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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

by Steve Pitcher

Wine merchants are increasingly tantalizing their customers with domestic wines sporting unfamiliar names. Not content with the “chocolate” and “vanilla” of wine production — Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay — as well as other classic varietals, such as Pinot Noir, Merlot, Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc, some wineries are turning to Old World varietals like Sangiovese and Nebbiolo from Italy and Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache and Cinsault from the Rhone Valley for red wines, and other Rhone varietals such as Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne for white wines.

If you haven’t yet come across many wines with these names, it’s due to the fact that production is still comparatively tiny. On the other hand, you may have been exposed to one or more of them without knowing it when enjoying a bottle labeled with a fanciful proprietary name, such as Bonny Doon’s Clos de Gilroy (made from Grenache), Old Telegram (Mourvedre), Le Cigare Volant (Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah) and Le Sophiste (Rousanne and Marsanne), or Qupe’s Bien Nacido Cuvee (half Chardonnay, half Viognier) or one of Jim Clendenen’s “Il Podere dell’Olivos” line of wines, such as Arioso Bianco (one third each Pinot Bianco, Moscato di Canelli and Ribolla Gialla).

Of the white Rhone varietals, Viognier (pronounced “VEE-ohn-yay”) is the most “widely” planted, with about 300 acres in California. While Viognier grows particularly well in warmer micro-climates, it can be found in all the wine-growing regions of California, from Mendocino County in the north to Temecula in the South Coast, including some very promising vineyards in the Sierra foothills. While only a small number of wineries dabbled in this most exotic of all white table wines in the early ’90s, today Viognier is made by more than 20 wineries in California, plus a couple in Colorado and one in Virginia. Growers have also planted modest amounts of Viognier in thirteen other states, including Oregon, Arizona, New York, North Carolina and Texas, where commercial bottlings are contemplated in the near future.
Viognier’s Aromas and Flavors
For those who haven’t experienced Viognier, the first glass is quite a revelation. First and foremost there is the wine’s heady perfume — a melange consisting of all or some of the following: honeysuckle, citrus blossoms, oriental lychee nuts, very ripe white melon, freshly picked peaches and apricots, and ripe pears just after they’ve been peeled — that immediately gets your attention. According to Craig Williams, winemaker at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, Viognier contains floral compounds (called terpens) that are also found in Muscat and Riesling. So, think of the most wonderfully aromatic Muscat or Riesling you’ve ever encountered, then concentrate and double that perfume and you have Viognier.

Your nose tells you the wine will be sweet — like a Muscat — but your palate is surprised to encounter a dry nectar offering flavors that resemble a mixture of ripe pears, lemon-lime citrus, almonds, spice, peaches and apricots, sometimes with a honied nuance. Lush and viscous on the palate with more body than most Chardonnays, the wine’s aftertaste is not at all cloying, but fresh and vibrant, impelling you to take another sip.

Food Matches

With all the exotic descriptions of Viognier’s perfume and flavors, it’s reasonable to ask whether the wine works well with food. It’s just these extroverted elements that make Viognier an excellent complement to Mediterranean cuisine, particularly shellfish, seafood and poultry dishes.

For example, at a Square One luncheon a while back focusing on Mediterranean cuisine and Rhone-style wines, chef-owner Joyce Goldstein paired Viognier with “Caldo de perro,” a Catalan soup with rockfish, monkfish, scallops, orange juice, onions, grilled bread and almond orange aioli. It was a scrumptious combination that needed only a bit more spicy hotness to make it perfect, as Goldstein herself remarked.

On a simpler scale, Viognier is a perfect match for crabcakes and spicy stir-fry.

Besides being exotic and delicious, Viognier is a wine that doesn’t require much aging to develop complexity and full aromatics. Within two years from the vintage date, the wine is generally as good as it’s going to get. This is great news for folks who want to take an excitingly different wine home from the store for consumption that night with dinner.

