee
de Mestre Wines Mudgee
Deakin Estate Murray Darling
Diamond Valley Vineyards Yarra Valley
Djinta Djinta Gippsland
DogRidge McLaren Vale
Domain Day Barossa Valley
Dos Rios Swan Hill
Dyson Wines McLaren Vale
Eden Hall Eden Valley
Elgee Park Mornington Peninsula
Evans Family Wines Hunter Valley
Farrell Estate Murray Darling
First Creek Hunter Valley
Flying Duck Estate King Valley
Fonty’s Pool Vineyards Pemberton
Fox Gordon Barossa Valley
Francois Jacquard Perth Hills
Frankland Estate Frankland River
Freeman Vineyards Hilltops
Geoff Merrill McLaren Vale
Ghost Riders Vineyard Hunter Valley
Giant Steps Yarra Valley
Grant Burge Barossa Valley
Gregory’s Wines The Peninsulas
Grove Estate Wines Hilltops
Gundowringla Wines Alpine Valleys
Haan Barossa Valley
Hamiltons Bluff Cowra
Happs Margaret River
Harris River Estate Geographe
Haselgrove McLaren Vale
Hastwell and Lightfoot McLaren Vale
Haywards of Locksley Strathbogie Ranges
Heafod Glen Winery Swan Valley
Heartland Vineyard Hunter Valley
Heartland Wines Limestone Coast
Heathcote Winery Heathcote
Heggies Vineyard Eden Valley
Heidenriech Estate Barossa Valley
Helen’s Hill Estate Yarra Valley
Henschke Eden Valley
Hently Farm Wines Barossa Valley
Higlander wines Orange
Hotham Ridge Winery Central Western Australian Zone
House of Certain Views Hunter Valley
Hugh Hamilton McLaren Vale
Innocent Bystander Yarra Valley
Izway Wines Barossa Valley
Jarrah Ridge Winery Central Western Australian Zone
Jeir Creek Canberra
Jimbour Wines Queensland Zone
Kalleske Wines Barossa Valley
Kamberra Canberra
Kangarilla Road McLaren Vale
Kay Bros Amery McLaren Vale
Keith Tulloch Wine Hunter Valley
Kilikanoon Clare Valley
King River Estate King Valley
Kingston Estate Riverland
Kirwans Bridge Wines Nagambie Lakes
Koltz McLaren Vale
Kouark Gippsland
Ladbroke Grove Coonawarra
Lady Bay Winery Southern Fleurieu
LadyBay Vineyard Southern Fleurieu
Langanook Wines Bendigo
Langmeil Barossa Valley
Lanzthomson Wines Barossa Valley
Lark Hill Winery Canberra
Lashmar Kangaroo Island
Lerida Estate Canberra
Lethbridge Wines Geelong
Lillian Pemberton
Linda Domas Wines McLaren Vale
Lindenton Wines Heathcote
Little’s Winery Hunter Valley
Little River Wines Swan Valley
Little Wine Company Hunter Valley
Logan Wines Mudgee
Longview Vineyard Adelaide Hills
Louee Wines Mudgee
M. Chapoutier Australia Mount Benson
Margan Family Hunter Valley
Mary Byrnes Wines Granite Belt
mas serrat Yarra Valley
Mason Wines Granite Belt
Maxwell Wines McLaren Vale
McHenry Hohnen Margaret River
McIvor Creek Heathcote
McKellar Ridge Canberra
McPherson Wines Nagambie Lakes
Meera Park Hunter Valley
Merum Pemberton
Metier Wines Yarra Valley
Millbrook Winery Perth Hills
Mitchelton Nagambie Lakes
Mount Appallan Vineyards South Burnett
Mount Buffalo Vineyard Alpine Valleys
Mount Burrumboot Estate Heathcote
Mount Camel Ridge Estate Heathcote
Mount Cole Wineworks Grampians
Mount Surmon Clare Valley
Mount Trio Vineyard Porongurup
Mr Riggs Wine Company McLaren Vale
Mulyan Cowra
Munari Heathcote
Mundoonen Canberra
Murray Darling Collection Murray Darling
Murray Street Vineyard Barossa Valley
Myrtle Vale Vineyard Upper Goulburn
Nalbra Estate Geelong
Neqtar Wines Murray Darling
Noorilim Estate Goulburn Valley
Normanby Wines Queensland Zone
Nursery Ridge Murray Darling
Oakover Estate Swan Valley
Oatley Wines Mudgee
Orange Mountain Orange
Organic Vignerons Australia Riverland
Paracombe Wines Adelaide Hills
Parri Estate Southern Fleurieu
Patterson Lakes Estate Port Phillip Zone
Peacetree Estate Margaret River
