Understanding Your Wine Makes it Taste Better

Napa Valley

 

Located in California, Napa Valley benefits from a Mediterranean climate which yields year over year consistency and premium quality.

Interestingly, Napa Valley gained true credibility as an exceptional wine producing region among sommeliers after several Napa Valley Chardonnay and Cabernet wines beat other famous French labels in a blind tasting format at the 1976 Paris Wine Tasting.

 

Sonoma

 

Located along the Northern California coast, Sonoma County is a special place to grow world-class grapes and make great wines.

 

The first grapes were planted as early as 1812 by Padre Jose Altimira at the Mission San Francisco Solano, which today is the city of Sonoma. With 16 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), the region is one of California’s largest producers of wine, vastly out producing Napa Valley.

 

Central Coast

 

The Central Coast AVA is a large wine producing region stretching roughly 250 miles from Santa Barbara County in the south to the San Francisco Bay Area in the north. Some of the key sub-regions include: Paso Robles, Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Ynez, and Santa Rita Hills.

 

Central Coast is best known for its Chardonnays, which account for over half of the total wine production.

 

Burgundy

 

Located in east-central France, Burgundy is often referred to as the most terroir-oriented region in France. This means that the land from which the grapes are grown imparts a unique quality that is specific to Burgundy.  

 

The love for Burgundy Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs goes back many centuries, and was even shared by Shakespeare, who refers in King Lear to “the vines of France and milk of Burgundy”.

 

Bordeaux

 

Bordeaux is the largest wine producing area in France, producing over 700 million bottles of wine per year. The limestone geological foundation of this region, leading to a soil structure very heavy in calcium, is one of the major reasons for the success of winemaking in Bordeaux.

 

89% of all wines produced in Bordeaux are reds, specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Malbec.

 

Rhone

 

Situated in the Rhone river valley in South France, the Rhone wine region divided into two sub-regions: North and South. The north rhone wine region is best known for producing world class Syrahs. In the south, some of the world’s best red and white blends are produced.

 

Western Australia

 

Inside Australia’s largest state, Western Australia, its wine regions are located in the cooler climate of the south-western tip. Although only a small quantity of wine is produced from this region, its quality is premium. This region is best known for its Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir, Shiraz and Malbec.

 

Southern Australia

 

The Southern Australia wine region produces the majority of wine in Australia. Often referred to as the Tasmanian wine industry, the region has earned a reputation for its Chardonnay and Pinot noir, which flourish in the cooler southern climate.

 

New South Wales

 

Located in Australia’s most populous state, the New South Wales wine region got its start in 1791 when the Governor of the colony planted vines from settlements in South Africa.

 

Queensland

 

Although Queensland’s origins date back to the 1860’s, it remains one of Australia’s best keep secrets. This region is best known for its Chardonnay, Semillon, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.

 

Victoria

 

Victoria wine is produced in the south east Australian state of Victoria. This region specializes in single varietal wines such as Shiraz and Chardonnay. More recently varietals of the more obscure Garciano, Tannat and Viognier have become invogue.

 

Tasmanian

 

The Tasmanian state has a cool climate and is located in southern Australia. Because of its cooler climate, the Tasmanian wine region has the ability to make distinctly different wines than the rest of Australia. The primary wines of this region are Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon blanc.

 

In an interesting twist of fate, global warming has had a positive effect on Tasmanian wines by allowing the grapes to reach full ripeness and thus produce more robust wines.

 

Provence

 

Situated just south of the Alps, Provence wine comes from the French wine producing region of Provence. The area gets its name from the Romans, who called the area provincia nostra (“our province”) because it was the first Roman province outside of Italy.

 

This wine region is best known for both its dry and zesty rose wine along with some spicy and full-flavored reds.

 

Beaujolais

 

The Beaujolais wine region is located in France, just north of Lyon.  The vast majority of the region’s wine production is light bodied reds, generally made from the Gamay grape which is very low in tannins. Beaujolais wines pair wonderfully with dry meats because of the low tannin count.

 

Alsace

 

The Alsace wine region is located in eastern France. This region primarily produces dry white wines from aromatic grape varieties which give the wines floral and spicy flavors.

 

South Africa Coastal Region

 

The South African wine industry started in the country’s Coastal Region, and remains the major wine producing region today.  Because it is such a large region, with great variation in the soil and many different microclimates, there is a huge variation of grape varieties produced. The most prominent being Sauvignon Blanc.

 

California North Coast Region

 

This large region located north of San Fransico in California, covering over 3,000,000 acres. The Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley, Russian River, Stags Leap and Carneros districts are all located in the North Coast. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon are the top two most grown varietals.