Winemaking Techniques

At this point in the development of New World Viognier winemaking, wineries are still trying to figure out the most appropriate method of production to obtain the best results. This was quite apparent in a recent Vintners Club blind tasting of 12 Viogniers from all over California, plus one from Virginia. The quality of the wines was comparatively uneven, with some efforts showing too much oak, while others exhibited grassy, vegetal aromas more commonly found in Sauvignon Blanc. The best wines were, however, on a par with Viogniers from France, where the wine is often labeled “Condrieu,” the name of the tiny region where most of French Viognier grapes are grown.

The message from this tasting is that Viognier shouldn’t be made like Chardonnay — it can’t survive barrel fermentation and aging in 100 percent new oak, but does need some older, neutral oak to bring out its perfume early and to round out the texture. Cool stainless steel fermentation works well, but tends to inhibit the aromas.

If there is a downside to California-grown Viognier, in addition to uneven quality, it is price. Eight of the 12 wines in the Vintners Club tasting were priced at more than $20, reflecting the tiny yield from Viognier vineyards in 1994 and 1995, as well as the inexorable law of supply and demand. There were, however, a couple of bargain-priced wines in the upper rankings, which demonstrate that good Viognier doesn’t have to be outrageously expensive.

Tasting Notes

FIRST PLACE

1995 Calera Viognier, Mount Harlan (San Benito County) ($30)
Quintessential Viognier, this wine would be right at home in the Rhone Valley of France. Wonderfully aromatic, complex nose of ripe peaches and apricots, set off with mild toast and roasted grain scents. Smooth and unctuous in the mouth, offering lots of ripe apricot-peach fruit and fine acidity. The good mouthfeel gets better sip after sip.

SECOND PLACE

1995 Cline Cellars Viognier, Estate Vineyard, Contra Costa County ($18)
Distinctive, attractive aromas of quince, minerals, smoke, tropical fruit, ultra-ripe peaches, plus a fair amount of oak, which becomes nicely integrated over time. On the palate, the wine is pleasantly juicy and rich with good acidity, tasting of delicious apricot, peach and quince fruit; the flavors have excellent depth and concentration. Barrel fermentation and five months aging on the lees (sur lie) contributed a silky smooth mouthfeel and fine structure. Distinquishable from the Calera, but equally Rhone like. Excellent value.

THIRD PLACE

1995 Alban Vineyards Viognier, Estate Vineyard, Edna Valley ($28)
Fresh, appealing scents of ripe apricots, white peaches, orange rind and lemon blossoms, which are replicated on the palate, accompanied by a slight note of honey and a hint of garden herbs. A delicious, moderately complex wine with good depth and concentration of flavors.

FOURTH PLACE

1995 R.H. Phillips Vineyard Viognier, EXP Estate, Dunnigan Hills ($12)
Blended with five percent Chardonnay, the nose of this wine offers fresh, fragrant aromas of ripe peaches, apricots, lemon zest, bananas and lemon blossoms. Round and fleshy on the palate in the manner of good Viognier, the wine’s flavors focus on ripe, peachy fruit accented by tangerine notes. Nicely varietal and a very good value.

FIFTH PLACE

1994 Kendall-Jackson Viognier, Grand Reserve, California ($25)
Smoky scents define the nose, which also shows shy peach fruit, floral notes and a bit of honey. As the wine aired, the smokiness dissipated somewhat. Not particularly varietal, the flavors are more grassy than fruity; barely adequate acidity. K-J has done better with this varietal in the past.

SIXTH PLACE

1995 Horton Vineyards Viognier, Orange County, Virginia ($20)
Deep, slightly candied scents of peaches, honey, grapefruit and wildflowers, which start off subtly and get bigger over time. Balanced and moderately unctuous in the mouth, the wine offers tasty peach fruit framed by good acidity. A nice wine, but not as exciting as those that ranked higher.

SEVENTH PLACE

1995 Signorello Vineyards Viognier, Napa Valley (Estate) ($30)
The darkest wine in the flight, the Signorello Viognier was unfiltered and underwent 100 percent malolactic fermentation, which resulted in a smooth, rich, silky mouthfeel. Quite fragrant, offering floral scents mingled with honey-tinged pears and lemon citrus. The deep, powerful flavors replicate the nose and would stand up nicely to rich, spicy cuisine.

