Monty Waldin’s taste of bush-vine Primitivo

Monty Waldin’s taste of bush-vine PrimitivoPrimitivo is practically synonymous with Puglia and the south of Italy. Yet it is taking a plucky band of pioneers to re-establish it in its truest form, as a bush vine. Monty Waldin reportsThe small town of Manduria lies a 40-minute drive southeast of the southern Italian port of Taranto, along a gently rising, arrow-straight road. This is the Salento peninsula, the baking heel of Italy’s boot.
My father came here in 1944, having landed at Taranto with Linked troops. With his radio receiver he’d crawl in Salento’s dusty, iron-rich red soil, using the local olive groves and vineyards as cover. Back then, Manduria’s vineyards were overflowing with Primitivo, Puglia’s signature red wine grape. Since the vines grew as low free-standing bush or alberello, Primitivo provided the perfect cover. To this day, Primitivo bush vines dating from the 1930s and 1940s wait in this arid part of Italy’s heel. But over the last 20 years most have been ripped out.
Monty Waldin picks five wines demonstrating what bush-vine Primitivo has to offer… Read more

13 top Verdicchio wines from Marche

13 top Verdicchio wines from MarcheThe hillsides of Marche hold many secrets, amongst them the complexity and ageability of well-made Verdicchio. Tom Hyland finds himself intrigued as he explores the province.The Verdicchio grape, grown in the hillsides of north-central and western Marche, is used to produce a variety of wines, from metodo classico to passito and, in between, some of the longest-lived dry whites found in Italy. Decanter Italy expert Ian D’Agata, in his book Native Wine Grapes of Italy, asserts that ‘Verdicchio is arguably Italy’s greatest native colorless grape variety.’ In its 2015 Italian wine guide, Gambero Rosso awarded its highest rating of tre bicchieri to 11 examples of Verdicchio – more than any additional colorless in the country. So why is it that you would be hard pressed to find more than one example on wine lists outside of Italy?
There are two DOC zones for Verdicchio in Marche: Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, the more well-known of the two, and Verdicchio di Matelica. While most examples are 100% Verdicchio (DOC regulations require 85% minimum Verdicchio), the characteristics of these wines are quite different, thanks to a series of factors including soil, climate and elevation. The Castelli di Jesi zone is located in northcentral Marche, while Matelica is in the westerncentre of the province, close to the Apennine Mountains that traverse this part of the province, near the border with Umbria. ‘The greatest difference between Matelica and Jesi,’ says Riccardo Baldi, proprietor of the La Staffa estate in the Jesi zone, ‘is the terrains. Jesi is very rich in clay and skeletal deposits, while Matelica is richer in minerals. Also Jesi is more open to the sea, while Matelica is an inland territory, where the influence of the mountains can be felt.’
Tom Hyland picks his top wines Read more

Hail hits Chablis on wine harvest eve

Hail hits Chablis on wine harvest eveA hail storm has terribly affected vineyards in parts of Chablis and several neighbouring Burgundy appellations days previous to the 2015 wine harvest is due to start. Vines flowering in ChablisJust when Burgundy winemakers dared to hope for the first hail free growing season for several years, storms arrived during the evening of Monday 31 and early hours of 1 September.
Early estimates suggest 100 hectares have been affected in Chablis, around 2% of the AOC Chablis vineyard, with premier cru vines worse hit than grands crus.
There is now liable to be a rush to pick grapes from hurt vines to avoid the prospect of rot. Read more