Peerick Vineyard Pyrenees
Pelican’s Landing Maritime Wines Southern Fleurieu
Penny’s Hill McLaren Vale
Pennyfield Wines Riverland
Pepper Tree Wines Hunter Valley
Pepperilly Estate Wines Geographe
Petaluma Adelaide Hills
Petersons Glenesk Estate Mudgee
Pettavel Geelong
Philip Shaw Orange
Phoenix Estate Clare Valley
Pikes Clare Valley
Pinnacle Wines Orange
Plan B Margaret River
Plunkett Wines Strathbogie Ranges
Poachers Ridge Vineyards Mount Barker
Pondalowie Bendigo
Possums Vineyard McLaren Vale
Pothana Hunter Valley
Prince of Orange Orange
Printhie Wines Orange
Purple Hen Wines Gippsland
Pyren Vineyard Pyrenees
Ralph Fowler Wines Mount Benson
Ravensworth Wines Canberra
Redbank Victoria King Valley
Rees Miller Estate Upper Goulburn
Ridgemill Estate Granite Belt
Ridgeview Wines Hunter Valley
Riverbank Estate Swan Valley
Robert Johnson Vineyards Eden Valley
Roberts Estate Murray Darling
Rocky Passes Wines Upper Goulburn
Romavilla Roma
Roundstone Winery Yarra Valley
Rutherglen Estates Rutherglen
Salisbury Winery Murray Darling
Sanguine Estate Heathcote
Scion Vineyard Rutherglen
Seven Ochres Vineyard Margaret River
Sevenhill Wines Clare Valley
Shadowfax Vineyard and Winery Geelong
Shelmerdine Heathcote
Sieber Road Wines Barossa Valley
Sirromet Queensland Coastal
Smidge Wines Langhorne Creek
Snobs Creek Wines Upper Goulburn
Solstice Mount Torrens Vineyards Adelaide Hills
Southern Highland Wines Southern Highlands
Spence’s Vineyard Geelong
Spinifex Barossa Valley
Spoehr Creek Wines Adelaide Hills
SpringLane Yarra Valley
St Leonards Rutherglen
Stella Bella Margaret River
Sticks Yarra Valley
Stone Ridge Granite Belt
Stonehaven Padthaway
Stuart Wines Heathcote
Sugarloaf Ridge Southern Tasmania
Sutton Grange Winery Bendigo
Swings & Roundabouts Margaret River
Symphonia King Valley
Symphony Hill Wines Granite Belt
Syrahmi Heathcote
T’Gallant Mornington Peninsula
Tahbilk Nagambie Lakes
Tall Poppy Murray Darling
Tallarook Wines Upper Goulburn
Tallis Wine Company Goulburn Valley
Taltarni Pyrenees
Tamar Ridge Northern Tasmania
Tandou Riverland
Tanglewood Vines Blackwood Valley
Tapestry McLaren Vale
Tatachilla McLaren Vale
Tawonga Vineyard Alpine Valleys
Temple Bruer Langhorne Creek
Terra Felix Upper Goulburn
The Islander Estate Vineyards Kangaroo Island
The Lane Adelaide Hills
The Ritual Peel
The Standish Wine Company Barossa Valley
Three Moon Creek Queensland Zone
Torbreck Vintners Barossa Valley
Trentham Estate Murray Darling
Turners Crossing Vineyard Bendigo
Veritas Barossa Valley
Vinea Marson Heathcote
Vintara Rutherglen
Violet Cane Vineyard Granite Belt
Wallington Wines Cowra
Wandoo Farm Central Western Australian Zone
Wanted Man Heathcote
Waratah Vineyard Queensland Zone
Watershed Wines Margaret River
Wedgetail Ridge Estate Darling Downs
West Cape Howe Wines Denmark
Westend Estate Riverina
Western Range Wines Perth Hills
Westgate Vineyard Grampians
Whale Coast Wines Southern Fleurieu
Whistling Eagle Wines Heathcote
Whitsend Estate Yarra Valley
Wills Domain Vineyard Margaret River
Willunga 100 Wines McLaren Vale
Winbirra Vineyard Mornington Peninsula
Winewood Granite Belt
Wirra Wirra McLaren Vale
Wombats Run King Valley
Wovenfield Geographe
Yalumba Wine Company Barossa Valley
Yarra Yarra Yarra Valley
Yarra Yering Yarra Valley
Yarraloch Yarra Valley
Yengari Wine Company Beechworth
Yering Station Yarra Valley
Zilzie Wines Murray Darling
Zonte’s Footstep Langhorne Creek

Source: http://www.vinodiversity.com/viognier.html

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