EIGHTH PLACE

1995 Callaway Vineyard Viognier, Temecula ($15)
The nose brought the wine down for many tasters, as it more resembles a very grassy Sauvignon Blanc than Viognier, with aroma elements of bacon rind, aggressive asparagus and pineapple. On the palate, the sweet, peach-like fruit seems one dimensional.

NINTH PLACE

1995 Ojai Vineyard Viognier, Roll Ranch Vineyard (Ojai Valley), California ($20)
Intriguing nose of hazelnuts, roasted grain, honeysuckle, banana, peaches and a host of tropical fruits. The nicely concentrated flavors replicate the nose; adequate acidity and a hint of sweetness. Still quite young; needs more time to develop.

TENTH PLACE

1994 Joseph Phelps Viognier, Vin du Mistral, Napa Valley ($27)
This producer’s Viognier has done better in prior tastings. Some tasters noted an “off” character in the nose — probably from a bad bottle; others found peach and honeysuckle scents. Flavors match the nose.

ELEVENTH PLACE

1995 Andrew Murray Viognier, Estate Vineyard, Santa Barbara County ($25)
This brand new producer is devoted entirely to Rhone varietals, grown in the highest-elevation vineyard in Santa Barbara County. Still very young, this Viognier now displays muted scents of honeysuckle, orange peel and tropical fruit. On the palate, there is a creamy-vanilla note that leads to a pleasant viscosity and a slightly toasty, vanilla-tinged finish. Only 600 bottles of this unfined and unfiltered wine were produced.

TWELFTH PLACE

The last-place wine came from a corked bottle, and was thus not representative of the true character of the wine. It would serve no purpose to identify the producer in this circumstance.

Steve Pitcher is a freelance wine writer based in San Francisco. He is vice president of the Vintners Club and president of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the German Wine Society.

Source: http://www.sallys-place.com/beverages/wine/vintnerschoice/viognier.htm

Viognier | White Wines

February 26th, 2008


Viognier Glass | White WinesViognier is a white wine grape. It is the only permitted grape for the French wine Condrieu in the Rhone valley.

History

The origin of Viognier is not completely known with several theories abounding. Most experts agree that Viognier is an ancient grape that may have originated in Dalmatia and was brought to Rhône by the Romans. One legend states that the Roman emperor Probus brought the vine himself to the region in AD 281. Another legend has the grape packaged with Syrah on a cargo ship navigating the Rhone River en route to Beaujolais when it was captured by a local group of outlaws known as culs de piaux near the site of present day Condrieu.

The origins of the name Viognier is similarly obscured with the most common namesake being the French city of Vienne which was a major Roman outpost. Another legend has it drawing its name from the Roman pronunciation of the via Gehennae meaning the “road to Hell” as a possible allusion to the grapes difficulties in growing.

Viognier was once a fairly common grape, though it is now a rare white grape grown almost exclusively in the northern Rhône regions of France. Around the 1960s, the grape was almost extinct when there were only eight acres in Northern Rhône. The popularity of the wine, as well as its price, has risen and thus the number of plantings have increased. Rhône now has over 740 acres (3.0 km²) planted.

In 2004, DNA profiling conducted at University of California, Davis showed the grape to be closely related to the Piedmont grape Freisa and to be a genetic cousin of Nebbiolo.

Viticulture

Viognier can be a difficult grape to grow because it is prone to powdery mildew. It also has low and unpredictable yields and needs to be picked only when fully ripe. When the grape is picked too early, it fails to develop the full extent of its aromas and tastes. When picked too late the grape produces wine that is oily and lacking perfume. Winemakers in the Condrieu often pick the grapes with a level of sugar that eventually will produce wine with alcohol in the 13% range. When fully ripen the grapes have a deep yellow color and produce wine high in alcohol with a strong perfume. The grape prefers warmer environments and a long growing season, but can grow in cooler areas as well.