Ratafia de Champagne spirit awarded appellation status

Ratafia de Champagne spirit awarded appellation statusRatafia de Champagne, a grape based spirit produced in the Champagne province, has received official status as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). Ratafia de Champagne is produced in the Champagne regionIt is the first time the French board of appellations, the INAO, has awarded this to Ratafia de Champagne.
Made from the same grapes as Champagne, Ratafia de Champagne reaches around 18% abv, and is produced from Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes harvested in whole bunches to protect their freshness.
An association of producers, distillers, the Champagne winegrowers union and the Maisons de Champagne union known as Bosons Spiritueuses Champenoises was set up in June 2014 to govern production.
‘There are today around 120 producers of Ratafia de Champagne and its existence dates back eight centuries,’ Claude Guiraud of Maison Guiraud and president of Boissons Spiritueuses Champenoises told decanter.com.
‘But the potential for progression is huge, and we expect to reach 15 million bottles annually. It gives a new way to talk about the terroir of Champagne, and the distinct taste reflects the minerality, elegance and balance of the province. This is the only place in Europe to produce Ratafia’.
The grapes from the free run juice and the first presses go to Champagne production while the juice from either the third or fourth press is used to make Ratafia de Champagne.
The first bottles below the PGI Ratafia de Champagne are expected to reach the market during 2016, although it will be non-vintage, as the majority of Champagne is.
The post Ratafia de Champagne spirit awarded appellation status appeared first on Decanter.

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How to understand wine

How to understand wineWhat makes a nourishing glass of wine? Berry Brothers & Rudd's new book clarifies six key factors which keeps a wine in balance. The diagram demonstrates how climates affects the flavour of wine. A wine needs balance between all the factors that contribute to the taste and character. Read the guide below to know how to better be with you wine.
ACIDITY
Acidity is a positive in wine – it preserves the wine, gives it backbone, keeps it fresh.
Detect acidity through its mouthwatering look, a tingling sharpness on the tongue.
Try tasting one glass of unadorned water, then a second with some lemon juice added: you’ll notice the look of the acidity in your mouth. Any fruit needs some acidity to be enjoyable, and wine – the juice of the grape, at heart – is no exception.
Too small acidity, and the wine will taste flabby and over-sweet. Too much, and it will be tart, astringent and sour.
In general, the cooler the climate, the higher the acidity. For examples of high- and lowacidity wines, compare a Sauvignon Blanc wine with a Gewurztraminer.
FRUIT RIPENESS
Grapes in different climates, with more or less sunshine, ripen to different degrees – reckon of a green apple compared to a tropical fruit. Or compare a ripe, juicy peach with a hard, unripe one.
Fruit ripeness can be a excellent clue to whether the wine comes from a cool climate, or a warmer one. (See the above diagram). Ripe, fruity wines can be more immediately attractive than austere, mineral ones. But both sorts have their charms – and their uses.
You will find that acidity and fruit ripeness have an inverse relationship with each additional. Read more

Gallo buys California Central Coast winery

Gallo buys California Central Coast wineryCalifornia wine giant E&J Gallo has taken another step in an apparent quest to revamp its business after agreeing to buy estate wine specialist Talbott Vineyards. Rob Talbott, of Talbott VineyardsTalbott is based in California’s Central Coast, in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, is one of the US sunshine state’s largest producers of estate grown wine, said Gallo. It did not release a fee for the deal.
The go is the latest in a series of vineyard buys by Gallo and suggests the companionship is seeking to re-orient its business towards the more premium end of the wine market.
Some rivals, such as Mondavi owner Constellation Brands, have been doing the same, believing there is a larger sales opportunity there.
Talbott was founded in 1982 by Rob Talbott and it specialises in the classic Burgundian varieties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Read more

Australian surgeon sues over ruined fine wine cellar

Australian surgeon sues over ruined fine wine cellarRetired surgeon Spero Raptis has claimed his fine wine cellar lost A$300,000 of its value because of an air conditioning companionship's mistake. Wine storage and finding the right wine cellar is a key issue for collectors.Raptis said many of his wines ‘cooked’ after an air conditioning companionship left on a humidifier while doing maintenance work in his wine cellar, according to local media reports.
He has filed a complaint against the companionship at the Supreme Court of South Australia in Adelaide.
The contents of his wine cellar were worth around $430,000, but have lost $312,000 of their value, according to court documents cited by The Advertiser newspaper.
His case highlights the potential dangers collectors face when seeking a excellent place to store their wines. Read more

DWWA Tasting with Compass Wines

DWWA Tasting with Compass WinesTaste DWWA 2015 silver and gold medal winning wines from Washington State at Compass Wines, USA on 2 September 2015Compass Wines in Washington State, USA, will be land a tasting of three local silver and gold medal winning wines from the Decanter World Wine Awards 2015 in-store for customers to try.
The winning wines you can taste at the tasting are: Read more