In France, the Mistral atmospheric phenomenon has a distinct effect on the Viognier vineyards in the Northern Rhone. The wind acts as a tempering agent to the Mediterranean climate of the regions, cooling the vines down after the severe heat of the summer time season.

Wine expert Remington Norman has identified two distinct strains of Viognier—an “Old World” strain, most common in Condrieu, and a “New World” strain, which is found is the Languedoc and other areas. While being the same grape, the two different strains seem to produce distinctly different wines.

The age of the vine also has an effect on the quality of the wine produced with Viognier vines starting to hit their peak after 15-20 years. In the Rhone, there are vines of at least 70 years of age.

Regional production

Viognier has been planted much more extensively around the world since the early 1990s. Both California and Australia now have significant amounts of land devoted to the Viognier grape. There are also notable increases in planting in other states of the United States and in other countries.
Viognier | White Wines
The decline of Viognier in France from its historic peak has much to do with the disastrous introduction of phylloxera insects from North America into Europe in the mid- and late-1800s, followed by the abandonment of the vineyards due to the chaos of World War I. By 1965, only about 30 acres of Viognier vines remained in France, and the variety was nearly extinct. Even as late as the mid-1980s, Viognier in France was endangered. Paralleling the growth of Viognier in the rest of the world, plantings in France have grown dramatically since then. The grape has been enjoying some success in Central Italy and in the Piedmont region as well as South Africa, New Zealand and Japan.

France

In France, Viognier is the single permitted grape variety in the appellations of Condrieu and Château Grillet, which are located on the west bank of the Rhône River, about 40 km south of Lyon. The majority of French Viogniers are sold as Vin de Pays in the Languedoc. In the Rhone wine region, the grape is often blended with Roussanne, Marsanne, Grenache blanc, and Rolle. In the Northern Rhone the grape is sometimes blended with Chardonnay. Vignerons in France often look to plant Viognier in areas rich in granite soil that have a heat retaining quality that the grape seems to thrive in. Beaujolais winemaker Georges Duboeuf help expand the reach of the grape with plantings in the Ardèche region. In the Côte-Rôtie AOC up to 20% of red wine blends can include Viognier though most growers add no more than 5%. Since Viognier ripens earlier then Syrah, the grape is normally harvested separately and added to the Syrah during fermentation. One of the benefits of adding Viognier is the process of co-pigmentation that is produced which stabilizes the coloring of the red wine.

North America

Since the late 1980s, plantings of Viognier in the United States and Canada have increased dramatically. California’s Central Coast is the leading producer with over 2,000 acres (8 km²) of the grape planted. Californian Viogniers are noticeably higher in alcohol compared to other wines made from the grape. The Rhone Rangers of the mid 1980s help spark the increased interest in Viognier in California. The grape can also be found in Washington State, Colorado, New York and Virginia as well as British Columbia and the Niagara region of Ontario.

South America

Both Argentina and Chile have significant plantings of the grape with some producers in Brazil and Uruguay also experimenting with the varietal.

Australia

In Australia, Yalumba is the country’s largest producer of the grape making both a white wine varietal and making extensive use of the grape in its Syrah blends. Yalumba grows the grape in the loam and clay soil of the Eden Valley. Other areas with Viognier plantings include Murray River, McLaren Vale, Geelong, Nagambie Lakes, Canberra, Mornington Peninsula, Barossa Valley,Adelaide Hills and Tenterfield.

Wine

Viognier wines are well-known for their floral aromas, due to terpenes, which are also found in Muscat and Riesling wines. There are also many other powerful flower and fruit aromas which can be perceived in these wines depending on where they were grown, the weather conditions and how old the vines were. Although some of these wines, especially those from old vines and the late-harvest wines, are suitable for aging, most are intended to be consumed young. Viogniers more than three years old tend to lose many of the floral aromas that make this wine unique. Aging these wines will often yield a very crisp drinking wine which is almost completely flat in the nose. The color and the aroma of the wine suggest a sweet wine but Viognier wines are predominantly dry, although sweet late-harvest dessert wines have been made. It is a grape with low acidity; it is sometimes used to soften wines made predominantly with the red Syrah grape. In addition to its softening qualities the grape also adds a stabilizing agent and enhanced perfume to the red wine.

In winemaking, the grapes are often harvest early in the morning to produce the clearest juice possible. Some winemakers will allow contact with the skins. The soft skin of Viognier is high in phenols compounds which can leave an oily component to the wine if left in contact with the skins for too long. Sometimes the wine is put through malolactic fermentation to give the wine more weight and to decrease acidity. In New World Viognier, the lees maybe stirred in a process called batonnage in order to increase the acid levels of the wine. The wine is then left on the lees till bottling in a matter similar to sparkling wine production.

In the creation of the dessert style Viognier, the grapes are often picked in late October or early November. In the Rhone region, the grapes normally are not affected by the fungus Botrytis cinerea though botrytized Viognier is not unheard of. A common harvest technique used in the Condrieu is known as à l’assiette where a plate is held underneath a Viognier vine that is then shaken to allow the overripe grapes to drop unto the plate. Fermentation is then stopped early through the use of sulphur to allow the wine to retain a high level of residual sugar. The wine is then chilled and put through sterile filtering to ensure that the wine is stable and will not start fermenting again in the bottle.

The wine is meant to be consumed relatively young and typically loses its perfume as it ages. Depending on the winemaking style the grape can often hit its peak at one year of age though some can stay at high levels of quality up to ten years. Typically Condrieu wines are the Viogniers most often meant to be drunk young while Californian and Australian wines can handle age a little bit better.

Food pairing

The highly aromatic and fruit forward nature of the grape allows Viognier to pair well with spicy foods such as Thai cuisine. or Vietnamese cuisine.

Also, shellfish, such as Dungeness crab, are an ideal pairing.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viognier

Grüner Veltliner | White Wines

February 26th, 2008


Grüner Veltliner is a variety of white wine grape widely grown primarily in Austria and widely also in the Czech Republic, but almost nowhere else. It has a reputation of being a particularly food-friendly wine.

Loimer Gruner Veltliner | White WinesIt is made into wines of many different styles - much is intended for drinking young in the heurigen bars of Vienna, a little is made into sparkling wine, but some is capable of long ageing. The best has proven to be world-class in blind tastings against chardonnays.

The steep, Rhine-like vineyards of the Danube west of Vienna produce very pure, minerally Grüner Veltliners intended for laying down. Down in the plains, citrus and peach flavours are more apparent, with spicy notes of pepper and sometimes tobacco.

Species: Vitis vinifera
Also called: Grüner Muskateller (more)
Origin: Austria?
Notable regions: Lower Austria, Burgenland, Moravia, Czech Republic
Notable wines: Smaragds from Wachau

History

It is said that Grüner Veltliner dates back to Roman times but the name only appeared in the mid 19th century - before that time it was known as Grüner Muskateller. Until the Second World War it was regarded as just another Austrian grape, it took Lenz Moser’s Hochkultur system of vine training to really get the best out of it. Since the antifreeze scandal of 1985, Grüner Veltliner has been at the forefront of the switch in Austrian winemaking towards better quality, dry, wines.

Traminer is one parent of Grüner Veltliner according to recent DNA analysis. The other parent is unknown at present, but there appears to be no relationship to any of the other Veltliner varieties.

Distribution and Wines

Austria

Grüner Veltliner accounts for 36.0% of all vineyards in Austria, almost all of it being grown in the northeast of the country. Along the Danube to the west of Vienna, in Wachau, Kremstal and Kamptal, it grows with Riesling in terraces reminiscent of the Rhine, on slopes so steep they can barely retain any soil. The result is a very pure, minerally wine capable of long ageing, that stands comparison with some of the great wines of the world. In recent blind tastings organised by the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, Grüner Veltliners have beaten world-class Chardonnays from the likes of Mondavi and Louis Latour.

In the deeper clay soils in the Weinviertel to the northeast of Vienna Grüner Veltliner develops more of a spicy, peppery character, which can be aged although a lot of production is intended to be drunk young in the heurigen bars of Vienna. Some is made into sparkling wine in the far northeast around Poysdorf.

A little is grown south of Vienna, in the warmer climates of the vineyards towards the Hungarian plains, although the growers there are more interested in red and dessert wines.

Two of the first three DACs (geographical appellations) in Austria apply to Grüner Veltliner, the Weinviertel DAC and the Traisental DAC.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic, particularly Southern Moravia close to the Austrian border, produces some Grüner Veltliners of notable quality. Grüner Veltliner wines form approximately 11% of Czech wine production. This makes Grüner Veltliner the second most widely grown white grape variety in the Czech Republic.

Hungary

A little is grown in Austria’s former imperial partner.

Grüner Veltliner | White WinesVine and Viticulture

The leaves are five-lobed and the bunches are long but compact, with deep green grapes that ripen in mid-late October.

Synonyms

Grüner Muskateller (in common usage until the 1930s), Green Veltliner, Greener Veltliner, GrüVe, Manhardsrebe, Weißgipfler, Weissgipfler.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gr%C3%BCner_Veltliner

Breidecker | White Wines

February 26th, 2008


Breidecker | White WinesBreidecker is a German style light white wine with apple and pear flavors.

“This cultivar was released by the Geisenheim Research Station, Germany, in 1962. Has the technical name GM 4894. It was derived from a Müller-Thurgau cross with the Chancellor (a.k.a Seibel 7053) hybrid cultivar and can currently be found in limited areas on the south island of New Zealand where it is mainly used for producing somewhat neutral varietal and blend white wines. Resistant to Bunch Rot and Downy Mildew fungus diseases. [Breidecker] was named after Heinrich Breidecker, one of NZ’s pioneer grape growers.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breidecker

Albariño | White Wines

February 26th, 2008


Albarino Vineyard - Galicia, Spain | White WinesAlbariño (/ˌal.baˈɾiː.ɲo/ – Galician) or Alvarinho (/ˌal.vaˈɾiː.ɲo/ – Portuguese) is a variety of white wine grape grown in Galicia (northwest Spain) and northern Portugal, where it is used to make varietal white wines.

Albariño is actually the Galician name for the grape, with Albarín Blanco an occasional synonym. In Portugal it is known as Alvarinho, and sometimes as Cainho Branco.

It was presumably brought to Iberia by Cluny monks in the twelveth century. Its name “Alba-Riño” means “the white from Rhine” and it has locally been thought to be a Riesling clone originating from the Alsace region of France, although it should be noted that the earliest known records of Riesling as a grape variety date from the 15th, rather than the 12th, century. It is also theorized that the grape is a close relative of the French grape Petit Manseng.

It should not be confused with the Alvarinho Liláz grape of Madeira.

Major regions

Albariño Rias Baixas | White WinesSpain produces Albariño to a significant degree in the Rías Baixas DO, especially in the town of Cambados. It is also common in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal, but it is only authorized to be grown in Monção. In other locations such as Ribeiro, Lima, Braga or Valdeorras it is often mixed with other grapes such as Loureiro, Godello, Caiño, Arinto or Treixadura to produce blended wines. Such blends were common throughout Galicia too until about 1985; when the Rías Baixas DO was established on an experimental basis in 1986, Albariño began to emerge as a varietal, both locally and internationally. Its recent emergence as a varietal led the wines to be “crafted for the palates of Europe, America and beyond and for wine drinkers who wanted clean flavors and rich, ripe fruit” and led to wines completely different from those produced across the river in Portugal.
Granbazan Vinery, Rias Baixas | White Wines
The Portuguese Vinho Verde, a designated wine region since 1908, is traditionally “high in acidity, low in alcohol, usually lightly sparkling and meant to be drunk almost immediately after bottling”. This tradition meant that as of 2002, more than 60% of Vinho Verde is sold within its own region, with most of the rest sold elsewhere in Portugal.

In recent years Albarino has attracted the attention of Australian winemakers, several of whom are now producing varietal wines.

Wine characteristics

The grape is noted for its distinctive aroma, very similar to that of Viognier and Gewurztraminer, suggesting apricot and peach. The wine produced is unusually light, and generally high in acidity with alcohol levels of 12-12.5%. Its thick skins and large number of pips can cause residual bitterness.

Viticulture

In the Vinho Verde, Albariño vines can found growing around the trunks of poplar trees and in bushes along the outside margins of a field. When grown in a vineyard, the vines need to be wire trained with large canopies to accommodate the 30 to 40 buds per vine that is typical. The grape responds well to the heat and humidity though the high yields and bunching of clusters usually keeps the grapes within the margins of ripeness.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albari%C3%B1o

Marsanne | White Wines

February 26th, 2008


Marsanne Bottle | White WinesMarsanne is a variety of grape, most common in the northern Rhône, where it is often blended with Roussanne. It is also grown in Switzerland where its name has the synonyms Ermitage Blanc or Ermitage, and the Goulburn Valley region of Australia. In Savoie it is known as Grosse Roussette.

Regions

In the Rhône, Marsanne is the most widely planted white wine grape in the Hermitage AOC where it is a component of the white Hermitage wines in a blend with Roussanne. Up to 15% of the red wine version of Hermitage can include Marsanne. In the Saint-Péray AOC, it is used for both still and sparkling wine production. It can also be found in the Crozes-Hermitage and Saint-Joseph AOCs. Some producers in the Rhone have also experimented with making a dessert-style straw wine with Marsanne.

The grape is also found in the Savoie region of France where the grape is known as Grosse Roussette and in the Languedoc where it is often blended with Viognier.

In Australia, the grape was first planted in the Victoria region in the 1860s.

In Switzerland, Marsanne is grown around the Valais region where it is known as “Ermitage blanc” and for producing steely white wines with high alcohol levels.

In California, Marsanne is often found blended with Roussanne, Viognier, and Grenache Blanc.

Viticulture

Marsanne Grape | White WinesWhile not as temperamental as the Roussanne grape, Marsanne is prone to under performing in less then ideal vineyard sites. In climates that are too hot, the grape can over ripen and produce wine that is very flabby. In places that are too cool, the grape will not ripen fully enough to develop more than just a bland and neutral flavor. Winemakers try to harvest Marsanne just before it hits full ripeness in order to maintain a high level of acidity. Some Australian winemakers prefer to let the grape hang longer on the vine to increase its potential alcohol level and its aging potential.

Wines

Marsanne produces deeply colored wines that are rich and nutty, with hints of spice and pear. Often Australian Marsanne has aromas of melon and honeysuckle. The wines can be high in alcohol and normally have very distinctive aromas. They can be oak aged to develop more body. As Marsanne ages, the wine take on an even darker color and the flavors can become more complex and concentrated with an oily, honeyed texture. Aromas of nuts and quince can also develop.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marsanne_%28grape%29

Palomino | White Wines

February 26th, 2008


Palomino | White WinesPalomino is a white grape widely grown in Spain and South Africa, and best known for its use in the manufacture of sherry.

Also found in Australia and California where it is also used mainly to produce fortified wines, the grape was once thought to be the Golden Chasselas, a grape grown in California. The wine-must has tendency to oxidise quickly, a characteristic that can be ignored when used for sherry production.

In Spain, the grape is split into the sub-varieties Palomino Fino, Palomino Basto, and Palomino de Jerez, of which Palomino Fino is by far the most important, being the principal grape used in the manufacture of sherry. The wine formed by fermentation of the grape is low in both acidity and sugar which, whilst suitable for Sherry | White Winessherry, ensures that any table wine made from it is of a consistently low quality, unless aided by acidification.

In France, it is referred to as Listán, and in South Africa as Fransdruif or White French.

In December 2006 Spanish researchers, using DNA techniques, discovered that the Mission grape of California and Latin America, cultivated by the Jesuit and Franciscan missionaries throughout the New World, is in fact the now rare Listan Prieto of Spain.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palomino_%28grape%29

Trebbiano | White Wines

February 26th, 2008


Trebbiano Grape | White WinesTrebbiano is a grape variety that probably makes more white wine in the world than any other. It gives good yields, but makes undistinguished wine at best. It can be fresh and fruity, but doesn’t keep long. Its high acidity makes it important in cognac production. Also known as Ugni Blanc, it has many other names reflecting a family of local subtypes, particularly in Italy and France.

History

Trebbiano may have originated in the Eastern Mediterranean, and was known in Italy in Roman times. A subtype was recognised in Bologna in the thirteenth century, and as Ugni Blanc it made its way to France, possibly during the Papal retreat to Avignon in the fourteenth century.

Distribution and Wines

Argentina

Like many Italian grapes, Trebbiano came to Argentina with Italian immigrants.

Australia

“White Hermitage” came to Australia with James Busby in 1832. The major plantings are in New South Wales and South Australia, where it is mostly used for brandy and for blending with other grapes in table wine.

Bulgaria

In Bulgaria as in Portugal it is known as ‘Thalia’

France

‘Ugni Blanc’ is the most widely planted white grape of France, being found particularly along the Provençal coast, in the Gironde and Charente. It is also known as ‘Clairette Ronde’, ‘Clairette de Vence’, ‘Queue de Renard’, and in Corsica as ‘Rossola’. Most of the table wine is unremarkable and often blended or turned into industrial alcohol.

Under the name ‘St. Émilion’, Trebbiano is important in brandy production, being the most common grape variety of the Cognac and Armagnac regions.

Italy
Trebbiano | White Wines
The Trebbiano family account for around a third of all white wine in Italy. It is mentioned in over 80 of Italy’s DOCs, although it has just six of its own : Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Trebbiano di Aprilia, Trebbiano di Arborea, Trebbiano di Capriano del Colle, Trebbiano di Romagna and Trebbiano Val Trebbia dei Colli Piacentini.

Perhaps the most successful Trebbiano-based blend are the Orvieto whites of Umbria, which use a local clone called Procanico.

Trebbiano is also used to produce balsamic vinegar.

Portugal

As in Bulgaria, the variety is known as ‘Thalia’ in Portugal.

USA

Italian immigrants brought Trebbiano to California, but it’s seldom seen as a single variety table wine.

Vine and Viticulture

The vine is vigorous and high-yielding, with long cylindrical bunches of tough-skinned berries that yield acidic yellow juice.

Synonyms

Albano, Biancone, Blanc Auba, Blanc De Cadillac, Blancoun, Bobiano, Bonebeou, Branquinha, Brocanico, Bubbiano, Buriano, Buzzetto, Cadillac, Cadillate, Castelli, Castelli Romani, Castillone, Chator, Clairette D’Afrique, Clairette De Vence, Clairette Ronde, Engana Rapazes, Espadeiro Branco, Falanchina, Greco, Gredelin, Hermitage White, Juni Blan, Lugana, Malvasia Fina, Muscadet Aigre, Padeiro Branco, Perugino, Procanico, Procanico Dell Isola D Elba, Procanico Portoferraio, Queue De Renard, Romani, Rossan De Nice, Rossetto, Rossola, Rossula, Roussan, Roussea, Rusciola, Saint Emilion, Saint Emilion Des Charentes, Santoro, Shiraz White, Spoletino, Talia, Trebbianello, Trebbiano, Trebbiano Della Fiamma, Trebbiano Di Cesene, Trebbiano Di Empoli, Trebbiano Di Lucca, Trebbiano Di Tortona, Trebbiano Fiorentino, Trebbiano Toscano, Trebbianone, Tribbiano, Tribbiano Forte, Turbiano, Ugni Blanc, Bouan, Beau, Thalia, Trebbiano di Soave, Trebbiano Romagnolo, Trebbiano Gallo and Trebbiano d’Abruzzo.

Fonte: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trebbiano

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